In July 2019, lifelong friends Freddy Ward, former Marketing Director at meal-kit company HelloFresh, and Charlie Bowes-Lyon, Founder of sustainable coffee cup company Climate Cups, came together to launch an ambitious personal care brand.
They spotted a gap in the market for a forward-thinking brand that could both deliver effective products and tackle the plastic crisis. Putting their heads together, they created a cruelty-free, vegan deodorant using yeast extract to make the sweating process odourless, rather than inhibiting it like many aluminium-based antiperspirants do.
Freddy Ward (far left), Charlie Bowes-Lyon (far right)
Since lockdown, Wild has witnessed a great uptake. "We've seen a trend in people taking more care of their bodies and being more aware of what they're putting on their skin," says Freddy. It's also been a low-risk time to switch deodorants and give natural a try. "So, customers have been up for giving it a go and have been pleasantly surprised by the results," he says.
Although there was "a lot of uncertainty" at the start of the coronavirus crisis, says Freddy, with much of their supply chain shutting down overnight, their Direct to Consumer business model has helped them not only stay afloat, but thrive during the pandemic.
In April, the brand went global. It rolled out its 100% biodegradable deodorant refills and reusable aluminum cases, available to purchase on a flexible subscription basis or as a one-off payment.
Cutting out the middleman, and bypassing any third-party retailers or wholesalers, Wild has benefitted from selling directly to end customers. "Fortunately for us, a lot of people moved online during lockdown and were looking for brands who could deliver straight to their homes," he says.
As one of the first direct to consumer deodorants, the team were able to quickly fulfill that demand, allowing them to grow at a much faster rate than anticipated. As potential new customers moved online, "It gave us more time to tell our story – for example, through Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat – and explain the benefits of the product. That's really helped us grow the market and appeal of the brand, and it's been great," he says.
Being immersed in Workspace's business-focused environment at China Works, the former Royal Doulton factory in Vauxhall, allowed the pair to grow their start-up flexibly in the early days. Now, as their team has increased by three since COVID-19, it has meant moving up to a bigger office within Workspace. The ability to do this easily has been a big benefit.
"We're trying to build something quite disruptive," says Freddy. "So being able to scale up within the Workspace community as we expand is very attractive to us."
Being in a start-up means embracing that rollercoaster journey. A big part of that is sharing those highs and lows with the team, says Freddy. "That's why we're really excited to get back to the office and be together. Recently, we've had to hire and onboard people remotely which has been strange and we miss that face-to-face interaction."
"We'll go back a couple of days a week to start with and just make sure everyone's comfortable. Fingers crossed there are no further issues with COVID and we can get back to normality, which would be good."
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Find helpful and up-to-date resources in our Back to Business hub to navigate your business through COVID-19 and beyond. Prepare to return to your Workspace office with these seven expert tips on getting back to the office safely.