Meet Camilla Gaillardin: Co-founder of Milly&Sissy

Sisters Camilla & Andrea (AKA Milly&Sissy) are passionate about sustainability and inspiring you to make simple swamps that will minimise your impact on the planet. Cruelty-free, vegan, and 99% natural, every aspect of their products are carefully thought out to align with their values – always with the good of the environment at the forefront.

We spoke to co-founder Camilla about what inspired the concept behind the brand, the journey that has led the sisters to where they are today, and what we can expect to see next from Milly&Sissy.

Tell us about your background. What was the journey that led you to create Milly & Sissy?

My sister and I have always been passionate about animals and doing our bit for the environment and had dreamed of having a business together for a long time. We both have very different professional backgrounds: my sister has a long career in nursing and I worked in health and beauty for many years before taking a break once my twins came along. Sissy lives on a farm with her many rescued animals and her family, and I also live in the countryside with my family and animals. Milly & Sissy was born out of our mutual desire to make a difference in our daily lives.

Talk us through the concept, how does Milly & Sissy work?

Our range covers (at the moment) hair and body wash, shampoo, hand wash and shower crème. The idea is to remove all the plastic waste usually created by these products whilst at the same time offering gentle but effective formulas which have the lowest impact on nature. We’ve done a pretty good job of this given that we tick so many of the eco-friendly boxes:

  • We don’t transport water; the majority of standard products consist of around 80% water which is being transported around the world (complete madness when you think about it) so we have a significant reduction in transport carbon emissions.
  • Our sachets are home compostable so they biodegrade and can then be used with the rest of your compost to fertilise your garden.
  • Our bottles are made to last. We currently have 2 options, one in amber glass and another in aluminium which has been designed for durability and to last your lifetime, with no compromise on style or aesthetics – they’re pretty gorgeous!
  • All our products are and always will be vegan and cruelty free.
  • We use 99% naturally derived ingredients, and our formulations are SLS free, paraben free, palm oil free and allergen free.
  • Talking of allergen free, they are formulated to be as kind to the skin as possible with a pH level of 5.5. The entire range is incredibly gentle, and we’ve had lots of great feedback from people with super-sensitive skin who love our products.
  • The non-natural element of the formulations is the fragrance. We use a very low level of fragrance (versus standard products) which is possible due to our unique manufacturing processes & 45% of this fragrance is biodegradable. Using these fragrances means we can keep formulations allergen free and as degradable as possible.

What’s been the biggest challenge you have faced as a brand so far?

I don’t think we’ve had any one single challenge that I’ve considered to be the hardest. Running a business is so diverse that I think the biggest challenge is just that; the daily necessities to keep so many elements going at the same time and of course, learning as you go.

What inspires you and motivates you?

Climate change and plastic pollution are key motivators for our range of products. Making a few changes and encouraging others to do the same can have a positive and significant impact. Animals, nature and the future generations are all inspiration for what we do and we absolutely love being part of a community where so many others have the same values.

What does sustainability mean to you as a brand?

So for us, we keep an eye on the impact we’re having in literally everything we do, and whilst we’re not 100% there yet, we’re working really hard on making improvements. In every element that goes into the product, the processes and those we work with, we think about the impact that might have on the environment. Obvious areas are the materials we use for packaging, less obvious is the ink we use to print that packaging; the labels we use for our sachets create waste we don’t want so we’re looking for a better solution with those; we use suppliers who have the same values as us whenever feasible and we’re constantly asking our suppliers to find better ways of doing things. Sustainability is truly an integral part of everything we do.

What would be your top tip to help encourage others to live more sustainably?

Sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming and it can be difficult to know where to start, but I’d recommend looking first in the hotspots of the home – the kitchen and bathroom. There’s a lot of waste generated in these 2 rooms and they are really excellent places to start. I would encourage existing products to be used up, then replace them with the better choices as you go along – you’ll soon wonder why you didn’t make the switches ages ago! You’ll quickly realise you’re able to do much more than you thought and eventually it’ll become a way of life (that’s the ideal anyway). But above all, I would encourage everyone to read more about the topic and become engaged and then do whatever it is you can – it all makes a difference.

What are you most excited to work on over the next few months?

We’ve got some fabulous new products coming out hot on the heels of our recently launched Refill & Reuse for life bottle in blush! We always get excited about new products ;-)

What piece of advice would you give to someone who is looking to set up their own company or starting a new project?

My advice would be that whatever your business, first and foremost make sure you think of the environmental impact it will be having. Secondly, I would say if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is (don’t fall for any traps out there). Finally, seek advice from the many resources that are out there and find a network which you can use to bounce ideas off and chat to if you’re going it alone. But most of all, I’d say fantastic job for giving it a go!

What do you look for when finding the perfect gift?

Ooh I’m a bit tricky when gift hunting. For me, I have to be fairly sure the person’s going to love it, I really don’t like buying things for the sake of it. The perfect gift has to be something which will be treasured and/or very useful (or delicious) and I just love it when it completely fits with my values (I recently bought my sister some eco-friendly washing up ‘tools’!)

What are your LITTLE FINDs (Top 3 favourite products on our site)?

  1. Revive Body Oil, my body is sooo in need of some reviving & moisture!!
  2. Silk pillowcase & mask in feathers design (these look divine)
  3. Restful sleep pillow mist (there’s a bit of a theme here!)

It’s always fun to end on a quickfire round...

  • Favourite TV series right now? Just finished watching Your Honour, that was a good one but also loved The Great – that was hilarious
  • Last thing you cooked? Sweet & sour tofu with mixed veg & rice – a mid-week special.
  • Favourite Instagram account to follow? Ocean conservation, there are so many weird and wonderful things in our oceans, they never cease to amaze me.
  • Best book recommendation? For a novel, I’ve just finished The Underground Railroad by Colsen Whitehead, that’s definitely one I can recommend, it’s a great read.
  • Perfect way to spend your weekend? At home in lovely weather, having a bbq with friends, the family, and the animals moseying around
  • Best restaurant you’ve eaten at? A vegan restaurant in New York – it was wonderful. I didn’t even have to ask about any of the dishes – it all sounded so delicious I knew I’d love everything they had!
  • Country you’d love to visit? I’d love to visit South America but nowadays will plan more local holidays to reduce our carbon footprint as a family.

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