Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

How We Built it: Charlie Bowes-Lyon, co-founder of Wild

Give us the elevator pitch. Tell us about your brand

Wild was launched by childhood friends Freddy Ward and Charlie Bowes-Lyon. Freddy is a former Marketing Director at meal-kit company HelloFresh and Charlie founded sustainable coffee cup company Climate Cups. Both were able to bring their experience scaling D2C brands to Wild.
Whilst there are loads of great natural and sustainable personal care products on the market, they often don’t provide the same convenience or performance as their mainstream, throwaway counterparts. Wild seeks to bridge the gap with a high performing natural deodorant that provides an effortless user experience and all-day odour protection all whilst being natural and single-use plastic-free.

What inspired you to set up your company 

Freddy and I both enjoy a challenge and I think there are few more exciting or difficult challenges than tackling our reliance on plastic packaging across the household. We quickly focused in on the bathroom due to the very low % of products recycled and the opportunity for sustainable packaging led innovation. If everyone is now using a reusable water bottle why are we still buying all our personal care products in single-use plastic? We believe the personal care market, in particular, has been stagnant for too long and provided the perfect space for disruption with high performing, convenient and natural alternatives to mainstream brands all delivered in sustainable and refillable packaging. Wild’s mission is to help people replace these daily personal products without compromise.   

What was your biggest challenge in year one

Our biggest challenge in year one was undoubtedly launching in the first Covid lockdown. We’d spent 12 months iterating our products and finally were at a point where we were proud of what we’d created and then all of a sudden our suppliers disappeared, ghosted us, or could no longer spare ingredients for a small start up. Needless to say it was stressful, but a great learning curve and really tested the limits of our ambition and ability to hustle ourselves what we needed.

What would you say has been your biggest marketing success

This may sound cliché, but I genuinely think our biggest marketing success was the product design and customer fit itself. We identified that people wanted more sustainable products but didn’t want to compromise on quality of efficacy to use them. We also identified that the dark greens and typical eco-colours that most sustainable brands run with don’t inspire or excite a mainstream audience. And so capturing that mainstream audience, convincing them to try something sustainable and then engaging them through good design, interesting scents and fun case colours allowed us to build an active and engaged following of mainstream people who, for the first time in history, were happy to start talking all over social media about their deodorant!

What has been the biggest mistake you made

We’ve made a few mistakes along the way, the biggest was back in our first year when we decided to switch manufacturers, without leaving enough time for product buffer or errors. We received 20,000 faulty products in our first batch, which for a business is a disaster and even more so for an sustainable brand trying to reduce waste. We were pretty upset, to say the least, but luckily we managed to beg our old manufacturers to take us back. We gave all of the faulty products away for free, so in the end, nothing went to waste! 

Tell us about your plans for the future

Our long term vision is to help remove single-use plastic and unnecessary chemicals from your daily personal care routines so there is plenty to go after! Our focus will still be to let our customers guide what they want from the brand and to ensure any products we launch are pushing the boundaries of sustainable innovation whilst delivering on our promise of stylish and effective products. There may be a really exciting ‘world first’ release at the end of summer so keep your eyes pealed…

How we Built it

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