Wild Cosmetics, the design-led personal care start-up behind the UK’s first refillable plastic-free deodorant has raised £2m in seed funding as it sets its sights on cleaning up the bathroom’s contribution to landfill.
In a round led by Jam Jar Investments, the subscription-based firm which has cemented a loyal following of 100,000 customers and sold 300,000 of its gender neutral line of elegantly designed natural deodorants since April 2020, raised the cash injection from Jam Jar Investments, Creative Investment Club and dutch Slingshot Ventures.
Launched in August 2019 by life-long friends Freddy Ward (31) and Charlie Bowes-Lyon (31), the London headquartered firm will use the funding to double down on growth, expand product range, drive international expansion and continue to invest in team & tech.
“While most of us are now familiar with using compost bins for food waste, or putting glass, paper and cans in the ‘right’ bin, the bathroom is lagging behind in terms of reducing household landfill.” says Freddy Ward, co-founder of Wild Cosmetics
“Less than 50% of products are recycled, compared with 80% of kitchen products. The famous, legacy personal care brands remain highly invested in single use plastic and refill options are rare – the sector is crying out for revolution.
“We feel the bathroom is going to change radically over the next five years – and packaging has to change. We want to be the company that tries to push everyone forward and challenge the industry norms.”
With their combined experience, the two co-founders are well placed to understand the needs and wants of an eco-conscious consumer, and the opportunities within the direct-to-consumer model.
Ward has first-hand experience of consumer concerns over excess packaging, scrutiny of ingredients and transparent supply chains from his time as Marketing Director at Hello Fresh and Bowes-Lyon achieved considerable commercial success with a previous venture, Climate Cups – a collection of reusable water bottles and drinking cups.
Ward’s experience at HelloFresh led to key insights into consumer trends; “Firstly, there was this sudden change in consumer perception about the wastage and packaging of everyday products they’re using in the home, and the impact that’s having on the environment.
‘It went from being not even noticeable or mentioned – to being a massive issue. In fact, one of the largest we faced as an organisation within six months.
“What I saw is that with even a five year old company, it’s really hard to adapt and change your model to fit this sudden change in how people think. I fundamentally believe that start-ups are a better place to solve these problems.”
“The second trend we’re seeing is that people are thinking more and more about what they’re putting into their body; from what they’re eating, what impact that has, whether it’s vegan.
“They are beginning to realise that some of these products that they use every day are perhaps not as good for them as they might have thought. At the same time, natural alternatives have come a long way in the last five to ten years which gives a really exciting opportunity for people to switch without compromise.”
The result of their endeavour is Wild, a gender neutral line of elegantly designed, beautifully scented, effective natural deodorants perfectly suited to the Instagram generation.
The reusable aluminium case comes in four metallic shades – aqua, purple, coral and silver – colours that recall the latest must-have tech accessory. Made in Bournemouth, the biodegradable deodorant comes in a bamboo pulp refill that’s inserted into the case via a simple twist mechanism.
The cream-based, vegan formula is made with natural botanical oils, butters and waxes and is free from gluten, aluminium, BHT and triclosan and features five lush scent choices driven by its own consumer feedback. It’s a mass premium product that’s extremely user-friendly.
As little as five years ago, plastic packaging barely registered on the consumer conscience.
Today it is front and centre, a credit to the ground-breaking message of the BBC’s Blue Planet II and the ‘Attenborough effect’. 88% of people who watched the award-winning TV series changed their shopping habits as a result.
Where ‘zero waste’ was once only the preserve of the most committed eco-warrior, it now represents an aspirational choice that all individuals can embrace on their own level.
With as much as 80% of the population using deodorant on a daily basis from the age of 16 upwards, a well-loved, trusted deodorant brand like Wild has the potential to capture a consumer for life.
Upcoming launches for late 2020 include three new fragrances, which polled well with the Wild community: Lavender Mist, Cotton Breeze and an autumnal Toffee Apple will join the original line up of Coconut Dreams, Mint Fresh, Rose Blush, Bergamot Rituals and Orange Zest.
A new line of magnesium based, bicarbonate free deodorants formulated for sensitive skin is also on the way.
The future currently looks, and smells, rosy for Wild. “Our product looks better, works just as well and hopefully smells better than your typical deodorant. It’s good for your body and healthier for the planet. It’s really fundamental to how we think about Wild. We want to make sustainability aspirational, appealing and convenient,” concludes Ward.
“There’s huge demand for natural products and we feel pretty confident and when the timing is right, we know there are lots of opportunities in those categories.”