Lamazuna is the brand that’s been reducing your bathroom waste since 2010 — and soon our products can help you reduce waste in the rest of your home too! Maybe you’ve spotted our pink zebra? You probably already know that we make solid cosmetics, such as solid shampoos and deodorants. Now we also have sustainable accessories, such as washable cleansing wipes to replace disposable cotton pads, and Oriculi ear cleaners, to use instead of cotton buds.
There’s a story behind these products. Laëtitia, the founder of Lamazuna, tells us more…
“The story of the Oriculi goes back to my childhood. My mum wouldn’t allow anyone to use cotton buds at home because, apparently, they could cause earwax to build up. So instead, we would take a toothpick, cut off the sharp end, and roll a small amount of cotton fabric around the tip. It wasn’t something you could do very quickly, so we didn’t do it often, but our ears were all the better for it!
When I became a teenager, it was time to think about deodorants. I didn’t really need one , but thought it would be “embarrassing” if I didn’t put deodorant on in the changing rooms after PE! My mum didn’t want us to use antiperspirants, in case they could trap toxins inside the body, and might increase your risk of breast cancer. So I went and bought one secretly and hid it in the back of my wardrobe. (Mum, if you’re reading this, do you remember the shelf where my T-shirts were?)
It wasn’t that I wanted to defy her. It was just that I didn’t believe stores could sell products that were harmful to our health. If they really were, surely other people (not just my mum) would know about it, and those products wouldn’t be allowed to be sold!
I’d never have thought that years later, I’d be creating my own natural, organic deodorant, or the Oriculi!”
Lamazuna has grown a lot. But it’s been a long journey to get this far! Click along the timeline to let Laëtitia lead you through some of the highlights.
Time for some introductions!
Hello! I’m Laëtitia, and I’m from the Vendée region of France. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of entrepreneurship. My dad is a physiotherapist, so he’s always met lots of people through his work. He’d come back with stories that his patients had told him or tell us about their careers. He found entrepreneurs particularly fascinating. I remember one day he came home and said to me, “Imagine being the person who invented the clothes peg! It’s such a simple idea, and yet it’s made life so much easier for so many people!” This anecdote made quite an impression on me, at a time when I was already naturally interested in certain aspects of entrepreneurship, such as creativity and freedom. Who would have thought that a few years later, I’d be creating my own company?!
From a daily chore to a lightbulb moment!
The story of Lamazuna began in 2010, when I decided to stop using disposable cotton pads and make-up remover every day. Instead, I invented ultra-soft microfibre wipes that could be washed and reused hundreds of times. The idea came to me when I went away for a weekend with friends. I’d forgotten to take my make-up remover, so I improvised! When I stepped out of the shower, I used my microfibre bath towel to wipe my face. And that was when I had a great surprise! All my make-up had gone. OK, a few of my lashes had gone with it, so clearly there was still some work to be done on the material, but it was interesting to see the effect of the microfibre on make-up. And that’s how the washable cleansing wipes, which can be used with just water, were born. The rest of the Lamazuna range followed!
A French brand with a Georgian name!
Once I’d found the concept, I had to find a name. I knew what I wanted: lots of “a” sounds and, if possible, a Swahili name, something along the lines of “hakuna matata”. But in the end, it was Nika, my housemate from Georgia, who came up with the name “Lamazuna”, which means “pretty young woman” in Georgian.
Building the brand beyond France
In 2011, we began selling Lamazuna products to our French-speaking neighbours, Switzerland, and Belgium.
The birth of Holy
In 2011, my dog, Holy, was born. Since then, she’s been part of the Lamazuna adventure, and follow me everywhere — including the Lamazuna offices! I think that’s a good enough reason to add her to our timeline. Just look at that big, fluffy, loveable girl! She’s irresistible! At Lamazuna, everyone can bring their pet to work. It makes for a happy atmosphere.
The launch of the menstrual cup
In 2012, thanks to my younger sister, I learned about the concept of menstrual cups, and I began to introduce them at trade fairs. At first, people were a little taken aback. At the time, menstrual cups tended to be viewed as something only hippies used. But then the digital women’s magazine madmoizelle.com posted a video about them, and within just two months, attitudes completely changed. It was unbelievable! Overnight, we went from “yuck” to “look, it’s a menstrual cup!” I have never seen people change their views about any other product so quickly, thanks to a simple video!
Oriculi: a name invented by Lamazuna!
In 2013, I brought out the first Oriculi. It wasn’t a first for the concept (which comes from Asia) but it was a first for the name. Usually, the product would just be known as an ear cleaner, but I felt that the name should be a little bit sexier! At the time, I wanted the Oriculi to be made from metal, so that once you bought one, it would last a lifetime. But unfortunately, many people were worried it would feel too cold, so I opted for bamboo instead. In 2020, we accomplished the amazing feat of making the Oriculi in France without increasing the retail price! After three years of research, the solution we found was to make it from bioplastic. This also fulfilled my initial intention: to offer an ear cleaner with a lifetime guarantee! And what’s more, we might just have found a new solution to make it in France, but this time, using wood.
