Deborah Meaden

Deborah Meaden Introduces Toddle and Fussy

We are delighted to be launching two new brands, Toddle and Fussy, both supported by Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden. We met Deborah, Hannah Saunders the founder of Toddle and Matt Kennedy the founder of Fussy to find out some more about these fantastic innovative new brands!

Both Matt and Hannah were featured on the Dragons Den and impressed Deborah immediately. Deborah actively supports a number of environmental charities and initiatives including the annual Observer Ethical Awards, which she has judged since 2008. Deborah is a fellow of the WWF, the world’s leading environmental organisation and she also acts as a Patron and Trustee for Tusk Trust. In addition Deborah is an Ambassador for Lendwithcare, the Roundhouse, and Marine Conservation Society a Fellow with the RSA and Patron for the

Deborah hosts the Big Green Money Show where she talks to some of the world’s biggest business names about the biggest problem facing the planet: climate change.

Toddle produce a range of natural skincare products created for parents and their children by a mum who understands what families need to help them enjoy their adventures together. This is Hannah Saunders the founder of Toddle impressing the Dragons!

Fussy is dedicated to eliminating single-use plastic from your bathroom by providing high-quality, straightforward, and scientifically-backed personal care products. They use natural, efficient ingredients to moisturize and safeguard your skin while neutralizing odor-causing bacteria. Their packaging is also eco-friendly, using compostable refills made from waste sugarcane and cases made from recycled plastic to eliminate the need for single-use plastic waste. Watch Matt face the Dragons:

Video transcript:
Hi I’m Deborah Meaden, investor, business woman and podcaster the big green money show.

Q: You have long had an interest in the environment, do you favour working with businesses that have a positive impact? 

A: I’ve been worried about the environment for a really long time. My thesis at business studies was actually on the environment, so it’s really not surprising that is has found its way into my businesses and my business investment decisions. It is really, really important to me that a business is somewhere on that journey towards reducing its impact, that doesn’t mean to say it has to be perfect, but it needs to have a vision that I want to be better, I want to reduce my impact, I want to be environmentally friendly.

Q: How important is it to help smaller businesses in their early stages?

A: Everybody knows obviously the biggest risk for any start-up businesses in those really early years and that’s many fold, that’s often money, cash, but it’s also making sure that they don’t make that every business makes mistakes, I make mistakes all day every day, but making sure they’re not catastrophic mistakes you know because I’ve been in a lot of businesses and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve learnt an awful lot of lessons, so I think it’s really important to be able to impart some of that to say listen nobody knows everything, of course we’re going to make mistakes if we’re not making mistakes we’re not trying hard enough, but let’s not make the catastrophic mistakes. I think that kind of is my role in those early days in a business.

Q: Tell us more about why you chose to support Fussy?

A: Fussy is a Dragons den investment and when Matt came into the den he was immediately impressive himself. They presented their product really, really well. Fussy is a product that is fundamentally built on sustainability and that for me obviously it had attractions, but not every sustainable product is going to work. What I loved is that Matt understood its place in the markets, its reason to be, its place in the market and had a vision for taking over the world. I think the thing that really, really excited me was changing the way we use deodorant. There’s a lot of plastic, there’s a lot of bad stuff around deodorant and I loved that this was a real this was a game changer so, people, product, vision it’s a bit of a no-brainer really.

(Matt): Hi I’m Matt the founder and CEO of fussy where a natural refillable deodorant brand on a mission to banish single use plastic from your bathroom

Q (for Matt): What inspired you to crease Fussy?

A (Matt): I was really inspired to create fussy out frustration if I’m honest, out of anger, which is always a good way to come up with solutions to difficult problems. At the time I was working in advertising, I was actually working for the likes of Pantene, Gillett, Unilever, P&G brands and I was witnessing first hand the failure of those brands to addresses many of the problems that we face, yet they have the ability to do so but external pressures mean they can’t. Shareholders for example I read recently Unilever shareholder said you know can we please stop addressing the social purpose behind Heinz mayonnaise and get back to selling it, and it’s that kind of pressure that we really thought right, we can build a company here from scratch, from grassroots and really put a stake in the ground that we’re fussy about everything and build it from the ground up and then we’re not going to have shareholders that tell us that we can’t be more sustainable. There is real anger and passion and frustration there at work and then at home without doing a disservice to my wife at the time, she was pregnant and she was struggling to find a natural deodorant that worked, she wanted to use a more natural product on her armpits at the time. It’s that combination of my wife looking for a product that that didn’t exist at the time and me being frustrated with the companies that are out there and we kind of put those two problems together and here we are, a natural solution that does work.

Q (Matt): What is your favourite Fussy Product?

A: (Matt) We have three colour combinations with refills already inserted and then three other refills that you can buy when you run out of deodorant. I’ve got to say my personal favourite is probably the orange one here. It’s a beautiful burnt orange colour so it’s not too kind of bright. Lovely matt finish and it is inspired by a pebble you might find on the beach so it’s got that kind of queues to nature already pre designed into it and then when you slice it in half you get this gloss finish against the matt as if you’ve hit a pebble in half and that is really, really, important to us fussy. That we design sustainable products that not only work better than their non sustainable counterparts but are just more beautiful and desirable to use because it’s only by creating products that are easy, convenient, and desirable, that we will really achieve adoption, mass adoption of sustainable products. So that’s kind of the thinking behind it we really did into design and effectiveness is our core differentiators.

