Episode 49 - Sustainable Ecommerce Podcast
My guest today is the founder of another powerfully purpose-driven brand in the home cleaning and personal care space. Bonnie McQueen is the founder of Keeper Clean, a start-up focused on helping consumers reduce single use plastics.
I really do think Australia is leading the way in this area, we’ve had a few brands running in this space on the show already, each a little bit different in their implementation.
To me Bonnie’s story epitomises the ‘must do’ spirit of a sustainability entrepreneur, and I felt her passion for influencing change and educating customers is truly inspiring.
I also found that her approach to social media is instructive. She is committed to actually being seen as the face of the brand and creating content that resonates with and educates her audience on sustainability.
In my view she’s doing an incredible job of leveraging her influence as the leader of her brand for the health of our planet, and that’s an approach I think we can all learn from.
How did Keeper Clean Get Started?
Bonnie Macqueen has a background in marketing and product design. When she moved out of home and had to start stocking her new home with cleaning products she was horrified by how hard it was (basically impossible) to avoid single use plastic. She started trying to formulate cleaning products at home just to meet her own need for a solution to this, but when friends engaged with that and started showing an interest she realised this was a massive issue a lot of people were facing, and decided to make it her mission to solve.
Keeper Clean offers refillable cleaning products where the ‘Keeper’ glass container is reloaded from dissolvable pods make and sold by the company. They have a strong focus on ‘zero plastic’ so, from the glass containers, through to compostable packaging there is no plastic in any of their products.
Making it easy for Customers
Bonnie’s philosophy has always been that if we want consumers to buy more sustainable products, we have to make it easy for them to be used. Bonnie’s experience with dissolvable tabs was that they just take too long. That’s no good for someone who wants to get on with cleaning the house. Similarly, refill pouches still contain plastic, and are a pain to have to return. For that reason, Keeper Clean’s solution is to use plant-based pods that dissolve in water in seconds.
Sustainability is a Journey
Bonnies view (which we very much share at Sustainable Ecommerce), is that everyone is on a journey to living sustainably, and that includes brands too.
We need millions of people taking imperfect actions rather than a few thousand doing everything perfectly. The same is true with Keeper Clean. There are definitely thing’s that Bonnie wants to improve, notably that fact that most of her products are actually made overseas at the moment, and her goal is very much to onshore this as soon as possible. Not being able to produce everything in Australia nearly stopped her from launching the brand, but she knew the single use plastics issue was the bigger ‘must-do’ problem to solve.
As an Online Brand what channels and strategies are working best for Keeper Clean?
Bonnie is personally on social media engaging with her audience, which is critical to building trust and brand advocacy. Keeper Clean’s primary content creation is focussed on short-form video, and that means Tiktok and Instagram Reels.
Where Instagram is a hard slog for traction, Tiktok following can be grown much more quickly. As a result, Bonnie spends most of her time in content research and creation on the Tiktok platform and then re-uses the creative on the Instagram channel too.
What are your tips for how Sustainable Brands can create organic short form video?
Firstly do your research to see what type of content and topic is trending on Tiktok. You can save interesting videos and posts for later. Make sure when you create your content that the first 3 seconds are captivating. That means they need to be funny, educational, unusual or have a strong call to action. Focus on adding value and making the content something people would genuinely like to watch.
Where can you get Keeper Clean products?
The first one for me, was the little nugget of wisdom Bonnie shared about why her customers buy, and therefore what to focus on in her marketing. Keeper Clean’s customers are not necessarily motived by the cost savings. They choose the brand specifically because they’re looking for a way to live more sustainably, in this case reduce single use plastic.
It might seem obvious, but being clear on your customer primary reason for purchasing, and making sure you show how you meet that need is absolutely critical.
Beyond that Bonnie is absolutely out there front & centre being the face of her brand. The brand’s mission is about helping consumers to get rid of single use plastics, and she’s very much being the guide in the conversation, mixing in educational content, her own personal journey and a good dose of humour to make it enjoyable and engaging to be part of the movement.
I really can’t stress enough how vital this is if, like Keeper Clean, you’re truly hoping for your brand to influence a real change in human behaviour.
And lastly Bonnie shared some great tips on how to leverage social media, and specifically Tiktok.
Do your research and find what’s trending on that platform. Make sure that its captivating in the first 3 seconds, entertaining and engaging. Create your short form content for Tiktok first, and then don’t be afraid to publish to Instagram too. We love reuse in all its forms!