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Jessica Bragdon | Co-founder of Koala Eco

Koala Eco was founded by husband and wife duo Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson in 2017. Born out of a desire to find eco-friendly, non-toxic products that were both efficacious...

Koala Eco was founded by husband and wife duo Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson in 2017. Born out of a desire to find eco-friendly, non-toxic products that were both efficacious and safe for even the littlest members of every household, the Koala Eco range of household and personal care products harnesses the power of potent botanicals and plant-based ingredients to inspire a safe, caring, and beautiful world.

Tell us about yourself and how you started Koala Eco?

I’m originally from the United States, I grew up in Boston and New Hampshire with my twin sister and younger brother. After university I moved to New York City to do a Masters in Organisational Psychology and Business, and to work for a boutique hotel business. While there, I met my Australian husband Paul. We now live on the lands of the Gadigal and Birrabirragal people in Sydney, with our two sons Arthur and Emerson. 

Koala Eco came about because Paul and I were always looking for safe, non-toxic, natural and planet-friendly products to use in our home. But we couldn’t find what we wanted, so in 2017 we launched Koala Eco, making plant-based products for the home and body, using the beautiful aromatic essential oils — which also happen to be super-effective antiseptics — from Australian native botanicals. 

What was the first thing you swapped when making the switch to more natural products? 

Good question. I think there were several things that coincided, actually, a reasonably long time ago now. In terms of personal care, perhaps the first conscious changes I made were in terms of what I put on my face and body: cruelty-free cosmetics have been available for years, thankfully. Also, with skin being the body’s biggest organ in terms of absorption, as a twenty-something I remember being really mindful about choosing products that were as natural as possible. Nowadays, the choice is so much broader, and of course, Koala Eco makes natural body washes and lotions. In terms of household chores, way back before Koala Eco I often used vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil in different combinations for cleaning.

What’s your favourite Australian essential oil and why?

It’s so difficult to choose! One of my absolute favourites is Rosalina {Melaleuca ericifolia}, which is also known as the Australian bush lavender. It has the most divine lemony and lavender notes, and it’s able to calm the nerves as well as energise and refresh, which is why we use it in a lot of Koala Eco body care products like our hand and body washes, and body lotion. 

Tell us about your skin. How do you take care of it?

I am lucky to have skin that will tan fairly easily, but I am so conscious of how damaging that can be when spending so much time outdoors, so I am careful, even though being around the beach and ocean is something I adore. So sun protection is essential. I find moisturiser to be the most important thing for both face and body, and I prefer to keep makeup to a minimum these days. So I love Wyuna Botanicals Golden Gem Face Cream because it really seems to keep my face genuinely hydrated, and it smells divine too! The other important thing for skin condition is to try to keep stress under control (easy to say, I know) and also you can never underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. And drinking lots of water. 

What’s your favourite Wyuna Botanicals products and why?

So you know I love the Golden Gem Face Cream, and I am an equally big fan of your Wild’n’ Minty Cleansing Balm. I'm still trying to figure out how something that contains such a refreshing spritz of mint can also feel so gentle on the skin. It manages to soothe as well as deliver a totally effective cleanse. Genius! 

How does nature keep yourself grounded?

Connection to nature is a daily must, because I find it so essential to maintaining positivity and balance. For me, it’s both a conscious and unconscious need, so while sometimes I may be intentional about going to the ocean, or taking a walk, so often it’s the little random, sensory moments of connection that are particularly precious. What floods you with joy when you least expect it: the colour of a flower, the scent of the trees after rain. 

Do you practice any self-care rituals? 

If I get time to myself, it’s an early morning yoga class or beach workout. If that’s not possible, a few minutes to centre myself each day with a bit of deep breathing and meditation, and better still if I can find the nearest park and sit under a beautiful tree. Really good coffee is important too! Other important things are a good book on my bedside table, perhaps a lovely glass of wine at sunset. 

There are some rituals I try and make time for,: like reading The New York Times. As the saying goes, you can take the girl out of New York…you know the rest! I enjoy the New Yorker and The Economist too. 

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