We talked to Dewi van de Waeter, founder of The Lekker Company, about plant-based deodorant and this is what she said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Dewi van de Waeter: We’re incredibly lucky but so far none of my close family members have had any long-term health-scares from Covid. Also, we all still have our jobs. The only thing is we are a little bored, and that is something to be very grateful for.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded The Lekker Company.
Dewi van de Waeter: I live with my boyfriend and two cats (Kip and Tofu) in the Dutch city Utrecht. I’ve got a background in Marketing but one day, I wanted to do something else with my life – start a business. It started when I found out that I couldn’t understand the labels of any of the cosmetic products I used. The INCI language is the international language in which ingredients are explained on cosmetic labels – the only problem is that almost no one speaks INCI. 7 years ago I bought 100 jars and made Pinterest recipes for body butter, lip balms, and deodorant with ingredients I found in my kitchen cabinet. Today, my deodorant recipe is sold under the name The Lekker Company across 2000 stores in Europe. We have a small team of 5 plus two office dogs and are trying to shake up the cosmetic industry, by making vegan and plastic-free cosmetics and being very clear about what is in them.
How does The Lekker Company innovate?
Dewi van de Waeter: Our packaging is made out of a carton, which is unique for cosmetics. Also, we translate the ingredients to plain language so everyone knows what they put on their skin.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Dewi van de Waeter: A few of the stores that used to buy quite a lot from us have closed for now, which impacted the revenue stream. But other than that, we’ve managed to grow more than 100% in 2020, which is insane in these times. I guess people have more time to consider their choices and opt for a sustainable deodorant now. We want to smell lekker, even when we work from home. Lekker is Dutch for feelgood, yummy, nice, luscious, etc.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Dewi van de Waeter: I’ve waited almost 7 years to grow my team, I would recommend everyone to start sooner. If you can afford it, of course.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Dewi van de Waeter: We tried a few fancy CRM tools but we’re back to our old friend Excel.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Dewi van de Waeter: Nope, we were lucky enough this wasn’t necessary.
Your final thoughts?
Dewi van de Waeter: Please check in with your loved ones – especially people living alone.