JJ Stranan

JJ Stranan of Recycled Mats:

“World traveller turned recycled plastics mumpreneur”

In this episode of Plastics Revolution, I chat with JJ Stranan of Recycled Mats based in Tweed Heads, Australia.  As a mumpreneur, JJ originally started a cultural education product business, but found her mats were in such high demand that it took the company in an entirely different direction. 



Starting with an Aboriginal designer and the desire to only use recycled materials, Recycled Mats has gone from the 3rd bedroom of JJ’s house ten years ago to a  warehouse today. Furthermore, she’s trying to make every part of the business as sustainable as possible.

I hope you enjoy this episode of Plastics Revolution with JJ Stranan of Recycled Mats.

Companies, Organisations and Products Mentioned in this Podcast:

Recycled Mats
TerraCycle
Hero Packaging

Credits

Hosted by Tammy Ven Dange
Produced by Jonny Puskas
Theme Music by Joseph McDade
All Rights Reserved 2020


Full Transcript

This transcript has been modified for clarity.

Key:

T: Tammy Ven Dange, Host
J: JJ Stranan, Founder of Plastic Mats

Introduction

T:  JJ, welcome to the show.

J: Thanks very much for having me, Tammy.

T:  Could you talk about what your company does, and then also how it began?

Starting Recycled Mats

J: Sure thing. I kicked off the business in December 2009, so we’ve been going just over 10 years now.  I was just a typical girl that was kind of fed up working corporate and not really feeling like I was actually giving anything back to society.

J:  So, I decided to start a business on my own -third bedroom in our back of a house just like many other entrepreneurs out there. I had a bit of a dream, but had no idea how I was going to achieve it or even if I was going to be successful in that at all. But it was one of those things that I wanted to give it a go.

J: My initial business was actually called Global Kids, and my official company name is still Global Kids Oz. We trade as Recycled Mats these days.  Basically, I’d come from a life-long of travel. My father is Canadian/Czechoslovakian. My mum is Lithuanian/Aussie. I was born and bred in New Zealand. So, I’ve kind of got travel in my blood.

J: I was also lucky enough when I left school to go live in Thailand for five years and work in the scuba diving tourism industry over there in the 90s. And, it took me on to joining super yachts. So yeah, I was very lucky that I managed to sail the globe on beautiful, luxurious yachts and got paid nicely for that opportunity.

J: So, when I decided to settle – got married, settle down, I was thinking about having a family. It was like, “Well, what do I want to do as a business that celebrates what I’ve done and what I’ve learn on my travels that is also positive to society. So, I came up with this concept. Being the fact that I’m born and bred Kiwi living in Australia, I had this idea that when I had a family, I would still want my children to be brought up with a New Zealand aspect to the education.

J: And living in Australia, it’s not as easy a day to day, as if you were obviously living in New Zealand. So I thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I could find and provide resources from around the world and again tapping into my traveling background and sailing that I could bring into schools to celebrate different cultures, different religions, different places of the world?”

J:  Our mats were a part of that because I sourced books, I sourced music, I sourced costumes and dolls – anything that I could that had a cultural aspect to it and brought that together and a website and supplied the education industry with that. So, the mats with their cultural motives on them was one of those products.

J: I’m an Aquarian. I’ve always kind of had those innate passion to try and save the world. I think that other aquariums will understand that. The mats having that recycled aspect to them and that cultural aspect were what to me was a winning product. I just thought, “Wow, this is so awesome. There’s no way I would have gone into manufacturing virgin plastic to put a cultural design on it. It just didn’t make sense to me.

J:  We all know that there is far too much plastic in the world. Even 10 years ago, that was that was the case. So, when I sourced a product that had that recycled aspect to it, I could work with artists to create our own lines of designs, to celebrate different cultures. To me, it was a “must do” sort of line.

Pivoting the business

T:  So, is Recycled Mats the majority part of your business now?

J: It is these days. I actually closed down the Global Kids website about a year and a half, maybe two years ago now. So, yeah, I guess over the last 10 years I have become a mom, and in fact, today was my first day for sending my boy to school. I’m a little bit teary-eyed today, a little bit emotional. So, thank you for distracting me, Tammy, with your podcast.

T: Let’s go back. From what you just said, I have a number of questions. It’s so fascinating how you took your passion for travel, and then what sounded like what we call an inadvertent “pivot,” which is when you had one business line or one product that everybody seemed to want, and it just kind of took off. And it wasn’t the intention of how you actually got into the business where you’re focussed on Recycled Mats today.

T: But let’s go back to the beginning when you were sourcing products, were they educational products to teach kids about culture? Is that what you were doing?

J: Yeah. I was basically trying to source anything that could support an educator and celebrate cultural diversity. So, you know, I’m not from a teaching background. So, I really didn’t know specifically what (they needed) from the education perspective, but from my perspective anything that visually is cultural that that educators could look at an item.

