LEBON is a luxury oral care brand founded in 2015 by Stephanie, Art Historian and professional Photographer and Richard, Cosmetic Certified Dermatologist, both lovers of the sea and nature.
Whereas brushing your teeth is the first and last thing we do every day, Richard and Stephanie wanted to make a dent in the industry for an ethical and nature inspired toothpaste created specifically for those who value health and wellbeing. Their story is so inspiring so we spent some time with them to find out more…
Tell us about the journey that lead to the launch of LEBON…
My Husband and I were in holiday in a small village on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. It was a rainy morning, all intense smells where floating in the air. We were at a point of our life where we wanted to create something together (apart from our two amazing children of course).
Richard’s background is cosmetic formulations, mine is art history and photography. Little by little, we found out that there was a huge lack in the oral care, where you could find either toothpastes with impeccable ingredients but not pleasant to use, or mass market toothpastes with formulas full of nasty ingredients. Brushing teeth is the first and last thing you do each day, it should even be 3 times per day after each meal, and despite that, it was lived as an obligation (tell the children to go brushing their teeth, we all know their reaction). With the inspiration of that beautiful, wild and intense nature surrounding us, it quickly became obvious that creating a toothpaste collection with natural flavours and clean formulation that will turn that daily routine into a real pleasure moment was the thing to do.
Looking back since your launch in 2015, is there anything that you would do differently?
That is a question we ask ourselves regularly…
Neither of us come from business or marketing background. We created LEBON with our own criteria, choosing only the very best for all our ingredients and suppliers, with an ethical approach. So, it may not be the best profitability strategy and we learned the hard way that creating a brand and making it viable without business-marketing skills and not overriding its principles and values was difficult. But we question ourselves and listen to our consumers which is, we believe, a very important point and we do not hesitate to evolve when it is necessary. Today LEBON wouldn’t be LEBON without this path covered during these 5 years.
Founded by a husband and wife duo, how do you separate home and work life?
So far, we don’t… This is definitely something we are working on. Our children are not that small (17 and 14) and even them, feel concerned with LEBON. Charline the oldest, is now sometimes coming on trade fairs, she loves it and is the perfect image of “Future is green”. However, we try to not talk about LEBON once we leave the office, but we are not very good at it.
You’re an ethical brand, why is this important to you?.
For us the question would rather be, how couldn’t it be? As I mentioned, we are always evolving and questioning ourselves, because we are totally aware that the way of consuming has to change. World is changing and our planet needs each one to make the difference, small actions made by everyone can make the whole difference. It is everyone’s ethical and ecological conscience that will move the world in the right direction, without waiting for governments or large multinationals reactions.
Talk us through the 9 different flavours of LEBON…
We are very proud to collaborate with one of the most established aroma & perfume suppliers from Grasse, a village in the south of France classified world heritage of UNESCO for its know-how in the production of perfumes. They loved the idea of LEBON toothpaste collection, “whose flavours fits your mood” and we are working with them since the very beginning, creating natural, exclusive and delicate flavours.
Cap Ferrat Moodis the first, the classic one. It awakens your senses and makes you feel strong, fresh and energized with its powerful mix of Mints inspired by the peninsula of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat in the French Riviera. That place used to be a dry roc before being planted and covered with a multitude of trees with fresh and powerful essences such as eucalyptus and pines. People love to go there to find some freshness during the summer heats.
Villa Noacarlina: Our second creation. Brings moment of calm with the fresh fusion of Mint rounded with a subtle hint of Cinnamon. With the well-known stress reducing benefits of Cinnamon and the inspiration of the wild beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, Villa Noacarlina is a great flavor to add to your routine to help you feel grounded and calm. Also known to curb hunger craving, this Cinnamon infused toothpaste is a great post-lunch solution to stop snacking throughout the afternoon.
Une Piscine à Antibes: Much like the feeling of diving into a refreshing swimming pool on a hot summer’s day, Une Piscine à Antibes provides that instant cooling and relaxing feeling. Packed full of minty fresh flavors and a splash of Liquorice, this blend is great on the days you want a refreshing and intense moment.
Tropical Crush: This is one I also name “sun in a tube” for rainy days”. Bursting with juicy Pineapple and Rooibos, it will make you start any day in a positive mindset. It transports yourself somewhere tropical and makes you feel uplifted with the vibrantly sunny natural flavours.
Sweet Extravagance: Certainly, the one of the most sophisticated flavour. It is a real moment of self-kindness. Deliciously sweet and creamy, Sweet Extravagance perfectly blends Mint, Orange Blossom (known for its calming and balancing properties) with a hint of Rose (renowned for being uplifting and comforting) making it the ultimate gift of self-love.
Le White: The first of the natural whitening series. It is a tea inspired. A delicate balance of Green Tea and delicious Sweet Mint from Morocco, it is the perfect remedy to enjoying your cup of tea.
Back to Pampelonne: Mango and Mint mix which brings sunshine and joy to any day with the sweet exotic flavors and instantly transport yourself walking along Mediterranean sandy beaches. The explosive exotic Mango is blended with refreshing Mint to create the ultimate uplifting energy kick needed to start the day. An essential part during seasonal changes for anyone looking for a sunny moment.
Rhythm is Love: The uplifting powers of Ylang Ylang and the touch of Yuzu mix idea came after a trip in Asia. Known for its sensual and euphoric properties, the creamy Ylang Ylang helps to boost your spirits whilst the lightly acidulous touch of Yuzu makes it a well-balanced flavour and the perfect choice before bed to help you let go of your day.
Fearless freedom: We also call it the “Monday morning toothpaste”. A bold blend of juicy Black Currant and Fresh Mint that gives you an instant boost of strength and courage and helps you feel like anything is possible.
Are there any plans to extend your product range, if so, what will you add?
2020 is an important year in LEBON development. We still work on the evolution of the brand and we are very excited and proud of what will be launched in a few months. Be patient …
What quote do you like to read when you are lacking motivation?
“I had to make you uncomfortable, otherwise you never would have moved”. – Universe
For anyone wanting to start their own business, what advice would you offer?
Trust your instincts and never stop to move forward. Never considerate things for granted and be ready to evolve while always maintaining the integrity of your initial idea or product.
What are your plans for the business in 2020?
New products and a new commercial distribution strategy. By going more direct in our distribution, we are now able to decrease the public price of the whole collection without touching the quality of our products. We recognised that our price-point excluded some customers from repeat purchasing our product and this is something that we needed to overcome to benefit all our partners markets and consumers.
Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?
Back to the roots… definitely Costa Rica.
Since we launched LEBON, we hadn’t time to go back there, where everything started, and it really misses us. Maybe soon …