By: Jacinta David Miller
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
I have always been interested in the intersection of business and social impact, having started my first non-profit organisation at 15 years old. The focus of this organisation was to assist in the literacy and education of women and children around the world through the building of libraries. Recognising that business is the most practical way of realising social impact at a large scale, I studied Business in University with a focus in Marketing and Operations.
My first job out of college was for L’Oreal, launching beauty products for global brands such as Lancôme, Kiehl's, and Garnier Fructis. Through this working experience I learned how to take products to market and to bring these products into millions of people’s homes.
2. What was the need you saw that made you start your new project: Habitat?
Whilst in this position I recognised that there is a current gap in the market for products to address the fundamental tenets of personal care. While there are myriad of innovations happening in the cosmetics space, care as a category has been largely neglected. Habitat creates modern personal care products that harness daily habits to create change.
The word habitat itself is a combination of habit and at, and it is in the spirit of this amalgamation that Habitat was created. The philosophy of quality and necessity is inherent in the very creation of Habitat products. Products are developed with a people first mindset and are continuously iterated upon to deliver the best results. In this method of consumer based creation, Habitat reverses the traditional model of product development. Traditional process stipulates that products require years to launch to market, at which time needs and preferences change. Instead, Habitat taps into real-time customer feedback for insights to deliver products in terms of weeks rather than years.
Because our products are caring in nature, we inspire care in every step of our process, from ingredients to formulation to impact. Continuing this driving belief that everyone is deserving of this standard of care, for every product sold a portion of proceeds are dedicated to providing access and improvements to health and hygiene around the world.
3. What are your plans for this year and how can Kota and the Women's Lab at CSI help?
The main objective of this year is to officially launch Habitat into the marketplace. In order to achieve this, I have to maintain a sharp focus on customers, tapping into insights and feedback to create products that people need.
The Kota-Alliance is already assisting me by providing resources and connections to further my business. As a social entrepreneur it is important that I am surrounded by like-minded people to ideate, collaborate and gain feedback, all of which is possible in the Women’s Lab at CSI. I am also part of a pilot mentorship program with The Kota-Alliance. Kota has connected me with a mentor with whom I regularly check in providing me with guidance, assistance, as well a sense of accountability. Being the first participant in this program is a wonderful opportunity to develop a structure and framework so that this mentorship program can be built upon and implemented in the future.
One of the things I love about the CSI is its focus on social impact, innovation and empowerment. It is important for co-working spaces to not only think about profits, but how to foster a thriving community of businesses and organizations to bring about change.