Many people talk about doing something positive for the planet, but few actually act on it.
Husband and wife team Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson of Koala Eco were searching for non-toxic cleaning products to create the healthiest home possible for their two young boys, Emerson and Arthur. They quickly realised that what they were looking for didn’t exist – and soon it wasn’t just their own home they were concerned about, but the negative impact of many mainstream cleaning products more broadly. So, they decided to do something about it!
The result is Koala Eco – an impeccable range of non toxic home care and personal care products which harness the natural antiseptic qualities of Australian plants, such as Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemon Scented Iron Bark, Lemon Myrtle, peppermint, lavender and rosemary.
Working out of their home in Sydney, or with their team at their Edgecliff office, Jess and Paul are at the core of the business. ‘I like to describe us as the company’s first and most demanding customers!’ laughs Jess. They are so passionate about their products, the ingredients they use and the ethos of doing good. And in every element of their business, transparency is key.
We caught up with them to learn a little more about the ‘super power’ of Koala Eco!
Can you tell us a little about the development of Koala Eco?
It took us about two years to get to a point where we were ready to launch. We did a lot of research and started working carefully with a local chemist and lab to test and create our products. We found local suppliers who could guarantee the essential oils to be 100% pure and Australian. Developing the formulas took the most amount of time.
We’re now making personal care products too, so we have diversified a little, but we remain committed to our original purpose of making safe, effective and divinely-smelling natural products that work.
Can you breakdown the process of creating a Koala Eco product?
We think about the basics, both in terms of ingredients, and in terms of need. What is most useful in a typical home? What’s missing from the range that would make a busy family household or working environment safer, cleaner and healthier? What mainstream cleaning product can a Koala Eco product replace, so that a customer never goes back to something toxic?
Once we’ve figured that out (and we have several products in development on the go at a time) we turn to the main ingredients: the native plants that naturally produce some of the most effective cleansers and healers. The ‘super-power’ of our products comes from the 100% pure essential oils from the bark and leaves of trees and plants like Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemon Scented Iron Bark, Lemon Myrtle, peppermint, lavender and rosemary. We also use essential oil extracted from the peel of citrus species like grapefruit and mandarin. These all have incredible natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
Unless Paul and I are totally happy with the product right through its development, then it won’t go into production. Koala Eco products have to be biodegradable, and eco-friendly, and they also have to be able to clean effortlessly, removing bacteria, disinfecting and deodourising. If our ingredients can’t be sourced from native Australian plants, then we won’t use them.
The design aspect, the ‘look’ of our products and website is incredibly important. Our labels use beautiful botanical illustrations of the plants we use, which are done by a wonderful botanical artist especially for us.
Incidentally, we use rPET (recycled plastic) bottles, so we’re not creating more plastic, and all our packaging is recyclable.
How would you explain the Koala Eco ethos, and what do you hope to achieve?
It comes straight from who we are as people, what we aspire to do and be. We don’t want to use or do anything that harms our loved ones or the planet, and we want to be transparent about this. We’re making products that have been developed from nature for nature, and we think we’re offering people a really strong and alternative to the usual choices.
Quite simply, we want Koala Eco products to make people eliminate toxic cleaners and live cleaner, healthier and more planet-friendly lives in home and work environments that—chemically-speaking at least—are way safer.
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting Koala Eco?
Firstly, it’s been to put our ideas and aspirations into reality: instead of feeling helpless, actually to do something (and help others to do something) about looking after the planet and making safer choices. And we’ve really enjoyed this purpose, because we know that we are trying our hardest to make a difference, and if Koala Eco has shown us anything, it’s that we are far from alone in wanting to do this.
Engaging with and serving those communities—customers, suppliers, stockists, supporters, environmental champions and educators and so on—has been the other most rewarding thing about Koala Eco.
Shop Koala Eco’s range of non-toxic cleaning and home care products here!
Koala Eco co-founders Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson at their home office in Sydney. Photo – Alisha Gore.
Koala Eco HQ at Jess and Paul’s house. Photo – Alisha Gore.
Koala Eco’s ‘Natural Hand and Surface Spray‘. Photo – Alisha Gore.
Paul reviews new packaging designs. Photo – Alisha Gore.
Jess at her home office in Sydney. Photo – Alisha Gore.
A range of the Koala Eco products developed over the last few years. Photo – Alisha Gore.
Australian botanicals are at the core of the Koala Eco brand. Photo – Alisha Gore.
Koala Eco products are both gentle and effective! Photo – Alisha Gore.
Photo – Alisha Gore.
Koala Eco co-founders Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson. Photo – Alisha Gore.
Botanical illustrations have been specifically commissioned for Koala Eco products. Photo – Alisha Gore.