Showers of glitter make Rio de Janeiro’s annual Carnival festival sparkle, but the bright plastic flakes also wash out to sea, polluting the ocean. When Carnival-loving Frances Sansão learned about this problem from her marine biologist brother, she began experimenting to create biodegradable glitter and in 2017, she launched Pura Bioglitter.
With sustainable glitter hard to find in Brazil, Frances and her co-founder Luciana Duarte were overwhelmed with customer inquiries. Working from Frances’s living room, they struggled with efficiency and keeping up with demand. So in September 2018, they turned to the WhatsApp Business app.
Their operation immediately became more organized, and they sold over 100 pounds of glitter at Carnival 2019, an increase of 360 percent. Frances estimates that Pura Bioglitter fielded as many as 500 customer inquiries leading up to the annual festival.
“It helped increase our sales by about 50 percent,” says Frances.
The WhatsApp Business app’s labels feature helps Pura Bioglitter tag new customers as well as track orders and payments. Often, Frances explains, customers send proof of payment via WhatsApp which she can acknowledge immediately, thanks to the quick replies feature.
Customers like interacting with Pura Bioglitter via WhatsApp, too.
“WhatsApp is my go-to communication method,” explains one customer, who sells kits of environmentally-friendly products in São Paulo. “It’s easy, and you get quick replies. With Pura Bioglitter, it worked perfectly.”
After a great Carnival in 2019, Pura Bioglitter wants to sell more than 200 pounds of ocean-friendly glitter in 2020. It is also transitioning to a year-round operation, seeking out resellers in every major Brazilian city and launching a personalized face-painting service for parties.
Frances is proud of how her business has grown.
“I decided to leave my job and aim for a life I believe in,” she says. “It is working.”