Impact Stories

EFFA – Rethinking personal hygiene for a better world

It is often said that big things have small beginnings. This is definitely true of Effa, founded in 2018 by Ukrainians Ilya and Dasha Kichuk with the ambition of revolutionizing humanity’s approach to personal hygiene rituals and address global plastic pollution in the process. Starting with a toothbrush and razor. Made from paper.

“As a first step, we’re concentrating on brushing teeth and shaving. We’ve found a way to make the main elements of a toothbrush and a razor from paper, and the non-paper bits, like the bristles on the brush and the razor part of the razor, more easily recyclable,” says Dasha Kichuk, co-founder with her husband Ilya of Effa and the company’s CEO. “It takes 500 years for a plastic toothbrush to disintegrate and there are billions out there. The situation is not much better with disposable razors. We felt it was high time something was done about it.”

Perfecting the design and nailing the manufacturing process, sourcing the right partners and setting up for production, and lining up initial customers – it all took lots of work and sleepless nights, but it went much more smoothly than anticipated. Indeed, there’s no stopping a powerful idea. “Then Covid hit and we were just beginning to gain back the ground we’d lost as a result of the pandemic, when Ukraine was invaded,” remembers Ilya Kichuk, Effa’s co-founder, designer and CMO. “Despite the obstacles in our path, we knew we had a truly unique product that addressed a real need, everything in place to get it made, and a market just waiting for it. So, we were determined to not give up!”

Finalist at Clim@ Scaler 2022 
Effa was one of seven ventures to be selected from over 150 applicants to participate in Clim@ Scaler 2022, a four-month program designed for scaleup ventures in the Green for Growth Fund’s target regions. “Effa ticked all the boxes in terms of the potential to scale a sustainable business. Being part of the program gives Effa access to industry expertise, investor networks, potential corporate partnerships and grant funding to scale our solutions. It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Ilya says. “Clim@ Scaler will conclude with an investor day this autumn, where we’ll have the opportunity to pitch to investors and corporate partners.”
Effa as a business has flourished thanks to the genius and perseverance of a pair of remarkable global citizens with a clear vision for the planet. Dasha: “It’s one thing to have a dream; it’s quite another to realize that it’s not only coming true, but also that it’s much bigger. It’s incredibly humbling and motivating at the same time.”