They’re the leaders of a green beauty revolution! In two short years, Michael Cammarata, cofounder of Schmidt’s Naturals, and Moiz Ali, founder of Native, transformed their brands from humble start-ups into two of the biggest names in natural deodorants. The enterprising CEOs tell Star how they combined their business smarts and passion for sustainability into a winning formula.
There’s a great backstory to both your products. Can you tell us about it?
Michael: In 2014, I was looking for “natural” companies to invest in when a colleague told me, “You have to look at this product — it’s deodorant in a mason jar!” I read the reviews online and saw that customers really loved it, so I invested. I partnered with her and we cofounded a new company together.
Moiz: In 2015, when my sister got pregnant, I wanted her to use a natural deodorant. But I couldn’t find any, so I launched Native. I started selling deodorant online before I even had a product! Eventually, I found a couple selling deodorant that I loved online, and they started producing it for me.
How did you grow your businesses?
Michael: We reformulated our product into a stick to compete with mainstream brands. I also brought in accountants and lawyers, and secured a $2 million loan to get us out of a kitchen and into a custom in-house manufacturing facility. We also grew our online business and brand.
Moiz: I experimented with different marketing — buying secret AdWords for $3 per click, running ads on Facebook and Pinterest. At first I was selling 300 sticks a week, but after retargeting to women, we eventually grew to 23,000 sticks a day — more than all the brands on Amazon combined.
What was your sales strategy?
Michael: Getting into retail outlets alongside established deodorant brands, not in the “naturals” aisle, was imperative. I refused to put product in any store that wouldn’t agree. And business boomed. Then came the acquisitions in 2017 — Schmidt’s Naturals by Unilever, and Native by P&G — and nine-figure exits for both of you.
Michael: I never intended to sell. When Unilever came along, I consulted with my close friend Dr. Jane Goodall, who urged me to think of the potential impact I could have with a company whose mission is to make sustainable living commonplace. After the acquisition, we were able to expand to 35 countries.