Rubicon’s mission is to end waste, in all of its forms. This has been true since our company’s founding, and at the same time, our commitment has always been to take care of our employees, so as to ensure we foster their creativity and innovation while at Rubicon, and further out as they move forward in their careers.
At Rubicon, we like to keep in touch with former employees, and as a part of this outreach, I recently spoke with Rubicon’s former Vice President of Human Resources, Kerri Faber. I worked closely with Kerri during her time at the company, and as a result, I was excited to learn that she had recently founded Larkly—a sustainable, broad-spectrum mineral-based sunscreen powder that is good for you and good for the planet.
I (virtually) sat down with Kerri to talk about Larkly, sustainability, and how her time at Rubicon helped to shape the way she now runs her own business.
What sparked your passion for sustainability and the circular economy?
I first became interested in sustainability after having triplets. I was going through so many diapers on a daily basis and also had a toddler at the same time. I did the math and realized I was sending hundreds of diapers to landfills every month!
I was paying for convenience when it came to the basic necessities in life, but when I really stood back and looked at the amount of waste I was generating I knew that there had to be a better way. I needed to change my habits and my way of working that I had taken for granted for so long.
So, I phased out disposable diapers and started using recyclable cloth diapers instead. All of my friends thought I was crazy! A lot of extra work goes into using cloth diapers as opposed to their disposable alternative, but for me, the switch was worth it.
After I moved to cloth diapers, I looked for other ways to make my life more sustainable. I switched from using plastic bottles to glass. I started thinking about all the different uses for the clothes my children wore and the toys they had — even the containers their products came in. It became a fun game that I still ‘play’ today!
When I founded Larkly I knew that I wanted to stick with these same sustainability principles. Larkly’s mineral sunscreen is sustainable, reef safe and comes in a brush dispenser with a refillable container at the bottom of each one. We call it the “refill revolution” and we’re 100% serious about how important this feature is. The brushes are reusable and our refill container packaging is recyclable. We couldn’t bear the thought of anything we create ending up in a landfill, so we’ve gone to great lengths to try and make sure that doesn’t happen.
How does Rubicon’s mission to end waste match-up to Larkly’s company mission or philosophy?
Our missions are extremely similar. Larkly’s mission is to encourage healthy daily habits from a young age, educating both children and adults alike on the harm that the sun can do to our skin, and how they can develop a habit of utilizing sunscreen every day to combat this. Larkly’s self-dispensing brush makes putting on sunscreen easy and fun. Instead of struggling with hard-to-absorb lotions and fighting with squirmy kids, our natural mineral powder goes directly on the skin with no mess, irritation or tears.
We work hard to educate our customers about why we select sustainable, natural ingredients for our products. Moreover, we explain to them how Larkly can save them time and money without sacrificing value and effectiveness. We want people to understand that sustainability helps them personally in addition to helping the planet.
At Rubicon, you served as our Director, and then Vice President of Human Resources. How did your role at Rubicon set you up for success?
Having the opportunity to work closely with Nate Morris and the entire Rubicon team — and learning about the B Corporation certification process and the power of working for a business that balances purpose and profit through working with you, Elizabeth — was a huge honor for me. Seeing firsthand the impact and importance of being a mission-driven company is the reason why I lead Larkly by our mission each and every day.
When you’re a mission-driven company, not only is it exciting to come into work every day, but you quickly realize the effect the mission has on your company’s bottom line. At Rubicon, the majority of the conversations I had on a day-to-day basis, whether during a board meeting, speaking with my colleagues, or interacting with our customers, all had a genesis in our B Corp culture.
This isn’t to say we never look at our bottom line! After all, Rubicon and Larkly are for-profit companies. But it does mean that we lead with our mission above all else and help to make our customers feel that they’re part of something bigger. In my prior roles at Rubicon, I’d often ask new hires why they chose Rubicon, and ninety-nine percent of the time their answer was that they wanted to have a positive impact on the world. I couldn’t think of a better advertisement for working at Rubicon than that, and I am so proud of the time I spent at the company. I’ve taken this experience and implemented these best practices in the decisions I make when thinking about where Larkly is today and where we strive to be in 5-10 years from now!
What is one thing you would say to someone who somewhat cares about sustainability, and living a sustainable lifestyle, but is concerned about the effect on their wallet?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking you need to make a huge gesture in order to make a positive impact, but I truly believe that it is the small behavior changes over time that make a big difference.
I recently switched plastic straws for metal alternatives, and we no longer use disposable plates and cutlery at my house. Does this save time in my day-to-day life? No. Is it slightly less convenient? Yes. But it’s the everyday changes like this that add up over time. Plus it means I’m buying fewer disposable products, which is good for the environment AND puts money back into my pocket. I changed other shopping habits too. I shop sustainable brands, particularly ones that make donations to good causes with each purchase. I started donating items I don’t use anymore to sustainability-focused companies that support the circular economy. (The Real Real is one that I particularly love!)
In addition to these small, everyday changes, I’ve also shifted the focus of my investments. Like many people around the country, I invest in a 401k to save for the future and I’ve started to incorporate ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) into my portfolio. We rolled this out for our employees when I was at Rubicon and now, having listened to the desires of employees and in an effort to make a positive impact on the world, many more companies are offering ESG investments as an option for their teams.
The momentum behind building sustainable solutions is clear. This is why I was adamant from the very beginning that Larkly would be a truly sustainable product, from the ingredients in the sunscreen itself to the packaging holding it all together.
What is next for you and Larkly?
It’s an incredibly exciting time for Larkly right now. In August, we launched exclusively in Nordstrom both online and in seven stores across the United States. We promptly sold out within 48 hours. Since then, we’ve sold out two more times.
During this period of exclusivity at Nordstrom, we’re focused on marketing our “refill revolution” and encouraging future repeat customers to purchase refills for their brushes, instead of buying a new brush each time.
We have some big plans in the future, so if your readers would like to get alerts on where to purchase Larkly, get notified when we launch new products, and learn about promotions, be sure to check out our website, sign up for the Larkly newsletter, or follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
Elizabeth Montoya is Chief of Protocol and Investor Relations at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.