Many entrepreneurs hesitate about the viability of a business that is both environmentally sustainable and profitable, leading them to pick one over the other. Since a business without profit does not make sense, the environment often has to be the one to make the sacrifices. However, being sustainable and profitable need not be two conflicting choices. There is a way to create profit while also making a conscious effort to reduce your plastic, water, and carbon footprints to keep the environment healthy and safe.
Anie Rouleau is the CEO and founder of the Unscented Company, a B-corp-certified business with a mission to reduce the prevalence of single-use plastics in cleanliness products. She is one of the many women in business who actively educates the community about environmental awareness. At the same time, she keeps an entrepreneurial mindset to help business owners like her maximize their profit without having to sacrifice their mission for sustainability.
How Anie Started Her Journey in Pursuing Environmental Awareness
At 42 years old, Anie had been intolerant to fragrances, so she wanted to start a home and body care business with fragrance-free products. Before starting her own business, Anie travelled the world for 18 months. She realized that the issue most parliaments have in common is the environment, and plastic footprint is one of the greatest problems.
Soap businesses are one of the greatest contributors to plastic footprint due to the prevalence of single-use plastic packaging. Moreover, soap businesses also contribute greatly to water and carbon footprint due to the abundance of liquid-based products. Hence, Anie decided to build a soap business with a positive environmental impact by focusing on the formula and packaging of her products.
According to Anie, “It’s not a matter of choosing if we’re gonna go environmentally or be profitable; I think we can do both.”
The Products That Started Unscented Co.
Unscented Co. had three main products at the beginning: laundry detergent, dish soap, and all-purpose soap. Anie made sure to avoid any animal-based ingredients for the formula of her products. She reached out to chemists who have former experience in vegan ingredients.
Anie was committed to offering her products in bulk as an alternative packaging solution to support her mission of reducing their collective plastic footprint. However, she did not immediately offer solid soap products. She slowly transitioned from selling liquid to solid products to educate her consumers during that sustainability journey.
Going 100% Plastic Free
Right now, 60% of Unscented Co’s products are completely plastic-free, but the goal is to do it 100% in the future. Anie also aims to be solid plastic-free, as this will also reduce the company’s water footprint. In turn, this will reduce its carbon footprint from warehousing, logistics, and maritime freight.
As a mission-driven business, Unscented Co. listens to its consumers and its suppliers because that is how it finds new ways to innovate. Communicating their policies to them is a healthy way to grow.
What’s in the Pipeline for Unscented Co.
Unscented Co will be offering a new set of soap tablets and bars by early 2023. On the other hand, they will be taking down a few bottled liquid products from the list. Currently, Unscented Co. serves the Canadian and European markets. It also recently branched out to the northeastern part of the US.
Understanding Business Finances to Control Growth
A business with a mission cannot just say yes to every opportunity. Controlling growth is important to keep your direction clear. In Anie’s own words, “Sales is vanity; profit is reality.”
There are two ways to grow your business quicker: (1) investments and (2) saying yes to all opportunities. However, you need to first consider if they make sense for your business.
Creating a Sustainable and Profitable Business Model
To create sustainable profit for your business, you need to have a mission-driven finance model. Understanding your costs is the key to creating a good pricing strategy. You also need to understand the significance of markup and margin.
When restructuring your pricing strategy, you need to consider the circumstances of your consumers and suppliers. One of the ways Anie manages her costs is by trying to get local suppliers as much as possible.
Reducing the Company’s Carbon Footprint
Getting local suppliers within 500 kilometres is not only sustainable and profitable, but it also reduces the amount of carbon footprint left behind. Anie is looking toward the possibility of also manufacturing locally in the future.
How to Start Living a More Sustainable Life
You may think a small gesture of change does not matter in the big picture, but it does. Living a more sustainable life starts with this small change of mindset.
Unscented Co. was able to save over a million plastic bottles from being produced just by selling a refill station. For any business owner who is hesitating, it is possible to build an environmentally sustainable and profitable business at the same time.
Anie says, “You can create a nice growing company without compromising your values and stay true to your mission.”
More About Anie
Anie Rouleau is the founder and the CEO of Unscented Co., The Unscented Company, a B-corp + women-owned certified company dedicated to creating unscented home and body care products that do not harm the environment. It is recognized as one of Canada’s top-growing companies in 2022.
Anie is an advocate of eco-conscious living that seeks to redefine the notion of cleanliness for a sustainable future. At the same time, she wants to give voice to women entrepreneurs who want to rewrite what tomorrow’s businesses look like.