We caught up with Joti & Banasa, recent full time members at Makerversity from the Makers with a Mission cohort.
Hello! Tell us about who you are and what you do?
We are the co-founders of Kṣoṇī. Kṣoṇī is a sustainable body care brand on a mission to extend the eco-mindset from the kitchen to the bathroom via unique, plastic-free packaging. Our aim is to offer consumers the opportunity to access premium & natural bathroom products whilst simultaneously reducing their use of single-use plastics. Ultimately, we want to make a positive impact on the war against plastic waste and embrace the circular economy.
How did it all begin?
We were inspired to start Kṣoṇī together based on our individual experiences tackling plastic waste in our daily lives. For Joti, it was witnessing an immense amount of plastic waste during a dive trip in South East Asia in 2017 after several years working in large consulting firms with huge eco footprints. She returned to the UK with a renewed drive to cut plastic out of her life after seeing first-hand the impact it is having on our beautiful oceans. For Banasa, it was working in health & wellness businesses throughout her career. She observed growing numbers of consumers who wanted to purchase products that made a positive impact on the environment but felt they were lacking in options that actually worked for their diverse bodies or lifestyles. When we first met in 2018, we immediately hit it off and within months had decided we would launch a natural beauty brand together, setting ourselves a huge challenge to launch a 100% plastic-free product, which is no easy feat in the bathroom! From there Kṣoṇī was born.
What are you up to at the moment?
We have just received our first round or prototypes and are getting geared up for testing our MVP. This means producing thousands of units for testing and sampling. We are also working towards launching a crowdfunding campaign early next year.
What inspiration do you channel in your work?
We are inspired to provide consumers with sustainable and high quality products that are as convenient to use as the products they currently have in their bathrooms. Our goal is to make the switch over to plastic-free and natural products as easy and seamless as possible. This is a key factor of consideration in the design and distribution of our product
What are your goals and ambitions for this project / how do you see it evolving?
Our initial goal is a successful launch! It has been such a journey to this point with many “pivots” in business model, strategy and packaging. Beyond that we would like to see our products easily available both in the UK and internationally. We believe both convenience and accessibility are important for people to successfully participate in reducing single use plastic waste . We want Ksoni to be a market leader in providing natural, sustainable and plastic free options for the bathroom.
What drew you to Makerversity?
We were lucky enough to work with Makerversity members Instrument Industries from very early on in the project. Nick and Matt from Instrument invited us to Makerversity for several meetings. From our first visit we knew this was a community we wanted to be a part of. From there we applied for the Makers with a Mission Program, and here we are!
What does having access to Makerversity’s facilities and network offer a company like yours?
For an early stage start-up like ours, being Makerversity members has been invaluable. First and foremost, the opportunity to work alongside a likeminded network of makers is fantastic! We have worked with fellow Makerversity members on critical stages of our product and packaging development. Secondly, having access to office facilities like desks and meeting rooms is far more productive for us than working from home or at coffee shops.
What has been the most satisfying moment of the project so far?
The most satisfying moment of the project so far has to be when we finally (quite recently!) received our prototypes. We spent months changing and finalising our business approach and packaging. Once we finally decided on the humble aluminium can we faced another set of challenges in finding a manufacturing partner that would work with our product and minimum order quantities. We are still working through the manufacturing intricacies but have managed to find a company that has mocked up our packaging – it feels so good to see and feel a physical version of our product at last!
What advice would you give to someone starting up?
Our advice would be “patience is a virtue”, one that will be tested! Things will rarely go as planned and to the schedule you have set. Be prepared to flex, but most importantly ensure that you keep on moving!
What are your plans for the future?
Our main focus is getting ready for our initial launch so we can deliver our product to an audience who has heard us talking about our product for months now! We are working towards launching by the end of 2019.