Q&A with Beverley Webster, founder of new natural beauty & wellness e-commerce platform
Link to the original article By Jessi Wesson: retailbriefafrica
Beverley Webster – Founder & Owner, greendawning
A new proudly South African conscious shopping platform is shaking up the natural and organics e-commerce space.
Launched in September 2021, greendawning offers a growing range of Beauty Without Cruelty accredited, plant-based, natural, ethically sourced and locally manufactured skincare and wellness products. Brands featured in the online store include the popular Back 2 Nature, Down To Earth, Gaia Organics and Hey Gorgeous.
Founder and owner, Beverley Webster left her role as the Marketing Director of a large corporate business after being in the industry for 30 years to pursue her love and passion for elevating sustainability and all things natural and organic. After extensive research and product testing, greendawning was born.
Here, Webster tells us more about her journey to launching greendawning and what’s next for the natural beauty and wellness business.
Tell us about yourself and your career journey leading up to launching greendawning. What inspired the idea for the company?
BD: Having studied dance and drama and with very few opportunities in the 80’s to make a living from this trade in South Africa, my Marketing and Management diploma put me in good stead.
After working as a personnel consultant at Drake Personnel, I was employed by ITL (International Trimmings & Labels), managing their Johannesburg Sales Branch.
My move to Cape Town enabled me to join their Marketing Department and I became the first female Director within the company. I worked for ITL for 25 years and resigned in January 2021.
Whilst working for ITL, I was involved in many of their sustainability initiatives and knew this was my calling.
Being an ardent animal rights activist and environmentalist for many years, I decided to start a business which supplied products which are good for the environment and for the consumer and which have not been tested on animals.
What is the story and ethos behind the greendawning brand and what does your product offering consist of?
BD: For many years I have only used products which are plant based, locally manufactured and cruelty-free.
I made the decision to have a platform to enable like-minded folk to feel secure in their purchases without having to check labels.
The product range is growing. Presently, I have wellness/healing and skincare offerings, which will be extended to cleaning products, hair care and gifting.
What would you say differentiates your brand from other players in the industry?
BD: All greendawning products have accreditations, are sustainable, plant based and ethically sourced.
Very few of our products contain palm oil, but those which do have the RSPO certification for sustainability. All chosen products are locally manufactured.
The packaging is recyclable and of recycled content. All products have been tested by my team and are of exceptionally high quality.
What were some of the unique challenges you encountered while you were curating the product line? How did you overcome them?
BD: So many brands I initially deemed suitable for my platform were in fact not, due to not having the required accreditations and many were vegetarian, not vegan (containing goats’ milk, bees wax etc).
I had to do a lot of research to find the brands which ticked all the greendawning boxes. I also had to ensure the products were of excellent quality to be considered.
Can you tell us about some of the natural ingredients found in your listed products, the manufacturing processes as well as the packaging/design innovations you implement at greendawning?
BD: I have four brands on greendawning’s site presently who are also manufacturers. With them having the accreditations, the chain of custody in terms of ingredients used have all been verified.
Natural products like the African Potato, essential oils, Aloe, and kelp are just a few of the many natural ingredients used. All products on greendawning’s site have a full list of ingredients.
Aesthetically, I wanted simple lines and we went with the continuous line drawing effect which I believe to be very appealing and lends itself to the theme of a sustainable company.
What do you think and hope will keep consumers coming back to greendawning?
BD: Our boutique style site, which is easy to navigate, the personal touch and integrity of our business and the interesting new products which we will continue to add.
A percentage of each sale you make is donated to the NPO, Breadline Africa. Could you tell us more about the organisation?
BD: I chose Breadline Africa as I got to know them so well since the first hard lockdown we had in South Africa.
I was, on a personal level assisting them with feeding schemes for the impoverished communities and we extended that to their pets who were hungry too and we have continued with this initiative.
Breadline Africa are a remarkable NPO who address poverty alleviation and their main area of focus is assisting with infrastructure at pre-schools and provide libraries and kitchens in low quintile primary schools across the country.
What’s next for greendawning? Any plans in the works to expand your natural products offering as well as the company’s footprint in Africa and abroad?
BD: The aim is to grow the offering and to introduce a greendawning brand option. We accept international payments presently so we trust ex-pats will support African business and gift their families and friends here.
We plan to offer international shipping in the very near future. We will also be looking at sourcing from other African countries who comply with our stringent requirements.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs looking to launch their own business in the natural and organic space?
BD: Do your homework, walk the talk and don’t be put off by the number of competitors.
This is a growing movement where people are becoming more aware of the importance of looking after themselves, the planet and all her inhabitants.
By Jessi Wesson