“The support does exist and the values your business has can inspire change in the greater community.”
The Australian based Jack n Jill has been running as a family business for more than 20 years. Frustrated by thelack of natural oral care options for babies and children, the current founders used this as the driving force to create alternative safe products. After having their own child, they were acutely aware of the environmental risks and the harmful additives he was coming into contact with on a daily basis. This inspired them to devise the safest toothpaste formula made from organic ingredients and recyclable packing. Additionally, Jack n Jill have just designed and manufactured their first bio-based toothbrushes made from non CMO cornstarch which allows them to biodegrade. To find out more about the companys ethos and their latest product launch, Emily ODowd spoke to the co-founder, Rachel Bernhaut.
Emily ODowd (EOD): What first inspired you to set up Jack n Jill? (@jacknjill)
Rachel Bernhaut (RB): Having worked in the arts industry for the previous ten years, we were eager to start a business that would contribute in a positive way and challenge us in every way.
Becoming parents was the first challenge! Closely followed by starting a business with high values and a mission statement that didnt allow us to take the easy path to financial success. Choosing to base the ethos of a company on bio-based values is challenging, but very rewarding on many levels.Our first born son refused to use a very expensive and awful tasting tube of Natural Toothpaste, with questionable ingredients and this is where the first seed of Jack N Jill was planted!
EOD: What do you enjoy the most about working in the bio-based industry?
RB: The feeling we are pioneering new research for packaging to help create a war on waste that in the future can hopefully become more widely used by large companies.
EOD: How confident are you that we will see bigger sustainable changes in the next five years?
RB: We are very confident that bigger sustainable changes will occur in the fast-moving consumer goods(FMCG) industry. Manufacturers are constantly being required to challenge pre-existing practices and raw material usage to find new ways to make the same products.
EOD: What are some of the biggest challenges youve faced?
RB:Engaging with our consumers on one hand being supportive of a company that is using biodegradable packaging, but at the same time having the expectation that it will behave and look exactly the same at the plastics they are familiar with using.
EOD: What are some of the latest projects that youve been working on?
RB: We have just released a new adult range of Toothpastes and Toothbrushes called the Natural Family Co. (NFco). Again the Toothbrushes are manufactured using Non GMO Cornstarch and are biodegradable (with recyclable nylon bristles). The packaging is also made of cardboard, with a Cornstarch blister. Creating blister packs from Cornstarch is very challenging as it is inherently not as strong as plastic and can easily crack if not handled correctly. We believe it is worth the effort as the number of plastic toothbrushes purchased per annum globally is at least 3.2 billion (assuming only one brush per person), so the impact from a waste perspective is massive.
EOD: How do you try and engage with new consumer markets?
RB: We focus all our marketing efforts into face to face Expos and Social Media. We blend the old fashioned personal experiencewith the brilliance of technology to spread the word.
EOD: What advice would you give to someone looking to start working in the bio-based space?
RB: Be resilient and prepared to hold on to your values as the project gets challenging, the prices go up and you feel unsure as to where the support for these innovations lies.
The support does exist and the values your business has can inspire change in the greater community.
EOD: Whats your favourite bio-based product aside from your own product range?
RB: Who Gives a Crap an amazing Melbourne based toilet paper company! They use recycled paper and also a premium bamboo paper, offer free delivery on bulk orders and donate and 50% of the profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation for those in need.
Read more about them here:www.jackandjillkids.com
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