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After becoming a mother in 2017, Sarah Paiji Yoo cut out all single-use plastics from her life for the sake of her family. In 2019, she took that practice a step further by creating Blueland, a brand offering sustainable home goods and hygiene products.
Blueland sells hand soaps, home cleaners, dish soaps and laundry products, made with respective plant-based formulas. And all products come in a reusable bottle and are shipped in recyclable cardboard. Its newest product, body wash, released in May, further expands the brand into beauty.
“Blueland tackles the bulkiest products people use in the personal care and beauty space,” Yoo said on the latest episode of the Glossy Beauty Podcast.
In February 2022, Prelude Growth Partners, a female-founded growth equity firm, led Blueland’s fundraising round of $20 million. Blueland has raised a total of $35 million to date from investors including pop star Justin Timberlake; Nicolas Jammet, CEO of Sweetgreen; and Jennifer Fleiss, co-founder of Rent the Runway.
Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
Finding new meaning after motherhood
“On the other side of giving birth, I realized that I still loved working and being passionate about early-stage company building. But, I developed a deep-seated desire to find more meaning in my work. At that point, the energy and the challenge of bringing a new brand to market or creating products that had never existed before was not enough for me. I felt a need to have more impact and feel like I was making the world a better place and leaving behind hopefully a better world for my son and future generations.”
Confronting single-use plastic
“We did a lot of work to understand where we could have the greatest impact. That research led us to body wash. Given the frequency and surface area that the body wash covers, we tend to cycle through it quicker. If Blueland tackled one of the bulkiest products people use in the personal care and beauty space, it would allow us to achieve one of the greatest impacts in reducing single-use plastic.”
“From the beginning, we’ve been very aware that sustainable products have a bad reputation of being more work, more expensive and less effective. We need to make eco [friendliness] easy. We need to make it affordable, exciting, easy to use and just as effective as conventional, natural competitors, because that’s what it’s going to take. We’re not going to have a great impact if we only scratch the surface of consumers who are willing to make that switch.”