We, my husband Paul and I, live in Sydney Australia with our two boys, Emerson and Arthur, and Matilda, our beautiful Aussie Shepherd dog. I am originally from the States, I grew up in Boston and New Hampshire, and studied and worked in New York. That’s where I met Paul, who is Western Australian by birth. We started Koala Eco for a couple of reasons. We've always both been passionate nature lovers and committed to protecting the environment. We were constantly on the hunt for safe, affordable, toxin-free cleaning products that not only could make our home smell (naturally) fabulous but would also actually work. But then, after our younger son had a life-threatening health scare as a baby, we started to zero in on a lot of our lifestyle choices, including the cleaning and care products we were using in the family home. We realised we couldn’t find any brands that were natural, safe, and powerful, and that would actually be pleasurable to use. And we felt we couldn't be the only people to feel this way. So we thought, why don’t we do this properly, and start a company to make our own?
What is your goal?
We believe passionately in the capacity of nature to have a positive impact on people’s daily lives and wellbeing. So we want Koala Eco to help people easily bring more nature into their lives (through natural and harm-free products) and to feel better for it as a result. The most important ingredients in our products are the 100% Australian essential oils from native botanicals. We choose these specifically for their mood-enhancing properties and amazing aromas as well as for their amazing natural antibacterial and antiseptic strength. We’re hoping to make Koala Eco globally recognised as a major contributor to the shift in perception of ‘eco-friendly’ products. We want our brand to be a leader in creating public awareness of the beneficial affects of nature exposure and mental wellbeing.
Why do you think Vegan and natural beauty is important?
The fact that animals are not involved in any way is clearly paramount. We wouldn’t be in business if we had to test any of our products on animals. Thankfully, the awareness and availability of plant-based and plant-derived products is increasing world-wide, and people nowadays are able to make much more informed choices. I’d also like to give a shout out to all the researchers, scientists, and brands which are actively engaged in finding home and personal care solutions that do not depend on animal exploitation: this is clever, creative and soul-healing work, which benefits all of us. Ultimately, it means we can use everyday products like cleaners, makeup, personal care items that are much kinder to our skin, lungs, organs and hair. And the feel-good factor isn't just physical. We feel better about ourselves when we know that our choices haven’t harmed animals or the planet.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Everything comes back to our relationship with nature. Nature gives to us all the time. At an immersive, sensory level, closeness to nature brings real cognitive, emotional and psychological benefits, and studies in eco-psychology around the world prove there is a link between nature and wellness. The Transcendentalists (for example, Emerson, Thoreau) believed immersion in nature to be a deeply spiritual and enriching experience, and this is key to what we want Koala Eco to be all about. What’s really exciting is that the more people feel this nature-related wellness, the more they will seek out further connection, leading to positive social and emotional impacts. So ultimately it’s not just about making choices that won’t harm the planet, it’s also about choosing experiences that make us really aware of and intentional in how we are all individually able to contribute to our collective wellbeing. And being close to nature in some way is key to that.
Tips on becoming more sustainable?
Perhaps the most straightforward way is to become more aware of what you are bringing into, and using in your home. Seek out products that do no harm. ‘Do no harm’ is a medical mantra, but it makes sense for ethical shopping too. I don’t want to buy things that will damage us or the environment. So I buy local and choose seasonal produce whenever possible. I would encourage everyone to buy (and buy into) things that are recycled, or recyclable and refillable, and avoid plastic at every opportunity. I keep cloth bags in my car for grocery shopping or any shopping so I always have them and never have to rely on store bags. I avoid plastic water bottles and take my own reusable glass or metal water bottle everywhere. I use stainless steel containers for lunches and leftovers, and our children know never to use drinking straws.
If you have kids, maybe involve them in managing the household recycling; even kids will respond to the responsibility of gathering up all the family’s recyclable materials ready for collection. Use each shopping expedition as a learning opportunity, getting kids to help choose products that are eco-friendly. There will be days when everyone’s tired and nobody wants to cooperate, but try to keep modeling these positive choices.
What are some misconceptions about natural products?
That natural, plant-derived cleaning products are less effective at cleaning and killing germs than ones containing toxic agents. At Koala Eco, we’re definitely on a mission to prove that eco-friendly cleaning products not only match ‘traditional’ ones containing ingredients like bleach, they are way better. As the company founders, Paul and I are the Koala Eco’s original customers, and perhaps the toughest and most demanding! We simply don't go to market with anything that is not totally (and naturally) effective. The aroma you smell when you use our products are the pure fragrances of the essential oils. That’s it. Our products have been tested and proved to kill 99.99 per cent of germs, viruses and bacteria when used as directed. If you are using cleaners several times a day in heavy-use areas of the house or bathroom, isn't it simply better to know that you get the same results, minus breathing in the toxins, with natural, plant-derived, grey-water safe products?