Wipes are a rising problem for the wellbeing of our environment. Research done by Good Housekeepingshows that 90% of the wipes on the market contain plastic, which doesn’t biodegrade but rather ends up in landfills where it breaks down into hundreds of thousands of microplastic pieces, wreaking havoc on our oceans. With 60 trillion wipes used annually in the U.S. alone, this plastic waste is a major contributor to pollution. These wipes also frequently have harmful preservatives and are made with questionable manufacturing practices overseas.
Busy Co, a conscious beauty brand, offers a variety of wipes for the body, face and hands, as well as feminine and body deodorant wipes. Made in the USA, powered by wind energy, 100% clean and with 0% waste, Busy solves the wet wipe problem plaguing our planet. The wipes are made from biodegradable upcycled cotton, and packaged in recyclable sachets and recycled cartons. Busy wipes are available online at Amazon, Anthropologie, Beauty Brands, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and on-board JetBlue.
Jamie Steenbakkers is the founder and COO of Busy Co. “Not only are we doing good by Mother Earth, but also we are doing good by women. Instead of spending 45 minutes getting ready, busy women can grab a body wipe and get ready in five minutes,” she says. She started the business at age 19 because she wanted to bridge the gender gap in personal care. Her company began with producing 2,000 bottles of showerless shave gel. A few years later, they began taking over the wipes market.
Although Steenbakkers finds it “scary” at times to be running a company at such a young age, she also loves what she does. “I get to be a decision maker,” she says. “There is no bureaucracy, nobody telling me what products to make. The world is my oyster! It makes me put 100% into everything I do. I wake up every day feeling lucky. I know I will make a difference. I know I am going to empower millions of women through personal care equality, and I know I’m going to save thousands of tons of plastic from entering the landfills.”
The Covid-19 pandemic hit right in the middle of a brand transition for Busy Co. The company had just set up offices in New York City and was doing “a massive push” into the sustainable space. Their wipe sales jumped by 8x in March 2020. Everyone buying toilet paper was also buying body wipes. But Busy wasn’t ready to meet the increased demand. Raw materials were delayed by months, and with the brand pivot and people no longer working at the office, it was challenging time.
“We did everything we could to manufacture as fast as possible,” says Steenbakkers. “We launched new sanitizer wipes and then decided to launch a hand care collection. We thought about how everyone’s hands would be dry and cracked from the sanitizer, and created a line of wipes for dry, dull and aging hand skin. So far, so good!”
To other people looking to tap into their life purpose Steenbakkers says, “Give your passions the opportunity to show themselves! If you have the ability to take a risk for something you care about, do it. When I started my business, I was selling shave gel on the side while going to school. Now Busy has evolved into something that holds all my values of sustainably and equality. Nothing is perfect at the start, but through your decisions, you can evolve any opportunity into your dream.”