Q (Deborah): Tell us a bit more about Toddle?

A (Deborah): What I love about Toddle. Hannah, again, had presented incredibly well in the Den. You know I think if she presented many products, then I think she would have had a lot of interest in the Den anyway, because she presents very well, but the product has got to be good. What I love about Toddle is that it talks about a lifestyle, it engages children with a different language other than just saying I’m a hand sanitizer or I’m a cream that you know lip salve or cream that stops chapped skin. It doesn’t do that. It says you know I’m here to enable you to do all that fun stuff that you want to do with your family and I love that it was a different take and a different language and children really, they need to be engaged, they don’t just want stuff slapped on them, they want to get excited and think yeah that means we’re doing this and that means I can do that. That’s really why she won me over really quickly, actually she want a lot of Dragons over really quickly! Luckily she chose myself and Steven.

(Hannah): I’m Hannah Saunders CEO and founder of Toddle

Q (Hannah): What inspired you to create Toddle?

A (Hannah): I was inspired to start Toddle because I spent nine years in the RAF being very adventurous and outdoorsy and have a real passion for it. Then, when I became a mother and had my children, I really wanted to share this adventure with them, so that’s the core of the brand. They’ve got really sensitive skin and they get chapped lips and wind burnt cheeks and I found there wasn’t something in the market that worked for them, so I started making my own skin care in my kitchen and that’s how our vegan, eco brand started.

Q (Hannah): Tell us about your favourite Toddle products?

A (Hannah): My two favourite products are magic mist, which is an alcohol-free sanitiser which does kill the Coronavirus family, but it’s super gentle so you can put on your hands and then you don’t have to wipe it off or anything, they’ve been disinfected and you’re safe and good to go. Or you can use it on a highchair when you’re out travelling, so that’s a really great one for school backpacks as well as it comes with a case. It’s also refillable, so it’s a lifetime vessel, so you buy it once and that’s it, you keep it forever. Then this is one of our most innovative products we worked in Wrexham University for a year to make this product with the R&D. It’s a probiotic hand gel which has lactobacillus in it and so it’s got good bacteria in it so it’s almost like Yakult for your hands. You can rub it on your hands, and it helps your immune system, it’s almost like an immunity glove by covering your hands in good bacteria.

Q (Deborah): How do you see Toddle and Fussy’s success growing over the coming years?

A (Deborah): The good news is I’ve already seen the successes of Toddle and Fussy. The trajectory has been absolutely huge but it’s not easy, it is never a smooth path, the world changes and you have to adapt to those changes, but I genuinely see that they are game changers. Fussy is going to change the way that we look at how we use our deodorants, at these disposable items that we’ve got in the bathroom and Fussy is not just going to stay with deodorant. We are looking at every single bit of plastic in that bathroom. How do we get it out? How do we produce really good sustainable product so we change the face of that forever? I think it’s the same with Toddle, she is at the forefront of a different language, a different way of expressing a product. As well as all of the ethics sitting behind it, all of the sustainability and that fun language, that active language. I’m an enabler, I’m not just bad news, I’m really good news. I genuinely think they’re going to make quite a dent in the in their own particular markets.

Q (Matt): What impact has Dragons Den had on your business?

A (Matt): The impact of Dragon’s Den has been incredible. The support of Deborah and Peter have given us has been absolutely amazing. I think what it really did is catapult us ahead 18 months. What would have taken us as I said 18 months to get to in terms of growth literally happened overnight! It broke everything and I was on the phone to suppliers at 7:00 AM the morning after desperately trying to get more stock! It has really shown that there’s a real appetite in the market for these sustainable options and I think that’s just been amazing. Often when you’re speaking to people they think it’s a niche product but this just shows! It’s on at peak time on TV, to the mass market, and everyone went crazy for it. This just shows that this isn’t a niche thing anymore and that the consumers really want this. Over 80% of consumers are saying they want to make more ethical choices, it’s just how do we do that as brands? The responsibility is on us as brands not with consumers they shouldn’t have to pay more or buy product that doesn’t work it always comes back to the brands and how we can create a better product for them.

A (Hannah): The brand has gone from strength to strength since Dragon’s Den. Being in front of 5 million people on the BBC and getting the investment off Deborah Meaden and Steven Bartlett has allowed us to really scale and grow. We’re just about to launch into the USA, we’re going into more retailers like EthicalSuperstore that’s a really exciting thing for this quarter, and as we move into Christmas which is our strongest quarter were also employing 2 new people, were moving into new premises. So being on Dragon’s Den has been an absolute game changer for us and I don’t know if we’d be here now without it, it’s been phenomenal.

Q (Deborah): Do you think there is potential for growth in refillables?

A (Deborah): I think there’s going to be a huge growth in the refillable market. It’s going to be a little bit clunky, because the consumer has to start changing behaviour, and that can take a little bit of time. But the truth of the matter is that there isn’t really a fantastic alternative to plastic, particularly when you talk about cosmetics, or foodstuffs that have to remain stable and sometimes might be in quite wet environments. I know Fussy and Toddle are working really, really, hard and trying to find plastic alternative but of course the real joy would be buying one container for life and being able to actually refill it. I think that’s a I think that’s going to be a big growth area.

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