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Planeta is a local business that aims to relieve people with rare skin conditions like eczema through non-toxic, chemical-free lotion bars. It seeks to alleviate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #12: Responsible Consumption and Production by integrating innovative plastic-free packaging. Planeta aims to become an accessible alternative to excessive waste consumption for people who wish to positively change their immediate environment.
Planeta is a local business offering alternative lotion bars from expensive, commercial products. These lotion bars benefit people with rare skin conditions like eczema and nourish normal and dry skin types.
The company manufactures the bars in Pasig City, where local government units are committed to integrating a sustainable lifestyle into their day-to-day activities. Every month, Planeta aligns itself with its community’s barangay, San Antonio, and under Planeta Cares (the businesses’ offshoot initiative), they recycle and compost plastics used in the neighborhood.
Moreover, Planeta tackles the worsening condition of single-use plastic packaging in immediate communities. By using Planeta's products, consumers alternatively shift from using plastic and prove that they can change the way products are manufactured and packaged.
According to Maika, the owner, and founder, the idea behind Planeta consists of two parts - struggling with eczema and getting involved with environmental issues. As Maika mentioned, “Eczema is an inborn skin condition where one lacks a barrier to their skin, leading to their skin being more irritable than others.”
“As a kid, I would always place lotions on those spots, but these were usually expensive,” she added. Maika got more involved with environmental issues when she started living independently around two years ago. She started thinking about implementing a zero-waste lifestyle since she had more agency on where her money goes. While this was happening, she realized that there were no affordable, zero-waste products for eczema, which led her to make her own. “Initially, I started by searching how to make lotion bars, and, later on, people began asking me about it. Since many kept asking, I decided to start selling, which led me to convert this project to my online business,” Maika narrates.
Even if the business caters to selling products for eczema, Maika ensures that parts of her zero-waste lifestyle are integrated into the way she runs her business. “Some systems that I include zero-waste in the business are reusing paper bags for packaging, using corn or plant-based mailers, shipping items in bulk, and sourcing local natural ingredients so that I can help local farmers out too. Overall, my goal is to make a change in the online sustainable store scene through my actions,” she mentioned.
After starting the venture, the impacts of the innovations the business used were clear. We can view the short-term effects from three perspectives within the short term -- the business, societal, and environmental perspectives. On the business side, the costs for ingredients were reduced thanks to Maika’s choice of sourcing local and natural ingredients, thus reducing additional costs from chemicals. Her choice to use bulk shipping and recycle plastics also helps her reduce her delivery costs compared to normal operations. On the societal side, Maika has created a cheaper alternative to help treat a skin condition that is a nuisance to others at a much lower cost. Customers can now seek relief at much lower prices, a win for both the business and the user. Lastly, the zero-waste lifestyle methodologies incorporated into the business help lower costs and reduce Planeta’s carbon footprint.
We also asked Maika about her plans for the long term, given the state of her business. “I want to continue investing time to help the business grow. I don’t want this to be just a project that follows the current trends,” she replied. She envisions herself having distributors and doing everything she can to keep sustainable practices relevant. “I hope that within 5-10 years, people will move from their current understanding and improve sustainability, environmental awareness, and daily life in general,” she explained. With her tried and tested methodology and her customers’ feedback, Planeta is well on its way to continue innovating and changing the online sustainable store scene.
Through Planeta’s active advocating for climate action, the business connects with like-minded individuals and groups that help contribute to their cause. By pursuing truly sustainable practices for their business model, Planeta was able to have excellent customer retention.
Because sustainability is a growing trend among consumers and their lotion bars work better than commercial products, Planeta has touched the lives of those who have similar experiences and are looking for the same solutions. Those who come across Planeta consciously patronize the brand, its products, and initiatives as they genuinely believe in them. Maika shared, “A customer said that my products actually work for them, and they work even better than commercial brands.” That is one reason why her customers stay loyal to her brand.
According to Safeguard, 2 to 3 out of 10 children suffer from eczema in the Philippines. As a person living with eczema, Maika shared how challenging it was to follow a sustainable lifestyle. "My skin condition requires me to use specific products that would help in easing its effects. However, it is not always easy to find highly effective products that use sustainable packaging." The beauty industry generates around 120 billion units of packaging every year. With Planeta’s innovation of selling lotion bars that are greatly zero-waste, Maika helps individuals with the same condition and the environment.
From start to finish producing Planeta’s lotion bars, Maika ensures that the ingredients are locally sourced, and the finished product is wrapped in reused and reusable packaging. Maika states that "her business strays away from harmful chemicals and the use of plastics." Through this, Planeta provides quality skincare products for those with eczema while reducing plastic waste.
Also, Planeta contributes to the welfare of society and the environment through their active collaboration on initiatives with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as Bokashi Pinoy Composting, Local Government Units (LGUs) like Barangay San Antonio, and other concerned individuals and groups with the same advocacies. Planeta sets a great example of how a business can succeed while having a heart for the people and the environment.
Ana Mikaela Samson, Owner