Baresop founder Prisca Ongonga-Daehn was told “it’s not possible” many times in the early development of her debut beauty and personal care product. But the three-time startup founder refused to give up. She had a vision for a product range that would reduce waste, be good for the planet, and be “waterless”, which proved to be the trickiest part.
However, her persistence paid off and Baresop officially launched in November last year, following a sell-out pilot with their planet-friendly, powdered hand wash formula.
“This is the future of personal care,” says Prisca proudly. “Sustainability is at the top of the agenda for the beauty industry and we’re proud to be a leader in this space."
A product putting the planet first, the hand wash uses all-natural ingredients, comes in a compostable sachet with additional packaging made from recycled waste, and is made entirely in Australia which ensures the minimisation of carbon consumption.
“The impact of COVID-19 last year really solidified my vision to make it all Australian-made, regardless of cost,” explains Prisca. “In a post-pandemic world, it just makes sense.”
It’s this market-leading mindset, commitment to doing good and dedication to innovation that saw Baresop — along with four other Australian startups — win a 2021 Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant, valued at over $200,000.
Amazon Launchpad is Amazon’s program to help startups and entrepreneurs grow their business online. It helps with inventory management, order fulfilment, customer service, and marketing support, allowing brands to focus their efforts on the innovation that results in more unique products.
“We’re so excited about this,” she says. “To have a service like Amazon Australia behind you, supporting you, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become part of a community that will propel us to a level we never even thought possible.”
Prisca is most excited about having access to Amazon Australia’s experts and industry mentorship: “Mentorship from Amazon Australia is something that’s truly invaluable. It’s long-term value that comes in the form of learning, knowledge and support.”
The $20,000 cash grant element of the prize she plans to put towards expanding the product range, which includes a body wash scheduled to be released this month, followed by a face cleanser, shampoo and conditioner, later in the year.
With aspirations to become the “preferred personal care brand across Australia, and then the world” and a vision that sees Baresop in schools, universities, homes, offices, and even planes and cruise ships, Prisca says the grant will give her the boost she needs to fulfil her dreams.
“In our first year of launch we want to divert one million single-use plastic bottles from Australian landfill,” she says. “In five years we want to make that one billion.
“This is so much bigger than me. If this is the last thing I do, I’m going to do it and do it well. Brands don’t have to choose between profit and purpose — it’s not a case of one or the other. You really can be profitable and do amazing things for the planet and humanity at the same time.”
Check out Baresop and other Amazon Launchpad Innovation Grant Winners - here