The past year has been a home run for Dazz NZ. A small business that prides itself on delivering eco-friendly cleaning products that don’t cost the earth: A deliberate play on words meaning they are affordable yet leave the world in a better place.
This is an interview with Nathan Buchan, who introduced Dazz to New Zealand and disrupted the cleaning industry during the Covid lockdown. Partnering with his brother, Jacob and mum, Mary, Dazz NZ has blown up and has found its roots here in NZ. But not without its setbacks.
What is Dazz, and what made you introduce Dazz to New Zealand?
Walk down any cleaning aisle, and you’ll see hundreds of plastic bottles filled with cleaners. But if you took out the actual cleaning chemicals, you’d be mostly left with water. So you’re really just paying for bottled water. It’s a waste.
David Shahan, a scientist in the USA created Dazz, and solved this problem for you and me. And did it without harsh chemicals like ammonia.
They are dissolvable tablets you drop in water to make your all purpose, bathroom, glass cleaning sprays, and we have foaming hand soap tablets too.
Now, when you run out of cleaner vs buying another plastic bottle, just fill your old one with water and drop a Dazz tablet in, let it dissolve, and you are good to go. We have stylish glass bottles too for those who want to kit out their homes or don't have old plastic bottles lying around.
How did Dazz become a household name in NZ so quickly?
Haha I don't think we are a household name just yet, but we're getting there. I felt if we could find a product that ticked 3 boxes, we would succeed.
The product must:
1. Work extremely well.
2. Be affordable/cost-effective.
3. Do good in the world.
Dazz ticked these boxes in a major way. So we used social media to get the word out, and left it to the people to decide whether they like the products as much as we do.
Kiwis are very quick to give props or tear you to the ground... There’s no in between haha.
We let the products to do the talking. And people absolutely love them. We've had thousands of positive reviews.
Can you quickly explain how Dazz "ticks those boxes" as you mentioned?
First, it must work extremely well. Being natural cleaners, I was skeptical and surprised at how well it cleaned. So each Dazz product was sent to the TURI Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts for extensive testing to prove the efficacy. In the end, DAZZ outperformed the leading brands in each of our categories. If you’re a geek for data, I will send a link to the actual test results.
Second, it must be affordable. The hard part for us is that good quality, natural ingredients are much more expensive than cheap nasty chemicals that destroy our health and environment.
However, because our customers don't need to keep buying plastic bottles and Dazz takes up such a small amount of room, you can purchase 12 refills of All-Purpose, Bathroom, or Glass Cleaner for as low as $2.58ea. It's one of the cheapest on the market, with the best ingredients that are safe around kids and pets.
Lastly, it must do good in the world. I read that Kiwis toss 1.7 Billion plastic containers into landfill each year. And due to varying resin content (that little triangle with a number you see on many packages), the high cost of hand sorting, and that almost 40% of it just gets thrown out by Kiwis, less than 8% of all plastics actually get recycled.
It's safe to say recycling is not the only answer. Reusing and reducing is the only plausible solution. We need to stop buying plastic bottles and that cycle ends with DAZZ.
Have you had any setbacks or challenges?
We had one instance early on, where a publication said that Dazz was no better than cleaning with water.
I thought it was a joke. Especially when we saw that their testing wasn’t carried out how the products would normally be used. They favoured alcohol based cleaners. We received a little pushback on social media from people who had never tried Dazz.
Thankfully, we had already had the tests with TURI, a legitimate laboratory as I mentioned earlier, and had proof of it's effectiveness. Not only that, an army of supporters were quick to reply to any comments to dispel the article.
It blew over quickly and the support made me realise we are onto something great here. But it was still annoying because it was not true, and we had proof but could not answer back.
Regardless, the lesson here is people are passionate. It's either love or hate. And many love to hate. I think anyone starting a business in NZ should be prepared for some pushback.
A lot of companies are guilty of greenwashing, where they place an 'eco-friendly' spin on their products just to persuade the public that their business is environmentally friendly even if they are not. How can you ensure your customers that Dazz isn't just greenwashing?
I hear you. Our green commitment is the centre of Dazz. The core meaning of our products is that every tablet purchased as opposed to another plastic bottle, is lessening plastic production, reducing shipping emissions and cutting rubbish for our ecosystem.
All packaging, from the tablets, boxes, bags, and tape we use are compostable. We have a cardboard shredder that turns the leftover cardboard into packing material which we use ourselves and also give away the excess to local businesses in Papamoa.
We use the most eco-minded delivery partner, NZPost. However, we encourage our customers to buy bulk tablets so that they can order less frequently, meaning less travel time. We have return envelopes available for those who want us to compost their Dazz wrappers for them.
We separately recycle paper, glass, and glassine from our label backing. Our pallet wrapping is recycled and our soft plastics get turned into fence posts. And our pallets are recycled with a company called Good Wood if we don't need them.
Also, we sell reusable glass bottles for those who want to purchase a nice set of bottles that will last years. However, we strongly encourage everyone to reuse old plastic bottles if they have them lying around.
We are measuring our carbon for certification as we speak. And we won the NZAVS Cruelty-Free award in 2021.
Thank you for the insight. What are your goals with Dazz from here?
We want to prevent 1 million bottles from entering NZ landfills, which we measure by the number of people using Dazz dissolvable tablets.
We recently released Foaming Hand Soap, which is fast becoming our #1 selling product. People are loving it. And we have many more great products in the works at the laboratory as we speak. We want to ensure any new products tick those '3 boxes' I mentioned before releasing.
Thank you for your time, Nathan. Lastly, for someone who hasn't tried Dazz, where should they start?
Ooo the shameless plug, haha. Grab an Eco Home Cleaning Kit on our site. You'll get a cool set of 5 glass bottles and enough cleaners to last an average house at least 2 months. All for less than $60. It's the best deal we have right now.
Get it here: https://dazz.co.nz/products/eco-cleaning-kit
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you to the Dazz team in Papamoa! My incredible wife Hannah, my Mum, Jacob my brother and business partner, Ash, and Shay. And of course, everyone in NZ who has tried the Dazz products... Thank you for taking one step towards a more eco-friendly world!