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How to lead the market for sustainable beauty products
Beauty Kitchen is a beauty products retailer and manufacturer with a mission: to create the most effective, natural and sustainable beauty products in the world. Founded in Glasgow in 2014 by chemist and sustainability expert Jo Chidley and her husband, it has become a global pioneer in sustainable beauty.
Environmental sustainability drives every aspect of their business, from ingredients and manufacturing to packaging and customer education. They were the first beauty company to achieve Certified B Corporation® status in the UK.
A pioneering beauty company enjoys growth and a rapidly increasing media profile, thanks to its radical approach to sustainability. How can its workforce maintain the company’s founding spirit while the business expands into a changing marketplace?
Beauty Kitchen first approached us when they’d been in business for three years. They were growing quickly and wanted to expand even further. They’d just completed an Organisational Development Review (ODR), commissioned by Scottish Enterprise, which highlighted the benefits that team development could bring. The review recommended that grant funding be released to support this work.
Beauty Kitchen's founder, Jo Chidley, is an MBTI practitioner and had already introduced MBTI® Step I™ to the organization. She wanted to put an organization-wide development program in place that would:
- Help people understand different ways of working so they could work better together
- Give people tools and knowledge about communication, conflict and problem-solving so they could achieve the best outcomes for the business
- Develop and grow the business at this pivotal time in its development
Being one of the first beauty companies in the world to become a B Corporation – and the first to achieve this status in the UK – Beauty Kitchen is proud of its commitment to being the model that they want to see become widespread in the beauty industry. It’s a mission that resonates very much with our own B Corp mission at The Myers-Briggs Company.
Working closely with Jo we devised a three-phase development program to run over 12 months. Given the pace of change the organization faced, we designed the first session and left sessions two and three until nearer the time. This meant we could address the most pressing needs of the organization at that moment.
Phase 1: senior stakeholders
Beauty Kitchen was already familiar with MBTI Step I, so we focused on MBTI Step II™ in the first session. The senior team and three key external stakeholders, who worked closely with each other, came together for a day. By exploring their individual profiles, team profiles and data, we considered how they could most effectively make decisions and communicate with each other.
Phase 2: culture and strategy
By the time of the second event the organization had strengthened the senior team by creating new roles and recruiting three new members. Because of the new composition of the team, we revisited Step II to look at the new team profile.
Jo Chidley also felt it would be a good time to consider Beauty Kitchen’s role in the industry, exploring what customers wanted from them and how they could challenge the market. We used The Myers-Briggs Company’s Dynamic Drivers™ model for this stage. The model provides a framework for building alignment between what customers want, what the organizational strategy should be, and what culture and leadership behaviors are required to drive this strategy. As expected, challenge emerged as a key theme from this session, but in two different ways:
- How the business confronts the beauty market
- How the team members voice differences between themselves
To drive the organization forward successfully, both challenges needed to be met.
Phase 3: reactions to change
The final session was an opportunity to consolidate MBTI learning and was opened up to all Beauty Kitchen staff. The organization had been through significant change in the previous 12 months. This event used the MBTI framework to explore reactions to change and how to support each other. It ended by looking at what each person brings to the organization and how they can best lead in their role within a fast-growing organization.
“MBTI has significantly helped us drive business performance by helping the team to understand themselves, each other, us as entrepreneurs and our fast-paced action-orientated approach to pioneering sustainability,” said Jo. “Through this we have seen a strong team forming. This team has been able to maximize value from opportunities and tackle complex problems quickly. With a strong team dynamic it has made identifying and onboarding talent more successful as well. We plan to continue our MBTI journey and continue to ensure that MBTI is at the heart of what we do.”
A second, and perhaps less expected, outcome has been to think about how Beauty Kitchen can use MBTI knowledge in their branding, packaging and marketing. Given their commitment to sustainability and the B Corp ethos, they’re keen to present information in a way that appeals to as many people as possible.
The Myers-Briggs Company and Beauty Kitchen are proud to have built a partnership that draws on B Corporation principles. “Working with The Myers-Briggs Company has been a pleasure,” added Jo. “They have listened to our objectives for each session and tailored them to fit the purpose to ensure they create the biggest benefit possible.”
MBTI has significantly helped us drive business performance by helping the team to understand themselves, each other, us as entrepreneurs and our fast-paced action-orientated approach to pioneering sustainability.
Jo Chidley, founder of Beauty Kitchen.