Annika is the head, and most of all, the heart behind Bonda natural cosmetics. In an interview, she told us how she supports women’s empowerment in Latin America with her passion project – and about the contrasting career path she took to get here.
Business Snapshot: Bonda
- Location: Hamburg
- Industry/Product: Natural cosmetics
- Who’s behind it: Annika
- Founded: 2019
- One thing that I’m especially proud of: That I left my corporate job behind and started a business
- Website: www.wearebonda.com
Hi Annika. You used to work in marketing at Amazon. Now you run your own sustainable and environmentally-friendly cosmetics company. It couldn’t be more different.
In a sense, that’s true. I enjoyed my work and had a great team, but I never felt fulfilled. My job lacked meaning and purpose.
And that’s why you started your own brand of care products?
Exactly. Along with a friend who used to work at a large cosmetics company, we came up with the idea for Bonda.
So, what’s the story behind Bonda?
Our products are certified natural care products for everyday use. We put great importance on having an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manufacturing process. Since some cosmetic companies are already doing this, we wanted to take it one step further.
And what was that step?
I started Bonda with the mission to make a positive impact. In addition to sustainability, I also wanted to have a direct and visible social impact. I’ve always had an interest in Latin America, and at the time I was reading a lot about violence against women, especially in Guatemala–this is where I wanted to start with Bonda’s support.
How did you go about it?
I quit my job in fall 2019 and spent a few months in Guatemala. I visited many organizations there and spoke to those affected by violence. One example is María, who sells homemade jams and pickled fruits at local markets. She’s also part of an organization that supports women in setting up their own small businesses.
And where does Bonda come in?
We financially support the organization, “Fundación Sobrevivientes.” The NGO offers psychological and legal help for women who have been victims of violence. They also provide training programs, such as candle and soap workshops. We raise money to help the organization do these things by selling our products.
How exactly does this help the women there?
Most of the women we support are victims of domestic violence. They cannot escape because they are financially dependant on their husbands. The workshops help to give them more self-confidence and the opportunity to build something of their own.
The key phrase being “to build something of their own”. Where did you get the courage to start something completely new and unknown to you?
In my job at Amazon, I had to take on a lot of responsibility right from the start, which included some things I knew nothing about. This jump into the deep end showed me what I’m capable of and ultimately helped me to start my passion project.
If you compare your previous jobs with your current project, what’s the difference?
The passion that goes into Bonda. Not just my own, but also that of the community. You can tell that Bonda is not driven by profit, but by its mission. That’s what I love about it.
How does that show in your business?
My customers often tell me that they don’t just buy Bonda products for the products themselves, but because of the idea behind them. This is also reflected in people’s general willingness to help. A start-up recently made a promotional video for me. For free. Simply because they loved Bonda and wanted to support the mission. This team spirit is what makes it for me.
What’s next for Bonda?
I would like to significantly increase Bonda’s impact. As a small business owner, it’s not that easy. For example, I’d like to make my packaging even more sustainable. Sugar cane plastic would be perfect for this, but the purchase quantities often only start from 10,000 pieces. I would also like to increase our financial support for NGOs. To do this, the Bonda community must continue to grow. But as the saying goes, it’s the journey that matters.
We’re happy to be able to support Annika in this.