Meet Jessica Bragdon, Founder of Koala Eco
We chat with founder of Koala Eco, Jessica Bragdon to talk all things business, motherhood, and exactly how often you should be washing your children's bedding...
Tell us about your experience starting and building a business whilst being a mother to two young boys?
It’s been tough, wonderful, rewarding, exhausting, invigorating. Paul and I have tried to build a business that’s very much in tune with the values we aspire to for our family: a care for and awareness of each other, animals, and the planet.
Life takes many twists and turns and everything teaches you along the way. One of our boys had a life-threatening illness—Neuroblastoma—when a baby, and it really made us focus on our priorities: health, family and relationships. And also, using your brain to do something you find meaningful, and which, if you're lucky, helps others.
Our family life is the most important thing to us, so our business commitments have to balance with being hands-on parents who also deserve a bit of a social life, and the occasional date night. We don't get it right all the time, but I would say learning to be forgiving of ourselves is one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned so far. Ultimately, though, we are doing what we love.
What advice would you give mother's who are navigating family life and owning a business and or working?
Being a parent is truly the most life-changing event anyone can experience and there is no way to describe or understand it until you are in it. Running a business and raising kids is challenging but worth it. I always thought having a career and children would be easy … until it was me!
It's important to define the boundaries and try not to get exhausted. Don’t let a home-based business dominate family life. Boundaries require clarity, organisation, and a lot of discipline to maintain. But then, if you’ve got the self-motivation to set up and run a business, you’ve actually got the wherewithal to make sure the business doesn’t start running you.
Having confidence in yourself is one of the hardest things, but it strengthens when you plunge in and get on with it. I’ve enjoyed many different jobs and gained so much from each one. But I’ve also learned that with young children one has to prioritise and accept help. As a mother, top of my list of coping strategies are kindness, tolerance, mindfulness, patience and humour. And sleep!
Choosing the right laundry product for your family can be overwhelming for a new mum. What factors are important to consider when making this decision?
Whether you have a front or top loader, you want something high-performance, antibacterial, and that removes dust mite allergens. You also want to know that it will not cause any skin problems and, combined with the appropriate water temperature and machine cycles, will not destroy clothes or household linen: it needs to be gentle enough for hand-washing. It’s also a bonus if the product has a lovely fresh (but totally natural) scent. You want to avoid household cleaners with formulas containing harsh chemicals and artificial scents. Accordingly, we put a lot of time and research into creating Koala Eco Natural Lemon Scented Eucalyptus and Rosemary Laundry Wash. Ultra-concentrated and grey-water safe, it’s formulated to be gentle on clothes and on skin, but also to deliver a thorough wash at any water temperature.
How often do you recommend washing your children’s bed linen?
It’s going to vary as to personal preference, but I’d recommend once a week for sheets and pillowcases – assuming your child is not unwell or wetting the bed, in which case, it’s going to be more frequent. For bedding items that are not in immediate or constant contact with skin (like blankets or comforters) then once a month should be adequate.
Jessica has generously offered our subscribers 25% off Koala Eco products. Please use the code GOTOBED25 at Checkout!