In this week's #cleanbeautyspotlight we're featuring Pooja, Founder of booni doon and mastermind behind the innovative CALM Cleansing Capsules - a zero waste cleanser. Pooja was inspired by climate change activism happening around the world, and began researching was she could minimize her environmental footprint. When it came to swapping out her personal care products, she realized how difficult it really was to make the swaps when it came to the beauty industry. And booni doon was born!
What values do you have that you believe you carried into your brand and company?
I used to be hyper-focused on achievements and needing to be 'right', which is truly counterproductive, not to mention exhausting. Now, I've been focusing my energy more on appreciating progress, over perfection. My personal value of 'acceptance' is core to who we are as a brand. It is important to me that booni doon isn’t a brand that judges or preaches about sustainability.
In fact, since starting booni doon, I’ve received countless messages on how being low waste or zero waste is unattainable or intimidating, so we started an interview series profiling members of our Instagram community. We show that sustainability can be incorporated in smaller ways and that it is fine to be #ImperfectlySustainable. Looking beyond being a zero waste skincare brand, our larger mission is highlighting how everyone’s path to a more sustainable life looks a bit different and encouraging them to continue that journey.
What inspired booni doon?
Inspired by climate activism, I wanted to change my personal consumption habits and specifically reduce the amount of waste that came along with my self-care routine. I began switching to more sustainable products, but was frustrated that many of those products weren’t scientifically developed or didn’t incorporate advancements in formulation technology. I didn’t want to disregard science and innovation in skincare just to reduce my environmental impact and struggling to find such an alternative is what ultimately led me to start to booni doon. The name “booni doon" is a silly nickname I have for my sister. I just thought the name was fun and cute - it doesn't mean anything!
We love how eco-friendly all of your packaging is. Why was it important to create sustainable, zero-waste packaging?
I remember finding out it’s estimated only 100 companies are responsible for almost 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and being completely shocked by that! Combine that statistic with the fact that the beauty industry creates a tremendous amount of waste - it just seemed clear to me that booni doon needed to be a more sustainable option. I view booni doon’s zero waste ethos as us taking responsibility for the life cycle of our products. I believe consumers shouldn’t bear the burden of seeking environmentally friendly products and rather the accountability ought to rest with the company, where sustainable decisions have a more meaningful impact.
What’s your favorite part of creating your products?
The product development process is so exciting to me! I love learning about new ingredients, their effects, and the chemistry behind our products. I'm also lucky to work with knowledgeable formulation chemists who are as excited as I am about sourcing sustainably and creating something special for our customers.
What has been your most exciting moment with booni doon so far?
I’m so grateful for the support we have received from influencers and the press, but personally, I was so excited to see people purchasing booni doon for their loved ones during the holidays! We had only been in business for a few months and then during the holidays last year, we had a huge jump in our sales. It’s so fulfilling to know that we've created a product that people put on their Christmas list or thought would bring joy to someone else!
What was your biggest hurdle in creating booni doon?
Staying true to our plastic-free promise was incredibly challenging! Plastic is sadly the backbone of the beauty industry, so it was really hard sourcing alternatives to those components of our products. Thankfully, we were able to find manufacturers and partners who respected booni doon's mission and worked with us to customize our plastic-free packaging.
What advice would you give people interested in starting their own skincare or beauty business?
Talk to other founders! I think the indie beauty community is open and collaborative and I’ve always found people are willing to chat. If you are uncertain about whether or not you want to take the plunge, definitely reach out to other founders and hear their experiences. It's a great way to make an informed decision about whether this is the right choice for you and get feedback on your business idea.
What is your favorite beauty ritual that leaves you looking and feeling naturally beautiful?
Nowadays I rarely wear make-up, but whenever I have an event or meeting, I love the nighttime ritual of taking my make-up off. I double-cleanse with an oil-based cleanser we have in development and then use the CALM cleansing capsules. It's so satisfying to see all of the make-up wash away and then I pat dry with a muslin washcloth. I finish up with rosewater spray, a few drops of face oil, and lip balm. It's a relatively simple routine, but my skin feels so clean and soft after - the entire routine and the final results make me so happy!
What’s coming up next for booni doon?
We have a couple of product launches planned for this year and next year, which is really exciting! Right now we only have one product, so I feel like booni doon is transforming from a one-product company to a proper skincare brand. We also continue to look for ways to decrease our environmental impact (for example, recently we switched to reusable mailers for our U.S. orders) and I'm excited to announce a few initiatives on that front as well.
We’re featuring booni doon’s CALM Cleansing Capsules in our Fall box. What prompted the creation of these products?
The goal was to create a cleanser that had a minimal impact on the environment but did not reduce its efficacy or affect the consumer experience. The result is our CALM cleansing capsules, which are facial cleansing powder capsules. This unique capsule delivery system and powder formulation: 1) ensures ingredient potency; 2) eliminates the need for water and preservatives, and 3) limits product waste. The lightweight facial cleansing powder transforms into a gentle foam upon adding a few drops of water, while the tapioca-starch capsule simply dissolves when you drop it on the bottom of your sink or shower. Our product development philosophy is to marry science with sustainability, which is reflected in our CALM cleansing capsules' ingredient list. The cleansing powder formulation includes colloidal oats, lavender powder, and rhamnolipids, a ground-breaking biosurfactant derived from fermented vegetable oil.