Animal, nature and planet lover Julie Mathers foundered Flora & Fauna to change the way people shop.
Based in Galston NSW, they source over 2500 of the best natural, organic vegan skin care, make up, body, home and lifestyle products from Australia and beyond.
Tell us a little about Flora & Fauna, and why you started your website?
I founded Flora & Fauna with a very clear mission; to change the way we shop. I firmly believe there are great alternatives to products we use every day, which are more beneficial to the environment, our animal friends and us. There is no need for animal testing or animal products in things we use so I decided to build a business that showcases this. Everything is cruelty free, vegan and is as natural as can be. We are big fans of ethical products that leave no trace. Flora & Fauna is Australia’s largest vegan beauty and lifestyle store with over 2500 products and we are growing our range every week which is very exciting.
Flora & Fauna are very passionate about the environment; can you explain some of the ways you’ve been able to edit your daily business to reduce waste, and do you have any tips for other businesses who want to start becoming more eco conscious?
We are very lucky to live in the country and we’re surrounded by nature with possums, wallabies, lizards, goannas and a lot of bush on our doorstep. We really love our planet and our fantastic environment so we’re doing everything we can to make a difference and I believe businesses need to make changes to show what’s possible. In July 2016 we stopped using plastic bags to ship our orders so all of our boxes are shipped ‘naked’. We use paper tape, Sydney waste paper as filling and all paper is recycled. We’ve saved over 500kg of plastic doing this so just imagine if all businesses did this. We also recycle what we receive from suppliers. A lot of suppliers send us packing peanuts made from corn starch so we re-use these to keep them moving around the world. These are biodegradable but we are big believers in re-using. We also have a recycling scheme for Preserve toothbrushes and Shavers we sell. These are made out of recycled yogurt cups but when you are done with them customers can send them back to us and we’ll make sure they get recycled.
I’d encourage all other businesses to look at what they do every day and see if there is an alternative. There probably is so it’s down to that business if they want to make the change. Be the change you want to see and be bold!
What are 3 skincare/lifestyle products you can’t live without?
My bamboo toothbrush is my first. We throw away billions of toothbrushes away annually straight into landfill so switch to bamboo. They are biodegradable and work brilliantly. My dentist also commented on what great dental hygiene I had and she had no idea I use a bamboo toothbrush. I still haven’t told her.
A Face Serum. I use a variety of different ones and am currently using Neal’s Yard Frankincense Intense and love it. As I have got older I need a serum to really nourish my skin so this is an everyday product for me.
My Onya Produce Bags. These are amazing! They are made from recycled plastic and you use them instead of the plastic bags that we find in the supermarket. Those plastic bags are terrible as they go straight into landfill whereas these are reusable and breathable so you can wash your veggies in them and store your veggies in them.
One last one (I know that’s 4) ….I drink Nuzest Clean Lean Protein every morning for breakfast. It’s Pea Protein and delicious. Being vegan and a workaholic who doesn’t like cooking much this is perfect for me. It has 20g of protein in a serve and I can drink it on the go.
Flora & Fauna has recently been shortlisted as a finalist in the World Retail Awards, what do you think it is that sets you apart from your competitors?
We are absolutely thrilled to be shortlisted as a finalist. The award is Responsible Retailer of the Year and we’re up against Toms, Carrefour, Woolworths (South Africa), Myer and other big hitters; it’s a real David and Goliath moment! We are 100% focused on our vision and our ethics and we talk about them every day, live them and breathe them. We’re constantly questioning how we can improve what we do. For us ethics are first and margins are second. Clearly we have financial targets as we want to be able to stick around but we have a laser sharp focus on our vision and I think we’re very authentic and transparent with that.
Tell us a little bit about your daily life running Flora & Fauna. (please tell us about Rosie and if it is possible to come and hug her?)
I absolutely love what I do and what we do at Flora & Fauna. We have an amazing team who are passionate, committed and just lovely people. Every day is different for me from talking to existing brands, new brands, customers and looking at our strategy and plan so we are constantly pushing ourselves forward. I really enjoy talking to customers so I spend a lot of time on social media plus we have live chat and I’m often on that late at night talking to customers. With 2500 products customers need advice. We all work very hard which is part of the deal when you have your own business. But we do try and get a little bit of downtime with Rosie and our 3 cats. Rosie is our pig, or rather we are her humans. She is absolutely beautiful, very, very smart and gentle as anything. She is always hanging around normally nosing in the grass and she does feature at the bottom of our website and in other places. Quite a few people do pick up their orders from us just to meet Rosie and our brands love her. So yes we always welcome visitors and Rosie loves the attention. She will spin or do a figure of 8 if you have a carrot!
Discover all 2500 of Flora & Fauna’s amazing collection of vegan products here.