Prettier than Just Cosmetics

The Australian Natural Soap Company

12. Responsible Consumption and Production 15. Life on Land 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

The Australian Natural Soap Company is a retail business that specialises in the creation of cosmetic products. Proudly, The Australian Natural Soap Company is committed to enabling their customers to live sustainably, easily. They are focused on providing natural and environmentally friendly products that produce zero waste and are plastic free.

Author

Sophie Houghton

Sophie Houghton

School

Monash University

Monash University

Professor

Gitanjali Bedi

Gitanjali Bedi

Innovation

Born from a deep desire for change, The Australian Natural Soap Company is proudly working to actively transform the cosmetic industry. Armoured with a mission to protect the planet, The Australian Natural Soap Company is focused on providing a wide range of natural and environmentally friendly products. More specifically, The Australian Natural Soap Company’s is committed to safeguarding the environment through the reduction of harmful toxins and plastic use.

Their authentic nature and unapologetic boldness in who they are as a business is what makes The Australian Natural Soap Company so unique. For this reason, The Australian Natural Soap Company proudly produces products that wholeheartedly represent themselves as a business. How many companies out there operate like this? Not many, for sure.

From humble beginnings, in a home kitchen, The Australian Natural Soap Company has been able to design, create and manufacture a multitude of successful vegan and biodegradable cosmetic products that are proudly palm oil, detergent, parable and cruelty free, as well as often truly plastic free. Ultimately, as a company The Australian Natural Soap Company is moving away from the development of traditional cosmetic products and moving towards the production of environmentally responsible goods. For this reason, The Australian Natural Soap Company successfully supports the shared agenda of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, The Australian Natural Soap Company’s business model is serving to solve the SDGs of responsible consumption and production, life on land and partnership with the goals.

Prettier than Just Cosmetics

Inspiration

Emma Cook, the Founder and Director of The Australian Natural Soap Company accredits her inspiration for creating The Australian Natural Soap Company to a number of varied personal goals and desires she was wishing to fulfil.

She stated in her interview that her primary inspirations came from the revelation of the toxic and harmful ingredients commonly used in cosmetic products. She said that “my husband is a doctor, and so he does a lot of on-call work, he is constantly going back and forth from home and work, and every time he would go to the hospital he would have a shower. He noticed he was getting irritated skin through ingredients such as palm oil and strong detergents. So, we started looking into it and we were like, hang on, why are we putting these toxic ingredients in our products and on our bodies? It’s fine to be putting antibacterial ingredients in hospitals, but when you come home do you really need to keep using harmful products on your body like that?”

Additionally, Emma also indicated in her interview that inspiration for establishing The Australian Natural Soap Company came from the devastation she had seen from palm oil in Indonesia. She stated that “for me personally, I have spent a lot of time in Indonesia and I have been to Borneo and Sumatra and seen the devastation of palm oil there. I thought to myself, no, this can’t be the case, there has to be an alternative to palm oil because it really is only being used because it is a cheap product, at least that’s my thinking and so I really wanted to create a soap that was palm oil free”.

In a similar manner, Emma also specified in her interview that the excessive use of plastic in modern cosmetic products was another form of inspiration. She said the following on the topic “I suppose another thing is, that once you start looking into skin care, for us at least, I started asking myself just why do we have all these products in our bathrooms, all these plastic containers of eye cream, cleanser, shampoo and more. All these things, when really, fundamentally all you need is a good cleanser and moisturiser. That’s also been another driving force for us, trying to reduce the amount of plastic in everyday living”.

Overall impact

The Australian Natural Soap Company is having a great effect on the cosmetic industry. In specific, they are showcasing an easily replicable and scalabe process of producing natural, environmental and ethically sound cosmetic goods.

Additionally, The Australian Natural Soap Company is having an impressive effect on the natural environment through the reduction of plastic use, harmful toxins and damaging ingredients. As such, it is evidently clear that The Australian Natural Soap Company is strongly committed to helping achieve the SDGs that their business has partnered with.

What is more, is that The Australian Natural Soap Company is demonstrating how local businesses who operate within a niche market can not only survive, but thrive. Though the mission seemed impossible. and the road appeared narrow Emma has proven that a desire for change and ambition can conquer all difficulties. Ultimately, Emma has shown that humble beginnings can flourish into a profitable and successful business.

Business benefit

The Australian Natural Soap Company is a for-profit business that has currently been operating for five years, as such, they are still a relatively new company. Nonetheless, they have managed to become profitable in this short amount of time and have learned some vital and valuable lessons through the trial and error process.

Emma stated in her interview that “I suppose for us we have always worked with going grass roots and trial and error. Originally, we set out just making soaps, and a lot of the products we started out with haven’t stood the test of time. We were quite adamant that very early on we would get into the markets and start selling our products. We really went for it…we went out there in a very small environment and learnt early on what the demands were from the customers. That’s where we started to work out what our products were and I think that’s allowed us to then not waste as much money.” As such, it can be seen that The Australian Natural Soap Company has benefited greatly from conducting proper market research and analyses.

In addition, Emma also spoke about how changing their original objective to “go retail” has benefited their business. Emma stated that “initially we wanted to go retail, so we opened shops, we still have two shops…we have one in the city and one in South Melbourne market. Over the years though we have become much more of a wholesale-based business, so now we generally just make our product and sell it through a distributor. That wasn’t our original intention, I suppose we looked at ourselves being more like Lush, but that hasn’t happened because retail these days is very tricky and it’s very expensive to go that route.” Emma stated that adapting to the current state of retail has allowed The Australian Soap Company to save money as well as reach a greater consumer base/range.

Social and environmental benefit

The Australian Natural Soap Company is proud to benefit not only the broader society, but the environment as well. When contemplating how The Australian Natural Soap Company has benefited the wider society, it is clear that their company has played a meaningful role in helping change society’s approach to sustainable living.

Emma stated in her interview that “when we first started, one of our first products was our shampoo bar and it used to be positioned at the back of the shop. People would look at it and go, why would you want to put a shampoo bar in your hair? Fast forward five years and it’s now one of our most popular products…So, I suppose I would like to think that we have had an impact on shifting society’s perspective on sustainability and have helped enable customers to take really easy steps to reduce plastic.”

In regards to how The Australian Natural Soap Company is positively impacting the environment, it is evident that “trying to reduce the amount of plastic in everyday living”, as Emma eloquently stated, is a driving force for their company. Emma furthermore stated that “The Australian Natural Soap Company is proud to say that we most often are able to create products that are truly plastic free. This is what we are wanting to sell more in our story, is that from the raw ingredients to the final product it doesn’t touch plastic at all. Which for us, is an awesome goal of ours. So, I suppose the environmental impact is a huge amount of plastic is being reduced as well as raising awareness of palm oil as well."

Similarly, Emma also spoke about their businesses product partnership with the Orangutan Project. She stated that “we also did take the step a few years ago to have a product partnership with the Orangutan Project. We have helped raise tens of thousands of dollars with them, and that has allowed us to help a lot of orangutans be released back into the wild."

Interview

Emma Cook, Founder and Director

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The Australian Natural Soap Company

The Australian Natural Soap Company

Melbourne, Victoria, AU

Business Website: https://www.theaustraliannaturalsoapcompany.com.au

Year Founded: 2013

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

The Australian Natural Soap Company is a local Australian retail business that carefully designs and manufactures environmentally responsible cosmetic products. As such, The Australian Natural Soap Company proudly provides products that are palm oil, detergent, paraben, cruelty and plastic free.