Hi, Tell us your name, what you do, and about your business.
I’m Isabel Aagaard, Co-Founder of LastObject. LastObject is dedicated to creating sustainable alternatives to single-use items.
After finding out the huge toll single use items put on the environment my co-founders and I decided to create sustainable alternatives, starting with LastSwab, the world’s first reusable cotton swab.
Our main mission is to eliminate single use items by creating reusable sustainable alternatives. This year we’ve had $5.5 million in revenue (compared to $2 million last year).
What’s your own background. Were you always proficient in this business, or did it just strike your mind one fine day?
I have a master’s degree from the Royal Academy of Design in Collaborative Design. Before that, I had my bachelor’s in Digital Media and Design from IT University.
I have always involved myself in sustainability and have had a special interest in the waste throughout my life. Before LastObject I worked on designing equipment for hospitals when I was sharing an office space with my now co-founders.
And the moment we started talking about what we really wanted to do in life it was clear that our purpose was to design our way to a less trashy world. This is what created the first spark toward LastObject.
What went into designing the initial product? Can you take us through the actual process?
We prototype a lot. The product, the packaging, the content. Everything is made and edited hundreds of times while constantly being tested.
We try to get our designs in our hands even though most of our work is on a computer. It’s really important for us not to sit on our ideas and think we know best.
We are not afraid to change things along the way, to the very end.
We have the same mentality throughout the company. When working with manufacturers, marketing, sales. It is all about having people involved through the process and constantly improving for the better.
Talk us through the process of the launch of your business
We launch all our products through Kickstarter. For us, crowdfunding isn’t just a financial tool, but also a way to validate our product so we can save ourselves from going the wrong way.
It’s the perfect way to see whether people are willing to spend money on your product and if there are any changes you should make.
How is your repeat customer rate like? Can you take us through how you attract and retain customers?
We have had a lot of success with updating and retaining our customers through Instagram and newsletters. These two platforms have been great for us.
A real breakthrough has been collaborative marketing — partnering with other companies that are also trying to make a difference. We have a blast-for-blast setup and share each other’s products in our networks. This has attracted the perfect customer groups!
What is the current situation? How do you see yourself in the next 12 months?
We’ve had a great year. We launched three products and made a lot of sales. In 2021 we have a lot of new products coming up — our next launch is set for February, and throughout the year we’ll be releasing more. We plan to stay in the bathroom department for a while yet.
As a woman founder, do you see this as only financially uplifting? Or otherwise too? If yes, then how?
I don’t think more people buy our products because I am a woman. I think people buy our products because we have a strong vision – a necessary direction for our planet.
It looks like a lot of women share this thought, or maybe women are historically just the ones that buy these household products for their families.
What tools or services did you use?
Basecamp for managing – It’s a great tool where you can have all your conversations in the team. It’s always easy to drag and drop assets, talk in the big groups, and organize projects with to-do lists.
Skedsocial for social media – it has a great visual overview of your Instagram account showing you everything side by side so you can see how it will look on the account. And it integrates easily with other platforms.
Datastudio for overview – When building a business with this many freelancers and tight cash it was important for us to have a day-to-day overview of how much we spent and how much we earned.
So everything is daily tracked and we have a huge screen in the office so we are never in the dark and can catch if the ROAS is low, a task is expensive and how much we sold.
What are your key challenges today? How are you planning to tackle those?
Our key challenges now are moving our company from being a start-up to a scale-up. We need to move from experimenting to perfecting – in everything we do, from processes, production to sharpening our business model.
We know we have a place of existing now we just need to perfect and put the pedal to the metal.
Which are some resources, books, articles, or podcasts that have been useful to you, and would share with your readers
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein = An amazing book about finding a clear direction in life and leaning into it. Doubt is something I often struggle with, and this can create kind of half-assed projects.
I really feel and see the power of being clear in your path or direction and then leaning into it with no fear.
Many times, women feel that businesses are only for men. What’s your take?
I have never felt or seen that there is any difference being a woman or a man in the business world. The question has always surprised me. But now after I had my first child (6 months ago) I have felt the imbalance between men and women in business.
For the first time I could not outsource the role of becoming a mother. I have had enormous help from our entire team to make it work. I’ve heard that time makes it a 50/50 job someday.
I see that the challenge of continuing your career after having children is dealt with for both women and men, but in the beginning, at least it’s a bigger challenge for women.
Looking to kick start your own venture?
Hi! This is Misha?
I interview women founders in building profitable businesses??
My idea is for other women to get inspired by these actionable tell all stories and start their own profitable enterprises.
I am hugely inspired by inspirational interview series starters like IndieHackers, StarterStory by Pat Walls, Failory, SpaceBandits and have put significant efforts in reaching out to women founders in order to get started.