Have you ever heard of the term sublimation in psychology? It's a psychoanalytic theory from Sigmund Freud where a person turns a negative trait or thought to something productive.

Katrina, founder of our featured brand today, applied this same concept in her business. Little Danube is the result of the art that came from her accumulated stress or worries. She creates beautiful scented soaps that can help you cherish beauty through your senses.

She shares with us the story of how she put this brand to life and the steps she took to reduce her environmental footprint:

"I’m Katrina, I’m based in London and I run a vegan beauty start-up called Little Danube, with a design aesthetic that is created and inspired by and for spirited women."

"There were so many reasons why I started Little Danube. I was on the hunt for a job and doors were constantly closed at me. I went through many interviews longing for 2-3 months, I will get to the final stage and then have no offer. I’m the long-term planner type, problem-solving persona, who needs the vision to keep going, and it was a very difficult time for me to handle. But this time, I wasn’t going to go back and review my interview skills or learn another expertise to embellish my CV. I asked myself the difficult question, if my failure in job interviews weren’t a self-sabotaging act was I meant for something else? I decided to look inwards this time and find my why and what my real passion was. I was a passionate cert, but about what was the real question. I went through my amazon shopping bag, and all I could see was natural beauty products, and at the time, I had learned how to make soaps.

This experience triggered a memory from university in my philosophy times where we had learned about Freud and the sublimation process, where he talked about artists and how they used their past trauma as a transformative process to create art. I decided to unravel my creative process and use the sublimation concept to turn any accumulated stress or worries onto an object of art. In this case, it will be a soap. Then, Little Danube was born."

"My vision is to be a global skincare brand which encourages a conscious culture and to redefine the beauty standards and industry by providing plastic-free products.

The high level of uncertainty of start-up leads to a high level of self-doubt. I spent months planning, thinking, rethinking, trying, testing, scenario casing on what-ifs, and risk management. I worked on all the workstreams and topics of a company and customers but did not consider me. I never thought of myself and how I would be coping in this new role, new shoes, and how I would be managing the uncertainty, the failures, the rejections, and disappointments; The irony of providing self-care through soaps to your customers and as a brand but not to yourself. I’ve learned very quickly I needed to step back and remind myself why I built what I’ve built, and it needs to be a joy, still challenging to overcome, but they are simply there to overcome.

I simply love creating. My mind is constantly working towards a new idea, a new concept, a new experience. I have an inner drive and fire to do what I do. And I didn’t come that far to give up."

"Being sustainable is a must; we all have a responsibility to adhere to these standards and to adjust a product or service to these values. Branding and business decision-making need to be made and rearranged in line with these values, as opposed to being launching or running a company and announcing that in 2022 or 2025, company A or B will be sustainable.

For us, sustainability means that we have a zero plastic policy, and we organize ourselves around this standard. This is how we found noissue, by googling sustainable packaging as opposed to creating natural products and having it shipped in plastic. Although we are small, we are constantly seeking information and knowledge to adapt our business model to more green demands.

We lower our environmental footprint by doing the following:

  1. We know how to make liquid soap and made the decision not to produce it as it takes 5 times more energy to produce and can use 20 times more packaging and last half as long as a bar. We communicate numbers and facts of this kind through social media.
  2. We have a plastic-free policy and we showcase our noissue eco-packaging alliance on our website.
  3. We are currently in discussion with a third party for tree planting so every time an order is made above a certain amount, a tree is planted."

"As a customer, I love the unboxing experience, and when looking for packaging for my products, I wanted something that was in line with my branding and can be personalized. I went for the mailers, tape, and paper tissue! The fact that the mailers are made from plants and compostable materials creates such a unique experience, and it was totally in line with the sustainable element we were looking for. Only a few suppliers are providing the option. The paper tissue and tapes are a perfect addition for the branding; it makes the whole unboxing simply great.

I wanted a sustainable packaging that was fun and that could be customizable and easy to order. The fact that you can order samples before making an order is a key service as you get to see the quality and the different products. I loved everything about noissue. The website is incredible, the branding, the user experience, the values, the missions, the customer service, and the cherry on the cake is that you plant trees once you made an order!"

"The look of our bubble soap cube triggers a sense of curiosity and is intriguing to their vibrant colors. It looks like Pop Art from the 1960s. There is the visual at first and then a unique sensation of the structure, which is the massaging effect. This process removes the autopilot mode when washing your hands, and to which our tagline is 'Cherishing beauty through the senses.' One of my favorite French books is 'At the Search of Time Lost' by Marcel Proust, and the most iconic part is the madeleine, being symbolic of the past that arises unintentionally and enables the author to connect with his childhood. By removing the autopilot mode with the bubble form, there is a stronger sense of self-care as you slow down and form a connection with yourself or any memories that are activated through the senses of essential oil, a nostalgic soap."

Little Danube Fun Fact:

"If I were given one superpower that can help better the situation of the planet, I want it to be a green politician. So that as Green Politician, I can use it to change and implement policies and new measures, we have sufficient resources and technology to make an immediate impact and difference."

Find more of Little Danube here:

Website: littledanube.co.uk

Instagram: @littledanubeshop

'How I Got Started' feature