Every week, we shine a spotlight on the best small brands we think are worth shouting about. We love our great British high street, but there are so many fantastic independent brands out there making clothes, accessories, homeware and more from a place of passion and love and we need to support them – now more than ever.
From fashion and beauty to homeware, accessories and food, we bring you the best small businesses you need on your radar. This week, we chat with Malek Masmoum, founder of eco-friendly online store The Clean Market.
What is The Clean Market and how did it come to life?
The Clean Market is an eco-friendly online shop with a mission to find alternative sustainable products and reduce daily waste to zero. It is obvious and evident that we must change our lifestyle towards a more sustainable way of living if we want to preserve the planet and our future.
In 2019, inspired by Sir David Attenborough’s love for the planet, I had an idea, alongside my brother and my friend, to help people reduce their disposable plastic consumption by selling clean products that are organic, natural and planet-friendly. We slowly built everything ourselves to start from a living room to a small office and now a big warehouse with over 2,000 SKUs.
In a nutshell, The Clean Market is a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to be more eco-friendly.
What three words describe The Clean Market?
Sustainable, clean, green.
Who is The Clean Market customer?
Anyone who is passionate about protecting the planet and living sustainably.
How do you source and select products for The Clean Market?
The majority of our products come from the UK. To source products, we first see whether the brand is plastic-free or not, then we see the product’s features and whether it can be useful to replace a disposable one. Also, we look at how ethical the brand and its values are. Finally, we test the product to make sure our customers will find it user-friendly and handy.
What does a typical day look like for you?
It’s a mixture of sourcing new products, packing orders and communicating with suppliers and customers.
What’s the best thing about running your own business? And the most challenging?
It’s about making sure the products we are sourcing are ethically made, eco-friendly and as affordable as possible. But the fact that most of our suppliers are small businesses means that sometimes certain products don’t go through rigorous quality testing.
The most memorable moment so far?
At the peak of Covid-19, we carried out what we called the ‘Soaps for Life’ initiative to donate hundreds of natural vegan soaps to the most vulnerable during lockdown. We asked our community to tell us of anyone they knew that could be vulnerable during the pandemic so we could send them a vegan soap.
Soap has been proven to be the most effective way to remove the virus from the skin and additionally, some people couldn’t get their hands on sanitisers due to excess demand or having to self-isolate. Delivering straight to their door, we ensured they had an effective way to clean their hands.
Which product is your current favourite?
We certainly love Olivant the vegan olive oil soap and the handmade wooden boxes.
Anything exciting in the pipeline for The Clean Market?
Yes, we constantly have innovative products to promote sustainable living. We are currently working on handmade Christmas decorations (it’s never too early!). Also, we are making life easier for people who are new to sustainability by introducing starter kits that include eco-friendly essentials.