Chat with Justine Flynn, co-founder of world changing brand Thankyou.
When did the first idea for Thankyou come about?
In 2008, Daniel, Jarryd and I were just 19 and 20-years old. We were uni students with no money or experience behind us but our life’s journey brought to us a moment where we were confronted by two crazy extremes – in Australia we were spending $600 million a year on bottled water, yet at the same time, 900 million people (now 663 million) didn’t have access to safe water. The realities of what this meant for people living without safe water really hit home for us and we knew we had to do something to make it right. So we thought, what if we could use all the profit from the sale of bottled water to provide safe water to people in need? That’s how the idea for Thankyou was born.
What is the ethos of the business?
Our vision at Thankyou is to empower humanity to choose a world without poverty. We do this by making great products and giving 100% of the profit to help people in need. We believe that people have the power to end global poverty and that everyone is an agent for change – those who buy our products and the people all around the world who receive access to basic human rights through the profits.
Thankyou is such an incredible story of determination and resilience. How did you find this when times were tough?
Our journey over the last nine years has been filled with some incredible highs and some gut-wrenching lows. There are so many challenges we face as a business but we are driven by our ‘why’. When times are tough and we feel like throwing in the towel, drawing on our why becomes our anchor and help remind us why we are doing this.
How many people work at Thankyou and what is the culture?
We have grown to a team of 48 passionate and incredibly skilled team members. We’ve been very intentional about creating a workplace that values people as people, and not just ‘human resources’. We care about them, their families and their lives outside of work. We give people space to carry out a task their own way that best reflects their working style. As a team have each others back, we know our strength and weaknesses and we stand together when times get tough. We’re fast-paced at Thankyou and constantly going through change, but we encourage each other to perform at our best.
What have been the proudest moments so far?
There have been so many incredible moments over the years. From landing our products in 7-Eleven and then Coles and Woolworths, to launching the Thankyou baby range. But I think without a doubt the proudest moments for us as a team are when we get to hear stories from the field about the impact we are helping create. These stories are incredibly uplifting for the whole team and it really inspires us keep working hard so we can keep making a difference.
Describe your range.
We have nearly 50 products in our water, body care and baby range. Our body care range includes hand washes, lotions, coffee body scrub and soaps. The range is naturally derived and smells amazing! Our Thankyou water and body care range both help get safe water, toilets and hygiene training to people in need. Our Thankyou baby range launched in July 2016 and features disposable nappies, wipes and baby care products. The range is mild, gentle and free from nasty chemicals and 100% of the profits help fund safe births and health care to empower mums and bubs in need.
Tell us about the baby range – how did this come about?
Right now, every 103 seconds a mother dies in pregnancy and childbirth and 2.7 million babies don’t reach their first month of life because they don’t have access to basic health care. We wanted to find a way to be fund pre and post natal care and give women a safe place to give birth and the baby range was an opportunity we saw and we could make happen. We wanted to make an amazing range of high-quality nappies, wipes and baby care products that we would be proud to use on our own bubs. To date, we’ve funded safe births and health care for 77,314 mums and bubs in need.
What does buying Thankyou products do for the wider world?
In nine years, thanks to Aussies buying our products, we’ve given over $5.5 million to fund life-changing projects for 755,338 people around the world. I think on top of the impact we’ve been able to make, our journey has shown that anything is possible. Through our story, we want to support, encourage and empower others to change the world.