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Shampoo with climate-neutral torque.

The Cologne start-up „waschkram“ specialises in solid shampoo balls for sale in package-free refill stores – transported daily using a Riese & Müller Load 75. Christine Daun, co-founder of the manufacturing company, reveals her secret recipe to us: an ecologically sustainable mindset, refined with a love of hands-on work and added female empowerment.

Christine, you produce solid shampoo balls in your manufacturing company “waschkram”. How did you start doing this?

I had one and a half years of parental leave when my twins were born in 2017. I had planned for a year but extended it because we were not offered places in a nursery school. I was mainly busy with the two toddlers, but I still found time to try things out.

I am a trained florist, but I was looking for something that I really enjoy doing, and eventually started producing lipstick and nail polish. There are still spots in our apartment from my first catastrophic attempts with nail polish.

Then, at some point, I looked at what care products, especially for children, contain and it became clear to me that I wanted to specialise in something new.

In the end, it became a shampoo. Why did you choose this product?

Solid shampoo has fundamental advantages. First and foremost, its minimal water content so that it has a much better pack size than liquid shampoo.  We reduce use of packaging by 95 percent and need less space to transport it. We also have our own formulation and can very precisely control the ingredients.

Natural cosmetics is not a protected term. That’s precisely why we wanted to make our own shampoo. We really know that it is solely plant-based and do not have to rely on the manufacturers’ information about what it contains. We know that our shampoo is truly free of palm oil, that we use a coconut-based surfactant, essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances, and fruit powder as colourant.

I had developed a prototype and then Vanessa joined me as the other half of waschkram. Together, we continued to develop the prototype until we had the perfect solid shampoo – the shampoo ball.

  • Solid shampoo – why?
    • Reduction in weight, volume and packaging by up to 95 percent
    • No plastic is used to help protect the world’s oceans and groundwater
    • No use of synthetic preservatives (parabens) and no adverse impact on health
    • No use of sulfates that dry the scalp

And then the shampoo was ready to launch?

No, that took a long time, but fortunately we got a tremendous amount of support from the people closest to us. Manu, my wife, spends a lot of time on waschkram – for instance she also shot the video. And Vanessa’s girlfriend Simone is a graphic designer. She created the entire design: the logo, the packaging, almost everything that you see at waschkram.

How do you come up with new product ideas?

We would like to gradually offer our customers a complete range of skincare products. Of course, this also involves more than just a solid shampoo. Our range now includes a solid conditioner, lip balm and all kinds of accessories.

It can take months from the initial idea to the finished product. It takes a lot of experience and a number of trials until we have a perfect product.

You talk on your Instagram channel about the massive mileage you do on your Load – more than 30 kilometres every day. How does that come about?

I have always ridden a bike anyway. I love cycling. We first had a rental bike through the Donk-EE cargo bike rental company here in Cologne, a Packster.  We were so impressed by it that we ordered our own cargo bike in 2020.

I transport my two four-year-olds, Emma and Emil, about 13 kilometres from Königsdorf to Cologne and back every day on the Load – and then in the city we transport packages of all sizes from the store to the post office and to our customers within Cologne.

 

  • About Christine Daun

    Christine comes from Landeck in Tyrol. It was love that made the trained florist choose Cologne as her new home in 2010 and she then set up “waschkram” in 2018. In the spring of 2021, the family moved almost 15 kilometres out into the country to Königsdorf.

  • About Vanessa Günster

    It was also love that brought the native of Erftstadt to Cologne. Vanessa is a trained wholesale and export trade management assistant and works together with Christine on the production of the products, also taking care of all office work.