Charlotte Kabelac '20 Shares Her Vision in Green to Spark Tank
Charlotte Kabelac '20 Shares Her Vision in Green to Spark Tank

When junior Charlotte Kabelac came to Dwight this year from her hometown of Wiesbaden, Germany, she brought along a strong desire to innovate and a passion for sustainability. It didn’t take long for her to share both in Spark Tank, where she introduced ReCoff, a shampoo, soap, and body lotion product line currently in design using recycled coffee grounds.
 
Charlotte began working on ReCoff last year by conducting research for the idea and mapping out the kind of company she wanted to build with one overarching mission: to be entirely green. That entails using 100% organic ingredients and recycled packaging. It also means that Charlotte wants to be in charge of every aspect of the enterprise to ensure that there are no gaps in this philosophy in the manufacturing, distribution, and selling chain. She reports: “I want to identify myself with the values my company will stand for ¾ quality, recycling, and sustainability. I only want to sell a product because I am convinced of its quality and I would actually want to buy on my own.”
 
Part of her plan is to launch an online store and consider selling via business-to-business to hotels and spas because, as Charlotte says, “I don’t want to see ReCoff sold to a third party because I don’t want it to be in a store or on a shelf next to a product that doesn’t represent or share my values.”
 
At Dwight, Charlotte is taking her brand vision to the next step, thanks to support from a Spark Tank innovation grant she received from The Dwight School Foundation. “Coming to Dwight and participating in Spark Tank showed me that I can really move forward with ReCoff and bring my innovation to market. I am grateful for the opportunity and the support that the Foundation offers.”
 
When asked why she decided to use coffee, Charlotte responds: “Because the caffeine in coffee grounds can provide added benefits to help stimulate blood circulation and cell turnover, which may strengthen hair and provide some measure of protection against hair loss. Plus the caffeine may also help with cellulite.”
 
Currently, Charlotte’s source for used coffee grounds is her neighborhood café, where she hopes to share news of her product line when ready. If her business takes off, Charlotte may look to Starbucks as a supplier!
 
While Charlotte’s vision is set, ReCoff continues to evolve. She is working on her second shampoo prototype, refining the texture and consistency in Dwight’s IB HL chemistry lab with Upper School science teacher James Kearsley. Passionate about organic chemistry, Charlotte’s formula includes essential oils and dried flowers that have properties that can add strength and shine to hair, as well as to offset the coffee scent.
 
With her confidence and presentation, Charlotte wowed the judges at the fall Spark Tank Event.
Nuno Teles, Chairman of the Spark Tank Committee, shared that craft brands are one of the biggest trends in the shampoo market today, gaining increased market share, and that he believes an eco-friendly craft product like ReCoff, positioned as such, would make a great addition. He enthused, “If we as judges could invest in Spark Tank projects, I would put my own money behind it tomorrow!” His fellow judges all nodded in consensus!
 
In his final words, Mr. Teles suggested that Charlotte “start small and create a brand with happy consumers who will tell others how fantastic it is, so to have the biggest impact in a shorter amount of time.”
 
Once Charlotte is closer to finalizing her formulations, she will have to meet all manner of legal product development and testing guidelines, but with her drive and commitment to her brand’s core values, we have no doubt that she will do so with flying colors — in every shade of green!
 

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