Geography teacher from Portsmouth sets up environmentally-friendly business Eco-U selling face masks and other eco products

A GEOGRAPHY teacher has started her own environmentally-friendly face mask business while on maternity leave, inspired by her travels in Borneo.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 1:09 pm
Hannah Wells, a teacher of Geography at UTC Portsmouth, has set up environmentally-friendly face mask company called Eco-U. Picture by Paul Messer Photography

Hannah Wells, a teacher of Geography at UTC Portsmouth set up Eco-U in January 2020.

With more time at home through the pandemic followed by maternity leave, Hannah used that time to work on her business idea.

The mum-of-two said: ‘The destruction our lifestyle is having on the planet was so much more evident in the rainforest and coral reefs and I knew that I had to try and make a difference.

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Hannah Wells, a teacher of Geography at UTC Portsmouth, has set up environmentally-friendly face mask company called Eco-U. Picture by Paul Messer Photography

‘It’s something I’ve always cared passionately about but I’ve never had the time to really try and make a difference quite like this.’

The company opened when Hannah finished her first Eco-Mask prototype.

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With other sheet masks often coming in foil or plastic wrapping, and some in liquids that contain chemicals and preservatives, Hannah wanted to create something that was more eco-friendly.

Hannah Wells, a teacher of Geography at UTC Portsmouth, has set up environmentally-friendly face mask company called Eco-U. Picture by Paul Messer Photography

Eco-Masks are made from 100 per cent cotton and are plastic-free beauty sheet masks.

The masks come dry and compressed and need to be dropped into a chosen liquid and then placed on the skin. Eco-U even includes recipe ideas with the masks to help its customers know how best to use the masks for their skin.

‘I can make every part of the product and its packaging compostable, and the masks are totally free of chemicals. My five-year-old loves using them, and I know she is safe to use them without any eczema flare-ups,’ she said.

As well as face masks, Eco-U sources products from equally eco-friendly businesses, including a coconut farm in India where she found her popular coconut scrubber sponges.

Hannah Wells, a teacher of Geography at UTC Portsmouth, has set up environmentally-friendly face mask company called Eco-U. Picture by Paul Messer Photography

Hannah also enjoys using her wood burner on her natural bamboo toothbrushes to customise as gifts and has created reusable air fresheners that simply need a top-up of essential or fragrance oils.

Hannah runs the majority of the business by herself but does have her family support system with her fiancé on hand to help her box up products, as well as being her sounding-board and cheerleader.

She said: ‘He is awesome. My mum has helped too, either with childcare or packing big orders. And my daughter loves to help and be involved with everything.’

Currently trading mainly on Etsy, Eco-U does also sell wholesale both online and in stores across the country and even has a store in Maryland, USA as a stockist. Whilst still a ‘side-hustle’, Hannah plans to keep reinvesting in her business to help it grow.

She said: ‘I really enjoy the innovation aspect. I like finding a useful, plastic-laden product and trying to make an eco-friendly version of it. I want to come up with more ideas and be more of an eco-creator than a retailer.’

Eco-U can be found on social media @eco.u4u and at eco-masks.co.uk.

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