Skaia & Co Helps Us Shop Sustainably
Maria is the founder of Skaia & Co, a sustainable luxury products company. Maria tells us how she created her brand and how she hopes to help lead people to make more sustainable choices. We love Skaia & Co for its focus on social contribution and sustainable practices!
Tell us about your brand. Skaia & Co focuses on creating luxurious products for home, while focusing on sustainability. The brand name combines my middle name, Kaja, and the first letter of my last name, Sudul. I really liked how the name relates to the sky, which to me represents freedom and opportunities.
Tell us more about Skaia & Co’s sustainability mission. Well, although we are all aware of the impact of single-use plastic in our everyday lives, making plastic free choices does not come naturally to everyone. The amber glass dispensers I make are aimed at those who wouldn’t normally focus on buying eco-friendly products. However, through the modern and luxurious design of my products, people find themselves making environmentally friendly choices, and in turn become more aware of their daily practices. My goal is to offer customers an environmentally friendly option that combines aesthetic design with functionality. I want to help people start making sustainable decisions that are better for their health and the environment. My products are perfect for those looking to reduce the amount of plastic in their home while keeping it stylish. I hope that with time, we will see more people living in a sustainable way – because our planet needs that.
What inspired you to begin Skaia & Co? During the COVID-19 lockdown, my medical studies were put on hold and so I finally had some time to decorate my living space. My bathroom is my favorite room in the house as it’s sort of my haven for peace and quiet after a long day of working. When I was researching accessories to give my bathroom a more luxurious feel, I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. I had this passion for nice, aesthetically designed spaces with purposeful accessories that don’t over clutter the living space. So, I was looking for products with a modern, minimalist design that were also environmentally friendly.
Was there a moment where you realized your idea was coming to fruition?Well, my biggest milestone was when I applied for the Back Her Business Crowdfunder which is funded by NatWest Bank, where I secured my funding for Skaia & Co. The entire process taught me how to speak about my business and how to sell my idea, which led me to gain a lot of confidence in my new venture. Securing the funding meant that I could upscale the business a lot faster, which allowed me to partner with various stockists, including Wearth London and Myza, which increased the brand’s exposure.
The founder of Skaia & Co, Maria, tells us about the future of her brand, what she hopes her social contribution will be, and where she finds the most support and inspiration in her life.
Tell us about the future of your brand. Skaia & Co is a very young brand and I am still learning a lot at this stage. Since beginning this journey, it has been an all-encompassing experience. I am a perfectionist and I never do things with less than a hundred percent effort, which means I sometimes overanalyze and stress about things unnecessarily. In the upcoming months, I would like to be in a place where I have plenty of stock and can streamline the process by ordering supplies once a month, as I will be resuming my studies in September. In the near future I hope to expand the brand’s offering to other types of dispensers such as cleaning and travel sets. I also want to offer some type of personalization in the products. In the long run, I would like to be able to offer my own refill concentrates, perhaps on a subscription basis. I’d like to provide other sustainable products for home as well.
What do you hope your social contribution is/will be? Since plastic seems to have found its way into every aspect of our lives, I believe that recycling is not enough. Over half the plastic that we see as being ‘recyclable’ is shipped overseas, which leads to higher carbon emissions and a larger carbon footprint. Plastic waste disturbs ecosystems and significantly contributes to the pollution of the planet. I believe that refilling is a better alternative to recycling, as replacing single-use packaging with sustainable alternatives can make a long-term difference. This is what I have tried to make a change in, as I think providing products made of materials such as glass, which can be recycled endlessly without any loss in quality or purity, will work towards making a difference. I decided to use recycled amber glass for my dispensers because in addition to blocking UV light, it also blocks blue light and all other light wavelengths under 450 nm. All the packaging for my products is 100% recyclable and I only use recyclable cardboard, tissue paper and biodegradable stickers in my packaging, further reducing my brand’s carbon footprint. I hope others will be inspired to follow this so that we can create and encourage a more sustainable way of living.
Tell us about who or what supports and inspires you. I have an amazing support system, which I am very grateful for. My fiancé has been my rock and my voice of reason throughout this journey. It is not easy dealing with someone as stubborn as me, but he has been great! My friends Megan and Nichola have also played a very important role in working out some of the logistics of the business and in encouraging me to keep going when I get stressed out. They have been my biggest fans. A lot of my friends have also supported me through things like my Crowdfunder and this has made a real difference to my business.
What is the best advice you have been given? The best advice I have ever received is to not wait until things are perfect or until you feel a hundred percent ready to begin something. Starting now will teach you a lot about the process and taking the first step in a positive direction is already a really good start.