2020 - What a year !

I am not going to lie to you - 2020 has been a tough year.

Staying true to our values was never easy - it was not meant to be. We expected that when we started the business. Some laughed at our ideals - “you will never make it in the world of grown-ups luv . .”, others felt it was too idealistic, too much of a challenge. They were almost right. Almost . . .

Corona restrictions meant we were not able to present ourselves at high profile trade shows, a few advanced negotiations with on-line and physical retail presence fell through at the last minute for similar reasons. At times we struggled. I mean, we really struggled.

When we found ourselves in front of a buyer for a well-known UK on-line retailer, we clearly impressed, ticking the right boxes all the way down to our flexibility on margins . . . Everything was right - the impressive white-washed boardroom, proper espressos, the massive flat-screen TV showing Bloomberg News, the super-sized boardroom table . . . . . . only to be whacked over the head with a seemingly innocent question:

“We absolutely love your brand - you have done an amazing job and we want to take you to the next level. We love the ethos, we love the products - we want you onboard. How quickly can you provide us with samples - say 10,000 of them for each product? This is how we promote start-up brands like yourselves”.

It was a question we had been somehow been expecting and dreading at the same time. The answer was short and simple. We can’t do it, for the simple reason that this practice is incompatible with our company’s ethos. After spending more than two years looking into the various options, at this point, the only way to provide samples is to use plastic sachets. To be clear, this means “single use” plastic. Too small to recycle, destined to litter our planet for the next thousand years or more and good only for a one-way trip to the nearest landfill site.

Gut-wrenching as it was, we were very clear on our founding principles. Make sure that we minimise the use of non-recyclable materials, make sure our ingredients are natural, organic where possible and always from sustainable sources. Stay away from plastic where possible and always put the environment before profit.

We can’t do it now, we won’t do it, ever.

Standing outside the office after the meeting, it seemed almost surreal. Bright early spring sunshine and all, having just rejected our milestone offer, providing financial security to Maiiro Limited. All we had to do was conform. Easy. Just sign on the dotted line and give away the very cornerstone the company was founded on.

We can’t do it now, we won’t do it, ever.

Whilst in commercial terms, this was a lost opportunity, it did not feel that way to us. We walked away with our principles intact. Our products representing “Clean beauty” in its purest form - what could be better than that ? Don’t get me wrong, commercial success would be wonderful and we would be absolutely thrilled to get on board with another retail platform. Next time however, we won’t be quite so surprised when they ask the question, but just as prepared to walk away. We know who we are, we know what we stand for.

Whilst 2020 was difficult, the Covid crisis presented some moments of reflection as well as true, once in a lifetime clarity. When we draw up the balance for the year, we are grateful the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. Our returning customer rate, for us the ultimate benchmark of how good our products really are, is phenomenal. The positive feedback received from customers over the past eighteen months has been incredible. Our ‘Face of Maiiro’ campaign, finding real people to tell our story, was amazing - what an eye-opener for all of us!

At times we struggled. Boy oh boy did we struggle. The question is, was it worth it? Yes it was - because of you! Thank you so much for your support - we could not have done it without you!

From all of us at Maiiro, Happy Christmas and all the very best wishes for 2021 !