Interview with Amy Wilkinson-Lough, Founder of Project bYouty

  • Publish date: Sunday، 04 July 2021
Interview with Amy Wilkinson-Lough, Founder of Project bYouty

Meet Project bYouty, your newly launched dubai-based digital destination for all cruelty-free, vegan, organic, halal, sustainable, homegrown and clean beauty and wellness brands. The online retailer was born out of the frustration of being offered products tested on animals, use questionable ingredients, and damage the environment.

We caught up with the founder and creative brain behind Project bYouty Amy Wilkinson-Lough on this amazing concept, her product selection process, and the items she can’t live without.

1-First, tell us about yourself.

I’m nearer 40 than I am 35, I’m from the UK but have lived here in the Middle East for just shy of 20 years – I love everything the country stands for and am proud to call it home. I’ve spent the last 20 years in the music industry having toured the world with some of the most incredible artists of our time. I am a huge advocate for women and women’s rights; I unequivocally believe we have the ability to change the world and do so with kindness.

2-Tell us how Project bYouty first came about.

Essentially, I am ultimately a frustrated consumer. I knew what I wanted, I knew why I wanted it but I couldn’t understand why my only real option was to order from either the UK or the US and with that face both a week’s wait and an unexpected bill from the delivery guy consisting of various duties and taxes. I was also acutely aware of the smaller brands looking for a way into the Region so like any woman on a mission for beautiful bathroom worthy products I decided to fix the problem and voila.

Interview with Amy Wilkinson-Lough, Founder of Project bYouty

3-What is the reaction from people like with its concept?

Ah, overwhelming, really overwhelming - my heart is full. We’ve got a lot of work to do and an awful lot of people to reach but the feedback from both brands and consumers alike has been really positive. It’s a proud moment for us as a team.  

4-What is the process of Project bYouty’s products selection?

I’d love to tell you it’s really scientific and complicated but in all honesty it’s a combination of gut instinct and data. We’ve got an incredibly experienced buying team and collectively we’ve spent 6 months researching brands, talking to founders around the world understanding not just their ingredients, but their whys. What they do for greater good, where they fit in terms of our value system, what’s their point of difference and ultimately do they work as a product. We have nothing on the site that hasn’t been tested by various members of the team, and or isn’t cruelty free – that’s our absolute non-negotiable and usually the opening gambit to any zoom call with a brand!

Interview with Amy Wilkinson-Lough, Founder of Project bYouty

5-You’re an advocate for a livable planet, can you share with us how Project bYouty is contributing in protecting our planet?

Thank you so so much for asking this question! We’ve got some really exciting initiatives taking place over the next 12 months but with the beauty industry alone responsible for more than 124 billion tons of landfill we decided to start with our packaging. Subsequently we don’t allow or use any plastic packaging whatsoever, our outer mail boxes are entirely recyclable, our mailers are entirely compostable, any ink you see is entirely soy and our tissue paper is not only entirely recyclable but 100% acid free – all of which is FSC certified. In addition to that as a business we’ve pledged to only work with suppliers who are part of the eco packaging alliance which means that as a business we get to contribute to global reforestation by planting a tree for every individual order we place.  Our hope is that if we can just get people to stop using plastics we will have already made a difference.

6-Many women enjoy the experience of visiting a store and trying out the products they’re about to buy. As an online retailer that experience doesn’t exist for customers, how do you overcome that?

I hope that visiting of malls with your girlfriends to stand in front of mirrors with trying on various different lipstick colors never changes - that’s where friendships are founded and memories made! Online is about convenience, as a society we’re more time poor than ever because we’re all out there trying to “live our best lives”. The good news is that online allows shoppers to hear from consumers, they can read real reviews, watch educational how to’s from founders as opposed to just trusting the opinion of let’s face it a paid salesperson.  Certainly, at project bYouty we’ve tried to inform, educate and help the consumer navigate what can at times be a pretty overwhelming loud shop floor in the comfort of their own home wearing their pyjamas - and then share it with like-minded people - what’s not to love.

Interview with Amy Wilkinson-Lough, Founder of Project bYouty

7-What do you think will make GCC consumers choose Project bYouty over other online platforms?

Trust. There’s a huge grey market in the Region, you wouldn’t believe how many brands we spoke to who found themselves on sites they knew absolutely nothing about. That can only mean 2 things a) the product isn’t genuine or b) it’s been brought in via a reseller sending the price skyrocketing both of which is hugely unfair on the end user. There is not a brand or product on Project bYouty that hasn’t been genuinely sourced via the brand directly or their licensed distributor. In addition to that there isn’t a product on the site that hasn’t been registered via the municipality system meaning both its ingredients and product classification have been tested. We are a business built on integrity and more often than not that means doing the right thing even when no one is watching.

8-How have you been practicing self-care throughout the pandemic and its lockdowns?

I’ve been building Project bYouty so self-care and sleep in general has officially gone out the window I have to be honest. However, I do train every morning and that’s a precious 1 hour I get with no phone, no emails just some outrageously loud hip hop song that sets me up for the day, believe it or not I call that self-care!

Interview with Amy Wilkinson-Lough, Founder of Project bYouty

9-How do you think the industry has changed most significantly in years? 

Most notably we’ve gone from heavy makeup, big lips and a 10 step skin care routine to simple, effective skincare with a very less is more approach to makeup – thank goodness! More than that people are more informed now than ever in and around ingredients and are open to trying smaller niche Indie brands as opposed to the big dominant beauty brands that you saw your Mum using. We’re in a discovery phase and that’s exciting.

10-What are the top five beauty products that you can’t live without that we should be using?

Emma Hardie Moringa cleansing balm – not only is it the holy grail of cleansers but an absolute delight to use. Mara universal face oil, it’s magic in a bottle any time of the day or night and or any possible situation. Bynacht hypercharged glass skin serum, it’s an explosion of 8 types of hyaluronic acid and every skin type needs that one way or another, one of very few products that has you waking up looking like you’ve managed a full 10 hours of un-interrupted sleep. Augustinus Bader the cream – all I can say is the hype is real, very real. Boy Smells ‘red head’ candle – it’s the most perfect smell to just let float through your space whilst letting your serums soak in.

Interview with Amy Wilkinson-Lough, Founder of Project bYouty

11-What is the most important beauty tip that you’d like to share with readers? 

You don’t need to have an overflowing bathroom cabinet to achieve flawless skin – keep it simple.  Just because it’s expensive doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. And finally, no one is you – what’s more beautiful than that?