The first tree plantations
2013 was also the first year when I was able to support a community project through Lamazuna that would have a real impact on the environment. I chose to plant trees in Peru via a partnership with the social business, Pur Project.
Launch of our first solid cosmetics
It wasn’t until 2014 that our first solid cosmetics were born! I managed to find a soap factory in the south of France where all our solid products could be made using traditional methods, and removed individually from their moulds by hand! This collaboration enabled the soap factory to create 12 new jobs. In some ways, nothing has changed since then. We still work with the same soap factory, and thanks to this wonderful collaboration between us, we continue to create wonderful products!
The COP 21 in Paris: the moment everything changed
The 2015 Climate Change Conference in Paris, and the legislation that followed, were a turning point for the planet, and really raised awareness about environmental issues. Pollution was a problem that had to be addressed, and reducing waste became a real solution! It was also a turning point for Lamazuna, as this was when the brand began to see much stronger growth.
The first two Lamazunians are hired!
The Tour de France!
Thanks to Ulysse, our converted van-cum-workshop-space, we were able to travel all over France and spread the word about Lamazuna and our values. We did this for over two years! While we were already holding workshops about zero waste and veganism in our workshop-store in Paris, we wanted to hit the road and take our message directly to people, whether they were zero waste followers or newbies! The first Lamazuna Tour de France took place in 2017, and we repeated it in 2018.
From 2 to...12!
By 2017, there were 12 people in the Lamazuna team, all of us based in Paris.
The eco-site project
For a long time, I’d had this idea of having a permaculture garden and finding a way to provide our staff with a company restaurant supplied by our own food. It would even give us more control over our kitchen waste! Gradually ideas for a Lamazuna eco-site began to take shape, with space to include our offices, the vegetable garden, a permaculture garden, a mini crèche, and more.
From Paris to the Drôme region!
If we wanted this eco-site idea to become a reality, we had to leave Paris. So, we packed our bags and headed to the Drôme – which was France’s leading organic region at the time! Twelve of us— along with our families and partners — arrived in Marches in late July 2018 and set ourselves an objective: to find the ideal site for Lamazuna within a year!
A price reduction for our solid cosmetics
2018 was also the year when we could start reducing some of our prices, including our solid shampoos, solid deodorant and solid toothpastes. And we made ourselves a promise: to make zero-waste products more affordable for everyone. And we’ve kept our promise! In 2019, we reduced the price of our toothbrushes, and in 2020, we did the same for our unwrapped products
45 employees at our offices in the Drôme!
Once we’d arrived in the Drôme region, we were able to hire lots of new Lamazunians from the region and all over France. We began to divide the company into different departments, so that tasks could be distributed as efficiently as possible. Here you can see some of the team in our Drôme stockroom!
10 years of Lamazuna!
2020 was an eventful year for Lamazuna! We celebrated our 10th anniversary, and our pink zebra got a new look for the occasion! We held celebrations were held in both Paris and the Drôme region (in between two lockdowns), where we were joined by the press, our retailers, and you, our customers!
Oh, and something very important happened in 2020! We were given planning permission for our eco-site, and work could finally begin!
New objectives and commitments!
We’re more motivated than ever this year! We’ve planned to launch 15 new products, and reformulate five, for a zero-waste bathroom. We’re going to be introducing some zero-waste solutions for your kitchen, and 70% of our products (up from 30%) will be certified organic. We’re also working towards making 100% of our products in France, and we continue to support projects close to our hearts. We’re doing everything we can to satisfy your needs and demands, and bring us all even closer to a zero-waste future!
Time for some introductions
The Lamazuna team now consists of 70 people, all of them firm believers in the brand’s values. ! Below, you can see (nearly) all of us! This photo was taken when we were enjoying a break during our 10th anniversary celebrations, in July 2020. Pleased to meet you!
What we do
(create eco-designed, eco-affordable products)
We have strong values and convictions, and we always aim high, going as far as we can.
It is important to us that all our products be “eco-affordable”. Laëtitia explains: “I wanted this to be one of our watchwords at Lamazuna. We want to offer innovative products that won’t harm your health or the environment, plus they also enable you to save money!”
To ensure that we always remain true to our values, there are certain criteria that our products must meet. They must all be:
- Zero waste
- Made as locally as possible (we are gradually moving towards 100% made in France, but unfortunately this is not always possible).
We now have a wide range of solid cosmetics, with shampoos, deodorants, toothpastes, cocoa butter, etc. We also have sustainable and durable accessories, including our famous Oriculi and the washable cleansing wipes. Every year, our range grows, but we’re always careful not to create new needs in the bathroom! And sometimes we’ll question certain choices, to make sure that we’re still being true to our commitments.
This explains why we no longer sell a bamboo Oriculi, which is a natural material that comes from Asia. Instead, we developed a local solution to replace this imported material. In 2020, we introduced a new version of the Oriculi, made in France from biosourced materials.
There’s much more to Lamazuna than solid cosmetics. We also want to spread the word about zero waste, give you lots of inspiring ideas to help you switch to a more zero-waste lifestyle, and share our experiences. Our brand is for everyone, from eco-warriors to those who are simply curious. And we like to think that we’re not just ethical; we’re also very cheerful and approachable!