Home Culture This Montclair Resident Started a Marketplace for Repurposed Beauty Products

This Montclair Resident Started a Marketplace for Repurposed Beauty Products

by Samantha Bonizzi
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When Montclair resident Chelsea Rowen couldn’t find a solution for her stockpile of barely used beauty products, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She created a first-of-its-kind online shop for repurposed beauty products: YouFromMe. Three years later, YouFromMe is a one-stop destination for all things shopping, selling, donating, and recycling beauty products. Read on to learn more about Chelsea’s inspiration for creating YouFromMe, its philosophy and mission, how it’s grown, and where the company is going next (spoiler alert: there may be a storefront in Montclair’s future).

youfromme

(Photo credit: Fabian Fricker)

The Ivy at Chatham

The Montclair Girl: When did you start YouFromMe + what was your inspiration?

Chelsea Rowen: I launched YouFromMe a month before covid hit (February 2020). I had a lot of really bad cystic acne, and I was shopping for all different types of beauty products to help. And even though they were top-of-the-line, they were actually making my skin worse. I was so impatient that I would just keep trying new products, and ended up with so many products that I only used once or twice. I was down on myself for spending thousands of dollars on skincare and accumulating so much waste, so I tried to find a solution that would allow me to resell the products. I had looked on different resale platforms like Poshmark, but found that there was no middleman or quality control. This is why I started YouFromMe — nothing like it existed.

youfromme

(Photo credit: Fabian Fricker)

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MG: How would you describe what repurposed beauty products are + what your philosophy is behind it?

CR: These are products that the everyday consumer no longer wants or needs for one reason or another, but are in the best shape with enough life left to be beneficial to a new owner. A consumer may want to resell if the product didn’t work for them, they didn’t get around to using it, or if they have too much of it. In fact, 70% of our inventory is brand-new products that are still in their original packaging. Our philosophy is to reuse these products that are already in circulation, to create more sustainability in the industry. 

MG: What makes YouFromMe different from other resale websites?

CR: We created our own quality control process in order to safely resell gently used products, in partnership with a certified lab in Boston. We’ll put any skincare, haircare, body care, and fragrances through this rigorous process. We test the products to make sure there is no contamination, yeast, or mold so that every product is 100% safe to be passed on to a new consumer.

youfromme

(Photo credit: Fabian Fricker)

MG: What are the biggest benefits as well as common misconceptions about repurposed beauty?

CR: Well to start, there’s a major environmental benefit. By repurposing beauty products, we’re reducing manufacturing efforts and the CO2 emissions put into the environment, as well as extending the life of a product that would end up in the landfill. And a huge plus for the consumer is that they can save money!

In terms of misconceptions, people are often hesitant about the idea until we explain the process. We first started out with the concept of “thrifted” beauty which newcomers often misunderstood, assuming products were old and expired. This is why we’ve recently switched the term to “repurposed” which has lowered that stigma.

MG: How has the business evolved since you first launched?

CR: I actually didn’t think we’d go in the direction that we did, but we ended up with four sectors of the brand: shopping, selling, donating, and recycling. On the donation front, we started partnering with local shelters like the Montclair Food Pantry and others across the country to donate products monthly. People who otherwise don’t have access can really benefit from these products.

This year we also started partnering with major brands, such as Axiology, the zero-waste makeup company. If they’re switching out brand packaging or rebranding, they’ll send inventory to us rather than wasting it and having it go into the landfill.

MG: What has been one of the biggest challenges to starting a business + one of the biggest rewards?

The biggest challenge has been navigating into a space that’s completely uncharted and has never been done before. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. And the biggest reward has been giving back — allowing products to be reused and repurposed, as well as giving back in the donation sector.

youfromme

(Photo credit: Fabian Fricker)

See More: This Hoboken Resident Makes Homemade Indian Cashew Fudge

MG: What’s next for YouFromMe?

CR: I would love to open a physical presence (ideally in Montclair) where we have an office as well as space to sell products in person. We hosted our first pop-up in 2022, which I would love to do more of as we work our way toward a permanent storefront. It’s a great way to educate and reach consumers, and gives them the chance to see the products for themselves.

To get started shopping, selling, donating, and recycling repurposed beauty, head to the brand’s website. Follow along with everything that YouFromMe and Chelsea are up to on Instagram.

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