May 21, 2020 by CM2 Student Bella E.

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Driving Question: How can I create an eco-friendly product and brand?

Project Description: For this project, I used the design cycle to formulate my own shampoo bars. I also constructed a business factsheet, SWOT analysis, and pricing strategy. With the findings from my market research paper, I created a buyer persona, social media pages and a website to effectively reach my target audience.

Project Reflection: GreenCare was my year-long passion project. I started it because I saw a gap in the current market for green products. Many green brands were only targeting people that could afford a price premium; however, I have always felt that in order for us to make a macro-level shift to conscious consumerism, everyone, regardless of economic background, should have access to sustainable products.

That’s when I came up with GreenCare—a green beauty brand that values inclusivity and sustainability. The entire process has been an amazing (and stressful) learning experience. From the beginning, I quickly realized that I wanted to make shampoo bars because of their potential impact on the sachet market. I also knew I wanted to formulate my own bars to understand my product inside and out. As I continued, however, I soon realized that this would be more difficult than I had thought. In total, it took about four months, many failed attempts, and weird periods of greasy hair to get to a formulation that I was happy with.

To achieve my science A.I. learning target, I researched the biochemistry behind hair and design specifications extensively. I spent days in the kitchen mixing surfactants with essential oils, colorants, and fatty alcohols. After each testing trial, I would ask my family for feedback on my bar so I could improve the next. I failed probably 95% of the time. My bars were always either too dry, too oily, or disintegrated in the bathroom after the first use. It felt hopeless. Nothing worked. I worried that it never would. Then one day, it did.

After analyzing past formulations, finding trends and making conclusions, I finally figured it out. After about eight trials, I discovered a decent formulation for my bars—one that was sulfate-free and had the right ratios to clean hair without drying it. It also stayed intact even after using it for the first time. I felt ecstatic! My mom and sister approved as well. My bars performed all the qualities of shampoo (cleansing and smelling nice) while being completely zero-waste. They’re definitely what I’m most proud of for this project. The biggest takeaway from this project was the lesson of positive risk-taking.

At TGS, risk-taking is a skill defined as “the willingness to make mistakes, advocate unconventional or unpopular positions, or tackle extremely challenging problems without obvious solutions, such that one’s personal growth, integrity, or accomplishments are enhanced”. Through GreenCare, I tackled the extremely challenging problem of formulating my own product. I had to learn that failing was okay. No. Actually, it’s essential. Without those eight attempts, I would have never gotten to the place where I am now. In hindsight, I’m grateful for all those times when I thought of giving up because they make this entire journey so much more fulfilling. Now, I’m not saying that this is the end. In fact, it’s far from it. I know that my entire life will be a collection of failed trials and attempts. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from GreenCare, it’s that the occasional successes make it all worth it.

Learn more about Bella’s TGS projects in her digital portfolio: