Renzoe Box is a makeup lover’s dream, especially if you also care about reducing plastic waste.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and according to René Graham, founder of The Renzoe Box, a rushed moment on a train led her to develop a customizable makeup palette that reduces single-use plastic by 83 percent compared to conventional options.
“One day I was on a train on my way to work. I had a big presentation that day I had spent all night working on with barely any sleep. I wanted to look my best and crush the presentation, obviously but had no time to do my makeup at home before leaving. So to save time I decided to do it on the train,” Graham said in an email. That mobile makeup exercise turned out to be a big mistake, Graham says.
“I was doing my makeup, digging through my makeup bag, couldn’t find what I was looking for so I dumped my bag out on the empty seat next to me. There was a sudden jolt and all of my makeup went flying through the train.
“I was so frustrated, flustered, embarrassed. I scurried around trying to pick it all up. Now hot and sweaty with my makeup half-done, as I shoved it all back in my bag I realized just how terrible and inconvenient it all was.”
Graham says that like most makeup users, she was always carrying around bulky products and palettes — many with unused shades that come as defaults. “It made no sense from a space and convenience standpoint, but also from a waste perspective. Why does this palette have ten shades when I only ever use three?”
An architect in her former life, Graham says she thinks about problems spatially. “I quickly sketched out an idea of modular makeup: a pressed powder foundation from this compact, blush from this quad, my three favorite eyeshadows from this palette of 12,” she said. The vision was Lego-like pieces filled with makeup that you fit together to build a custom palette. “Except, unlike other palettes available, I envisioned the Lego pieces filled with the makeup of the brands I loved combined into one palette.”
Not only did other makeup users struggle with this issue, but an increasing number of consumers were also struggling with the category’s immense waste, particularly plastic waste.
“Once I began to learn how much waste and single-use plastic the beauty industry creates (180 billion units per year), I became more passionate about building Renzoe Box,” Graham says. “I want to help women simplify their lives, and help build a truly sustainable beauty industry.”
According to Graham, a typical makeup product purchased at the store is comprised of 85 percent (or more) packaging to 15 percent of the actual product used. “Think about how crazy that is,” Graham says, comparing it to the packaging of say a carton of milk where the proportion of packaging to actual consumed good is the inverse.
Graham brought her vision to life with the compact, sturdy, and mobile-friendly Renzoe Box — a $425 kit that allows customers to mix and match products and shades with minimal packaging and no default pre-set shades that don’t get used. “No two Renzoe Boxes are alike,” she says. “There is not another multi-branded palette or kit available without a lot of DIY.”
The sturdy kit can be refilled and reused indefinitely; the sleek black and gold box contains eyeshadow, blush, and lip “pods” you select based on your personal preferences from a range of top-tier brands like Charlotte Tilbury, Rare Beauty, and MAC, that snap right into the tray. Users can also choose from one of the pre-set palettes based on skin tone, Fair, Medium, or Dark. There’s a secret stash for your brushes in the box hinge and a bottom storage area for bigger items like liquid foundation and mascara.
“We created this Edit to make it easy to purchase Renzoe Box as a gift with no thinking or personalization required,” Graham says. “But, because it features multiple brand products bundled together, the recipient will still be able to experience the multi-branded nature of Renzoe Box. Additionally if one or two of the Pods aren’t a favorite, the recipient can always replace just those one or two to personalize it and make it their own.”
Graham says Renzoe is always on the lookout for brands and products that are highly rated, high quality, trending, and those that customers order repeatedly. “If we get a lot of requests for custom Pods with a particular product, we add it to the lineup,” she says.
“And because we have our own cosmetic lab for creating the Renzoe Pods, we can accommodate any request for any product in a Renzoe Pod. We simply purchase the product for our client directly from the brand, and send it to our lab for processing into a Renzoe Pod.”
The feedback thus far has been positive. “We get gasps and ‘Omg this is genius’ all the time,” Graham says. For most consumers, they’re sold instantly on the functionality and the customization. “Its a ton of fun to sit with your makeup bag and sift through the products you’re using already and then build your routine within the Renzoe Box.”
But it’s the sustainability element that Graham hopes will be the deal clincher as consumers are seeking out more green and eco-friendly beauty options. Graham says she wants all of Renzoe’s clients to be able to quantify exactly how much single-use plastic they have reduced, so the company is working to offer a live accounting system in every user profile and order history that shows before and after images in gram weight of plastic reduced.
Graham says Renzoe is implementing an empties return program, and working toward making temporary packaging out of bio-plastics. “Our goal is to create a completely circular economy, meaning there is zero plastic waste from our product.”
Check out Renzoe Box and customize your kit, here.
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