When Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson couldn’t find any cleaning products they thought were safe enough to use around their two young children, they decided to create their own. “We were constantly on the hunt for safe, toxic-free cleaning and hand and body products that not only could make our home smell naturally fabulous but also would actually work,” says Bragdon.
The result is Koala Eco, a range of all-natural cleaning and self-care products made with Australian botanicals and aromatherapy-grade essential oils. From the brand’s best-selling lemon-myrtle-and-mandarin kitchen cleaner to the eucalyptus-and-rosemary body wash, the peppermint glass cleaner and lemon-scented eucalyptus-and-rosemary hand wash (unsurprisingly popular right now), every product in the range is plant-based, non-toxic and cruelty free. “Our goal was to make natural products that would make the experience of cleaning and caring for the family home a whole lot more pleasant for people,” says Bragdon.
But are they as effective? “Completely,” says Bragdon. “Our surface-spray products have been independently lab-tested and found to kill 99.99 per cent of bacteria, and it’s proven that essential oils from native botanicals are powerful antiseptics and anti-bacterials.”
Koala Eco is not Bragdon’s first foray into botanicals: she worked as a florist in Boston and later New York, where she met Davidson before the pair moved to Perth and then to Sydney, where they now live with their two sons. Davidson grew up in in rural Western Australia.
The duo sources the essential oils from Down Under Enterprises, which specialises in extracts from Australian native plants and manufactures its products in New South Wales. The products are packed in bottles made from 100 per cent recycled and recyclable materials, and come with illustrated labels that will enhance any cleaning product cupboard. You’ll also find them in kitchens and bathrooms in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan as part of the brand’s continuing expansion. The US is on the cards next.
“People associate Australia with the qualities of openness, friendliness and lack of pretence and our products embody a similar sense of transparency and straightforwardness,” says Bradgon. “We are launching in the States with the same principles as the Australian operation, which is putting ethical production and packaging at the top of the agenda.”
To close the loop, a percentage of each Koala Eco sale is donated to the charity One Percent for the Planet, and the brand also sponsors the Port Stephens Koalas sanctuary and donates to the World Wildlife Fund.