Founder Friday: Sustainable Startup
Updated: May 5
Welcome to our 'Founder Friday' series. Each week we will be introducing you to a founder within Enterprise Orchard's community. Featuring this week is Banasa Williams, who is the founder of Ksoni. Imogen sat down (virtually) with Banasa to ask her all about Ksoni and how Banasa came to set up her own sustainable business.
So Banasa, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi there, I'm Banasa! I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and moved to London 12 years ago. My professional background is in sales and marketing for lifestyle brands, and I've worked in both large multinationals and sustainable startups across fashion, footwear, food and beauty. I love it when people are delighted by a new brand or product discovery, so I ensure my campaigns create a lovely consumer experience in-store or online. I started my career as a yoga instructor (and am re-certifying at the moment!), so health, wellness and fitness are a big part of my life.
So many interesting things I didn't know about you! I love yoga too, I definitely want to get back into it! So having had a background in sales, marketing and working in a variety of sectors. I'm sure people are dying to know what sector your business is in and what it is?
My sustainable business is called Ksoni (www.ksoni.co), and it is a sustainable startup and inclusive body care brand with a range of natural products housed in plastic-free packaging. Our vegan & cruelty-free shampoos, conditioners & body washes are infused with essential oils for a gorgeous aromatherapy experience and are designed to be suitable for a wide range of hair and skin types. We use aluminium cans to house our products due to their high recyclability content. So yes, that is shampoo & body wash in a can!
People often ask us about our brand name - Ksoni means "earth" in Sanskrit, which resonates with me as a yoga instructor and my co-founder Joti's Indian heritage. A reminder that our collection serves to benefit both the individuals who use our products and the planet we wish to preserve by reducing plastic waste and being as sustainable as possible.
I absolutely love the packaging of Ksoni products. It's such a clever concept and it is definitely in keeping with the huge sustainability movement. I think it is great that Ksoni is doing their bit for the planet! What made you want to set up your own sustainable business?
Starting a sustainable business is something I always wanted to do but didn't think would be possible! An unexpected redundancy and a chance meeting with my co-founder Joti a few years ago finally convinced me to take this entrepreneurial leap.
It definitely has paid off! I think 'taking a leap' into the unknown world of entrepreneurship is what stops a lot of other people starting their own business'. It can be a scary concept! With that being said, what advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business?
My main advice would be to research the market you want to enter and ensure there is a large enough audience for your product/service. I'd also say not to be discouraged if you find other businesses offering something similar to your idea in your research, but to think about how you can differentiate from what others are doing to make your product/service more appealing to your audience. The success of the sustainable startup will come in the execution!
Great advice! I think reseach is often neglected but is it a huge part. How has The Engine Room helped you personally and Ksoni?
The accountability in the weekly goal setting sessions has been hugely helpful. I often juggle several projects at once, so the goal-setting forces me to focus! I also didn't anticipate how lonely it can be running a sustainable startup (even with a co-founder!), so I look forward to catching up with my fellow founders each week.
Lastly, What is your fun fact? We like to ask every founder this, just for a bit of fun.
I make hats in my spare time! Unfortunately, my head was too big for all the lovely hats I saw in the shops, so I did a millinery course to make my own a few years ago.
That is quite a skill! I'm sure they are beautiful! Well thank you Banasa it has been a pleasure to chat to you. I now know so much more about you and Ksoni. Enterprise Orchard wishes you every success with the future of Ksoni.
Thank you very much.