Laguna Lashes is an eco-friendly eyelash brand aimed at reducing plastic pollution in the beauty industry.
Founded by Natasha Birk, a graduate of the University of Bath who studied International Management and is a Sustainable Beauty Entrepreneur.
Natasha first became aware of plastic pollution when working as an influencer for other beauty brands and has set about transforming the way the beauty industry contributes to the environment for the better.
Natasha innovated and created her own plastic-free packaging made of moulded pulp fibres which are 100% biodegradable and recyclable. Natasha’s vision is to develop a new range of products and to also make the material for the lashes just as sustainable as the packaging. She also plans to expand into other areas beyond lashes to provide consumers with quality choices for sustainable cosmetic products with her platform, Beauty Switch.
Research & Development
Laguna Lashes launched
Joined the University of Bath's Enterprise Programme
Laguna Lashes won Global Green Beauty Award
Joined SETsquared's Sustainable Business Support Programme
Pitched at University Dragon's Den competition with 'Beauty Switch'
Attended SETsquared's Sustainability Workout
Participated in the University of Bath's Acceler8 programme with Santander, winning Best Pitch for Beauty Switch
Presented at the University of Bath's inaugural Enterprise Day
Won the University of Bath Alumni Innovation Award
Completed SETsquared's IKEEP Programme Project for Laguna Lashes
Exhibited and pitched at the 2022 SETsquared Investment Showcase
“SETsquared has been an incredible resource for me. I’ve always known I wanted to start my own business but thought this would happen after University. My curiosity started during my work placement when I came across the plastic pollution problem and this was when I truly realised I wanted to solve it and why I founded Laguna Lashes.”
“When I started Laguna Lashes I wasn’t aware of the support available through the University and SETsquared – if I had been things would have run a lot smoother! However, I did get to experience lots of founder problems on my own which I feel has made me more resilient. Once I became aware of the entrepreneurial support available through the University of Bath and SETsquared things quickly evolved and developed as it opened my mind to all possibilities and different solutions.”
“My problem has always been how to make the beauty industry a more ethical place and the way I was doing that was through my lashes, but the support I’ve received through SETsquared helped me focus on the direction for Laguna Lashes but also how my next business idea has been developed, which is a platform called Beauty Switch and will empower consumers to switch to more ethical products.”
“My journey with SETsquared opened doors for me to think about other possibilities and provided me with opportunities to receive funding, business support, and mentoring to help me look at what my business could look like on a bigger scale. Yes, I could expand Laguna but it is going to take more than one brand to shift an industry and that is what Beauty Switch is all about – how can we scale sustainable beauty and how can we make this accessible for more people and have a bigger impact.”
“I joined the Sustainable Business Support programme and attended the 2-day Sustainability Workout which really helped me look at my business model and how to integrate sustainability into it. Being part of the programme has also allowed me to connect with other founders and share my experiences with people who have a vested interest in this field, which as a solo founder has been very useful. The SETsquared facilitators for the Sustainability Workout truly understand the impact of sustainability in terms of the business model canvas and my key takeaway is that I’ll continue to iterate and develop this to adapt the business.”
“More recently I’ve completed the SETsquared Bath IKEEP project which helped me kick start the new phase of research and development. Three students from the University of Bath worked with me, one of who is a molecular bioscientist and was a real asset when it came to research on plastics and materials. This really helped me identify which route to focus on and how to use my existing customer base for testing new products. I’m now focusing on improving my existing offering and ensuring the packaging is suitable for retail.”
“Being immersed in the SETsquared eco-system has helped my business accelerate and opened up so many opportunities that can be achieved for my businesses – it has also provided me with a platform to speak at various network events as well as take part in showcase events, an amazing opportunity to get my business in front of relevant audiences and investors.”
“Laguna Lashes is still in the early stages, I’m continuing to develop new products and when these are ready I plan to relaunch and the goal for 2023 is to gain more of a presence in retail. I’m currently building the Beauty Switch platform and hoping to work on a project with the computer science department at the University of Bath. Developing my team is a growth channel I will also be exploring. Balancing my businesses alongside my degree was one of my biggest challenges, which is why SETsquared and the University of Bath have had such a great impact – without their support it would have been easy for me to put everything on hold. I’m excited about the journey I have ahead and looking forward to continuing to collaborate with the University of Bath and SETsquared as my businesses grow.”
Natasha Birk, Founder
Laguna Lashes, and Beauty Switch