A sustainable consumer product company that manufactures and sells environmentally friendly daily essentials, The Nurturing Co was founded in Singapore in 2018, offering homecare products that use natural fibres in place of plastic. Already available in Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, and Thailand, The Nurturing Co aims to expand its licensing to bring its products to new markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia in 2023.
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Retail in Asia speaks with David Ward, The Nurturing Co’s founder and chief roll officer, ahead of his panel discussion at eTail Asia Connect 2023.
RiA: Please tell us about The Nurturing Co and the impetus behind this.
David Ward: The Nurturing Co was founded on the principle of seeking to design and build less impacting, more sustainable alternatives for everyday use products with a guiding foreword of removing all one time use plastics from our production and our packaging. When I began in this sector, no one wanted to invest or focus on sustainable products almost 10 years ago, and when we launched Bambooloo there were only a couple of other brands across the whole world offering one-time use plastic packaging-free sustainable brands, but none offered a product that was retailer ready and free of plastics, so we created our now much respected grab-bag. The self-contained handle in the bag allows a consumer to carry the product out of the store without the need for a plastic bag. So it’s a double win – no plastic in our packaging and no need for plastic bag to get it home. This really set the stage for all future products, placing the consumers’ needs first ahead of the retailer supply chain that demanded so much plastic wrapping. Today we are still the only brand offering such products in this way for retailers.
RiA: What makes you bullish about business in Singapore and Southeast Asia?
Ward: We have created a first in our sector, a brand licensing program allowing other customer-facing businesses already established in markets to leverage our expertise in both production design and brand as well as our verified supplier base. This allows us to work with partners to assist in bringing suitable market specific versions of our products to market quickly, answering a growing demand for more sustainable choices.
RiA: What are some of The Nurturing Co’s everyday alternatives that can make a big difference?
Ward: We offer products that are less impacting in terms of carbon need, water usage and one time use plastics. This can mean 70 to 100 percent savings versus traditional products.
RiA: How can retailers adapt to ethical consumerism with the help of data and technology?
Ward: Data and technology can indicate not only actual purchases but also the small changes being made by consumers in final choices as alternatives become available. Helping a customer understand their own reduction through choices they can make, and having those choices available, can lead to swift changes in consumer purchase behaviour. And this is being witnessed across the region already as less impacting alternatives become available.
RiA: You will be speaking on a panel on sustainability. How is the Nurturing Co setting an example for ‘sustainable’ retail?
Ward: We started from a position of working from a clean sheet of paper to begin with and set out from there to making the most sustainable, less impacting products possible. This mantra we carry through in all products being created. As the demands for such products increase, we are now witnessing the beginning of a huge wave of changing the way consumers think about where and with whom they spend their money. There is no space for sitting back and thinking we can carry on until forced to become greener. If you don’t change ahead of the hammer fall, you will simply be left behind. For some years, it left like we were shouting into the wind, but thankfully more and more businesses and consumers around the world are voting with their wallet and seeking more sustainable alternatives.
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RiA: What excites you about eTail Asia Connect this year?
Ward: Firstly we face a number of changes in the way consumers purchase, and how they decide what they will purchase. The [Covid] lockdown periods changed many things and I believe the industry will rise to the new challenges these changes bring. Secondly, and closer to our own journey, consumers are seeing that they have choices that can help them lead a less impacting lifestyle, and we are very excited about whom we can help to answer these needs of their customers.