We are turning 3! Something to be happy about, not only for the whole JUNGLÜCK team but especially for our founder, Benedikt. Given the special occasion, I'd like to reflect on the past years and to take a look back with him: To the beginnings, the milestones, and how Benedikt managed to found a company that operates sustainably and has always managed to stick to its core values during the growth of the last years: Honesty, Sustainability, Social Responsibility.
- The idea: The first cut of the JUNGLÜCK spade
- Looking back: Our milestones
- The team
- The product family
- The core values
- The hurdles for sustainable startups: profitability vs. sustainability
- Looking ahead: what's next?
The idea: JUNGLÜCK’s cornerstone
"If someone had told me 3 years ago that we would be where we are today, I probably would have said they were crazy" - That's how small the idea started back then. If you've been following our journey a bit more closely, you may already know how the idea for JUNGLÜCK got into Benedikt's head in the first place. If not, here comes a little recap: Benedikt realized through conversations with his wife and his mom that good natural cosmetics are hard to recognize and to get hands-on. So, he wanted to give something back to the two most important women in his life, yet at the same time, he saw a great opportunity to help many other people with his own cosmetics brand manufacturing his products with high standards in quality and sustainability right from the start. Looking back, it is really hard to believe what has now become of it and how many people already begin and end every day with our cosmetics. This makes not only Benedikt but everyone here at JUNGLÜCK really happy!
Looking back: Our milestones
A lot has happened in the past 3 years, but much of it behind the scenes, where you didn't see it. So, that's exactly where I would like to take you now to give you a little insight!
From 1 to 45 in 3 years, despite the global pandemic. From Benedikt's desk at home to a small one-room office, to our light-flooded, green office loft in the south of Munich. Little by little, more and more faces have joined us, have brought JUNGLÜCK forward, and have actively helped wherever they could to get where we are now. And even further! Even the sudden switch to home office last year could not stop us from doing so!
Unlike many other startups, we were quite lucky this past year, because our online store was not as negatively affected by the pandemic as the businesses of many offline companies. The Corona-related difficulties we had to overcome, the problems we had to solve and got to learn from largely consisted of supplier's delays, which in effect, led to shipping jams at our end. We, like the majority of people, had to get used to seeing our colleagues and friends only via laptop screen from home, and some new employees even have yet to see the faces of the team live. And despite all this "estrangement", we have grown together more and more. We still have the team spirit from the first day and can hardly wait to be together in the office kitchen and (re)meet each other properly!
The product family
From 3 products, our small family has now grown to 49 members. With a constant focus on the high quality of our ingredients. One of last year's highlights for Benedikt was definitely the launch of our baby care series - because he became a father and was inspired to create a product line for his son, just as he did before for his mother and wife!
The core values
The fact that we put the environment first in our product sourcing, packaging, and general decisions is something you've probably already noticed when you look at our website. Benedikt puts it in a nutshell: "For us, sustainability means in its core that we always keep the aspect of sustainability in mind in every decision we make and that we don't do things if they go against our principles, even if they would make economic sense." The best example is probably that JUNGLÜCK is still an owner-managed company. There are no investors behind us, but our founder. That's something pretty special for startups of our size and especially in the sustainable industry, and it gives us much more freedom to act according to our values. Investors often have their own plans for their investment, they have no personal connection to the company and the employees, which is why it is often difficult to make particularly social, or sustainable decisions that may be less profitable for the company in purely economic terms. But for us, that's exactly what's enormously important, because we want to give something back for everything we do and the success we have with it. For us, this is the only way to move JUNGLÜCK forward - not at the expense of our own values.
As we take a look at how our major charitable donation campaigns have evolved, we are tremendously excited about what we can accomplish as we continue to grow!
- Eden Reforestation Project in the mangroves of Madagascar: We have already been able to plant over a million trees and with every product sold, another one is added!
- Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald e.V.: A sponsoring membership that has been particularly close to our hearts from the very beginning, because our forests need to be protected here in Germany, too.