J: I mean even a book’s illustrations, right? So you’ve usually got the story. That’s a myth or religion or so forth on a particular country or culture. But usually you have illustrations that support that. And some of those illustrations are very traditional across a culture.

J: But, you know, I’m from New Zealand. I’m not of Maori decent myself, but I’m a New Zealander, Pākehā. And, it’s very pivotal to everything that we do in our education system that there’s a lot of Maori motifs and designs everywhere. And it’s about coming together and celebrating together. So, I had books, I had music, I had anything that I could find or create that supported any sort of cultural aspect.

J: So, when I came across the concept of the mats, it’s like anything that I did. If it was a cushion cover or anything else, it was “Oh, how can I turn this static product into a cultural product that can actually be used beneficially within the education sector.” So, the mats were one of those products that I was like, “Oh, let’s put put a twist of events on this and work with Indigenous, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists to create that cultural aspect.”

Uluru Mat
Uluru Mat

J:  Of course, now, today, we don’t just do culturally designed mats. When I was Global Kids, that was kind of my mandate for the business that everything had to have a cultural aspect to it. But now that I’ve moved into to Recycled Mats by itself, now my initial focus is the recycled product.

Happy Camper Mat
Happy Camper Mat

J: And from that we have different lines. So, we still have the cultural line, obviously, because it’s a deep passion of mine to celebrate cultural diversity. We have Aboriginal, Torres Strait, New Zealand Maori, Pacific Island, Melanesian designs. But we also have contemporary designs, and we also have fun kid’s designs. And we have animal designs, you know, border collies and staffies and whales and dolphins and things like that. Anyone can love them and celebrate.

Finding manufacturers

T: So, let’s walk through the first mat you decided to design from scratch because I don’t think you’ve given us enough detail to show how difficult this probably was. I know in my own personal experience of manufacturing that nothing is as simple as it sounds once it’s out the door. What was the process you took when you had this idea to use a mat as a cultural story? How did you go about this process of, first of all, finding a manufacturer willing to do it? Finding a designer that was originally indigenous. How did you go about that process?

J: I don’t think finding a manufacturer is too much of an issue these days. There’s plenty of trade fairs, and there’s Ali Babas and so forth. Plastic mats have been around for a while. I wasn’t the first one to come up with a recycled mat concept. So, there were already manufacturers out there doing it. Well, I was the first one to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.

Finding her first artist

J: A lot of what I do is organic. I work hard and I push in that direction. But I also like to make things happen organically. So, as it happened, I was with Global Kids at a conference, sort of a big thing. And I was sitting next to this woman and we started chatting and getting on. Her name was De Greer Yindimincarlie. She ended up being an Aboriginal artist, which of course, I didn’t know at the time.

J: We were sharing stories and getting on. And she was showing me this item, this prototype of a product that she was working on. And it worked really well for Global Kids. It was a game of cards with indigenous symbols on it. It was a really great learning tool. And I said to her, “I haven’t seen anything like this in the market. I think that would be really beneficial for kids because it’s kind of like Snap or Fish. Anything that can teach our little ones about culture is just such a beautiful thing.

J: As we were chatting away and we got on, I said to her, “Look, you know, I’m not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander decent. I’m not even born or bred in Australia. So, I’m very naive into local culture.”

J: “I was wondering, though, would your designs, like the ones that you’re doing on your game pack – would that be something that would be culturally respectful, being that it is a floor mat and people do walk on things and sit on them as so forth? It’s not a painting on a wall. It is a practical product to walk and sit on. Would it be culturally appropriate to have you designs or indigenous designs on this type of product?”

J:  Because she was in the education sector and she said, “I think it would be fantastic because anything that can celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture that helps bridge the gap is a positive.” But she’s only one person. And we had a discussion, and she said, “Look, let me take it back to community. And let me talk to my friends and colleagues and elders and relatives and so forth, and let’s get the feedback from a group of people instead of just me.”

J: And I said, “Absolutely.”  Because, of course, the last thing I wanted to do was offend anybody.  I was out to do the exact opposite. She came back some time later and said, “Look, I’ve just had wonderful feedback from everybody that I’ve talked about doing this concept with you. So, yeah, let’s do it.”

J:  She put a couple of designs together and the rest is history. The first one was successful, and I think De and I, we’ve done maybe eight or nine designs now over the years. She’s designed our logo. We’ve done lots of work together, lots of collaborative projects over the years.

Local versus overseas manufacturing

T: Now, you’re right. There’s a lot of manufacturers that can do this kind of work. But just looking at your website and a lot of the things that you’re concerned about, certainly doing the work overseas would have been potentially an ethical issue for someone like you that seems to care so much about doing the right thing. When we go back to choosing a manufacturer when there’s something to choose from – first of all, did you try to originally manufacture in Australia or did you immediately go overseas?

J:  Well, I did look into it. I looked very deeply into it. Every direction I turned, I got roadblock. And definitely one of them was the financial side of it. I was a one-woman check, working in the third bedroom at home. I didn’t have the knowledge and certainly didn’t have the capital to turn around and set up a manufacturing business of any sort. I probably couldn’t manufacture a pad of paper if I wanted to.  I just didn’t have that skill set.

