An Aussie family business is helping to make plastic bottles a thing of the past — by rolling out shampoos and conditioners in the form of a bar of soap.
Eco-friendly business Shampoo With A Purpose has done away with liquid shampoos and conditioners and instead created a range of solid forms, then combines both hair care products into a single bar that looks like a standard bar of soap.
Rather than plastic, the Australian-made bars are individually packaged in a recycled cardboard box, with the business stating that each bar removes the need for as many as six plastic bottles of liquid shampoo and conditioner.
Shampoo With A Purpose has also tried to use healthier ingredients for both its customers and the environment, by not using palm oil or sulphates.
The brand was created as an offshoot of soap mill Clover Fields, operated by Geneva Valek and her mother, Liz.
Ms Valek said the product has taken “many years” to get market-ready.
“Decades ago, our founder Liz [my mum] released a men’s range called Head To Toe, which featured a body bar, a shave bar and a shampoo bar. Over the last few years, we’ve seen an influx in demand for eco-friendly, limited-packaging product, so it quickly became a priority for us to create an alternative to plastic-bottled hair care that improved on the product we made decades prior,” she told My Business.
“It took years of trial and testing to get to what we have today — which is a mild, high-foaming shampoo and conditioner combo bar that is vegan, cruelty-free, sustainable and palm oil-free.”
According to Ms Valek, hers is the first business to “create soap-free shampoo bars on French triple-milling soap machinery, which essentially gives our bars the structure and integrity of a high-quality soap bar but without the soap!”.
She said that all of the products are manufactured in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith, with an early version first launched in August 2017.
However, Ms Valek said they were “quickly flooded” with orders, and so launched the full range in the latter part of last year.
Eliminating plastic packaging
They estimate that since its 2017 launch, their product has saved “somewhere over 400,000 plastic bottles” from being used, which are energy intensive to make and often aren’t recycled properly if at all.
Asked why they opted to create a new brand instead of roll out the product under their established business name, Ms Valek said they had wanted to give the eco-friendly product range “a sense of separation”.
“[It] gave us room to do something fresh and new with an alternative target demographic,” she explained.
“After 37 years in business, it’s always a good idea to brighten things up, and the refreshing young image has done wonders for our reach and the alternative look has opened us up to a new market.”
What about culture shock?
But the burning question My Business has for the mother and daughter duo was how they are breaking down the cultural perception that shampoos and conditioners need to come in liquid form.
“Oddly enough, the educational marketing around our product doesn’t really have to focus on breaking it down — the concept of solid hair care is interesting and innovative enough that customers are always intrigued and ready to try it,” Ms Valek said.
“Who wouldn’t want to replace six bottles of shampoo and conditioner with one little bar?”
She added: “We’re in an age where customers are more willing to try new things when they know they are reducing their impact on the environment, and that has really worked in our favour. Luckily enough, our current success is built on repeat customers who just can’t get enough, so we know we must be doing something right!”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.