Natalie's Playground: Changing the world with every shower
TAGS: ECO ENTREPRENEUR I HANDMADE
''Our inner self is asking for less, and if we have the balls we can distinguish between what is nice to have and what is a real value. For me, it’s about letting go, living slowly, minimising and being happy.'' Natalie (and her friend Mar) created an inspiringly rebellious eco-business Terrorist of Beauty👇
Once upon a time …
.. 2 girls, Natalie and Mar were sitting on their terrace drinking wine and discussing the suffocating plastic around them. They wondered if something as small as natural & plastic-free soaps can change all this and challenge the current beauty industry. They had other ideas before, but something stuck with this one and one sleepless night Natalie got an idea to call it Terrorists of beauty! Mar said: This is totally crazy, but we have to do it! They started experimenting after work with soaps, set up a webshop... and (only) 6 months later they opened for customers!
What helped you open your business so fast?
Two things. Firstly, I had previous experience with other startups. This meant I knew how to make a roll-out plan, set up a company and what are the financial and legal aspects we had to secure. I’ve also had a juice company before, and I was familiar with particularities such as packaging and design of the physical products.
The second factor was that we set a strict focus and acted only on what is truly necessary and important! It meant that we left out everything which would slow us down, or for which we couldn't find a solution right away. Apart from this, we’ve made a silly deadline to open by Xmas, because we believed this was the perfect time when people will have the willingness to change. With this deadline in mind, we made calls based on speed. For eg. in how to fund our company, despite what I would normally advise someone to do, we decided to go for the legal form which was riskier but fast-tracked.
What did you learn about yourself through your business?
A lot! Firstly, it’s about how much creativity, power and imagination you have when you see the purpose in what you are doing. With our natural soaps, we wanted to make something that would become a different approach to life. We wondered if disrupting the way people behave in their bathrooms would trigger changes in other parts of their lives. For eg., if you have a plastic-free natural soap next to your tetra pack milk, will it make you think to go for a vegan alternative.
Another lesson I learned is that every day you have to jump into the cold water. There is so much you don't know, and you have to teach it to yourself. Additionally, when you are a business of two people, you need to take roles and responsibilities you wouldn’t think of. For eg. even though I never thought I would be working with excels and finances I am the one responsible for our business controlling. So nearly everything is possible if you have the willingness to approach it.
What brings a smile when you think about your business?
I feel free when I do it. Besides the idea that I create an impact, it is also about doing my job where I want, when and how I want to. When we started Terrorists of Beauty we agreed not to have an investor. We wanted the freedom to make our own decisions, and make sustainable decisions in alignment with our values. For eg., in choosing suppliers we decided to eliminate plastic from our chain supply even if it is more expensive.
This fall we had a discussion and decided to throw away our classic goals! It is because we don't want these numbers to dictate how we do our business.
There is something about how numbers make you become very hard, stiff and against yourself. We agreed that in the end, we want to make this world a more beautiful place and that if we in our lives don’t live this, then we are the counter-example of what we want to bring. So our goal focuses on inner happiness, and we hope that this goal will have a chain effect on our employees and our customers too.
This philosophy is about what is the core of our lives and we want to lead our business in that way too.
What is a mistake you made & how do you see it now?
There were no mistakes really, just decisions that changed the course of our business. At one point, there was an opportunity to be featured in a big retail chain. But in order to take it, we had to sacrifice a lot of our values. So in the end we voted against it. You could argue that in this way impact would have been more widely spread and that in this sense someone could say it was a mistake. For us, it was the right decision.
What do you think the world needs more of?
We need more consciousness, living in the moment and appreciating what we have now (and not what we don’t have). Everything we need is within ourselves, our friends and family. This idea of more, more, more is consumerism triggered machine, and I think it’s part of the old world. What we need more of is realizing that we need less!
How can we help support that?
We can look at what steers our decisions: why are we thinking about a new project, why are we going on holiday on the other side of the world, and what or who is triggering this. Is it myself or an expectation put on me by society, friends or even Instagram? I believe that our inner self is usually asking for less and if we have the balls we can distinguish between what is nice to have and what is a real value. For me, it’s about letting go, living slowly, minimising and being happy.
What do you wish I asked?
What is my vision for the future with Terrorist of beauty?
I believe in a repair economy. It means not extracting resources, but giving back or repairing what was damaged by other companies and society in the past years. For eg. we have been living on the island of Ikaria for one year now, and a few months ago we started a recycling program of plastic bottles which were previously dumped in the landfill. We want to use it to up-cycle and create soap holders or surfboard fins. We are also considering purchasing land to start a permaculture project and for eg. have olive oil for our soaps. We are currently exploring and want long-run solutions. And I am dreaming of being an example of a company that can be both profitable and do good for the planet and society despite the super-competitive world.
P.S. Follow their revolution @terroristsofbeauty.
P.S.S. Do you need less procrastination and more connection? Check if Playground is for you.