1. Dear Melissa, I am very happy to introduce you and nada - simply care as part of our Female Founder Community. Please tell us a little about yourself and the company.

We are Gisela & Melissa, a team of mother & daughter, and together we put our vision of the plastic-free bathroom into practice with the experience of two generations. We develop zero waste drugstore products that make a sustainable everyday life as simple as it is comfortable.

nada's mission is an uncompromising zero waste lifestyle. Back in 1989, my parents designed a refill system for their natural cosmetics series. Around 30 years later, we revived this idea of ​​refilling and developed the first shower powder that, when mixed with water, becomes liquid shower gel and shampoo.

Our first shower shampoo has been on the market since September 2020 and we have already convinced a few retailers. Not only has it found its way onto the shelves of numerous organic and unpackaged stores, but it was even awarded the Best New Product Award for hair care at the VIVANESS natural cosmetics trade fair in February 2021.

2. What was your motivation to develop shower gel and shampoo in powder form? What are the benefits of powder?

I was always very proud that my parents were so aware of the danger of so much plastic waste over 30 years ago and actively did something about it. That's why I found it all the more sad that the concept wasn't able to establish itself in the long term. However, this motivated me to think about how sustainable concepts can be implemented in such a way that they can keep up with conventional products in terms of convenience level and so consumers no longer have to make compromises for sustainable products.

The goal was to develop a shampoo with the usual texture and handling of a gel that works without the typical refilling process in a store and is therefore just as easy to integrate into everyday life as a conventional shampoo from a plastic bottle. When I started getting involved with it, bioplastics were currently in vogue and that's why I researched this for a long time only to realize that, on the one hand, the degradation process usually doesn't work that well and starts anyway as soon as water is involved . In this detour, my sister came up with the idea that we could simply leave out the water and offer a concentrate that can be mixed with water at home to make shower gel and shampoo. This doubles the impact because not only is plastic waste saved, but also the weight and volume during transport.

3. The concept of nada is based on the Zero Waste Pyramid. What does that mean and what impact does it have on your work?

We think sustainability holistically for all of our products. The Zero Waste Pyramid helps as a guiding principle to really rethink products and break away from familiar patterns.

Rethink, rethink, think outside the box – how can we make care products better, more environmentally friendly and more innovative?

We consistently reject single-use plastic that ends up in the trash as soon as the product is used up. 

Liquid shower gel & shampoo usually consists of over 90% water. Our idea: If we leave out the water completely, we can also do without the disposable bottle. This not only saves plastic packaging, but also CO² emissions during transport. A standard shower gel weighs around 250 g - our nada pyramid just 40 g, or about a sixth.

The nada bottle is designed to be filled again and again.

Our nada bottle body is made from 100% recycled plastic. This means that we do not need any new resources for production, but rather use existing materials. 

Our nada pyramid is completely compostable and thus closes the circle of the zero waste principle.

4. How important is sales through local shops and retailers to you compared to online through your own shop and marketplaces? Do you think it's important for every brand to be represented in both?

We initially set out to be represented in organic retail because we want sustainable products to fit into everyday life just as easily as their conventional alternatives and so it's only logical that I just get my shampoo and shower gel from the usual ones can buy with you. We were really lucky with that too.

Our product was ready in September and by January we were already on Alnatura shelves nationwide. That was a great start. In February we surprisingly won the Best New Product Award for hair care at VIVANESS and gained many more contacts in wholesale and retail. However, we increasingly noticed that we had completely lost contact with our customers. Through crowdfunding we were used to very close contact with our supporters, but through retail this became more and more broken and so we simply lacked feedback, such as who is actually buying us, how is our product being received, what would they like our target group, etc.

That's why I set up an online shop with your help in the middle of last year and got more contact with our customers again. It's always really nice when we receive messages from customers telling us how much nada has enriched their care or when I see that customers order again and again and so the refill concept is really being put into practice.

5. What has been your biggest challenge so far in founding nada? 

The really biggest challenge was definitely developing the product. When we had the idea, there were no comparable products. There were already cleaning tabs, but only in the USA. However, since I had no idea about making shampoo myself, I called contract manufacturers and told them about my idea. However, I was met with a lack of understanding and always received the answer that it wouldn't work to make a powder-based shampoo. However, something in me said that it must be possible somehow, so I read up, ordered ingredients and then experimented until I had a stable recipe. 

Another challenge was to understand how the business world as such actually works. Because I'm actually an epidemiologist and pretty much everything works completely differently in research. 

6. What 3 tips would you give to young founders who want to build their brand sustainably ?

1. Just because it is claimed that something is not possible does not mean that it is true.
If I had let these experienced contract manufacturers convince me that no shampoo could be developed that was mixed with water at home, then nada would not exist. 

2. Everything doesn't have to be perfect.
I urgently had to learn that everything doesn't have to be perfect, but that you can just try out a lot of things and, above all, talk about them a lot. In the beginning, I actually hardly shared my ideas with anyone because I thought that they really had to be fully thought out and perfect first. But in this way you are only hindering yourself. Because by exchanging ideas with others and, above all, with customers, you find out relatively early on what makes sense and could work. And this feedback is of course essential for the sustainable development of a brand.

3. Be open to criticism!
The critical exchange with my friend has always helped me a lot. Of course, it was sometimes difficult at first to accept criticism for something that was so close to your heart, but in the end, not only the brand, but also me personally, developed enormously.



If you would like to find out more about Gisela & Melissa and nada - simply care, please take a look here:

To the website: www.nadasimplycare.com
On Instagram: @nada_simplycare