5 Min Read

Interview with Koala Eco Founder Jessica Bragdon

Interview with Koala Eco Founder Jessica Bragdon

Koala Eco was founded by husband and wife duo Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson in 2017. Born out of a desire to find eco-friendly, non-toxic products that were both efficacious and safe for even the littlest members of every household, the Koala Eco range of household and personal care products harnesses the power of potent botanicals and plant-based ingredients to inspire a safe, caring, and beautiful world. We were lucky enough to interview Jessica and ask her everything we needed to know about the beautiful Koala Eco brand and range of products. 

What product do you recommend for first-time buyers to get a good introduction to the brand?

If you’re looking to try out a cleaning product, you can’t go past Koala Eco’s very first one, our Natural Multipurpose Kitchen Cleaner with Lemon Myrtle and Mandarin. We worked so hard with our chemists and labs to make a real winner to launch our company, and it’s been one of our top sellers ever since. The intention was to start the range with something that really could do everything, hence the Multipurpose in the name. It’s safe to use this everywhere: the fridge, bench tops, kids’ lunchboxes, wherever.

The main ingredients in the kitchen version are essential oils from two of Australia’s native plants. Lemon Myrtle has fresh, evergreen, lemony notes, and is really effective at deodorizing and removing bacteria while acting as a natural mood booster. Mandarin is nature’s perfect pick-me-up, its scent promoting happiness, contentment and calm. But it also has fabulous antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties as well, which when combined with other essential oils, make it a truly powerful cleaner. So you get really great cleaning results and the benefits of a fabulous aroma filling your home too!

Describe the brand’s connection to nature?

It’s all bound up in our products and our purpose: and that’s basically More Nature, Feel Better. The Koala Eco range of cleaning and personal care products is planet-friendly, non-toxic, biodegradable, and vegan, and never tested on animals. But I think what really sets us apart are the 100% natural essential oils we use. The ‘essence’ of the plant, they’re the highly concentrated compounds secreted in the bark, leaf or fruit. They’re not only amazing at killing bacteria and banishing microbes, they’re also celebrated for their health- and mood-enhancing properties. So the aromas they release mean you’re literally breathing in the healing power of nature.

As a brand—and also as Koala Eco team members and private individuals—we believe passionately in the capacity of nature to have a positive impact on people’s daily lives and wellbeing. So our purpose is not only to make safe, powerful, plant-based products for a clean home, body and mind, but also to communicate the enormous mental and physical health benefits of spending time in, and caring for nature. While choosing our products is good for nature and the environment, we’re also heavily invested in helping people understand how nature can be equally good for them.

How are Koala Eco products safe for the whole family to use?

Our ingredients are plant-derived. This means no synthetic fragrances, dyes, phosphates, masking agents or sodium lauryl sulfate. Our range is certified allergy-safe, and we source our ingredients from organically grown, sustainable sources. And while essential oils are powerful cleaners and antiseptics, we use them in concentrations appropriate for their purpose and for people. They are safe around babies, young children and older people when used correctly. We won’t launch a product until everything is entirely right.

Speaking of the whole family, we’ve even launched a Natural Dog Wash! It contains Sweet Marjoram and Rosalina: two of nature’s most effective yet gentle anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antioxidant botanicals, so it’s suitable even for pets with sensitive skin!

How should we use the Pillow & Linen Spray to enhance a better night’s sleep?

I love this spray It’s like breathing in the cool and cleansing scent of rain-soaked Eucalyptus, with a dash of Peppermint, and the woody mellowness of Rosalina. They’re simply three of nature’s best stress-relievers and anti-inflammatories.

Mist it around your bedroom and lightly on your pillow before you settle down for the night or an afternoon nap.

What makes the Hand Wash so effective?

So we have two versions of this, one with Rosalina and Peppermint, and the other with Lemon Scented Eucalyptus and Rosemary essential oils.

What we’ve focused on here is combining essential oils that are anti-inflammatory (so will soothe any skin irritation, especially when you’re frequently washing your hands), and which also possess effective antiseptic properties.

What’s the unexpected link between cleaning and mental health?

Humanity’s connection to nature is one of the most precious things we have, and we need to nurture that connection for our own physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. This something that First Nations Peoples all over the world have always understood, and shared through their stories and cultures. Connecting with nature is one of the easiest, cheapest and most meaningful ways to invest in our personal wellbeing. It’s medicine. And it’s a reciprocal thing: if we care for nature, nature cares for us.

At an immersive, sensory level, closeness to nature brings real cognitive, emotional and psychological benefits, and studies in eco-psychology around the world prove there is a link between nature and wellness. When people identify these feelings of connectedness, there’s a link to them experiencing higher perceived empathy for others. So, looking after yourself by connecting with and caring for nature also helps you feel more connected as a community. Sustainable practices and environmental mindfulness become logical and intuitive choices, because they benefit all of us rather than just a few of us.

How do your products help reduce single-use plastics?

We use 100% post-consumer-recycled (RPET) bottles for all of our products, so we’re not responsible for any new plastic being made. When we started doing this in 2019, two years after we launched, it felt like—and was—an incredible breakthrough for us as a small, self-funded start-up. The RPET option is usually only viable for really big businesses with massive budgets and turnover, but we lobbied hard for change. We also have glass options, concentrates and refills.

What’s the best way to create a safe and non-toxic home?

Minimise anything harmful to yourself and the environment, choose natural and sustainably made furnishings whenever possible, and never forget the power of fresh air through an open window.

Keep dust under control!

I’d also suggest starting with an audit of the house cleaners you already use. Ditch anything with artificial fragrances or caustic ingredients. Seek out products containing 100% pure essential oils, combined with ingredients like vinegar, sugar-based biodegradable alcohol, plant-based surfactants and bicarbonate (baking) soda. These are just such great alternatives to harmful cleaning products.