Wild Cosmetics, a design-led personal care start-up which pioneered the UK’s first plastic-free refillable deodorant in 2019, has closed £5m from existing investors to double down on its mission to remove single-use-plastics and unnecessary chemicals from everyday bathroom routines.
The popular subscription-based company recorded 400% YoY growth in 2021, selling 2.5 million of its gender neutral line of elegantly designed natural compostable deodorants. The round was led by JamJar Investments, the venture fund led by the innocent drinks founders.
Cementing a loyal following, culminating in eight-figure revenues in its first full year of trading, Wild was launched in August 2019 by former HelloFresh Marketing Director, Freddy Ward and entrepreneur Charlie Bowes-Lyon.
Raising £7.5m to date, existing investors Creator Collective Capital, Dutch Slingshot Ventures also participated again. Prominent digital creators and influencers including Niomi Smart (1.4m following), Grace Bevererly (1m following) and Casper Lee (2.4m following) also followed on with their initial investment from Wild’s previous rounds.
Eyeing up other sustainably-conscious territories the London headquartered company will use the funding to satiate this international ambition. Expansion will also involve stretching the product range into other personal care segments.
Since launch, the fledgling firm has planted over 150K trees and donated over £45,000 to charities through its partnership with On A Mission. Wild’s founders will also use the investment to bolster its sustainability credentials – preparing to become a certified B Corporation, putting it in “a select few thousand businesses globally that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, and who balance both profit and purpose.”
In less than 30 months, Ward and Bowes-Lyon have amassed a sizable retail footprint with their hybrid business model, combining online direct-to-consumer via its own website and traditional retail partnerships.
Massive online growth has helped Wild expand into the physical world. With over 500 stockists nationwide including Waitrose, Boots, Selfridges and Sainsbury’s, the plastic-free vegan refill which has nurtured a cult instagram following is set to triple this footprint in 2022.
Commenting, Freddy Ward CEO and founder of Wild Cosmetics, says: ”Charlie and I are part of a generation that have grown up scrutinising waste, unnecessary packaging and potentially harmful ingredients. Consumers are starting to really address the uncomfortable reality of single use plastic waste across their households.
“The bathroom and personal care market still has a way to go in terms of reducing household landfill. Less than 50% of products are recycled, compared with 80% of kitchen products.
“Fortunately though, the sector has shifted up a gear. We’re proud to be leading a category that has jumped seven-fold since we unveiled the first iteration of the product just shy of 30 months ago. I think we’re challenging some of the famous legacy personal care players to move and adapt quicker. Which ultimately spurs us on. We’re now on our sixth iteration of the product for example – which is convincing even more people to switch without having to compromise. We’ve also re-engineered systems and processes to innovate quickly to stay ahead of the curve.”
The result is Wild, a gender neutral line of elegantly designed, beautifully scented, effective natural deodorants perfectly suited to the Instagram generation.
The reusable aluminium case comes in six metallic shades – aqua, electric blue, coral, pink, black, purple – colours that recall the latest must-have tech accessory. Made in Bournemouth, the biodegradable deodorant comes in a bamboo pulp refill that’s inserted into the case via a simple twist mechanism.
The cream-based, vegan formula is made with natural botanical oils, butters and waxes and is free from gluten, aluminium, BHT and triclosan and features ten sophisticated scent choices driven by its own consumer feedback. It’s a mass premium product that’s extremely user-friendly.
As little as five years ago, plastic packaging barely registered on the consumer conscience. Today it is front and centre, a credit to the ground-breaking message of the BBC’s Blue Planet II and the ‘Attenborough effect’. 88% of people who watched the award-winning TV series changed their shopping habits as a result.
“Just as consumers had an appetite for more natural ingredients in their smoothies twenty years ago, we can see the trend really picking up momentum in the personal-care sector. We love businesses like Wild with a positive mission and ambitious team tackling important problems that we face as a society today,” says Richard Reed, at Jam Jar Investments.
“Where ‘zero waste’ was once only the preserve of the most committed eco-warrior, it now represents an accessible choice that all shoppers can embrace on their own level. Wild is not just kind to your skin and the planet, it’s crucially effective against sweat. Freddy and Charlie are doing a great job in making sustainability in reach and more convenient for everyone. As the refill revolution becomes increasingly mainstream, we believe Wild’s established understanding of the sector, products and our customers, paired with their nimbleness, puts them in a strong position to continue to build on their success.”
According to Statista, the global market value for natural cosmetics and personal care expected a positive increase from almost 34.5 billion dollars in 2018 to roughly 54.5 billion expected for the year 2027, revealing the growing importance of the natural and organic market.
With as much as 80% of the population using deodorant on a daily basis from the age of 16 upwards, a well-loved, trusted deodorant brand like Wild has the potential to capture a consumer for life.