Coconut Matter was founded in 2015 by Diane van Zwanenberg, who left the world of finance to develop a personal care brand as a platform for sharing sustainable values.
“Our brand is a mission-driven brand… and I have a very simple mission: to transform your bathroom into a plastic-free bathroom” said van Zwanenberg.
The company offers a line of natural personal care products, from deodorant to lip and hand balms, in plastic-free packaging.
Its best-selling natural deodorant is currently available in biodegradable paper tube packaging.
However, the company is currently phasing them out in favor of a new compostable paper tube as it aims to become a circular beauty brand.
“My goal is that when a customer is done with one of my products, they don’t have to send it to a recycling plant… Asia is not like Europe where recycling facilities are very common. Ideally, I would like to create products that decompose on their own, safely buried in your own backyard. This is the ideal solution, but it takes time to get there. We are committed to it and we will continue to look for new solutions ”, said van Zwanenberg.
As sustainable packaging and ingredient choices have improved since the brand’s launch six years ago, van Zwanenberg told us she still struggles to find solutions that align with the vision. brand circular.
“A lot of times you can have this concept, but you have to find the people who do it. Most of the time, many of them are not used for the cosmetics industry, so sometimes you have to cross industries to find this solution.
For its latest compostable deodorant paper tube, the company had to compromise on certain features. For example, because the paper is coated with an oil rather than a plastic laminate, which makes it less resistant to wear.
“Although it still has some form of protection, the color [of the packaging] will scrub more easily and stains will not wash off as well. I think we’re going to receive a lot of complaints about this.
van Zwanenberg is no stranger to consumers quibbling over the packaging of the brand’s paper products.
“Honestly, a lot of customers say they like our product but they ‘hate’ the paper packaging… There are a lot of complaints and I’ve lost customers because of it. But at least we’re having this conversation with the consumer. This gives us the opportunity to tell them that even if the paper is different, you will do good for the environment.
Despite this, van Zwanenberg is still determined to use paper-based packaging materials.
“There are times when I get frustrated, especially during formulation. If I didn’t use paper it would be better for the stability of the product, the ingredients would be easier. But the brand was born with the intention of sharing social and environmental values ”, she says.
“Obviously, it’s more work. It forces us to spend more time with our clients. I guess in the end we realized that imperfection is fine. It’s something that I don’t think big brands can handle. “
Despite the complaints, sales of its natural deodorant continued to increase year on year. Since its launch six years ago, the company has produced about 10 times more of its deodorant. It has also spread across the world to America, South America, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates and Southeast Asia.
Work on the future
As of now, its deodorant paper tube packaging has undergone at least seven iterations and van Zwanenberg said he will continue to work to improve it.
“Deodorant is our flagship product, so we want to push the boundaries as much as possible because it represents us. We may not be pushing as hard for our other products, but that’s because we don’t have the capital and our team is also very small.
In the future, the company plans to launch more personal care products and is focused on developing waterless formulas.
“Less water means less packaging, less logistical waste, so there are many reasons to go without water. Some of our products are waterless and we will continue to research how we can create products such as shampoos, conditioners, waterless soaps… All of these will be exciting to work with.