WiDEYE is a health and beauty brand that puts ethical ingredients on top of the agenda. As anyone in the industry may be aware, sourcing ethical ingredients can be a challenge. But this is where WiDEYE comes up trumps in rising to the challenge, committing to sourcing and using ingredients that are natural and sustainable.
The brand, which has a shop in the small town of Rye in East Sussex, is the coming together of the power of three – the founders, husband and wife team, Georgie and Lawrence, and friend, Annabelle Alstin.
The watersports-loving couple used to live in Tarifa, Spain where finding natural products was not an easy task. They decided to open up a shop in Tarifa sourcing different natural products. This too proved to be a challenge, so they set about producing their own products instead.
Relocating back to the UK with their children, Georgie and Lawrence set up home in Camber, where Lawrence started to get serious about formulating natural products. Their choice of home proved to be fate when the couple came in to contact with neighbour, Annabelle Alstin, a beauty therapist and powerful resource, whom with her wealth of knowledge of the industry, anatomy and physiology, having also teached beauty therapy, would be the couple’s advisor and confidante, if it were, in many ways.
With WiDEYE five years in the making, Lawrence converted the garage into a lab, and Alstin would be called upon for her expertise on whether a product would be viable or not.
WiDEYE have chosen not to go down the organic route in producing their line of products, which includes body and bath massage oils, handmade natural soaps, natural body balms with pure essential oils, bath bombs, natural perfumes and sugar free natural supplements.
Instead WiDEYE have chosen to champion natural and sustainable ingredients. “People are a lot more conscious about what they are using and where it is coming from,” said Annabelle Alstin, who also manages WiDEYE’s Rye-based store. “The organic industry has been slightly spoiled. Under regulations now, you can have a product with 95% parabens and then 5% organic, therefore it can be sold as organic.”
“Some of the high street stores are saying their products are ‘handmade’ to make you think that it’s natural but it’s not,” Alstin added. “It’s a clever use of marketing. We want people to know that we’ve cut out the nasties.”
WiDEYE stands for transparency when it comes to informing their customers about their products. “WiDEYE is about being honest. Producing something that is honest,” Alstin said. “There are other companies that list their ingredients but they dumb down some of their unnatural ingredients, and they are relying on people’s lack of knowledge of some of these latter things. You think they are being honest by listing their ingredients but actually they are relying on you not understanding it.”
Integrity is clearly at the heart of what WiDEYE do in producing their range of ethical health and beauty products. “We don’t use any artificial colours or ingredients in any of our products. We produce straightforward products that are honest and that’s not too serious,” Alstin said, referring to the names of some of WiDEYE’s products – which includes “Ohmmm” and “Late Lounge” for body oil, and “Poshi” and “Pothead” for the natural perfumes “Some of the names of our products we want to have fun with,” she added.
WiDEYE’s range of products take inspiration from the founders’ passion for watersports, including windsurfing and kiteboarding. They use metal bottles for oils and metal tins for balms that can be thrown in the bag and used on the go, making their product range particularly “user friendly” for those who enjoy outdoor sports. There’s no fancy packaging – just the bare basics, for it’s about the product first and foremost. “We are designing for people that like the outdoors,” said Alstin. “Ultimately the products are serving a purpose.”
While WiDEYE’s ingredients are sustainable and ethical, so too is the packaging. WiDEYE make use of recycled materials, where possible, including recycled plastics and paper labels.
The WiDEYE range has a strong masculine energy, due in part to its watersports and outdoors vibe that penetrates the brand’s offering, but it is no less exclusive to the male market, and has a strong female following too. WiDEYE recently moved to a larger store on Rye High Street, which has a policy of allowing only independent retailers to open up shop. The new store now offers treatments including massages, waxing, manicures and pedicures.
WiDEYE opened their first store in 2015. Since 2010, when Lawrence first started to experiment with making products in his garage, his knowledge of ingredients has since progressed to master of apothecary and alchemy, it would appear. Guided by his intuition, he has found likeminded individuals to source ethical and natural ingredients from.
When Lawrence first started putting out the feelers, he connected with a couple in Wales who made bath soaps, the only people who would not use artificial pigments and fragrances to their natural soap bars. They have since put him in contact with other people with the same principles and ethics. WiDEYE also have a supplier who blends their oils using sustainable ingredients. “Things become trendy and that’s when you have massive problems with sustainability,” said Alstin. “But one of our supplier’s comes up with some incredible ingredients that counters that. She blends a facial oil for mature, sensitive skin using Evening Primrose Oil, and blends it with loads of other ingredients.”
When WiDEYE acquired a larger store on Rye High Street, Lawrence, Georgie and Annabelle got to work on discussing treatments. With manicures and pedicures their most popular offering, Lawrence was determined on finding a nail varnish, which is renowned for containing harsh chemicals, without the nasties. He found a company in Australia that do a 5-free nail varnish but decided against stocking it in the shop, due to the carbon footprint of shipping the products. Instead WiDEYE decided to create their own. They use a factory in London to hire the equipment, while WiDEYE source their own ingredients for the no-nasties nail varnish.
“Sustainability is one of the top priorities for WiDEYE. We live in a beautiful area in Rye [near the sea] and we don’t want to spoil it,” Annabelle said. “And if you think of that on a global scale, we are using some of the best ingredients the Earth has to offer – the clays, muds and salts – but at the same time, if we use them all to make a profit, there’s not going to be anymore for the future.”
In a world full of beauty brands, promising this and that, there comes a conscious health and beauty brand in the form of WiDEYE that tells it as it is and produces products that do what they say they are going to do. There’s integrity, honesty and a genuine desire to preserve the planet.
WiDEYE currently only have the one store in Rye, but their online store takes orders internationally. The prices of their products are more than reasonable, especially their line of supplements – made using a sugar free capsule casing – including aloe vera, calcium and magnesium, green tea extract, and maca.
WiDEYE may not be on everyone’s radar right now, but it is a pioneering brand which is set for bigger things in whatever form that may take. From its inception in the founder’s garage to the sourcing of ingredients for products that make it to the shop floor, WiDEYE’s story is an interesting one that shows innovation, resourcefulness and the power of three when it comes to serving the greater good for both the planet and its inhabitants.
WiDEYE is based in Rye, East Sussex. WiDEYE is also available online
Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a journalist who writes about sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com