NOICE speaks to Katrina Borissova, founder of Little Danube

Morgane Soret @ 2022-02-23 16:21:00 +0000

NOICE founder and CEO Morgane interviewed Katrina Borissova, the brainchild behind Little Danube. The interview below highlights the drive behind starting a sustainable soap brand and the challenges along the way.

 

When & Why did you start Little Danube? 

Founded in 2020 during the Covid-19 lockdown, Little Danube came to be referred to as "the vegan soap brand born on the day Britain went into lockdown," it was a leap into the unknown. It was Nostalgia and self-care that drove me to create Little Danube. 

Nostalgia is at the heart of who we are at Little Danube and why we're so inspired by the lives and stories of those we meet. Little Danube is named after the Danube, the second-longest river in Europe, representing my journey from the east to the west and my cherished childhood memories. 

We want your self-care experiences to be just as memorable. Each of our designs has a unique, exciting signature look that reflects that strength and passion of the spirited women that inspire Little Danube with visual aesthetics that make you cherish every moment.

 

What is your definition of sustainability?

Because creating sustainable products isn't just a one and done job our definition of sustainability is to constantly learn, educate ourselves and iterate our products and design to ensure we constantly evolve and grow along the journey.

Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do and create, and our mission is to redefine beauty and industry standards. So we've ditched plastic packaging altogether and combined beautifully designed products with biodegradable packaging. 

When it comes to our designs, we use eco-friendly tissue made from acid-free paper and soy-based ink. Our soapboxes are recyclable, and our delivery bags are fully compostable. Our natural soap bars are 100% vegan, fragrance and cruelty-free. We believe that the best natural skincare is formulated with sustainable ingredients and essential oils that invigorate the senses without the need for harsh chemicals. But it doesn't end there; in fact, it keeps going. 

What was your wake up call when it comes to sustainability?

It was my bathroom 3 years ago, bottle of plastics all around, from hair to face beauty products it was nerve breaking. The look and feel of it 3 years on as dramatically changed, from natural deodorant in a tin, to shampoo bars and refillable products a lot has changed. 

 

As a sustainability driven entrepreneur, did you face any challenges creating Little Danube? Could you share those and how you overcame them? 

I would say finding the right partners from the first time, without the trial and errors element which is almost impossible. While testing and trying new partners and suppliers can be a great exercise, small mistakes in a start-up environment due to the cash limitation will cost a lot in timing, resourcing and also reputational. Investing time at the forefront to finding the right suppliers with tools and analytics can be a time saver and also add an incredible value to the product and the whole experience. 

An example of a good partnership that we nailed from start is with NoIssue where we source our eco-friendly/toxic-free tissue paper (that is printed with soy-based ink) and compostable bags. I love their brand culture and mission and it was very important for me to launch as a plastic-free brand and to find the right partners.

 

What would be your top #3 advice when it comes to starting your own (sustainable or not) business? 

1) Start with your WHY: The reason why you are doing it is the most important of all, is what will keep you going in hard times and ensure that you make the right decision based on values and outcomes as opposed to desperation. 

2) Enjoy the journey: as sexy as the entrepreneurship word sound like, it’s extremely isolating, with constant self-doubt and unknowns. Enjoying the ride as much as the results is a key for survival and also preventing burnouts as it can be pretty intense. 

3) Be Frugal: throwing money to problems will not solve them, this is where developing more and more as a creative problem solver and constantly learning will help you along the way to become a better decision maker. 

 

What are your sustainable habits, as a person, you’d like to share?

I’m not a very good cook and it’s something I’m trying to work on. Lately I got into the habit of planning better and more, buying less and mastering few fridge-clearing recipes such as nice broth and soup recipes. 

I also started to make my own bread with repurposed seeds from pumpkin. 

3 words to define 2022? 

New Products Launch 

 

For more interviews with founders of sustainably driven brands, follow the blog.

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