Telluride Venture Accelerator: Fresh Monster

Telluride Venture Accelerator: Fresh Monster

What? Me worry?

Well yes. Especially if you are a parent.

Most skin and hair care products for kids contain a laundry list of ingredients with strange, often unpronounceable chemical names. In fact, many commonly used in products for children, paragons and quaternium 15 for two examples, are known to cause skin and eye irritation or allergic reactions such as hives, teary eyes and difficulty breathing. Some chemicals, such as phthalates, and contaminants, like formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane, have been linked to more serious health problems, including endocrine disruption and cancer.

Big Brother to the rescue?

Short answer: no.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the government agency charged with regulating personal care products, does not have the manpower to do the job. The FDA does not even require pre-market testing in the category.

If your children are not reason enough, many chemicals not specifically prohibited from use, such as those derived from petroleum, pollute during production. So do some synthetic chemicals derived from plants. Pollution also occurs when products are washed down the drain or tossed.

But never fear, the ladies from Fresh Monster are here.

Between the two, Jean Sim and Irena Todd, have five kiddos under five and 14 years combined experience in personal care and brand management at Unilever, one of the world’s largest and most respected consumer packaged goods companies. The dynamic duo has a track record of shared success, having launched Axe Hair, which achieved $100M in sales within 3 years and became the #1 male haircare brand. As entrepreneurs, they complement their classical brand experience with scrappiness, resourcefulness, and a go-getter style.

Irena & Jean of Fresh Monster

Jean’s dad escaped North Korea, establishing a small business and stable life for his family. She became the first in her family to attend collage at the University of Chicago, later earning an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Irena is an immigrant from Croatia, who once worked as an interpreter for the United Nations in post-war Yugoslavia. She came to the U.S. at age 19, with only a few dollars in her pocket, but managed to finance her education at the University of California. She went on to earn an MBA from the University of Michigan.

As the brand manager on the Suave Kids brand, the biggest kids personal care brand in the US, Jean literally spent years dissecting, analyzing, and becoming an expert on the children’s personal care space. It was clear that while there were a number of products targeting babies, there was a big gap in brands for kids who have grown out of the baby stage, but were still too young for adult labels. And even among the few “for kids” brands, some labelled “fun” were not safe. And some considered safe were no fun at all – and expensive. Because of cost and convenience, many parents have opted to use adult products on their offspring without fully understanding the risks. Couple their professional experience with the personal experience of becoming moms, Jean and Irena knew this was a market problem that needed solving. Why should families like themselves have to compromise when it comes to caring for their young ones?

Fresh Monster to the rescue.

Fresh Monster is a natural, non-toxic personal care brand specifically designed and formulated for kids ages 3-9. The affordable range of hair and body care products are 100% worry-free for parents and 100% fun and inspiring for kids. The mission: inspire all kids to celebrate their individuality, from head to toe.

And Fresh Monster is one of the young companies now being nurtured by director Thea Chase and a network of mentors at the Telluride Venture Accelerator, an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, founded by board member Jesse Johnson and CEO/president Paul Major.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to my chat with Jean and Irena.

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