How Waken Mouthcare Is Disrupting the Personal Care Aisles
In October 2019, Waken Mouthcare launched in Boots and Sainsbury’s stores nationwide, with their debut line of four-vegan friendly mouthwashes.
Each bottle contains no artificial colours, flavours or alcohol and is packed with sodium fluoride to protect teeth and gums.
Simon Duffy, the founder of Waken Mothcare, started his career at one of the largest accounting firms in the country. Craving creativity, he then went to work at Saatchi & Saatchi and at leading innovation consultancy Fahrenheit 212, for clients such as P&G and Diageo.
Working on innovation strategies for blue-chip companies gave him pivotal insight into the research and product development functions of FMCG brands. Hungry to create something himself, that prioritised a sustainable approach to processes and ingredients, Duffy left his job to create one of the UK’s largest men’s skincare brands, Bulldog.
Today, Bulldog makes $105M+ globally in retail sales and, in October 2016, Duffy sold the company to Edgewell Personal Care, who helped Bulldog to expand into 31 countries.
Following the sale, Duffy developed itchy feet and had a new idea for shaking up the dental aisles with Waken Mouthcare. His ambition with Waken is to make products that are kinder to your mouth and the planet. Each bottle is made from infinitely recyclable aluminium.
“I want to challenge the status quo of the big dental brands around at the moment. They are heavily artificial and quite harsh. If you look at mouthwash for example, most products on the market contain alcohol and are focused on killing 99.9% of bacteria. This seems outdated when we think about the emerging understanding surrounding good bacteria in other areas such as gut health. Nobody seems to be using natural mint or other natural ingredients, and there simply isn’t the same amount of energy or innovation driving change in the dental care industry.“Simon Duffy, Founder of Waken
Inspired by a broader understanding about wellness and nutrition, and the role that our mouth plays in the context of our overall health, Duffy wanted to approach the dental aisles with a new perspective – embracing the beauty of natural botanical extracts for optimum results.
In a category that is hugely clinical, Waken’s stunning and sustainable packaging comprises pretty pastel shades to reflect the personality of a more gentle and beautiful philosophy. This aesthetic has been favoured by beauty editors from the likes of Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar, who have praised Waken in their editorial features.
Waken also disrupts the dental care category by heightening the sensory experience and predicts that oral care will increasingly align with growing beauty trends:
“It was only a decade ago when cleansing with a face wipe was “enough,” but now double cleansing the skin is a pleasurable ritual for many of us after the end of a long day. I want to put pleasure back into brushing and caring for your teeth, as it’s an essential ritual which should smell good, taste good, look good and ultimately make you feel good.“Simon Duffy, Founder of Waken
Since launching, Waken have increased our retail distribution to Amazon and Ocado, and their PepperMint Mouthwash has also received a Beauty Shortlist Award (Under the Best New Mouthwash category).
Outside of work, Simon (43) also champions entrepreneurship as a public speaker, and is currently involved in the UK startup scene as an investor, advisor and mentor, for a number of new and emerging brands.
He was previously a Visiting Fellow and Lecturer at the New College of the Humanities where he developed the curriculum for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and taught the course for nearly six years, from 2013 to 2019.
You can find out more about Waken here.