- Shanthal Perera & Tara Grzegorczyk
- Jun 9, 2021
It seemed like the whole world came to a standstill with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. But while certain industries, and our personal lives, moved into a sense of suspended animation, certain things didn’t take a break - from environmental degradation, to the continued emission of CO2 gases into the atmosphere.
Taylor Rubert, HBA ’14, MBA ’20, has always had a passion and drive for sustainability. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, she was trying to figure out her part in advancing positive change in how we interact with the environment.
Rubert’s solution was launching a zero waste body lotion brand, Just Lotion.
With the use of repurposed containers, natural ingredients (that are often listed in plain english), and a brand commitment to donate 10% of sales (not revenue or profits) to charity, Just Lotion is built to make an impact.
The product is handmade in Canada, and isn’t caught up in the verbal flourish or marketing speak of sleeker global brands. The brand doesn’t promise miracles in a jar, just a formulation that is healthy, justly sourced and justly distributed.
But how does such a brand compete amongst the colourful, celebrity infused brands splattered across billboards and Facebook ads? In one way, it doesn’t. Rubert knows exactly who she’s targeting with Just Lotion. On the other hand, the rise of e-commerce and social media, particularly Instagram and Tik-Tok, has provided smaller brands a leg-up, allowing them to compete with the million-dollar marketing budgets of brands on either side of the Atlantic.
Rubert highlight’s Ivey Faculty Member Matthew Diamond’s Marketing Course as a key eye-opener in stressing the importance of design and brand communication. With Just Lotion, both of these aspects really stand out in their presentation and sense of intentionality.
Rubert has also been able to make full use of a plethora of resources and guides on how to build a small brand, and market it to a captive audience hooked on today’s powerful social media platforms.
As the brand builds its online presence, and seeks to make meaningful connections with their specific audience, Rubert is ready for the ride. “It is a challenge, but I certainly love it for that challenge,” said Rubert.
Converting passion to action
Rubert can trace her passion for sustainability to her time growing up in rural Calgary, where she stepped up to create her high school's first recycling program; one that is thriving even today. Ever since that experience, Rubert has been intimately involved in the area, from leading the Sustainability and Social Impacts Club during her MBA, and working with student clubs to introduce the reusable cup program at Ivey prior to the Pandemic.
Then everything changed, or so it seemed.
While the pandemic took center stage, the problems of sustainability weren't going away.
Rubert was moved into action, which allowed her to convert her passion into something tangible, and impactful.
It is very easy to have the conversation about why sustainability is important, but what is hard is to actually do something about it.
For her fellow students, Rubert understands the difficulty in crossing the bridge of talking about sustainability, to actually doing something about it.
Rubert's own outlet was to create a small company that embodies her values, but she recognizes that it's not for everyone. Still, she’s eager to tell her peers that there are other ways to get involved and make a real difference.
“It might be by donating your time, being a Sustainability Advocate as a board member, or advising companies on how they can make an impact; to be more sustainable,” said Rubert.
“Find some way to move your voice into actions."