As you know it, UrbanMeisters is always looking for new talents, innovative ideas and promising projects for the environment. We already talked to you about Common Good in the US, but we were waiting for something in France… It’s now done ! At only 31 years old, Cyril left a nice marketing job in a big company to start a brand selling an ecological washing liquid: Les Petits Bidons (The Small Cans). He developed an efficient formula which respects the environment, the skin, the clothes and the machines. We now give him the mic, not without emotion, since he is a former colleague of our founder Mirela !
Why did you leave everything?
When I finished my business school (Audencia), I started working at L’Oréal where I worked for 5 years. I was first a salesman, then worked in the marketing department for a cosmetic brand which was sold in pharmacy.
I then accepted a job at Danone, seduced by the way they communicated about the health and wellbeing of their consumers. After two years in the group, I needed fresh air and a true purpose!
So I decided to stop working and tried to focus on what I truly loved. I realised that what I really wanted was to have a positive impact and to go in the good direction, essentially regarding my environmental impact. Quickly, came the idea of creating my own business to do good around me.
Why an ecological washing liquid?
By chance I happened to try making a DIY washing liquid, driven by friends who bought “The Zero Waste Family” (written by Bénédicte Moret and Jérémie Pichon, Editor Thierry Soucar, 2016) and had tried it themselves. Because I had free time, I tried some recipes I found on the Internet. I tried about 30 of them, I was like a kid playing with chemistry in my kitchen to find the most effective one. And the idea started to grow. A brand of ecological washing liquid, transparent and efficient. It was exactly what I wanted to do and it didn’t exist yet!
When I came up with the perfect formula, I went to seen suppliers. I met a very committed soap maker who had been working with natural products for years. It was a very meaningful encounter and he decided to join me in the adventure. We discussed about homemade recipes and he made me realize that they could leave some sediment and damage the machine… And I didn’t want to reduce their lifespan! So I started working with him and his team in December around 4 major issues: efficiency, respect of the environment, respect of the skin and respect of the machine. The formula is almost finished, we are really close from what we were looking for. It is 99% made of natural ingredients.
Your brand is different from what we’re used to with ecological products. The packaging is very attractive, was it important fo you ?
Yes My objective is to do something ecological but also attract as many people as possible. I want to put an end to this sad marketing around ecology. I don’t want people to thing they are punished for buying green. For example, we worked a lot on the smell, with a specialist in Grasse, France. One of our products is fragrance free but four others have 100% natural perfumes: lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus and white flowers. They are very different from usual chemicals perfumes, they are lighter and definitely better for your skin!
In general, many things can still be improved. The marketing is still too often triggering the housewife for example, with very basic campaigns. Nobody likes doing the laundry, but let’s try making it a little funnier!
You started a crowdfunding campaign which ends on April the 8th. Why this choice?
I wanted to stay free in my project to respect my transparency commitment. I am not totally rejecting the idea of an investor or a bank to help me, but I need someone I can trust to respect my beliefs. I started with my own funds but to start the production of 2500 bottles to obtain the certifications I needed more money. I think this kind of product is perfect for a crowdfounding. I started my campaign on April the 25th on Tudigo. By goal if 20000 euros. I am also part of a contest by the bank Société Générale and Tudigo which could help me get 4000 euros more. I already have really great feedbacks!
What kind of feedbacks?
I had a lot of positive comments but also many questions, especially about the choice of a plastic bottle for the packaging. I want to be transparent, so I’m not going to lie: the bottle is 100% recyclable but not made of recycled plastic. It is a major concern for me. Today, sadly, I don’t produce enough to afford recycled plastic bottles. But as soon as it is possible it is our number one priority change. The brand is still small but I’m trying to do the best I can in all transparency.
What are the next steps ?
For now the 2500 first bottles, with a few of them being part of the rewards for my contributors. With the rest, I’ll be able to have my products in stores! And next, what if we saw bigger than just the washing liquid?
How can we help you ?
The two major steps are our crowdfunding (which ends in a few days):
And we also would benefit from your vote here (you can vote everyday) in the contest !
We trust you to help Cyri with his project! With his crowdfunding you can earn presents like a product, seeds, or even special moments with the team. Your turn !