Q&A: Sabrina Parr,  Founder of Keeko

Q&A: Sabrina Parr, Founder of Keeko

In our Q&A Series, Self Bloom Co aims to put a spotlight on the incredible founders we are so thrilled to partner with, that are truly doing incredible things and creating such magic in their businesses. We dive into what inspired them to start their businesses, their business journey so far, their favourite products, what self-care means to them and their own self-care rituals. 

Let's lower the shoulders, take a deep breath, and find a moment for us and immerse yourself in this read.

Meet Sabrina, the Founder of Keeko, an elevated oral care brand based in Bondi, Sydney with their products giving you clean teeth, healthier insides and a sparkly white smile, naturally.

Your teeth called: they asked for a spa day. You know, as a reward for all their hard work. That’s where Keeko comes in.

Keeko is on a mission to give your mouth the recommended daily intake of TLC with a feel-good, natural oral care routine you’ll actually enjoy doing.

Keeko offers a range of natural and sustainable oral care with natural toothpaste with hydroxyapatite, eco-friendly toothbrushes and 100% home recyclable toothpaste tubes. They are also the first certified plastic-neutral oral care in Australia.

Self Bloom Co stocks Keeko's copper tongue cleaner and it is definitely our best seller! It is seriously a game changer and we and our customers love it so much. 

Enjoy getting to know the talented, wonderful Sabrina in this interview. 

Tell us a little about Keeko? When did you launch? 

I wanted to elevate oral care into the beauty category and develop this idea of “skincare for your teeth” with products that are actually good for your teeth and your health. No one was doing that when I started in 2016 with my first product, Morning Mint Oil Pulling Sachets. I wanted to offer a holistic approach to oral care and push the boundaries in terms of unique products, Ayurvedic principles and unique formulas embracing skincare-worthy ingredients. 

Tell us a little about you?

I started my career as a professional dancer, most notably as the lead dancer for one of the most prestigious cabaret shows in the world, Le Lido De Paris on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. I moved there when I was 18  and worked my way up from the chorus through to eventually becoming the first Australian principal dancer in the company's 80 year history. I worked there till around 2003 after which time I left and danced in shows around the world for another few years including in Copenhagen, Austria, South Korea and China. 

After about 10 years of non-stop performing I took a step back as I had a lot of injuries and health issues that I needed to address. This took me into the path of Yoga and I went on to become Yoga and Dancer Teacher for a few years. It was during this time that I really started to pay attention to the foods I was eating and the products I was putting on my body.

What inspired you to create Keeko?

Whilst I had been dancing I developed this unhealthy obsession with having the perfect ‘Hollywood white’ smile which lead me to do so many terrible things to my teeth including getting laser whitening in Las Vegas in 2000 (this was at the very beginning of when teeth whitening laser treatments started being offered and I walked out with teeth that felt like sponges and couldn't eat for 2 days), to leaving teeth whitening strips on overnight till my gums peeled. I didn't floss or see a dentist for years. I didn't care about my “oral health”, I only cared about how white I could get my teeth at any cost.  I paid the price for this a few years later when several of my teeth cracked and had to be literally stuck back together/rebuilt with composite. 
My mother worked for Innoxa, a real OG in skincare in Australia so I was always surrounded by beauty as she brought so many products home, but it wasn't till I lived in Paris and had one of the largest Sephora's right down the street from the theatre that I really fell in love with skincare and beauty. We just didn't have anything remotely close to it in Australia at the time and I really wanted oral care products that you would love to use as much as your skincare routine. Your teeth work so hard they deserve a little TLC! 

How has the business journey been so far?

It is honestly one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life! My goal when I set out wasn’t about money, it was about creating the freedom to set the direction of my life and have more time for the things that mattered to me.
The irony is that I ended up working more hours and for less pay than ever before, at least in the first few years when I was still working full time and building up Keeko on the side.
I’ve slowly come to the realisation that business is a series of challenges that never seem to stop and you need to go with the flow, develop really strong stress management practises, and trust that everything will work out ok in the end. 

It’s been interesting to experience perception vs reality with Keeko as well. Most people assume it's a big brand with a massive team behind it but really it's me and a couple of wonderful woman (chemists, marketing, design) that work with me to develop amazing products and try to offer the absolute best customer service because at the end of the day that is what is really important to me, making a positive impact on peoples health and wellness.

Tell us about the Copper Tongue Cleaner? 

Oh this is one of our most popular products and can be absolutely life changing for some people! According to Ayurveda, this simple practice is a direct way of removing toxicity from your body as they firmly believe that health starts in the mouth. Copper is the material that has traditionally been used as it’s naturally antibacterial which is why I chose that material.

Why is it important to use? The benefits? 

When you clean your teeth you are only cleaning away 50% of the bacteria. Your tongue is actually like a carpet and has a rough texture thanks to the papillae. Just like a carpet it traps nasties like plaque, bacteria, food debris, and dead skin cells. If it’s not regularly cleaned it can lead to bad breath and a number of other health issues related to poor oral care.

It’s also really really important to use the right tool for the job. I shudder when people tell me they use their toothbrush, for me that is a big no no! The bacteria and food debris get stuck in the bristles and the back of the brush and multiply. Each time you put that brush back into your mouth you are just reintroducing more and more bacteria. 

Why did you want to create this product?

I don't believe you need a gazillion products to have an effective routine. My vision has always been to develop a curated range of unique products with each complementing the other to help anyone achieve their smile goals no matter what they are (whiter teeth, healthier gums, better breath etc). Tongue cleaning is a very integral part of a complete oral care routine so it was a no brainer for me. 

Any hopes, dreams or plans for the business in the future?

I have some beautiful products in development with amazing ingredients that I am itching to launch. As I am 100% self funded it takes me a little longer to launch new products then I would like to but I’m really looking forward to sharing those with the world.

What does self-care mean to you? Do you have any self-care rituals? 

Time is the ultimate precious commodity and for me self care is really about taking time for myself and slowing down. As a small business can be extremely stressful and I often suffer from anxiety, I have found slower meditative activities like painting or jigsaw puzzles really therapeutic to help calm my central nervous system.
I make sure to go to pilates 3-4 times a week and do morning pages, which is essentially journaling, as soon as I wake up. 

Is there something self-care related you are keen to explore next?

I recently started to read about earthing and the health benefits. As someone who easily slips into the “busy”, I can sometimes feel very disconnected and earthing just really made sense to me when I started to learn more about it. I always feel better when I connect my bare feet to the ground but never really knew why, so it’s something I’m looking to do more as part of my self-care practises. 


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