With the increase of awareness on the use of chemicals in home-care products and a growing demand for sustainability, we are definitely starting to look for cleaning alternatives that are ethically made and will respond to our needs. The Unscented Company does just that, creating home-cleaning solutions that are effective, safe and void of harsh scents. We chatted with founder Anie Rouleau to learn more. —Noa Nichol
Hi Anie! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m a French Canadian from Quebec. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family—both my parents had businesses in a little village with a population of about 5,000 people. I grew up watching my mom and dad grow their own businesses, but what I also saw growing up was two people who were involved in their community. This made me want to be an entrepreneur. For me, to be an entrepreneur means to be able to support your family while having an impact on your community. The day I decided to launch The Unscented Company, I definitely wanted to have a business that would be socially and environmentally involved while being profitable to support my family. In 2016, I had the great opportunity to launch a product based on my values and I am grateful to see it continuously evolve.
What niche were/are you aiming to fill?
I launched The Unscented Company because, first and foremost, I wanted to redefine the notion of clean. I wanted to manufacture and design natural home and body care products that would be exclusively unscented and 100 per cent efficient, but also be mindful of the packaging at the same time. Partly because as a soap company, by definition, we are part of an industry that contributes to one of the worst environmental disasters: single-use plastic packaging. With The Unscented Company, I was able to offer high-quality products that are environmentally conscious, increasingly biodegradable, and packaged in containers that reduce our plastic footprint. For my part, The Unscented Company was the best of both worlds: making a difference and having an impact with everyday products. I am hypersensitive to fragrances, therefore The Unscented Company was something personal. These are products that I wanted for my own personal needs. I believe The Unscented Company is niche; I only offer unscented products. Each and every day, customers, friends, or family members ask us about the potential of adding fragrances or essential oils to our products. I chose the name—not only as a trademark or a trend—but to firmly position the brand. By positioning the brand with unscented products only, I have niche product lines. Our target market is very eco-friendly; consumers are looking to improve air quality and better the environment, perhaps they don’t like fragrances, or their children might have eczema or allergies. They might want to reduce their waste consumption, or they simply do not want their homes smelling of lavender or lemons, which is often the case with most household cleaning products. It is pretty niche, but I think it helps us stay focused.
What products do you currently offer, and what makes them unique?
The current products that we are offering fall into three categories: home products, composed of all-purpose cleaners, dishwashing liquid or tabs, and any product that would essentially clean your home; laundry, anything you may find in your laundry room such as detergent and dryer balls; and hair and body care, from shampoo to conditioner, hand soap, lotion, etc. We pretty much cover anything that is essential to keeping a clean kitchen, as well as bathroom and laundry room products. I think what makes our products unique is that we are able to offer a wide range of products, all unscented, but equally efficient. One of our unique selling concepts is that The Unscented Company does not just sell dish soap, we offer every category in bulk, refill-at-home, refill-in-store options, and we are now aiming to offer more solid-form alternatives. To be more precise, bars and tabs instead of liquid. We offer an equivalent in solid form, and this extends to shampoos, conditioners, dish soaps, and laundry detergent—they all have water-reducing alternatives! We are trying to fulfill our mission by offering products with less plastic packaging!
Why do you think there’s a growing demand for home-cleaning solutions that are effective, safe, void of harsh scents, chemical-free and sustainable? To add to that, what do you recommend consumers look for in “better” home cleaners?
I believe that in this day and age, it is an absolute necessity to revisit the household products industry. It has been over 50 years, and still, nothing has been done in terms of producing environmentally-friendly products—increasingly biodegradable, less toxic, less dye, less scent … There is a new trend, or movement, of having environmentally-friendly products in our homes to prevent allergies and other health concerns. A lot of the products out there are harsh. In any retail or grocery store, you can smell the toxicity or be overpowered by multiple fragrances at once emitting from those products. I think it is definitely a step toward making sure the industry becomes increasingly environmentally-friendly and this is where we stand. In order for consumers to find their way to better, healthier cleaning products, I would definitely look at the type of company that you are purchasing from. If a company is fully transparent with all ingredients used and has different sources of certification (biodegradable, vegan, cruelty-free or even B Corp), it gives me the confidence that the company has done its homework to at least offer their consumers something that is better than what currently dominates the market. Previously, we did not scrutinize the product ingredients at grocery stores. Now, we take the time to look at the standards behind the packaging. If I want to look further into a certain ingredient, it is available. When in doubt, make sure to contact the manufacturer. If they are truly honest and transparent, believe me, you will get an answer.
Do you have some top tips/advice when it comes to cleaning our homes in a more eco-friendly way? How about tips around a sustainable spring clean?
Like Gwyneth Paltrow said, “Detox Your Home.” This is the first thing we need to do. Start with the basics: a good, natural, fragrance-free laundry detergent. That is where I would definitely start. I want to be able to spend eight hours a day in my bed without smelling any artificial fragrances. Next, look at everything under your kitchen sink. You will probably find a great substitute for all the toxic cleaning products. You can even use vinegar! If possible, use all-purpose cleaners. I do not think you need a kitchen counter cleaner, a bathroom counter cleaner and a toilet cleaner. You can use all-purpose cleaners and that reduces the number of products being used per household. It helps to have more sustainable cleaning habits. When it comes to spring cleaning, first and foremost: open a window! It reminds me of our first post on social media: “There is nothing better than starting your spring cleaning by just opening the window.” Make sure that you use a good laundry detergent and even hang your clothes to dry. Clean one room at a time and most importantly, declutter!
Final, personal question: What’s the last room you cleaned in your house, and what room are you tackling next?!
My main obsession is my kitchen. From the spices to the baking stencils, my kitchen is the room I like to keep clean and organized. And, right now, if I am being honest, I am tackling our basement because we are making a playroom for our kids. We are fully immersed in redesigning and cleaning this room and giving it another life.
Win! A TUC Basics Kit From The Unscented Company!
Congrats Whitney C. of Penticton, BC,. who will receive a TUC Basics Kit from The Unscented Company! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.