LIM College’s Globalspeak event last Tuesday, hosted by Jody Weiss, Founder and CEO of PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics, addressed the purpose PeaceKeeper serves for both the cosmetics industry and the global community. Weiss’s Peacekeeper Cause-Metics was a pioneer in the field of sustainable cosmetics, and in labeling itself the first cosmetics company to give donations to women's urgent human rights issues, it is truly establishing a new standard for social responsibility in the cosmetic industry.
From the product's procurement to the sales of each product line and everything in between, PeaceKeeper is fluent in sustainability.
“By purchasing PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics, you are saving lives by doubling the income of women who are at the bottom of the pyramid, living on a dollar or two a day, or women living in exploitation or servitude,” Weiss explained.
Because makeup is “an expression of play,” as Weiss calls it, and not a necessity, the makeup you choose to purchase can do so much more than simply please your appearance—if you choose consciously. Weiss firmly stands up for her belief that all humans are equal, fortunate or not, and no one should strive to better themselves by exploiting another's struggle or hardship. At the core, Weiss is answering the query, "what can we do for those whom by chance of birth aren't fortunate enough to live in the 'land of plenty’?”
In building her brand, Weiss followed William McDonough’s concept of “cradle to cradle,” which suggests building a brand that is endlessly sustainable from start to finish; the idea is to plant a seed and maintain truthfulness in the manufacturing and production processes through every stage of development, from the workers who source the product ingredients to selling the finished product. The way a product is sourced can help build a global community that benefits from mutual empowerment. She has taken this concept and meticulously applied it to the foundation of Peacekeeper. These values are continually, fluidly upheld. Weiss is a forerunner in bringing the beauty industry to a higher purpose other than vanity by giving meaning to cosmetic products.
It wasn't an easy for Weiss to bring her idea to fruition. There were a few different manufacturers who turned her down because she requested her products be made without parabens, and given her initial low budget, they didn’t want to take such a risky investment, despite the fact that there are many natural ingredients that work well as a paraben such as Rosemary or Vitamin C. Additionally, no synthetic dye colorings are used; rather, each product shade is derived from fruits, vegetables and minerals – another aspect opposed by the manufacturers Weiss originally approached. At first, when Weiss didn’t succeed, she continued to pursue her dream and was eventually able to launch PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics on the market in 2002.
She then began creating innovative, influential campaigns with forward thinking and creativity. Often, her campaigns are interactive, and they have activated rather positive responses. Her Kiss Campaign for a line of lipsticks invited customers to kiss the inside packaging of their Peacekeeper lipstick and send it to the Peacekeeper headquarters with a suggested donation of one dollar enclosed. Proceeds go to the Peacekeeper Fund, which supports the education of young girls who have led a life of indentured servitude or sex slavery. Each kiss received would then be scanned and uploaded to the "Kiss Museum," available on the PeaceKeeper website. This campaign received a wealth of positive feedback; Weiss even received letters from survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence who thanked her for creating such awareness.
PeaceKeeper campaigns don’t just market sustainable beauty products. Weiss truly surrounds the product within the issue it represents by addressing it directly. The “I Want my $1 Million" campaign involved a line of lip gloss she coined "Fairness Gloss," which also came with a guide to show and encourage women how to ask for their fair wage. This particular campaign was also timely, as it coincided with the Senate’s Paycheck Fairness Act of 2003, which aimed to essentially amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which was designed to provide more effective remedies for victims of wage discrimination on the basis of gender; unfortunately, it was not enacted. Women were encouraged to practice their request in the mirror, where they can also apply their Fairness Gloss and confidently go forward with their request for a fair wage.
Due to devastation to brand assets caused by Hurricane Sandy, PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics is in the works of re-launching. For more information, visit Iamapeacekeeper.com.