This Eco-Conscious Mermaid is Trying to Save the Ocean, One Reusable Wipe at a Time
Try Seabae's new line of washable and reusable wipes
Whether you're a micellar cleanser fan, use makeup removers, or even just prefer the convenience, you've probably tried a disposable cleansing wipe or cotton balls at some point in your makeup journey. Like many one-time use products, these disposable items add to landfills and sometimes make their way into our water supplies or the ocean.
When Cassia Tofan learned about the extent of plastic pollution in the ocean, and its impact on sea creatures, she felt compelled to act. We sat down with her to learn a bit more on why she founded her company Seabae.
What inspired you to found your own company?
I’ve always felt a connection to the ocean. Ever since I was little, I found it a safe place of reflection, peace, and timeless beauty. The sound of the waves, the smell of the salt in the flowing breeze, and the warm sand between our toes (or fins)! It's a miracle that helps our wounds, cures our sorrows and keeps us alive. But in the last few years, it's also gotten forgotten by many, with litter found on shores, in the ocean, washing up on the sand or innocent marine life tangled in pollution and eventually dying from ingesting our waste. I knew I had to do something to make a difference and help in my own way our beautiful ocean.
Was it difficult to get Seabae off the ground?
It was difficult because I was completely new to the world of owning my own retail business. I had to learn pretty much everything while doing it. Luckily I hired a friend to help me out in the beginning who owned her own retail business and she was able to really guide me. Covid-19 really affected our production timelines. We had aimed to release on a different date but pivoted and started working mermaid design masks before we even got to release our hero product, the Seabae Wipes (sold as a combo pack or seperately for face and eyes). I learned that being involved and doing everything yourself, from the packing to mailing to website design, really gives you an advantage. As when you do eventually have a bigger team, you’ll know exactly how to jump in and out of the different facets of your business, because you did them all.
What makes your company different from others? What are you most proud of?
We're passionate and focused on how we can help our oceans. Every product we make is thoughtfully put together to address this issue while offering eco-conscious beauty solutions. As a make-up artist and beauty influencer (and mermaid), I knew I wanted to stick to what I knew, my realm, in providing help to the oceans and marine animals that live in them. That's why I came out with the re-usable and biodegradable make up wipes in the shape of an aesthetically pleasing seashell. Its cute, but its also a small change in your beauty routine that goes a long way in helping eliminate single use make up tools.
Why are you so passionate about sustainability, and the ocean in particular?
We are in a time and place where we can no longer ignore the effects of pollution and single use plastic on our oceans and waters. There is coral reef bleaching due to climate change. Marine animals are washing ashore with stomachs full of plastics. They asphyxiate or get tangled and eventually die and it's absolutely heartbreaking to know that this all comes from us and is our doing. So how can we better ourselves without reinventing the wheel, what can we do now? The makeup wipes were something I knew was completely achievable, and would make a difference in eliminating that type of micro plastic.
How (and where) are your products manufactured?
We put a lot of time and effort in finding our factory. We considered a lot of factors: is it ethical? Sustainable? How do they treat their employees? How do they care for the environment when producing or manufacturing? All of these were questions that were essential to me. We went with an ethical and GOT certified factory in China, where hemp cotton is sustainably sourced and grown (which is what we use in our wipes). I knew that if I was going to work with a factory overseas, it had to be one that shared my values. They specialize in eco products and offering eco solutions already for other retailers, so we knew this was the right fit.
How can our Influenster members, like you, incorporate eco-consciousness into their own lifestyles?
There are so many ways to make a small change or switch without feeling alien or foreign to your beauty routine and lifestyle. For me, I started by going vegan. and buying cruelty-free brands. I started eliminating plastic bags in favor of reusable and fabric ones (they last way longer anyway and look way cuter!) I started learning about reusable products a few years ago and it really changed the way I shop now. If you have that mindset and always think, "How will this choice impact the future of the planet?" it will become easier and easier with time to make the switch. Don't overwhelm yourself with feeling like you need to tick all of the boxes, start small and work from there.
What is your advice for other young women and aspiring entrepreneurs?
