This is the first FAQ blog post in a series that will pull the veil back on some of the more mysterious aspects of Afterglow, our challenges, triumphs and the struggles we have as a small, natural, indie cosmetics brand.
There’s no way for me to write this blog post without getting personal.
And I have so much gratitude and respect for all of you, there’s no other way I could do it.
The most frequent (and most recent) question in our series of Frequently Asked Questions has been a real challenge for me and our entire team. So, I thought I’d tackle this tough conversation first since it’s a question that is rooted in a topic that has likely been the biggest struggle for both of us.
Currently, our most frequently asked question is:
“You used to have XYZ shade/product and I don’t see it anywhere anymore… Where are ALL of your products?!”
How It All Started
I started Afterglow in 2004 for personal reasons. I began initially to address my own needs for makeup that was “clean” enough for my sensitive skin, and ethical enough to be in alignment with my worldview and my heart.
When I saw there was an unmet need for very clean makeup, free of many petroleum-based, endocrine disruptors for sensitive women from all walks of life, I officially launched Afterglow.
I started with a handful of products in a very limited number of shades. In the beginning, I offered the widest selection of loose eye shadows.
Over the years, we would get requests for new products and shades, and when we could, we would add them to the ever-expanding line of products. Since I was able to make very small batches that we could sell through quickly, we added many products to our selection to simply test the market to see how they would sell.
Some shades sold and some didn’t. On a rare occasion, a very small group of customers would obsess over certain obscure or unique shades that very rarely sold. Very infrequently we would discontinue a poor selling shade and always leave a handful of faithful customers devastated.
For me personally, discontinuing shades is always heartbreaking because, as a sensitive person I empathize tremendously.
I know how hard it can be to find a product that is your perfect shade that you know is kind to your skin and the planet.
Not So “Small” Anymore…
While Afterglow was, and continues to be, made in “small” batches, the scale of those batches and the financial demands of each product’s batch has changed over the last 13 years we’ve been in business.
Over the years I have continued to increase the quality of the ingredients as new, more innovative natural ingredients become available.
We have also added many new levels of ingredient safety testing and certifications which add to the demands (both in time and costs) of not only each product we launch but each batch we make.
It’s all been for the greater good and your safety, but it has put the squeeze on some of the least loved shades.
Our products are very, very natural and don’t have the 5-10 year shelf life of a traditional, petroleum-based, coal tar/ synthetic FD&C and Lake dye pigmented makeup. Our natural makeup is full of incredible botanicals that do expire.
We routinely have to take off-line and dispose of batches we didn’t sell through completely in order to ensure that you always have the freshest product in your cart.
Anytime we don’t sell out of a batch of a certain product, it feels like we’re throwing something very precious and personal away. It’s heartbreaking AND expensive.
Even though our ingredient sourcing and manufacturing demands have changed, our demand for certain products and shades has not increased at the same pace. This is most specific to certain foundation, setting powder, eye shadow, lip gloss and lipstick shades.
I promise you that our decisions to discontinue certain shades are not personal at any level. If we could sustain 5,000 different products and shades we definitely would!
As a company with a passion for sustainability, we had to recognize that this practice wasn’t regenerative or sustainable.
Something had to change.
There are so many quotes and maximums about letting go of the “old” so you can make space to welcome in the new. I have been focused on reimaging what Afterglow would look like if we focused on what we did well and did it better, in more beautiful packaging.
We can’t step into the reality of our reimagined brand and product line while still hanging onto shades and products that weren’t sustainable.
Last year, in an effort to “empty our cup” to make room for the new, we discontinued all of the products and shades that had proven unsustainable for us to carry at this time.
Reimagining the Brand… even more Sustainably
Part of reimagining the Afterglow brand was taking a different ‘sustainable’ approach to cosmetic packaging going forward. Makeup containers are extremely hard to recycle and almost impossible to repurpose or reuse.
Packaging is by far one of the most unsustainable aspects of natural cosmetics in general.
I decided that as we narrow down our eye shadow line to focus on the best sellers, we would instead offer them in a repurposable, open, magnetic pallet that would allow us to offer more eye shadow shades in the future in a more flexible format.
This way you only buy the shades you need and never waste extra, non-recyclable packaging.
We will take this more flexible, open format packaging approach for new products going forward.
As we add new products and shades, they will all be reintroduced with a new focus on how we can make the most conscious and sustainable product for us as a business and for you as our loyal customers.
4 Ways We Can Support You
You may be thinking that this all sounds like a beautiful butterfly story but… it STILL doesn’t solve your need for a specific product or shade that we may not currently be carrying… or may never carry again.
Uh. I hear you.
I know this may be cold comfort when faced with never seeing your favorite Afterglow product again, however, we pride ourselves on being a natural beauty resource for you and want to support your ability to vote with your wallet for a better world with safer, more natural products.
- Use Our Color Match System: We have a number of shades that are very, very close in their final appearance on the skin. We discontinued a few of these too-similar shades. If you find your shade discontinued, please revisit our Color Match System to discover another close-cousin shade that may also work great for you.
- Try New Shades! We offer free shipping on all orders $50+ and often have additional free shipping specials. Plus, we offer free returns and a 30-day money-back guarantee. You have nothing to lose by trying a new product or shade! Experiment. Risk free.
- Ask us for Advise: Please email our Beauty Advisors directly if you are looking for a specific product. They will be very happy to tell you what we have that you may also enjoy. If we don’t carry a complimentary product we may be able to refer you to another brand.
- Vote! Please respond to our emailed surveys asking what shades and products you would like to see in the future. Hearing your product wish list is very valuable to us and helps us make a business case for investing in new product development. Your vote WILL count!
All of us at Afterglow are very grateful for your continued support, understanding, and loyalty.
Please let us know what you think in the comment section below!