Meet The Founder
Hello, my name is Natalija and I’m the founder of Ayllu Box!
I have always been very interested in the environment and anyone that knows me will know that I have a great love for the ocean. But it wasn’t really until I started my masters, when I did a module called ‘Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean’ that I really started to understand the more technical and theoretical side of sustainability.
As a result, I decided to combine my two main interests and focus on indigenous communities in the Andes and the importance of traditional techniques and beliefs for my final thesis.
But having studied such a niche topic, I was unsure what to do job wise after my masters. Not long after I started volunteering at Hecho por Nosotros – a NGO that focuses on promoting sustainable and ethical fashion, working particularly with indigenous artisans in the Andes. Two years later and I’m still volunteering with them and have also gone on to do a few internships within the field of sustainable fashion.
How It Started?
I’m lucky enough to say that I love my job and the industry in which I work in! When I started working and learning about all the existing issues within the fashion industry I felt like I needed to do my bit and begin changing my fashion habits. But then I started to realise that there’s actually a lot of similar issues going on in the beauty industry too. And so I thought: 1. it’s not really enough to just change one aspect of your lifestyle and 2. it’s not that hard to start making small switches!
However, making these changes to my beauty and skincare routine was not only hard but quite overwhelming. And while many of the available beauty boxes were using terms like ‘clean’, ‘vegan’, and ‘cruelty free’, the thing that was repeatedly missing was plastic-free or a focus on sustainable packaging.
After discussing this with my family, they suggested that I start a beauty box of my own that focuses on packaging as well. Of course I thought that they were joking but next thing I knew I was starting my own business!
How Do The Boxes Work?
The boxes are really based on my own and my friends’ experiences with beauty boxes and subscriptions in general. The main thing that we all found to be a common issue was that there’s always one product that you don’t like but as you can’t switch it, you don’t get the box. So being able to customise and choose options best suited to your personal routine was really the main thing for me and also the starting point in a way.
There are 3 different boxes and in each box there are core skincare products like a cleanser, vitamin c serum, face mask, body scrub, reusable face pads. But then I thought, I don’t want to just include skincare products, mainly because I know how I feel when I do my skincare routine and sometimes it’s all about a bit of self-care and just making it a bit of a special occasion.
So I then decided to add the option of a bath bomb or bath salt or soap, and wax melts or a candle. Ultimately, it all depends on your preferences and it means that each box will always have 6 different combinations/options…whether you want a bath bomb and candle or soap and wax melt, etc. And if you’d like to go that little bit further with your customisation, just send us over an email or dm us on Instagram and we will do our best!
When I started making switches in my own skincare routine, I found that there were so many amazing small and sustainable businesses out there. But when we haven’t heard of a brand before and also don’t have anyone to ask for recommendations we’re all a bit guilty of questioning whether we should buy from them or not. On the flip side, working for and with small businesses has been an amazing experience and so I decided that it would be great to reach out small businesses and have them be a part of the boxes.
I did my research, which was long and hard, as finding brands who focus on sustainable factors such as cruelty-free, natural & non-toxic ingredients, and of course sustainable packaging is actually quite niche. Here are all of the lovely brands included in our boxes:
- Buds and Petals Soap
- Dried and Scent
- Forager Health
- Kathy Sue-Ann’s
- Purity Natural Beauty
- Samantha Lily
- Sewn Up By Jen
- The Natural Spa Cosmetics
- Timeless Scents
- Willow & Flo