Tired of trying to find safe affordable eco-friendly cleaning products that actually worked, husband and wife team, Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson decided to make their own.
“Our purpose drives everything we do from new hires to supply chain. We want to make life better, healthier, more sustainable and enjoyable for individuals, families and the world. We want to end the era of chemicals in our homes and lives – replacing toxic and eco-destructive with safe, natural and sustainable,” says Paul Davidson cofounder of Koala Eco.
It’s a lofty ambition and one that Paul and his wife Jessica take very seriously. Since launching their brand, Koala Eco in 2017, the couple have converted 1000s of Aussies to their sustainable eco-friendly products.
Safe, natural and sustainable
Unlike chemical cleaners, Koala Eco is safe to use around kids and pets and has no smelly odors. Ingredients are derived from nature and can be misted and breathed in safely by children and animals. There’s nothing toxic in this brand.
It’s something the couple are proud of. Paul says he and Jessica wanted to ensure the efficacy of Koala Eco products whilst also providing a product experience that was so good, people couldn’t help but choose them.
“The products are are beautifully designed and provide an amazing sensory experience,” he tells Kochies Business Builders (KBB). “They are uplifting and beautiful to use.”
Botanicals and indigenous remedies
Australia has an incredible range of plant-based resources and a history of indigenous pharmacopoeia. The couple drew on these for inspiration for their brand. Combining pure Australian essential oils with other non-toxic ingredients like vinegar, plant-based surfactants, sugar-based biodegradable alcohol and bicarbonate soda allowed them to deliver an alternative to toxic chemical cleaners.
Both Paul and Jessica take Koala Eco’s sustainability credentials seriously. Their eco-friendly sustainable approach goes further than their product ingredients. Koala Eco was one of the first Aussie businesses granted access to a .eco domain; a movement backed by the might of more than 50 environmental organisations including Conservation International, United Nations Global Compact and the WWF.
“We see sustainability not as a burden for a business but as an opportunity. Societal views are changing. and companies are being held accountable. People want to know what is going into their homes and bodies. The ethics of what people are buying matter, and this is shown in purchasing power,” says Paul.
“We use recycled and recyclable bottles so no new plastic is created with our bottles. All of our packaging and shipping materials are recycled and reused. Our products are plant based, 100 per cent biodegradable and greywater and septic safe.”
The wellness trend
As more people become passionate about making a difference and living a more sustainable eco-friendly life, sales of Koala Eco products have boomed.
“We are lucky enough to have had a 300 per cent increase in sales every single year since we started the business. But this means that any profit has had to be reinvested to build inventory. It has helped considerably that I am Chartered Accountant and have been able to keep a close eye on receivables and inventory management,” Paul says.
With the pandemic putting a spotlight on hygiene and wellness, there’s no wonder Koala Eco products are in high demand.
“In 2021 health awareness has probably never been more prevalent, says Paul. “People are shifting perspectives and priorities: how to look after each other, how to stay well mentally and physically, how to keep their immediate environment safe and healthy.
“We’re all questioning what the future will look like for family life, work life, self-fulfilment. During lockdowns, we’ve already been made aware of the importance of nature and green spaces to our mental and physical wellbeing, and how much better we feel physically and mentally if we use natural products to keep our homes clean and safe.”
Koala Eco’s strong online presence means the brand has been able to weather the storm that traditional brick and mortar retailers faced.
Retailers have learnt to cope through better on-line platforms by adapting their retail offerings and by careful cost management. However, Paul tells KBB he is looking forward to getting his products out to more channels when they exhibit at Reed Gift Fair in April.
“Because our products are so beautifully designed we see the gift and homewares channel as a perfect fit for us. We are very excited as the possibilities and see the Reed Gift Fair as an amazing opportunity for us to showcase our brand to this industry.
He’s brushing up on his sales pitch for the day…
“Lots of planning goes into these types of events. You get one shot so you have to have clear messaging, you need to be able to explain your brand and products in 20 seconds so that you can captivate the interest of the attendee who visits hundreds of stands that day.”
After three years in business Paul has this advice for anyone else hoping to one day tread the path of entrepreneurship.
“You have to be 150 per cent committed to what your business stands for; you have to be passionate about what you are doing and why. Get a good team around you in terms of sounding boards and mentors. Be curious, ask questions, network with other entrepreneurs whenever you can. Do your research. Lastly, try and agree with your co-founder and wife…99 per cent of the time.”
Reed Gift Fairs Sydney is a trade only event, showcasing wholesale suppliers of Home, Gift, Fashion and Kids & Family products. Running from 17 – 20 April at ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour, Reed Gift Fairs Sydney is also co-located with Life Instyle. Registration is free to all legitimate retailers – register here.
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