Dawn Dobras-Clean Beauty Entrepreneur

Clean Beauty = Credo Beauty

Imagine walking into a beauty store knowing with certainty, every single skin care or makeup item you consider buying is completely “clean” and sustainably sourced–a store where you are 100% confident that you don’t even need to bother reading the microscopic list of ingredients because you know that every product has undergone the strictest of environmentally conscious standards? Credo Beauty– a revolutionary beauty company founded by Annie Jackson and Shashi Batrathat has redefined clean beauty for a new generation of consumers. By soley stocking multiple brands fully devoted to clean ingredients, Credo (meaning “I believe” in Latin) is pioneering a new, eco-conscious approach, positioning themselves as the clear leader in green cosmetics.   Mill Valley resident, Dawn Dobras has proudly served as CEO for the past three years and shared with us,   “It is the ultimate  jewel of a company.  There are very few companies where you can direct social impact and be a hot start-up.” 

Credo Beauty leads the industry in setting the standards and goals for formulating clean products.  Their co-founder, Annie Jackson was recently deemed one of the Top 5 Beauty Executives Leading the Way by Women’s Wear Daily (WWD).  Where Credo goes, others follow. Credo is flourishing more than ever as they continue to educate their consumers who have certainly had more time to slow down and “consume education”  this past year.  They offer Clean Swaps where you can bring your bag of makeup into their store and dump it out so their well trained, green conscious, Credo Beauty staff can go through each product of yours and offer you a Credo Clean alternative. Meanwhile, online master classes offered by Credo have hundreds of people together on zoom washing their faces!

Credo’s first store opened on Fillmore Street on San Francisco’s Hayes Street, with subsequent stores opening throughout the country.. Credo houses 135 brands in their stores with a remarkable 90% of those brands founded by or run by women.  To that end, Clean Beauty truly represents a movement by women and for women. In conventional beauty, only 18% of companies are run by women.  Most recently, Credo was named Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company for 2021 in Beauty, due to their sustainability efforts.

The Credo Clean Standard, in place for over 2 years now, encompasses everything that makes a product clean. What truly sets Credo apart from other retailers, is that they actually ban 2700 ingredients! It is the nexus of safety, ethics, sustainability and sourcing that deem a product clean at Credo, They have the most stringent standards of any retailer today and clearly set the standard for the industry. Their “dirty ingredient”  list is comprehensive accounting for complete transparency and sustainable packaging. And if that’s not enough, Credo Clean’s ambitious set of guidelines inspire their brands to continue to advance their commitment to being green.

On Earth Day, April 22, 2021,  Credo Beauty launched a new program revealing their recycling and reclaiming strategy to completely eradicate any packaging waste.

Then, on June 1, they launched a new, even greener sustainability packaging guidelines by targeting a transition to 100% reusable packaging to eliminate all single use products, including face masks, treatment pads and disposable mascara wands. 

Dawn acknowledged  that today’s clean beauty movement is led by our youth because they care so passionately about social impact and sustainability. However, with doctors now beginning to discuss  toxic loads with their patients who are pregnant or having other health issues, other generations of customers are looking to Credo for alternative beauty products as well. Dawn further explained that over the last four years, a great deal of innovation in green skin care has occurred. The clean beauty space is now, arguably higher quality than its conventional counterparts and while cosmetics have lagged behind the advances in skin care, the evolution of these macro trends in beauty lipsticks, concealers and mascaras are now on par with conventional brands. 

Clean beauty is a worldwide trend and Credo Beauty enthusiastically advocates spreading the word.  Their new partnership  with Ulta Beauty  gives them a compelling  in-store presence in which they curate 10 brands for placement in Ulta with a focus on education. You can also find a new Credo store on   Hayes Street in the heart of the hip shopping district in San Francisco

As Dawn explained, nothing makes the team at Credo Beauty happier than seeing what used to be a niche market now being embraced around the world by more of the masses. “More people using less resources with more ethically sourced products” — music to her ears. 

Beyond their stellar academic records, they are both Link Leaders on Tam’s Link Crew, a high school support program designed to ensure all students new to Tam find academic and social success within the Tam community and AIM, Academy of Integrated Humanities and New Media, Tam’s highly regarded Documentary Film program. Tam English and AIM teacher, Mike Lavezzo professed “Caitlin and Olivia fulfill the most impressive qualities of high school students. They are community-minded, spirited, selfless, and optimistic. They have made consistent positive daily contributions academically, athletically, and socially. A high school is primarily created by involved students. Administrators and teachers present opportunities that may or may not be taken advantage of by students.

