- Julia Bevacqua
- Sep 10, 2021
The demand for sustainable products has never been greater – in part due to consumer demand, but more importantly by the demands of our planet. Climate change is already having devastating effects around the world, and will continue to do so, if substantial changes are not made. We look towards a new generation of entrepreneurs, who are leading the way with innovative solutions that help us live more sustainably.
Two of those entrepreneurs are Jayme Jenkins (HBA ’07) and Jessica Stevenson (HBA ’07), who are reimagining the beauty industry with sustainability and quality in mind. They are the founders of Everist, a sustainable beauty company specializing in waterless haircare. The waterless component means that Everist products are extra concentrated and do not require as much packaging as traditional haircare products. Their products use only the most sustainable and high-quality ingredients, which ensures the planet doesn’t suffer, but neither does customers’ hair.
Their innovative concept has been celebrated by the beauty industry too. Vogue recently listed Everist as one of the best new sustainability products in 2021. The company has also been featured by Chatelaine, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Men’s Health.
The commitment to sustainability, innovation, and entrepreneurship exhibited by Jenkins and Stevenson represent some of the best that Ivey has to offer. The two shared more about their Everist journey and the role that their Ivey education played in helping them build a successful and sustainable new venture.
What was the inspiration behind Everist?
We saw from the inside that the beauty industry had a major plastic waste problem and consumers were demanding more sustainable solutions. Before we even had a business plan or a product idea, we were committed to finding an innovative way to solve that problem. We had multiple ‘aha’ moments or pivots along the way, including a major turning point when we began to consider waterless beauty: ‘why are we shipping large, heavy beauty products full of water around the world?’, ‘why do we need water in haircare when we’re already showering in water?’. We just knew there had to be a better way.
For us, this is bigger than beauty. We’re building a community of Everists – of eco-optimists and blue-sky thinkers. We believe you don’t need to sacrifice product quality and performance for a more conscious way of living. We know that big change happens when small changes become easy and better in every way than the status quo and we’re here to make that transition easier and more seamless.
What was the biggest hurdle you faced when creating Everist?
Everything? That’s really what’s made this experience so exciting and at times overwhelming. We have been hands-on in every area of the business where previously we were more specialized or leading a team of specialists. Learning clean chemistry, web platforms, fundraising, intellectual property law, and how to maximize DTC (direct to consumer) metrics around CAC (customer acquisition cost) and LTV (lifetime value) - it’s been a wild ride.
How did your experience at Ivey impact your entrepreneurial and sustainability journey?
First off, it's where we met, so Ivey gets credit for bringing us together to create Everist! You're surrounded by such brilliant minds and wonderful people in the program, it's bound to happen. It's no surprise that many of our peers have gone on to do amazing things both as entrepreneurs and leaders. More specifically, Ivey set a great foundation to hone our skills, particularly around fast-paced critical thinking and problem solving. There are a million problems and to-dos vying for your attention everyday (especially in a start-up!), so learning to be laser focused on what priorities matter is critical. Beyond that, communication, teamwork and determination are vital - maybe some thanks to all those 48-hour reports!
Do you have any advice for current students or recent alumni that are interested in starting their own sustainable venture?
There are always going to be reasons and risks that can feel like now’s not the right time, but if you’re passionate about your idea – you just have to jump in. Especially if it solves an unmet customer need that you're uniquely good at and there is a lot we need to do for our planet. It’s best to ensure you have a solid support system around you and then be as flexible as possible to learn and pivot as you go. Talk to as many people in your space as you can to learn and form invaluable relationships (we love connecting with Ivey alumni). It will be a bumpy ride, full of highs and lows, so living with purpose can get you through. It's what drives us – our purpose is to make eco products that are an upgrade, so that we can live a conscientious life that’s aligned with our values.