People stand next to the window of a fashion boutique in a shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, May 30, 2016.
People stand next to the window of a fashion boutique in a shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, May 30, 2016. Reuters / Thomas Peter

Being a successful entrepreneur in the beauty industry and consistently keeping commitments toward a sustainable and plastic-free planet is a rare combination of business and ethics. Kate Assaraf's entrepreneurial journey is a classic example of an unusual humanitarian commitment and an inspiring corporate pursuit going hand in hand. The real meaning of corporate social responsibility is epitomized in the case of Kate Assaraf and her product, Dip sustainable hair care.

She places a great amount of emphasis on environmental awareness, with the personal care aspect coming second. Today, her company has grown into a popular premium hair care brand in the US and beyond. She attributes a great deal of her success to her childhood and upbringing in a multicultural and multireligious family.

Her childhood was unique in many ways. Her parents divorced when she was five. It brought an unexpected split in her upbringing between her wealthy father and her anthropologist mother. Her father married an incredible Persian woman, who immigrated from Iran and built a very successful business from the ground up.

Her upbringing with her mother, who passionately followed stories of people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, has molded her into an empathetic and compassionate person. She taught her the qualities of appreciating nature and finding joy in all the seasons, while playing outside. The exceptional quality of finding a human side in everything around her is perhaps the result of such an upbringing.

"My mom was an anthropologist who was interested more in different cultures and tolerance rather than in balance sheets and profit. We were one of the poorest families in town, which she constantly tried to hide. I grew up in church-funded housing. I inhabited two parallel worlds, where my stepmom taught me how to be flashy and stylish and at the same time my mom taught me how to appreciate nature. And that balance in my upbringing shapes my business today," says Kate Assaraf, Founder of Dip sustainable hair care.

Kate Assaraf owns and leads unique entrepreneurship that she demonstrated through the foundation of Dip, which goes back to her roots and her life story. She is a big fan of independent business owners and she also places a particular emphasis on refill stores. Her willingness to partner with them very closely has a humanitarian aspect attached to it. In her view, since women predominantly own these shops and they are the people who invest their life savings into them, they are the ideal places where actions toward women's empowerment and support are really required.

She also believes that refill shops can enhance the efforts toward a plastic-free planet and help customers fight plastic pollution. The Dip, being one of the top sellers in these shops, can be the product that helps introduce people to the world of the 'refill lifestyle'.

Although Kate has achieved so much and continues to be very ambitious, she believes that "to be a successful entrepreneur you don't have to be the next big name brand". She believes in entrepreneurship that is deliberate and focused on knowing who your customers are and taking very good care of them in order to grow in a sustainable organic way. "I think chasing growth becomes a poison for a lot of people. It leads to unhappiness. if a business can support you and your family, then who says you need to grow?", asks Kate Assaraf.

She remembers the occasions that changed her perceptions regarding the environment and its sustainability. She encountered the frightening fact that because of the explosion of fast fashion, the clothes she had previously sorted, today would not go to those in need. Instead they end up in a landfill. There is a finite amount of fresh water available in the world and one-third of people worldwide still lack access to it. Most clothes contain plastics and end up polluting water-ways, both in creation and disposal.

She started her fight against plastic pollution when she realized it affects marine life in general and causes hormonal changes in fish. Studies reveal that microplastics in the ocean can adversely affect the behavior and fertility of fish. Another moment that shaped her approach toward sustainability and prudence was one of her mom's dying breaths. Kate remembers she was saying "when you have a baby you do not need a lot of stuff". All of these came together in October 2021, to lead Kate to establish her business with a vision and commitment to encourage others to prioritize buying second-hand items, rather than participate in hyper-consumerism.

Her hair care products can be used for all hair types and textures. Both Kate and the chemist she worked with to design the product have mixed families with different hair types. That enabled them to create hair care that wouldn't require one family to purchase and store multiple hair products in their shower. It helped them to ensure that sustainability should be and must be for everyone. She is proud that her product is effective for any hair type and ethnicity. She also reveals the fact that surprisingly 30% of her customers are men.

Kate Assaraf's entrepreneurial journey continues to be an inspiring example of sustainable entrepreneurship. It also highlights the significance of a humanistic approach to entrepreneurship to maintain the balance between sustainability and profitability.