They say you should never mix the personal with the professional – but that’s exactly what happy couple Julie Chen and Chris Forbes have done, pooling their considerable talents to form their very own start-up.
The couple are the brains behind The Cheeky Panda – a brand new business concept hoping to bring bamboo-based toilet tissue to the UK. The concept is currently the subject of an exciting crowdfunding campaign to create a skin-safe alternative that’s kind to bums as well as the environment; and Julie and Chris have joined the growing ranks of couple-founded businesses to make their bamboo-based dream a reality.
Julie, who runs an online dance shoe brand, says, “The idea for The Cheeky Panda came to us on around a year ago, when we came across bamboo toilet tissue from another country. The fantastic concept was eco-friendly, kind to skin and a fantastic alternative to regular toilet tissue – but we couldn’t find it anywhere in the UK!”
She adds, “We decided, as a couple, that something should be done. We’re both very passionate about sustainability, and we spent the next year visiting tissue factories in China, learning about the many benefits of bamboo and formulating the plan for our very own business, The Cheeky Panda. Our crowdfunding campaign is the next phase of our exciting journey, and it’s wonderful to be able to share every step of it with Chris.”
The Cheeky Panda concept turns unused bamboo that would otherwise goes to waste into luxury tissues. While trees take 20-30 years to grow, bamboo can be harvested every year, making it a supremely eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to regular paper sources.
Family-run businesses are no new phenomenon – there are around 3m family businesses in the UK alone, creating 9.2m jobs and contributing around £346bn to UK GDP. But Julie and Chris are spearheading a growing trend for couples going into business together, bucking the old adage that personal and professional lives should be kept separate.
Chris, who owns his own consultancy firm, added, “It’s a fairly unconventional thing to go into business with your partner – first of all, we’ve discovered it’s impossible not to bring your work home with you! Luckily, we’re both incredibly passionate about the concept – we want to show that luxury, eco-friendly toilet tissue is a viable, cost-neutral alternative to normal toilet paper. Julie and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to our exciting crowdfunding campaign, and I wouldn’t have chosen anyone else to launch this business with.”
The Cheeky Panda is now the subject of a crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise £10,000 – capital which will be used to support Chris and Julie’s bid to bring bamboo-based toilet paper to the UK. Backers of the campaign will receive exclusive rewards, including early bird discounts for the products, and entry to launch party in return for their pledges. In the first few days of going live, the campaign has raised 30% of its overall funding goal. The cheeky Panda aims to match this with another 30% by the weekend with a series of fun events including dressing up as Pandas and promotions in London and Essex.
Crowdfunding has helped bring disruptive brands like BrewDog and Tailor St Baristas into the public domain and you can help make toilet tissue cheekier by visiting The Cheeky Panda at http://www.thecheekypanda.co.uk or on the Crowdfunder campaign page: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-cheeky-panda