SOMADINA meets.... Cassine
I am very, very excited to introduce the first (hopefully of many) SOMADINA meets posts! For our first interview were lucky enough to be joined by the lovely mother/daughter duo behind Cassine - Jennifer and Mia Page.
Since opening their online store this year, Cassine already stocks some of the most popular natural beauty products on the market like RMS beauty, making it your perfect one stop shop from all things good for you and the planet. With their strong focus on the future of their island, Bermuda, and the oceans Cassine donates a proportion of all their sales to the Living Reefs Foundation, an NGO dedicated to the conservation of Bermuda’s coral reefs.
SOMADINA: Conscious beauty covers a wide range of environmental issues, what made you start with wanting to protect the coral reef?
CASSINE: As Bermudians, we are connected to the sea and the coral reef in such a fundamental way. We see it as our very own underwater rainforest. To us, it’s only natural that we need to respect the beauty of the reef and all it does for us. Bermuda has one of the last intact reefs in the world and we are already seeing how they are at high risk due to increasing pollution and carbon emissions. At Cassine, anything we can do to alleviate the stress on corals and give them a better life, we will do. At the end of the day we’re just a mom and a daughter doing all we can because we love the ocean and love the reef.
S: What is a typical day like for you?
C: A typical day would be working on our social media, liasing with local businesses to drive our green products into every part of the local market that we can. This includes pop up stalls, private and local parties, collaborations and working with Instagram influencers. We are also planning for next summer and mini campaigns in between at the same time so it can get it’s pretty busy!
S: Do you think that sustainability is a big buzz word that sometimes scares people off?
C: For many people, sustainability remains a scientific term. That’s why at Cassine one of our key objectives was to keep the message as straight forward as possible. We found that with some brands there was a disconnect between the sustainability agenda that they projected and what they actually did, which can affect public perception of what sustainability really is and what we should be doing to promote it.
This means that we really have to fight to make an impact. That means educating people as much as we can and making products that appeal people on a grass roots level to bring them closer to nature and give them a better understanding of how our actions are affecting the planet. By doing so, we hope to bridge the gap between people’s understanding of how their purchases have an impact on the environment, moving away from thinking of sustainability as a buzz word and instead seeing it as something tangible.
S: One of the biggest hurdles with conscious beauty is perception. People tend to have the impression that green beauty doesn’t quite measure up to regular beauty products.
C: The green beauty vs regular beauty debate is a big one. People have this perception that green beauty products just aren’t up to par with conventional beauty products. For long time, the green beauty industry was playing catch up and making products that weren’t quite up to the same standard in terms of pigment for example but that’s all changing now! Green beauty has reached a point where the quality is the same, if not better, than that of conventional products. I think that people just don’t realise how toxic mainstream products can be for you and the detrimental effects that they have on your well being. The push for green beauty now is definitely also helped by the fact that celebrities like Meghan Markle and Gisle Bundchen are paving the way for green beauty too! It’s a combination of all these things that will lead to green beauty becoming increasingly popular.
S: Your site features a variety of brands like, RMS beauty and Green People, how do you pick which companies to work with?
C: Like with anything, the key is research, research, research. For example, Green People were one of the original pioneers of the green beauty movement and we absolutely love their range! I think what made us fall in love with them even more is that when we started to learn about their product cycle we were amazed by all the eco-friendly processes that they incorporated into it. For example, if their packaging is burnt as part of the disposal process, no toxic fumes are released. It’s touches like this that really make us want to rally behind brands. On top of that they offer a price range that is affordable so customers aren’t scared away.
With RMS, we were inspired by the founder’s (Rose-Marie Swift) story. After several years, she began to experience health issues and discovered that she had toxic levels of heavy metals in her blood stream from prolonged use of certain beauty products, which is what pushed her to create her own line. It’s so inspiring to us that she she believes in her brand so strongly, which in turn makes us what to do the same. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the texture of her products is gorgeous and hugely diverse, both in terms of products and skin tones.
S: Tell us more about your relationship with the Living Reefs Foundation
C: It’s a fantastic partnership! Since partnering with the foundation we have learnt so much. Like, we didn’t know that it was possible to bring coral back to life by attaching structures to them that promote new growth creating coral gardens. We even have our own little coral garden here! We promote the adoption of coral gardens to put customers because it helps them understand our purpose better because they are able to see how their contributions are making a difference, a difference that they can physically see!
S: What does the future hold for Cassine Shop?
C: For now, we are focussed on Bermuda. That’s our home and we have such a strong connection to the sea here. We would eventually like to expand to other other islands in the hope that we can help save our reefs one day at a time.
S: What is the best thing about your job?
C: Saving the planet in our own small way
S: And lastly, the worst thing?
C: Not having enough hours in the day!