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Guy Fennell of Pura: “Never give up and pursue your dream”

We’ll be launching our wipes in Europe shortly but we certainly aren’t stopping there. We want todemocratize eco-friendly baby care, promising parents no compromises on quality, convenience, price or the environment. Our ambition is to create products that help families care for their babies now, while leaving the right legacy for the future, so in […]

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We’ll be launching our wipes in Europe shortly but we certainly aren’t stopping there. We want todemocratize eco-friendly baby care, promising parents no compromises on quality, convenience, price or the environment. Our ambition is to create products that help families care for their babies now, while leaving the right legacy for the future, so in the future you might see Pura skincare products for babies and even products like tampons.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Guy Fennell, founder and CEO of Pura eco-friendly products company. He set up Pura eco-friendly baby products in June, during lockdown. Prior to this he had a wholesale and distribution company supplying FMCG products in the UK and overseas.

Guy lives with his wife Abi and their baby, Ezra, and they live near Chester.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My wife Abi and I were shocked by how many plastic based wipes we saw in friends’ homes. I decided to look into this and did my own research and discovered that 90% of the wipes currently sold in the UK contain plastic, meaning they can last more than 100 years in landfills, yet the vast majority of parent don’t know that the wipes they are using are made from plastic. Abi and I decided to take on the big names in wipes, and in June this year our company Pura was born and we launched our own range of 100% plastic free 100% biodegradable flushable and non flushable wipes.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

First of all we’re producing baby wipes that are unique: 100% plastic-free, 100% biodegradable, 100% compostable, made from sustainable plant fibres. They contain no allergens, perfume or chlorine, with only 99% water and organic aloe vera added. We’re on a mission to ban plastic based wipes in the UK and beyond and our anti-plastic launch film featuring babies calling on people to ditch plastic wipes, has been viewed more than 7 million times to date: YouTube .

We’re also cutting out the middleman, selling direct-to-consumer at under 3p per wipe on subscription, offering a price point that is on par or cheaper than traditional plastic wipes. With free next day delivery on all orders, this model has been critical to the success of the business so far and has also provided a timely solution for parents that stayed at home and avoided the supermarkets during lockdown. In the first week after our launch on 21 June (Father’s Day), we received more than 85,000 visits to the website, with more than 22,000 orders placed.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Yes! When we were testing our wipes we brought lots of samples home and our dog unfortunately decided to chew on the packets. Fortunately the packs remained intact.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

Without question, the mentor who has been most influential in my life is my dad. He’s nurtured me and been patient with me over the years. When I launched Pura it was naturally very stressful and he said ‘if it was easy everyone would be doing it’. He’s a man of reason, always calm and is a good sounding board for me. Because he’s separate from the business and not involved financially, it means he gives objective advice. He’s reassuring and gives me a boost when I need it.

I also have to mention my wife Abi, who has been my rock on this journey. We’ve been together for 15 years and I’ve put her through thick and thin and she’s seen the real me and she builds me up when I need it.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

I think our Pura mission to ban plastic wipes is totally disruptive to an established industry with big name manufacturers who have held a large market share for a long time. If, or rather when, we achieve this (and it’s only a matter of time, so watch this space) the benefits will be entirely positive: fewer plastic wipes down the sewer, fewer fatbergs, less damage to the environment.

Ultimately if being disruptive means the consumer gets a bad deal, or that your profits are permanently hit, or you cause harm to the environment, then this is not great and could jeopardise your business in the long term. You’ve got to think through the consequences of being disruptive.

Guy do you have any examples from your previous experience where disruptive actions haven’t been positive?

As I’ve said, Pura is all about being disruptive and I have to say it’s been a positive experience so far, whereas my previous businesses have been in wholesale and they didn’t need to be disruptive, they just needed to be slick.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Be persistent — never give up and pursue your dream. I underestimated how big Pura would grow and how quickly and this is a nice problem to have, but can bring its own challenges that you need to work through.

Have fun — If you don’t have fun and don’t enjoy running your company, then what’s the point? I think start ups can be too serious and lose that sense of fun, so it’s really important to make time for it. You need to enjoy the good times and turn the bad times into positives. It’s really important that your staff have fun too. Today for example, we put on some silly music and danced round the office for a bit!

Change — A new business needs a genuine reason to be launched and for Pura, it’s all about driving change. We want plastic wipes to be banned in the UK and beyond that we want to bring in eco-friendly baby products that are good for the planet and that don’t cost a fortune. Through Pura I want to leave a legacy for our son Ezra. I firmly believe that if you set out to produce change, then success will come.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We’ll be launching our wipes in Europe shortly but we certainly aren’t stopping there. We want todemocratize eco-friendly baby care, promising parents no compromises on quality, convenience, price or the environment. Our ambition is to create products that help families care for their babies now, while leaving the right legacy for the future, so in the future you might see Pura skincare products for babies and even products like tampons.

We’ve launched a Hand Cleansing Gel in August and we’ve just launched our eco-friendly nappy range which is the most affordable eco-friendly range on sale in the UK created with 100% green electricity and no production waste. Their super absorbent core is made with certified natural plant fibres and they contain no nasty chemicals, perfumes and they are approved by Allergy UK. Wrapped in 100% recyclable PE packaging, the nappies have been awarded the EU Ecolabel, so they meet the highest environmental standards and the packaging can be recycled at the local supermarket.

To support the nappy launch, we’re doing something that no other manufacturer has done, by linking up with the Nappicycle re-cycling scheme in Wales. This involves kerbside nappy collection, a bit like food waste bin collections, and then the nappies are processed and turned into products like notice boards for schools and road surfacing. It’s the ultimate in recycling! We hope to extend this to England soon.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

I haven’t got a specific podcast that’s made a big impression on me. but I really enjoy the Ted business talks and have gained so many learnings from these. I particularly enjoy listening to them on long journeys where I can concentrate without the phone ringing.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

It goes back to what I’ve already mentioned — ‘Never give up’. I’ve been persistent in running previous businesses and I’m doing the same with Pura. The business and its challenges might be different, but you need the same determined mindset it make it work and plan for the future.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Banning plastic wipes in the UK! It’s time we took action to protect our sewers, protect the earth’s valuable resources and ensure a better future for our children.

How can our readers follow you online?

Website: https://mypura.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mypura/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mypura

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MyPura/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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