Pit-Tastic – Interview with Alice Bardwell
So many of the UK’s micro business owners have incredible stories to tell. And Alice Bardwell of Pit-Tastic is no different. From having a stroke in 2019 to running a successful hand made deodorant bars business today, she’s had quite the couple of years. And in this, our 12th advent micro business of the day feature, she tells us about her business.
Alice Bardwell used hand mixing and formulating ingredients for her planet-friendly deodarant bars as something of a means of therapy following a stroke in 2019. In today's interview, she tells us about running her business, the highs, the lows and the small matter of navigating a global pandemic.
In a nutshell, tell us what you do
Pit-Tastic! I make natural solid deodorant bars.
Who is involved in running the business?
I run it by myself with a few supporters who help with marketing, admin and sales.
What makes you different from your competitors?
I have hand formulated this product myself after suffering a stroke (just over a year ago).
I am passionate about supporting mental health, improving body image confidence and, most of all, morale to encourage others in dark or challenging times-to connect with people.
I have created my current product to be ethical, ecologically sound as possible with a future “solid” range in research and design at present, all with the same ethics of how PitTastic was born.
Pit-Tastic! today is highly recommended by many people ranging from breastfeeding mothers, sports people, Menopausal women, those who travel (no need for liquids!) and just about anyone who desires fresh armpits without the nasty ingredients on their body.
What inspired to you start this kind of business specifically?
As I sat and watched the new world of “plastic free” shops being born in 2018 I saw the huge and growing trend and need for a plastic free cosmetic range. So many people wanted to ditch the plastic and harmful bottles and tubes to ensure our seas were cleaner. But of course, they still wanted great products that worked well.
I mentioned that in March 2019 I had a stroke. This took my speech, understanding, reading and writing abilities from me.
Following my injury, I spent 6 months hand formulating to make the ultimate Pit-Tastic!
The solid deodorant was a journey. I started with a lot of stirring, mixing, adding, reducing, getting just the right balance of natural ingredients. This, for me, was a soothing practice that helped my brain injury.
2020: What a year! How has the pandemic affected your business?
It’s been tough! Starting and launching a business just before the pandemic was not ideal (as a single parent homeschooling two small children too!).
However I have not given up (what’s that!?). I have utilised my website and social media to increase my profile, generate sales and increase the product range.
It’s been a tough time for health food shops and zero waste shops too – whom I supply. However many have been able to remain open during the second lockdown, so I’ve been working hard to support them and encourage the shop local and shop indie message.
What do you love most about running your business?
Creating products that provide a real alternative to other ‘mainstream’ chemical laden deodorants, providing a plastic free alternative that can be the norm and working towards developing my own mental health support and charity “Causing a Stir”.
And what’s the toughest challenge you face?
At the beginning I was unable to speak properly. I knew what I wanted to say but the injury to my brain just would not allow me to get the words I desired out.
This was also the same with writing and comprehending. I used to be in marketing communications previously in fast paced London based companies. I needed to change my tac to create a business that I could not only work within to support myself and family but also one that could give back to the future environment and others.
I had a clean slate of mind and found a new route in something that I am now very lucky with to love.
I had other ideas of running fledgling workshops for other small enterprises in my now work space. Covid scuppered this somewhat with not being able to open and of course not being able to gather together.
Thankfully Pit-Tastic has gone from strength to strength and meant that along with a little team to support me with my additional needs we have a beautiful, fun forward thinking business together.
And what’s one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
In my personal experience I have come across many people who are on difficult journeys but if you wish to make a change to the world, something that you are passionate about there is a will and a way.
But, make it yours, make it sustainable and something that gives you joy. Looking back at my past businesses I have strived to be the best, pushed myself and not always to my benefit.
Research, find something that makes your heart leap and that is your ambition to work on it. If it makes you happy it should work, even in very trying climates such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Thank you so much, Alice!