TEMPLE & WEBSTER
What inspired you to start Bondi Wash?
The inspiration came from many directions. Firstly, a love of fragrance. Smell is the strongest of all the senses and can draw you into the moment so sublimely or transport you back to a time or place from your past.
I was also trying to find good quality natural alternatives for washing products, having been disappointed with what was on the market at the time.
Then on holiday in far north Queensland a few years ago we came across all sorts of unusual native plants. It struck me how little awareness we in Australia, let alone the rest of the world, have of our native flora. On the same holiday I was reading the novel Perfume by Patrick Susskind which is all about the power of scent. The novel is set in France, which is so well-known for creating fragrance and cosmetics from their botanicals.
With all this in mind, and plenty of time for reflection, it struck me what an opportunity we have here to create fragrant and beautiful products using our Australian native flora that add a little pleasure to daily life.
Bondi is a vibrant, creative community. How important are local connections to your business?
Bondi is quite a special place to live. The community here is really strong and supportive. It is also incredibly diverse with lots of wonderful characters. What I really love about it is the low-key nature of many of the talented, creative and accomplished people who live here.
From the day we started creating we have had the most incredible help from many wonderful people. They have helped – and continue to help – with so many aspects from fragrance testing through to label design and deciding on a name. I feel so fortunate to be part of it.
Why did you choose to use Australian bush oils in your products?
Australian natives are really tough plants – and many of them have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. They are such a perfect addition to washing products for the home when people would prefer a natural alternative.
People talk about how our products work so well – which I think they don’t expect as they smell so good. The bush oils are definitely a factor in their effectiveness.
You consciously leave a lot of things out of Bondi Wash products. Why is this?
Once I started researching ingredients, I realised just how many are out there that are not ideal for us or for the planet. And it is not easy to work out what’s what as their names are long and confusing. What makes it even harder for the consumer is the lack of regulation about labeling or claims. The words eco, organic or natural are no indication of the integrity of the ingredients.
‘Fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ is one example of an ingredient that isn’t great but is used everywhere. It can mask a range of nasty synthetic ingredients that can cause irritation and immune system reactions and do not need to be listed on the product.
We wanted to create a brand that always selects the best quality, most natural ingredients to make them both a pleasure to use and better for us and the environment. The real natural ingredients are often new and more expensive. To help make our products a more affordable luxury we have designed the products to last longer – they are concentrated and the triggers and pumps give you less.
Are your fragrances complementary, or do you recommend sticking to just one?
I keep trying to develop theories on fragrance preference – and I keep being proven wrong. I designed our Sydney Peppermint & Rosemary scent with men in mind for example, but it is just as popular with women. I thought our Lemon Tea Tree & Mandarin would be the least popular, but it is selling just as well as the other two.
Because fragrance is so personal and unpredictable – I never like to recommend. At home we have a mix of different ones all over the house. I also love to rotate fragrances especially when you are using them everyday. We have 3 new fragrances that we also use at home one of which is my absolute favourite (number 4) so can’t wait to introduce it.