We all want to make a difference in the world, at least I hope we do. The key is finding what you're really good at and passionate about and turning that into your calling. I always knew I loved the ocean, and being a beauty blogger and make up artist saw first hand the enormous single waste use that was being thrown out after every shoot, day or project. Stick to what you know, and make it new, make it yours.
How important are online reviews and customer feedback to the success of your business?
Oh my gosh, they are essential. I am a perfectionist by nature so I always have the mindset to improve and be super self-critical, so in a way, I think I am my own worst customer haha. But seriously, we have been hearing great things so far about the wipes and want to keep improving our eco beauty solutions every step of the way based on customer feedback, at the end of the day, we want you to ditch disposable beauty products and make that eco switch super easy and that starts with having a great product.
In addition to being an entrepreneur, you are also a mermaid. How did you get involved in mer-culture?
Oh gosh, I feel like I’ve always identified as a mermaid, even when I was a little guppy! Few years back before mermaid culture was popularized and mermaid tails became accessible, I had to go to the depths of the web to find a tail, back then there were only very few makers and sellers. I was able to get one second-hand silicone and ever since I started swimming in that my collection has grown! I have a fabric tail now to add to my collection and I am getting a custom new silicone tail made right now as well, so will have 3 tails soon! Mermaids do SO much! You can educate or entertain kiddos on the environment and oceans while giving them a unique experience of meeting and swimming with a real mermaid. I love inspiring adults and kids alike, I think we all need a little magic in our lives no matter how old we are, that is why I really find mermaiding so rewarding! It’s bringing a little fantasy to our everyday life and making the impossible, possible. When I am wearing my tail and swimming I feel my best, I feel free and living out my childhood fantasy.
"Sia Shells" is my mer-sona. It is how I've branded myself in the blogging community. I am a real life mermaid, I swim underwater with a mermaid tail, do shoots underwater and find myself naturally reaching for ocean inspired decor, beauty, fashion and overall mermaid aesthetic. I have been featured for my mermaid persona on shows like VICE and Hooked on the Look and it became more and more of a reality every day. My mission is to bring ocean awareness to kids and adults who follow me and show them that the oceans are worth caring about and saving. Save the mermaids!
As a mermaid, what makeup tips do you have when it comes to crafting (and keeping) a look, no matter the weather or environment?
Setting and priming is key! I have so many different primers and setting sprays, some more heavy duty than others because it really allows me to lock in the make up when I am going underwater. You’d be surprised, even products that aren’t necessarily waterproof have true staying power when you add a primer or setting spray. I also love body oils to make my skin look like its glistening and fresh out of water, even when you’re not!
As a makeup artist who deals with those Canadian winters, what are your skincare tips?
I’m really into skin care lately! Living with sensitive skin, I was always afraid that changing up my skin care routine would have bad side effects so I always stuck to the products I had known and loved for years. But as natural and clean brands started coming out in the last few years I was really able to experiment and learn the do’s and don’ts along the way. I found that if you make your skin work and look good from within, the foundation will look flawless, and it will then also make the eyes, brows, blush look just as fab! I love pairing a shimmering cream eye with nude lip gloss and super pink blush, for me the more glow, the better.
I always shop and support cruelty free and green brands! I've gotten really into skincare in the last two years and I love oils, serums and moisturizers. I have sensitive skin so I usually have a harder time finding products that won't break me out or cause my skin stress, but I've found success in shopping clean brands and cruelty free brands that focus on natural ingredients. One of my fave things to do for glowing skin is to press and massage rose hip oil in between your palms so that it's nice and warm and press it into the skin with a jade roller. SO nice for early mornings too! Ditch the artifical highlighter and get that glow from within your skin.
What are your favorite products to use?
I love ColourPop cosmetics for their beautiful eyeshadows and fun colours, that is what I wear in most of my photos! Boscia is my favourite brand for skincare. Defineme Fragrances makes the most heavenly Ariel perfume which has become my staple! To maintain my blue locks I use Overtone – because pools really wash out light pastel shades quickly, I upkeep it every time I shower.
You can shop the the full line of washable wipes and Mermaid face masks at Seabaebeauty.com.