As consumers become increasingly aware of climate change and their own environmental footprint, willingness to spend more money and more time looking for eco-conscious products have become the norm. One of these new products on the block is Mouche, a sustainable replacement for your traditional tree pulp tissues. Mouche is made of bamboo which brings with it many sustainable benefits, read more to check them out! I had the opportunity to interview Mouche’s founder Erin Arthrell and asked her more about how the business came to be, and their sustainable differentiator!
Historically, many environmentally friendly products did not have the same aesthetically pleasing appeal as many of their market-competing non-eco-conscious counterparts. The most common and apparent example that comes to my mind is cars. Growing up, I remember there being some eco-friendly vehicles, but I also recall them looking odd and standing out on the road. I remember looking at smart cars (Figure 1) and thinking, “if you want an environmentally friendly car, do you have to drive something that looks like that”? Production and consumers have come a long way to making electric cars stylish and actually cool to drive, exhibit A being Tesla (Figure 2).
Not only have environmentally friendly cars been able to step up their game aesthetically, but so have many other products hitting the market. Stylish sustainably made clothing, beyond beef and meat products, along with many at-home cleaning items continually pull in green consumers who also put a high value on the look of their latest purchase. Now, we have another one of those products to add to the list, Mouche.
Mouche is a female-founded company by Erin Arthrell based in Toronto, Canada. While Erin was 5 months pregnant with her second child, the idea came to her. After having different sets of tissue boxes laying all around her house to aid her daughter’s constantly running nose, Erin began to ponder the idea of having a more aesthetically pleasing tissue box that could fit the room’s decor. On top of this, she realized the environmental burden that using all these tissues creates so having a more sustainable option would be beneficial. From then on the idea of Mouche grew and grew, blossoming into the family-run business it is today. Erin works alongside her husband Eric eliminating a work-life balance, giving the young family optimal time to enjoy together, while also developing their new business.
While most other tissues are made from tree pulp, Mouche tissues are made from bamboo. I was able to complete an interview with the founder Erin Arthrell and had the opportunity to further ask her about Mouche’s sustainability and product line. Question 5 gives a great explanation of the sustainable aspect of Mouche and how using bamboo rather than traditional tree pulp is beneficial for the environment. Check out the full interview below!
1. Did you always have aspirations of starting your own business? What inspired you to create Mouche?
My husband and cofounder, Eric, and I had been interested in doing something entrepreneurial together for several years. Knowing I was about to go on maternity leave with our second child and we would be home together for the foreseeable future, we decided 2020 was the right time to start Mouche with an official launch in 2021. We created Mouche based on an unmet need for facial tissues that look nice in a curated space. We felt this need personally when our daughter was bringing home runny noses from daycare and we had ugly tissue boxes all over our home. After some research on tissue sustainability as well, we landed on unbleached bamboo facial tissues that look great in your home as the business idea we wanted to pursue together.
2. Why was having a sustainable aspect important for you when you started your business? Was it important to you that your company would be sustainable?
Truthfully, we felt there is an expectation now that products be sustainable, so we wanted to ensure Mouche tissues are sustainable as well. We also felt that by choosing a sustainable material like bamboo for our tissues we could differentiate ourselves from other tissue brands.
3. In terms of Mouche’s sustainable journey, are you looking to add more environmentally friendly aspects to the company in the future?
We certainly have ambitions to introduce new sustainable products in the future, but we are also continuously looking for ways to be more sustainable in our business practices, such as reducing shipping materials and finding more efficient ways to get our products into the hands of customers across North America.
4. Do you feel having the environmentally friendly aspect of selling tissues made from bamboo separated you from competitors enough to the point where customers will pay more to be eco-friendly? Do you see a trend of consumers increasingly willing to pay more for eco-conscious products?
We do feel that the environmentally-friendly aspect of our bamboo tissues differentiates us from our competitors. We do see a trend of consumers willing to pay more for company values that resonate with them. In our case, our values revolve around great design, sustainability, and being a Canadian, female-founded business.
5. Why did you choose bamboo as the primary material for Mouche and how do you ensure the bamboo you use is sustainably managed?
We chose bamboo for Mouche tissues because we think it’s more sustainable than traditional tissues. Bamboo is actually grass that can be harvested as it regrows each year. Trees used in traditional tissues get cut down once after growing for 30-50 years. Bamboo also releases about 35% more oxygen and yields up to 20 times more timber per square foot than trees. Lastly, bamboo is naturally pest and disease resistant, so it doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers. The bamboo used in Mouche tissues is Forest Stewardship Council certified as well, so we have peace of mind that it’s managed sustainably.
6. Do you have any plans to expand beyond tissues? If so, do you see bamboo being a sustainable material to create alternative products?
At the moment, we are focused on unbleached bamboo facial tissues that look great in your home. We feel there is lots of opportunity for sustainable impact in this space for the foreseeable future.
For more info on Mouche and to browse their products click the link here.