The 30-year-old came out smelling like roses from lockdown after deciding to set up an eco-friendly natural deodorant business called Vico Deodorant.
“One day I was spraying a regular deodorant near my girlfriend Marie when she asked me to stop spraying it so close to her because it was full of chemicals. I looked at the ingredients on the back and realised I could hardly pronounce any of them let alone understand them,” says Ben of his reasoning behind launching the eco-friendly product.
“I began doing some research and found out that a bunch of controversial chemicals are used in deodorants and antiperspirants. Not only that, the industry creates billions of pounds of plastic waste each year. Most spray cans are not recyclable and leave quite a big footprint on the planet.”
Determined to create an all-natural, recyclable deodorant, the former HSE Worker set up shop in his parents’ kitchen and set to work.
“I googled and watched YouTube for months on end. There was so much trial and error it was insane. I had quite a few disasters. I didn’t understand how important temperature control was when I started. Sometimes I would make a batch and the deodorants would come out rock solid, grainy or with large holes in the middle of them. Once I made a batch and when I was putting them on a tray to cool down, I slipped and spilled about 20 deodorants all over the floor.”
Working with waxes, essential oils and powders Ben explains, “I use a double boiler and make small batches of 70 deodorants per go (it takes around 2 hours). I just purchased a wax melter from the USA and it will allow me make up to 700 deodorants in one go, that will be a gamechanger.”
Having previously worked as a project manager in healthcare, the businessman admits he was close to burn out before he rolled out his new venture.
“I was a contractor in the HSE for the last three years. I was heavily involved in the response to Covid, I was regularly doing 10-12 hour days for about a year and a half. I worked on getting the ICT infrastructure up and running for Covid testing centres, isolation centres, assessment hubs and vaccination centres. I then worked for seven months directly on the vaccination rollout.
“I was totally burned out but waited until the majority of the country was fully vaccinated before quitting to focus on Vico.
“Vico gives me the chance to work for myself, help the environment and help those who no longer want to put controversial chemicals on their skin.”