Caitlin and Olivia have made the most of these opportunities and have made Tam a better school for us all.” Sharilyn Scharf, the twins’ History and AIM teacher referred to Caitlin and Olivia as “the sensational Smith sisters!” She backed that up by saying “It’s been a joy to work with Olivia and Caitlin these past two years as part of AIM. Bright, industrious, affable and dependable, they make AIM work. Our program relies on seniors to be mentors and role models to our juniors, and the Smith twins don’t disappoint. What I especially appreciate about them is their humility and generosity. I know that I can pair them with any other students, and they are happy to share their knowledge and be patient with those who may struggle. It’s also wonderful to see how they support each other; they truly are each other’s biggest fan. When they graduate this year, they will leave big shoes to fill in AIM, but I know their legacy will ensure that the next generation can step up.”

Based on a combination of their academic and athletic accomplishments, Caitlin is now headed to Middlebury College and Olivia is headed to Smith College, both recruited to play volleyball. As Coach Ray affirmed, “For them, they wanted to create the right experience and they made it happen by doing a lot of research and putting in the work to find the environment that suited them.” They did it through effort, a lesson Ray hopes all students will benefit from. Despite Tam practice once again postponed, Caitlin and Olivia are hoping to do socially distanced team bonding activities to stay connected with their teammates. Prior to Covid and her junior year volleyball season in which Tam Girls Volleyball reached the semifinals of NCS (North Coast Section) and made it to the CIF NorCal Finals at the State level under Coach Ray’s direction, Olivia admitted there were times they felt disappointed about the impact of Covid on their senior year. Continuing to turn toward their passions along with maintaining positive mental attitudes definitely contributed to their sense of optimism. “To not have a senior year like you’ve always heard about, we will remember it but not for the reasons everyone always tells you about.” For Caitlin, “We’ve had a lot of alone time, a lot of time with our thoughts, but I think we’ve discovered more of ourselves—-I’ve discovered more of what I like to do, who I am and what I would like to do in the future.” The girls have used the time for self reflection and exploring more of the bay area then perhaps they would have in normal times, including hikes with their beloved two year old yellow lab, Lucy. And while they love Marin and the greater Bay Area, they are excited to explore the Northeast part of the country.

Pre-Covid, the girls were basically inseparable, but as a result of Covid, Olivia feels that heading oḀ to separate colleges seems easier now as they have become more comfortable with the idea of spending time apart. Covid taught them to value their time together this past year so that time apart in college will be okay. Caitlin agreed it has allowed them to grow even closer and bond even more. They’re taking advantage of the time they have now to cherish this time before they move on to college.

As Link Leaders at Tam, once a month they meet with freshmen to offer them guidance and advice. The transition to high school is tough enough already, so as Link leaders they realize the importance of consistently reaching out to the Tam freshmen. They periodically update the freshmen with creative virtual events including a recent baking party with freshmen to make pumpkin pie. Although only seven freshmen showed up, their effort was maybe not enough to make a collective impact but Caitlin and Olivia felt for those seven freshmen, it hopefully did. Even if they made an impact for one student, that’s a win. A 2020 Tam graduate, and former Tam Volleyball teammate, Tate Martinelli believes “they are off to great things in the future, both super smart and hardworking, both of them you would want on your team for sure!” Caitlin and Olivia’s dad, Brandon Smith highlighted the girls’ incredible resilience in how “they took all of the cancellations, delays, changes and disruption to what used to be a relatively predictable life in stride and to not only adjust but to figure out how to succeed.” Their mother, Julie Cullinane-Smith remarked on how “their ability to be grateful for what they have and what they are able to do versus focusing on what they’re missing out on seems to be helping them a lot during these times.”

Yet Julie also reminded us that like all students, at times, both Caitlin and Olivia have felt the frustration with “Zoom School” along with the repeated disappointment of delayed or cancelled school events and practices. Both girls have had their fair share of days in which they struggled to feel motivated. But the girls remain focused on the longview as they understand the importance of having something they are passionate about to focus on along with helping others which helps them stay positive and realistic in order to make it through these challenging times.

So yes, Caitlin and Olivia, and all of our Mill Valley students from kindergartens to seniors, we are all so proud of your fortitude and hope you will share in the optimism we felt so strongly in Caitlin and Olivia. Lets all put on our sunglasses because the future is most certainly bright!

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