Online Exclusives

Personal from the Start

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | February 23, 2015

Backgrounds in e-comm and CPG help when building a new business, but for Puracy’s founders, the launch of their household and personal care brand was driven by personal need.

Necessity, as we all know, is the mother of invention. It has started many a brand, and such is the case with Puracy, an eco-friendly safe natural household brand founded in Austin, TX in 2013.  The firm, focused on effective cleaning and stylish packaging, also gives back to the local community. For example, in January, Puracy delivered donations— enough product for 12,000 loads of laundry, 40,000 sinks worth of dirty dishes and 350,000 dirty hands— to the Austin Children's Services and SafePlace.  
Happi recently interviewed co-founder Sean Busch about his growing brand.
HAPPI: Tell us about your brand’s start—how did you get up and running and execute the launch?
Busch: Puracy was founded by two friends with extensive backgrounds in e-commerce and consumer product goods. However, the desire to create this product line had to do with our personal lives.  
Paul [Paul Tracy, co-counder] has lived a natural and organic lifestyle for as long as he could remember.  Once he and his wife had their first child, their desire to live in a healthy, clean environment increased.  They could not find anything they liked on the market, so began mixing up their own natural cleaning solutions.  
I ran a company in college that specialized in cleaning and refinishing exotic cars.  I often worked on vehicles with delicate finishes worth more than the average US home. My craft required practice, patience, and uniquely effective, yet safe cleaning products. I often consulted with large product manufacturers to develop new automotive cleaning products, which restored the surface without doing any harm. More recently, when we added dogs to our family, they fell ill after licking the floor cleaned from a popular wet-mop cleaning solution. I began mixing my own cleaning products and searching for something better.
Our desire was the same, yet evolved from two completely different needs. We wanted highly effective, yet completely safe-cleaning products. However, the needs required the same outcome. We interviewed over a dozen chemists before selecting a small team to create their line of natural household products. Each product yielded more than six months of R&D and only came to market if it proved as effective as the leading brand, yet safe and economical.  
HAPPI: The line is clearly eco-minded, which affected your ingredient choices. How did this specifically affect the fragrances you planned to use in the product line?
Busch:  We knew that the fragrances were extremely important when developing our products.  We scoured the internet reading reviews of our competitor's products; specifically, their fragrances.  We did our own research on how we wanted ours to differ. Lastly, we held a number of focus groups with audiences in our demographic to sample various fragrances and the strength of their aroma.
Our goal became clear. We created balanced blends of unique natural fragrances. Our Lavender & Vanilla Natural Hand Soap, for instance, elected these two ingredients as they paired well and complimented each other. On first smell, you notice the sharp, peppery lavender. As you begin to lather your hands, it softens and the warm, sweet hues of vanilla begin to pass through. The lavender becomes a little more floral and a little less sharp. The final element of our fragrance goal was to have it pleasant and enjoyable, yet quickly dissipate after using. We found a great dissatisfaction with our focus groups (mainly moms) on how “perfumy” some competitors' products were. Some even discontinued use during pregnancy as their sense of smell was heightened and these products made them nauseous. We knew that the fragrance had to be balanced, pleasant, and forgotten a few minutes afterwards. It took us a long time to source, develop, and balance the fragrance profile for each product.  
HAPPI: What scents are offered in the line, and how do they “speak” to the consumer and reinforce your brand?
Busch: Our current fragrances, and the products they are used in-are:
- Lavender & Vanilla (Natural Hand Soap)
- Green Tea & Lime (Natural Dish Soap, Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner)
- Citrus & Sea Salt (Natural Body Wash)
- Citrus Grove (Natural Baby Shampoo & Body Wash)
- Milk & Honey (Organic Hand & Body Lotion
- Oatmeal & Honey (Organic Baby Lotion)
- Free & Clear (Natural Laundry Detergent, Natural Stain Remover)
As aforementioned, our fragrance blends are balanced and unique.  We felt that a lemon-scented cleaning product had been done, far too many times. The same could be said about each category we are in.  
There are certain fragrances that dominate each category (cleaners = citrus; laundry = cotton; lotion = vanilla, etc.).  While we feel this is important to keep in mind, we wanted to create an interesting aroma, which piqued interest and made our products enjoyable to use.  When customers describe our products, the fragrance is often times the first thing they mention.