The Kassel start-up, Ben & Anna, manufactures certified natural cosmetics and non-animal origin from natural ingredients. In addition to soda-based deodorant sticks, branded dental products are also available recently. We spoke to Marcus Fritze, one of Ben & Anna's shareholders, about the demand for natural vegan cosmetics and current developments in the company.
Who and what's behind Ben & Anna?
Ben & Anna hides good NATRUE certified natural beauty products – without plastic, as close as possible to the "normal" product and at a reasonable price.
The Ben & Anna brand has existed since 2017. My sales partner Marco Hülsbeck and I have already sold deodorants and antiperspirants. After negative news about the deodorant containing aluminum appeared in the press, we started looking for good alternatives. At this point, Ben and Anna have come into play – both really exist! They live strictly vegan and Anna even mixed their deodorants themselves. It's she who gave us the idea to produce soda-based sodas. After the initial skepticism, a self-test completely convinced me. After a year of passionate testing, we finally created our deodorant sticks.
How big is your product range right now? Is there a bestseller?
In total, we currently have 10 deodorants and 6 dental products in our product line. For deodorants, the variety "Persian Lime" is our best seller. The dental series is still relatively new. We presented the products only in February at the VIVANESS natural cosmetics fair, since they have been on sale since the end of May. But even here, there is already a lot of interest.
Which channels of distribution do you currently use for marketing?
For us, advertising works very well online, especially in the area of social media. We use Facebook and Instagram for this and also have their own Youtube channel. We consider our own website rather as a starting point for resellers. Our goal is not necessarily to sell products on the spot to the end user – especially for sustainability reasons.
What is the interest of retail chains for your products?
I would say that we receive a new request every day. And that of dealers from different countries. This development is incredible, as we launched our Papertube Deo in February 2018.
Where can you buy your products now?
Generally speaking, in the well-stocked organic trade, that is to say mainly in organic stores managed by the owner. In Germany you can also find us on the shelves of large chains of pharmacies and organic products like Denn's, Rossmann, Budni and Aleco. Our products are not only available in Germany, but also in France, Spain, England and Switzerland.
Vegan cosmetics are currently booming. How do you differentiate your vegan deodorant from similar products?
First of all very clear: our deodorants are based on soda and therefore last all day. They are also NATRUE certified – in our opinion, it is the most authentic seal for natural cosmetics because it does not allow greenwashing. Our products are also durable and without plastic. We are always trying to improve. For example, the lamination of our paper tubes is now biodegradable.
It is also important for us to make it as easy as possible for consumers to switch to our natural cosmetics. Therefore, our deodorant comes in the usual form of a stick and not as a deodorant. Our dental products have the same feel as an oral toothpaste in the mouth. We are also attentive to the most fair prices.
Plus, with every product sold, we support the One Earth One Ocean Environmental Organization, which travels with garbage collectors in the oceans and inland waters.
What are your plans for the future?
Despite the strong demand for our products, we are still a start-up with a small team. That's why we want to develop even more Ben & Anna as a brand. In the future, Ben & Anna will no longer be just for our deodorant, but a brand of natural cosmetics based on natural, certified, plastic-free and low-cost.