We caught up with the man behind the formula to find out why people should be switching to natural deodorants, the importance of vegan formulas in the cosmetic industry, and the future of Pit Putty’s innovative range.
What inspired Pit Putty?
We were first inspired to investigate natural skincare alternatives after Laura’s work colleague was diagnosed with skin melanoma. We’d learnt that her doctor had strongly advised against using any unnatural products on her skin, particularly any product containing the very common ingredient, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS). We started looking into all the products we’d been using ourselves, of which, far too many contained some very questionable ingredients. From this point, we began cleaning out our chemical filled bathroom and cleaning up our diets as well.
That was over 5 years ago and during that time we’ve found some incredible natural alternatives to everyday products, but still the one we really struggled with was natural deodorants. We’ve tried so many, with some working on Laura, but finding none which worked on me as well! So, once we’d moved to Sligo and were making our own personal skin care products, we set ourselves that mission; to create a natural deodorant that truly worked. Months later and we had created Pit Putty, a deodorant so effective, it even worked on me!
How do you find running a business as a couple?
Laura and I worked together in a range of different jobs while travelling Australia together, long before we started Pit Putty. Whilst travelling in Australia we worked in many of the same places and really love each other’s company. When the business started off and was completely home-based, it was really hard to switch off from work mode and be able to relax. I think the main thing we’ve found is the importance of separating work from our home life. Even though Laura takes a less active role in Pit Putty now, we still enjoy working through many aspects of the business together.
Were you vegan when you began Pit Putty? Are you now?
Laura totally leads the way in terms of our health goals! She researches all about healthy and eco-conscious living and I’m happy to come along for the ride. When we first started Pit Putty, Laura was vegetarian, and I was on and off pescatarian myself. Pit Putty originally contained beeswax, but as our lifestyle and values changed, so did the product. It was at the beginning of this year that the entire range transitioned to 100% vegan. Laura is now vegan and I’m transitioning from vegetarian to vegan as well. It’s actually been an evolution of Pit Putty alongside the evolution of ourselves!
What’s the importance of excluding things like Aluminium Oxide from deodorants?
Aluminium Oxides have been a hot topic in the medical community for a while now. This compound is used in conventional antiperspirants to block pores, artificially stopping you from sweating. The problem is, there are mixed views on whether aluminium is safe for us to apply on our skin. Besides the negative environmental effect, aluminium oxides are reported by many to have links to Alzheimer’s and cancer. The studies have come back inconclusive; however, we simply don’t want to take that risk with our health!
Would you ever consider applying for an official cruelty-free or vegan certification?
Absolutely! We also use a sizable percentage of organic ingredients in Pit Putty, but for such a small company, many certifications are very expensive to obtain and keep. For now, we keep to the same values and practices which the certifying bodies dictate and aim to apply for the official certification in time.
Why should deodorants go the natural route?
The most important considerations in choosing a deodorant I think should be safety for the person using the product and safety for the environment we live in. Natural deodorants and natural products in general I trust more because I know exactly what all the ingredients are and the added health benefits they bring. I think it has just become far too much the norm to lather potentially harmful and dangerous chemicals on our skin. We weren’t happy risking our health or the health of our family and friends and that’s been the biggest motivation we’ve had in creating Pit Putty.
Will Pit Putty bring out stick/roll on deodorants in the future?
From purely a business perspective it makes sense to create a roll on or stick deodorant; as more customers might purchase the product and it would be a lot cheaper to make! Unfortunately, all the roll on and stick deodorant containers we’ve found are made from or use plastic. Our mission from the start was to make a product that was the very best it could possibly be, for like-minded people to use. With the amount of plastic pollution produced, we decided it was important for us to be part of the solution, which is why we are proud to be plastic free with our packaging. We keep an eye out for the new and fascinating materials that look like plastic but are made from plants and are therefore biodegradable. Hopefully, in the future, we could bring out an eco-savvy stick deodorant that could even go in the compost after use!
Have you any exciting new Pit Putty scents in the works?
We’ve been wanting to create something lovely with Bergamot for a while now and perhaps something a little spicy too. We love hearing suggestions from readers and in the future, we’re looking into bringing out limited-edition releases of requested scents as well!
Why did you decide to create deodorant rather than another cosmetic product?
We originally started with an all-natural handmade soap that we’d sell at the local markets in Strandhill, Co. Sligo. We started with traditionally made bar soap and then grew our range including lip balms, bath bombs, bath salts and Pit Putty. Our hobby business was growing fast, so we decided that it would be better to focus on one product that we could put all our time into. Pit Putty was providing the most health benefits for people and we couldn’t find anything which was as good as our natural deodorant on the market, so we decided to hold back on the rest of our product range and focused all our energy into Pit Putty!
What’s the best thing about being your own boss?
I think that being your own boss is essentially agreeing to work as hard as you ever have, 70+ hours a week, with everything on the line. And it’s totally worth it! When you work for yourself, you’re taking a huge risk in hoping you’re creating something people will love as much as you do. When we get messages from our customers who say they’ve now found a deodorant for life or an amazing Facebook review recommending our product, it makes the late nights and the long days worthwhile.
What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to creating vegan formulas?
The main challenge we had was when transitioning over from our non-vegan formula was finding an alternative to beeswax. It’s surprising how much substituting just one ingredient with another can change the characteristic and behaviour of the entire product. After what seemed like a lifetime trialling dozens of variations, we created the final product, being used by thousands of people today!
Should all cosmetic brands go vegan?
I love seeing so many new vegan and cruelty-free brands now on the market, driven by people or companies who are focused on making a difference. So many incredible vegan alternatives are now available in terms of cosmetics, food and clothing, which we are so proud to be part of. With each product we buy, we are voting for what we want. If we create the demand for natural, vegan and cruelty-free products, I think a lot more small and large businesses will hurry to supply that demand. We can see this in action by the increasing shelf space of organic and vegan products in our supermarkets, restaurants and fashion outlets, I love it!
Do you see a cruelty free world in the future?
I love the quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”. We can see a progressive mindset changing the world around us every day and it really gives us hope that we are beginning to create a world where the exploitation of animals will be a thing of the past.