Why Skincare Brand Optiat Rebranded To UpCircle

UpCircle Founders Anna & William Brightman

UpCircle Founders Anna & William Brightman

For those of you who aren’t aware, “UpCircle” started life as “Optiat”. However, just before Christmas we took the decision to undergo a fairly dramatic rebrand– something that we had been working tirelessly on behind the scenes for more than half a year. We had outgrown the initial vision of Optiat and as part of our continuous brand development process, we evolved…

As our product ranges expand we took the opportunity to unify the brand, unveiling a fresh new look and name. We took our learnings from Optiat and built on them to create UpCircle.

We have been involved in Vevolution events for years now, since winning the inaugural Pitch + Plant competition in 2017 we have gone on to speak at Vevolution Topics events and on panels at Vevolution Festival. So, we thought we would take the opportunity to explain the changes to our brand, laying bare our thought processes in the name of transparency.

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

A play on upcycle, up as in uplifting, and upcircle as a circular economy. Genius? We think so.

So first up, the name change. Optiat. (Let’s call it our maiden name 😉) An acronym for “One Person’s Trash Is Another’s Treasure”. Relevant? Yes. Original? Yes. Hard to let go of for sentimental reasons? Yes. Easy to pronounce? No. Easy to spell? Apparently not*. Easy to communicate its hidden meaning? No. 

“It’s an interesting name but only once you’ve learnt what it means. It needs explaining, which makes it too forgettable to anyone who doesn’t understand it.”

So why UpCircle? We felt it succinctly summed up our circular skincare mission – it requires no explanation AND it’s a lot easier to read. A play on upcycle, up as in uplifting, and upcircle as a circular economy. Genius? We think so.

Anna at Vevolution Festival 2018.

Anna at Vevolution Festival 2018.

*Some of our most common mispronunciations: Opitat, Opiat, Optate, Opiate, Optitat – who’d have thought!

The next issue we were eager to improve was our packaging materials. Since the very start our packaging has been 100% recyclable, but now as UpCircle we’ve reduced our plastic packaging by 99%. Pretty chuffed with that.

It’s time to turn the plastic tap off!

I believe that the biggest challenge in the natural and organic industry in 2019 does not concern itself with the products being produced, but with the packaging products are being housed in. The zero-waste movement is picking up momentum and new TV programs like “Drowning In Plastic” are reminding us all of the horrors which first gripped us in “Blue Planet 2”. Finding new and innovative ways to protect and preserve products in packaging which has no detrimental environmental impact will be key in the coming year. It’s time to turn the plastic tap off!

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

They communicated nothing about what make us, us.

Next up on our hit list was reprioritising the communication of our brand mission. We made a name for ourselves as the brand who repurposed ingredients into sustainable circular skincare products, but this message was getting lost. Our previous scrub range had a “theme inspired” approach, using big bold icons and alliterated names including “The Hungover” Potent Peppermint and “Pick Me Up” Lemongrass Lifter.

They were punchy, fun, and they stood out on the shelves. However, they communicated nothing about what make us, us. We’re know for using recycled organic material in premium cosmetics – a scrub with wine glasses on the front is certainly attention grabbing – but this was at the expense of the communication of our core mission. Not ideal. 

So, we stripped everything back, creating a streamlined look and feel, the repurposed ingredient is highlighted and stands proud on the front of each product. Our to-the-point copy with minimal visual cues allows you to focus solely on the products themselves.

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

(Photo Credit: UpCircle)

Our rebrand has really unified our look and feel, the products now all belong in a clear family – which means we can start to grow that family. My favourite part of this job is developing new products, so I’m keen to see what other circular skincare creations we can come up with!

Coffee was a great starting point for our brand, but we’ve got a lot more than just coffee in our sights! We’ve since released a range of soaps made from residual chai spices used to brew chai tea, the soaps came out just before Christmas and have done extremely well so far! We’re also working with hemp seed husks which are a by-product of hemp manufacture – so there’s lots going on!

So, a huge thank you from William and I for all of your love and support on our journey so far. Because of superstars like you, we’ve been able to save (literally) TONNES of good stuff from landfill, helping to leave the world better than we found it – see you at a Vevolution event soon!

With love, Anna and the rest of Team UpCircle x


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