For Devi Yolanda, it all comes down to “Would I use these products? Would I use these for my daughter and my family?” It’s a conviction Devi holds for Senormal, a line of sustainable cleaning products that she started together with partners Karaeng R. Adjie and Xandega Tahajuansya of Polka Wars.
Launched in 2021, Senormal has been grabbing attention for its innovation of effervescent cleaning tablets, the first in Indonesia, which come with sleekly-designed spray bottles made to be reusable. Add to that the relatively affordable price (ranging from 45k for the tablets to 300k for a bundle set) as well as the brand’s safety and sustainability commitments, from using hypoallergenic and naturally-derived ingredients that are safe for children and pets to the application of responsible packaging.
It’s an innovative product that generates multiple solutions, as it taps into the urgency of single-use plastic usage and is also cost-effective. Yet Senormal didn’t exactly start with these intentions all thought-out. It simply emerged from a mother’s concern and the desire to find a solution for it.
“Since becoming a mom, I’ve always been on the lookout for cleaning products that are safe for children, especially because my daughter has sensitive skin,” told Devi. “Finding them wasn’t easy—options are limited and most of them are expensive.” Then she met Adjie and Xandega, whom she got to know through her husband. Casual meet-ups with the three eventually went from exchanging such concerns as friends to developing Senormal in the span of seven months as business partners.
“I feel the idea can sell itself to those who want to learn. To switch from liquid to tablet form is probably the easiest way for you to make a contribution at home.” – Xandega Tahajuansya, co-founder of Senormal.
“We’re tackling two problems here: Devi’s as a new mom catering to her family’s needs, and me and Adjie’s desire to create an environmental impact. We’re excited as we’re making something with a purpose,” said Xandega. The bandmates themselves are not new to the business-with-impact scene; both started Magalarva, a bio-conversion start-up that recycles food waste into protein and organic fertiliser.
“I see it from a helicopter view: fast-moving consumer goods contribute to a significant amount of plastic footprint, and the decision-maker of home purchases is mostly moms,” noted Adjie. “So we always take into account what Devi and fellow mothers need and develop our product line from there. The red thread is still using safe ingredients and being responsible towards the environment.”
Devi admitted that she wasn’t the most environmentally-friendly person when she first started Senormal. That was Adjie and Xandega’s added value to the brand and she got to learn along the way. “If you want to carry on this sustainable mission through generations, we believe it always starts at home, especially through the role of a mother. Aren’t mothers our first teachers?”
Adjie, who has a background in chemical & process engineering and has his own R&D team, saw Senormal as an opportunity to play his part. He, along with chief chemist Rhesa Avila Zanila and their team, formulated the tablets with organic disinfectant ingredients that are safe on the skin but effective enough to have a kill system for germs, gaining them a Kemenkes certification.
Being zero-waste is also at the brand’s forefront, as evidenced by their locally-made biodegradable packaging and reusable plastic bottle. “The problem is not the use of plastic, it’s the mindless and excessive usage of it,” stressed Adjie. “What’s quite challenging since the beginning is informing the public about our products and clearing the misconceptions they have, from why are we still using plastic bottles to the assumption that organic ingredients can’t effectively clean.”
“I hope that these items can help ‘clean’ the earth in their own way and at the same time invite more people to reduce waste and live sustainably.” – Andien, singer and actress.
Xandega chimed in. “I feel the idea can sell itself to those who want to learn. To switch from liquid to tablet form is probably the easiest way for you to make a contribution at home, especially when it comes to reducing single-use plastic that pollutes our environment.”
Based on their calculations, Senormal aims to reduce up to 72-million single-use plastic packaging per year and it can be done by targeting South Jakarta only, who according to them, are more open to making the lifestyle switch. But the key is still pushing for Senormal to have accessibility while maintaining quality through its mission, philosophy and even cool design that people can proudly show off.
“We don’t want to be just a niche product, we want to reach as many as possible. If we want people to switch to a responsible lifestyle, then we have to facilitate by closing the price gap,” said Devi. “If it’s costly and only appeals to a small group of people, then we’re not going to solve any problems.”
Senormal x Andien: a collaboration for moms
As Adjie likes to iterate, Senormal is made for “mamas and mama earth”. The endgame, he said, is for mothers, especially working moms, to be able to have their ‘me’ time. And the brand wants to help by simplifying their household work and identifying their needs via Senormal’s existing items and their future product developments beyond the cleaning tablet innovation.
The brand’s latest collaboration with Indonesian singer and actress Andien seems like a fitting jigsaw piece, or a “no-brainer choice” as Devi said it. They credit it to the singer’s well-known healthy and independent approach to child-rearing, such as the baby-led weaning method that she practices, which has personally inspired Devi in how she raises her daughter.
The Andien x Senormal set highlights the brand’s new development of fruit and vegetable soap tablet, formulated in line with Andien’s wish to have a good quality one available in the market.
“I’m an avid fruit and veggie eater. So far, I haven’t found a soap that works well for me and my family. So I relayed this to friends at Senormal and they developed one for this collaboration,” recounted Andien to Manual via chat message. Other items in the set include Senormal’s multipurpose cleaning tablet, microfiber towels, a silicone sponge and a coconut fibre scrub packaged in a two-toned reusable bag.
Together with Senormal, Andien doesn’t want “this collaboration to end as merely a cleaning set. I hope that these items can help ‘clean’ the earth in their own way and at the same time invite more people to reduce waste and live sustainably. I believe everyone can lead and live a more environmentally friendly life,” concluded Andien on a hopeful note.
You can find out more about Senormal’s sustainable cleaning products here.