Zoe Elle recently got the chance to chat with Ericka Rodriguez, the CEO of Axiology Beauty and nothing short of a certified sustainable (and glam!) powerhouse. Rodriguez founded Axiology on the principles of a cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle; two values that have since guided every one of the brand’s decisions. With each of their ingredients listed individually on their website, as well as a “100% Evil Free” manifesto, it’s obvious that Axiology takes sustainability to the next level. 

Axiology was born from Rodriguez’s realization that many of the beauty products she had been using were harmful to both her and the planet. She quickly became disappointed as she began exploring the cruelty-free and vegan products on the market and found that they weren’t living up to her expectations. Many weren’t delivering the quality she was looking for and she felt largely excluded from the target audiences they were often marketed towards. Where were all the fun and playful colors that didn’t harm our furry friends? She realized that there was a space within the cruelty-free and vegan beauty niche to create the products she was looking for. 

Rodriguez started out experimenting with making lip balms, which eventually evolved into whipping up eco-friendly lip products in her very own kitchen. She decided to fully commit to the venture by moving to Bali with her husband, where she began sourcing ingredients for Axiology. During her time in Bali, she noticed the major trash issue that seemed to leave the streets often littered with garbage due to the absence of government trash removal systems. Rodriguez later discovered a women-owned paper company that had found a creative solution to the problem by creating their own system that produced 100% recycled paper from the litter. She knew she had to incorporate them into Axiology and their innovative sustainable approach became one of the driving principles behind the brand. 

Despite the cruelty-free and vegan beauty movement gaining momentum, Rodriguez still faced some initial hurdles when launching Axiology. Because of the nature of being an independently owned brand, Axiology didn’t start out with a ton of investor money and funding, which prevented Axiology from launching with a full product line. Rodriguez knew she wanted to pour as much of her time and effort as possible into perfecting the lip products, testing and altering the formula to get it just right. By focusing her energy and resources, she’s created a lip product that she’s confident consumers will love. 

Rodriguez offers a valuable piece of advice for her fellow beauty brands with humble beginnings: start within your means. Inexpensive rent and food in Bali allowed her the financial wiggle room to launch Axiology. She’s kept that same mindset throughout the brand’s journey, working out of a home office in Oregon and even hiring her first employee to help make the products in her own kitchen. Through focusing on natural and organic growth, Axiology is now looking to expand into launching additional beauty products outside of the lip range in January 2020. 

Because sustainable beauty isn’t always the most cost efficient, Rodriguez recommends that anyone looking to adopt a more eco-friendly approach to be wary of overconsumption. Axiology provides a simple solution by offering multipurpose products. Aside from being an ultra-luxe lippie, the formula can also be applied to cheeks and eyelids for a pop of color. Investing your money into products that give you more bang for your buck can make the price tag on quality sustainable beauty a little less intimidating. 

Of course, we couldn’t let Rodriguez off the hook without finding out what products she was wearing and which are her must haves. Rodriguez cited her favorite one-stop shop as Credo Beauty, an online clean beauty marketplace that has one of the best selections of sustainable products. Cruelty-free and vegan ethics clearly dictate her personal routine, with products such as Youth to the People’s facial oil, Gressa’s foundation oil, and Antonym Cosmetics’ mascara. Her go-to? Obviously Axiology’s lippie in shade True, the truest red that was created without the harmful ingredient carmine that gives pigment to most reds. We think we’ve found our newest obsession too!