A Note from Ed & Andy, Akt's Founders
Even though we’re actors, we kind of hate talking about ourselves —we swear! We’re more than happy to play dwarves (Ed’s first role at age 10), wear suspenders (Andy in Rocky Horror) or even the golden goose (don’t ask!) with gusto—but when it comes to the personal stuff, we’d much rather stay out of the spotlight.
However, as startup entrepreneurs (which still feels weird to say), we’ve been forced to get over our “founder related” stage fright pretty quickly, and we owe it to our Akt cast—to give you an honest update on where we’re at today—5 months out from our "official” launch.
If you’re a fan of the brand, you’ve probably seen a bit about our recent successes—everything from an incredible award for “Best Deodorant” from Harper’s Bazaar to being top of the list for Vogue’s favourite deodorants. We’ve chatted to so many incredible customers, and watched our community grow by the day.
That being said, we’d be lying if we said the past few months had been all smooth sailing (and not just because we decided to launch a startup during a global pandemic - we’ll save that story for another day).
We’ve had many late nights, early mornings - and weeks where we don’t even know what month we’re in… apparently it’s October now?
We’re also running this business from two different cities - London (Andy) and Berlin (Ed) - which has added a bit of an extra challenge, and up until recently - were doing it 100% on our own (yep, no interns to fetch us coffee).
Whilst we won’t bore you with our struggles with spreadsheets or running a two-person startup from two different cities - we want you to know that we (Ed & Andy) are the guys behind every interaction you have with our brand - and we’re working tirelessly to make sure you get the absolute best experience with Akt.
“Two Performers Take on Plastic”... Not your average West End Show
Whilst we always aimed to get the very best product into your hands (and underarms) - we’re performers at heart, not businessmen. If we’re being honest, we didn’t realise that our decision to be “totally plastic-free” would be so hard to follow through on. And let us tell you...the struggle was REAL.
Have you ever tried to ship something without using tape ...yeah, we hadn’t either.
We care deeply about our impact on the planet, and using plastic in our products wasn’t something we were willing to compromise on. So we forged ahead, and learned a lot.
We also got to the bottom of why literally no one else is doing this - because it’s hard AF!
Trial & error / Going off-script
Back in 2015, we didn’t know the first thing about deodorant, other than the fact that we hated the ones we’d been using, and knew there had to be a better way.
Long before we perfected the formula though, we were pretty hell bent on creating a product that was better for the environment overall. We hated plastic, and were sick of using products that didn’t actually work, and then on top of that, were horrible for the planet.
Ditching plastic seemed totally do-able...until it wasn’t.
Why didn’t you…
Just do x y or z? Trust us, we did.
Many of you have asked us why we didn’t simply go with a glass jar or a tin pot. Great minds think alike! We tried it -- and quickly learned that those types of containers all have sneaky plastic liners in the lids. Strike one.
We then went for a sliding lid tin. No plastic there, rejoice! For half a second. Until we realized that you need to seal the tin with something once it’s filled with product - and after testing 10 different materials to seal it properly, all trials failed. Strike two.
So tubes it is! Without plastic caps of course. Which now brings us to the caps. Ohhhh the caps (said lovingly, we swear).
After searching for 6 months, we finally found a supplier to develop our aluminium caps. Success! We don’t like to brag, but we are pretty proud to be the first company in the world to use aluminium caps with tubes. Of course there have been issues some of you are aware of. (You think the Wright brothers succeeded in flying on their first attempt?) Read on to find out about the changes.
The critics have spoken...
We’ve gotten hundreds - as of the writing of this post 787 to be exact—of reviews, and we’ve personally read every single one of them. As part of our “cast” - your feedback has truly been crucial. It sounds cliche, but the Akt show really couldn’t go on without you.
Whilst it’s been difficult to hear criticisms of our “baby” deodorant balms - we’re listening, learning and reflecting on each and every piece of feedback - whether good, bad or occasionally weird.
So what’s actually going on backstage?
Now for some behind-the-scenes info. Based on your thorough feedback, our beloved balms are undergoing an exciting upgrade. We’ve studied your notes, passed them on to our production teams, and we’re ready for round 2. Our next batch of balms will be improved in the following areas:
As we tell ourselves often, being plastic-free costs something
So what next?
We still need your help! We’re a small business and we can’t get by without your feedback. Everything you share helps us improve our “akt” and we love nothing more than hearing what our customers think about the product.
We’ve combed through every single email, DM, review, and note you’ve provided, and compiled a list of everything we can do a bit better.
We’re thinking about new products and ideas, working on some exciting projects, and just growing far faster than we ever expected. We even hired our first employee. That’s a 33% increase in staffing - just checked our spreadsheet. Yes, we know how to use those now ;)
If there’s something you’ve been itching to share with us, something we haven’t addressed, or just want to chat - we as always are available across many channels. We are personally checking our DMs (a little too often) and replying to customer comments and emails.
We’re going a step further this Friday and hosting an Instagram live chat at 1pm, and we’d love to have you join us!
And our last request - if you aren’t able to make it to our IG Live, please send us any of your burning questions, ideas and comments beforehand. We’ll make sure to address everything that’s sent our way!
This is a given, but if you haven’t already - follow us at @Akt_Ldn And don’t forget to join us this Friday for a chat with us - the founders! It’ll be fun.
Hope to see you then.
- Ed & Andy