We are so excited to get to introduce you to Hello Wink! They are an eco-friendly lip balm brand located just across the river in Illinois. The owner, Francesca, came into the shop and introduced herself one day and I was immediately impressed by the vibrant colors of her products. These are the real deal, lipstick shades of your dreams crafted by hand and packaged with respect for the planet. Here's more from Francesca:
Brief Intro to you and Hello Wink:
Hello Wink is a sustainable lip care company with a focus on big dreams, like changing the world one lip balm at a time. We believe in a future where single use plastics are a thing of the past and our oceans are filled with thriving sea life, not trash. Our current line up consists of three products. Tinted Lip Balm Pots, multi-use All Over Color Sticks, and Lip Scrubs. Each item is packaged in biodegradable paperboard, even our mailers are plastic free! : )
What led you to start Hello Wink? What was your motivation behind starting the brand?
Hello Wink began during the pandemic of 2021. Prior to this, I had been making makeup for around 10 years. Coming from a place of sensitive skin, there are so many products that cause a lot of irritation and allergies so I began this journey years ago to create makeup that I can use. During the pandemic when we were all staying home, I decided to use the time to perfect my lip balm recipe and launch a real company. I kept going back to sustainable packaging because I couldn't stand the thought of all these plastic lip balm containers polluting the ocean from products I made. Once I found the paperboard packing, I was hooked. I knew if I could formulate a great super silky balm packed with loads of color and good-for-your lips ingredients I would have a great sustainable product. My daughters helped a lot in the process, and it was a family affair picking out names and what colors to use. We launched in April of 2021!
What does it mean to you to be a sustainable business? How do you live that out and why do you think it's important?
For me it means that everything I produce must be void of single use plastic or trash. So, everything from our product packaging, mailers, boxes, labels etc. must be something that will biodegrade and not be here for hundreds or thousands of years after I am gone. As a small business I think being sustainable is to be the example for other larger big box companies. If I can create a product on my own, then why can't billionaires create more sustainable products in their own wheelhouses an make these products available to everyone. As a consumer I live like everyone else does, the best I can. It's unrealistic to say that I have the economic power to purchase everything in my home sustainable. And that's not what Hello Wink is about. It's not about everyone struggling to make every choice eco-friendly. It's about all of us making small changes that create a larger impact over time. That is the message of Hello Wink, and the message I live by.
What is your vision for your brand?
Honestly, it's hard for me to visualize the future when things feel so chaotic in the world. But if I could have my wish, I would like to expand the product line (which we are doing YAY!) and have more color options to create more inclusive line so everyone has great color choices to choose from. I would also love to have some help. We just started hiring freelancers to take care of things here and there so hoping to create some full-time positions soon. I think we also would like to start a non-profit portion of our product line so we can donate to climate crises or another number of sustainable causes.
Who is Hello Wink for?
Hello Wink, is for everyone! It's safe enough for younger tweens and teens to use, perfect or any skin type, color, or texture. It's prefect for a no makeup, makeup look. Just swipe on some All Over Color Sticks and you're ready to go. Or layer on some of our darker Lip Pot colors for a sultry look. It's up to you!
Anything else you'd like to share about small business, sustainability, or anything else?
If you have an idea, go for it. People will be more supportive than you think. I'm always so amazed when I meet Hello Wink customers and how much they love the product. Don't worry about the naysayers, and everything having to be perfect. You can adjust as you go. But do it! Start today! If you already have a small business, think about sustainable options. Not every product or packaging has to be sustainable, but I ask you to consider the impact of changing one to two offerings. Or maybe switch to sustainable mailing boxes, or cards or anything. If every business made small changes to reduce single use plastics, we could see some amazing benefits in our future for good!
You can find Hello Wink on our shelves, on our online store, at markets around town and at hello-wink.com.