- Brotzeit e.V.: The VAT reduction in Germany in 2020 benefited this special Munich-based organization. For an entire year, children can receive school lunches!
- Glückswoche: Our biggest donation initiative so far took place last November. 7 organizations, 7 campaigns, and 7 donations. We are already looking forward to the next Glückswoche!
- Over 180,000€ went to social projects in 2020 alone.
- School construction in Malawi - a project particularly close to Benedikt's heart: To build a whole school in one of the poorest regions of Malawi together with the ABC society. Because education offers a future full of perspective.
- Our first big campaign: With the exclusively designed shirt for International Women's Day 2021 we were able to donate 19.320€ to the Frauenhilfe München gGmbH.
In our conversation, I asked Benedikt what he would like to see in the future: "It would be nice if we could contribute to more and more people acquiring knowledge about good skincare and helping them achieving that."
That is our mission, which we have been working on from day 1: To provide you with in-depth information on skin and hair, as well as reliable knowledge on topics such as holistic health and our products honestly and transparently. To accomplish this, we regularly consult with experts such as our midwife Anna-Maria, our skincare expert Michael, dermatologists, and physicians. And of course, we are always happy to receive any feedback and requests from our community.
But honesty doesn't stop with our role as advisors. We also want to give you insights into our everyday office life, our production, and product development and even give you the chance to actively participate in what we do. Therefore, we recently launched the German customer panel initiative "JUNGLÜCK asks you" to be even closer to your wishes and opinions.
The hurdles for sustainable startups: profitability vs. sustainability
It's not easy to start or run a sustainable business, not even in 2021. That's why I wanted to know from Benedikt what compromises he had to or has to make when it comes to sustainability and profitability? Especially for a company that is focused on sustainable trade?
"For us, sustainable business means that the aspect of sustainability is strongly in focus in every decision we make. Nevertheless, some decisions are forced to be implemented compromising on sustainability. The best example of this is the glass packaging we use. After all, the majority of all cosmetic products are filled into plastic containers. For us, glass is a necessity, and acquiring glass bottles was a huge challenge, especially in the beginning. Unfortunately, this is due to the overall system of the cosmetics industry, where plastic is the number one packaging method. As a smaller company, you are out of the question for large suppliers, if you ask for a more sustainable option. You get a rejection. Apparently, in this industry, in particular, there is so much satisfaction and so little willingness to innovate. But once a company reaches a certain size, some things are easier to achieve, such as being able to buy glass bottles directly from the glassworks."
The bigger the company, the greater the opportunities for sustainability. We want to continue to pursue our sustainable goals as strongly as we can at every stage and use our freedom of action to stay true to our core values, and, above all, to you as a customer.
Looking ahead: what's next?
One thing is for sure: We have some pretty exciting product launches in the pipeline for this (and next) year! Currently, however, they are still in internal product development and we can not reveal anything more specific yet. But we can assure you one thing: We always base our development strongly on the community surveys, so what you want from us. Perhaps your desired product will soon be available in a JUNGLÜCK bottle in your bathroom.
But what is Benedikt’s wish for the future?
"I want to become even more sustainable, with a new form of products that is inherently more sustainable, similar to solid products, which doesn't require a lot of packaging. We're also currently updating our packaging, so it shouldn't be too long before your order arrives in a new shipping package. It is close to all of our hearts to become even more understandable and to incorporate even more customer feedback on our products into development and optimization. Besides the current school construction in Malawi, I would like to be able to allow even more organizations and people to fulfill their goals, wishes, and projects."
"I would love to be perceived as a small pioneer in the approach of sustainable and natural cosmetics in 10 years, strongly focusing on the effect, but also keeping in mind the aspect of social responsibility and sustainability. It would be great if we are seen as a modern brand with the combination of good products and sustainability."
So you see we have big and smaller dreams and plans for the future. And we will remain true to our core values: Demonstrate sustainability in all areas, take social responsibility for people and the environment, and meet you with honesty about our products, the JUNGLÜCK philosophy, and topics like skincare and holistic health.