J: Ultimately, what I would have really liked to have done is been able to manufacture a recycled product in indigenous communities across Australia. That would be the ultimate. Like I said, I did initially make some very broad inquiries. But realistically, I didn’t even know if the product was going to sell 10 items or 100 items. I had no idea at the start.

J: I went through my process of choosing a manufacturer and so forth. And once I started to realise that, this was sort of getting some traction on the market and it was getting good response. Again, a couple of years later, I did go out to a variety of different people and said, “Look, is there a way that we could maybe get a grant or work with different communities and organisations to possibly set out something that wasn’t actually purely funded by myself?

J: Because, again, I didn’t have the capital. I was probably in the second bedroom of my house. So, I had upgraded by three or four square metres. No, not 3000 square feet. And, again, I just got roadblocks everywhere I went. And, as you go through more, more, it does come down to price at the end of the day.

J: And I think we all know there’s a reason why a lot of our product does get manufactured offshore, and it comes down to the cost of that and the cost that we can sell it back in the market, and if people choose to buy it or not. If they choose to buy it at a much higher price, then it’s a sustainable option. And if they don’t, then it’s not sustainable.

T:  There is always that trade-off about trying to achieve some great things from the environment and community perspective, and then that trade-off of whether or not people are willing to pay the price. I think a lot of companies in Australia that are manufacturing locally are struggling with that, even with locally sourced material. So certainly, that’s a very honest answer and a realistic answer.

Putting food on everyone’s table globally

J:  And for me too, a lot of people go, “Oh, you manufacture in China.” But for me, we live in a global environment. We’re all people. We’re putting food on everybody’s table. It doesn’t matter where you come from. Everyone deserves the right to work and to make an income and feed their families. And at the end of the day, that’s where the market is.

J: There’s lots of recycling also in China. I mean, up until several years ago, they took a lot of our recycling and repurposed it. Now we know those doors have been closed for a variety of different reasons several years ago. But, one of the reasons why they closed is that they now have really good recycling systems in place now, and they don’t need our stuff to be able to manufacture these products anymore.

J: I’m certainly not anti-dealing with anybody in the world. I mean, we live in a global environment. We’re all human beings. We all bleed the same colour. It’s great to support local. And ultimately, when it comes to the environment, it would be good if we didn’t have to put them on ships and trucks and have that those emissions through travel. But I just don’t see an option at this stage to do it in Australia.

End of life for their products

J:  I’ve even just had some pretty in depth talks with TerraCycle over the last couple of weeks. I’m trying to kind of end of life or end of use solutions for our products, and we haven’t yet found an option there either. It doesn’t mean that we’re not still looking. The door was definitely open, and we’re always looking for new opportunities because as we know, as time goes on, technologies change, prices change, opportunities are created. So, we will continue to look down that path. But at this stage, I just don’t see an affordable option to be able to manufacture in Australia.

Recycled materials

T: Your recycled mats, what kind of material are they actually made out of?

J: They are 100% recycled polypropylene

T:  Polypropylene. So that would be normally, I guess, be something that’s used in a hospital gown and that kind of material? Because a lot of people think of polypropylene, #5 as being something used to soap bottles. But I think it’s also used to things like hospital gowns and a more of a softer woven (material)?

J:  I don’t know specifically about hospital gowns, but it does come from plastic bags, bottles and things like that as well.

Other products using recycled tyres

T: OK. And did I also hear that you’re doing something with tyres?

J: Yeah. We’ve got another line of recycled product. They’re doormats and placemats. They’re all melted down tyres and repurposed into flat sheets of car tire material. They get imported into Australia more in that form. And then we’ve got a printing house down in South Australia that prints all our own designs on them using eco-friendly inks and dyes. Which are pretty cool because this week or maybe late last week, we just managed to get the “Australian Made” stamp of approval on that line.

T: Fantastic!

J: Out of our range, we do have some products that our Australian made. We do have some that’s made in China. We’ve gone some that’s made in India. So, you know, we kind of spread the love, I guess, as to where we manufacture. And it just depends as to what opportunities are already available that we take them to.

J: Because, again, like a doormat, we probably only sell let’s say a thousand a year. It’s just not big enough to create its own industry selling a thousand made. Unless we were selling maybe 10 million a year or a couple hundred thousand anyway, then it might be more achievable to actually look at investing in a complete manufacturing facility. At this stage. I’m just one client of another business that they might have 100 clients or 4000 clients. I don’t know. I outsource that to them.

Choosing the artists

T: Sure. And so all your products, though, are actually designed and some of them are actually designed by artists themselves. How do you choose your artists to work with?

J: So, again, it’s generally organic. I can’t think of any artist that I’ve physically reached out to. Like De and I met, and we just sort of started having a conversation. But once I started doing this and putting it up online, obviously people started to find out about us and purchase.  People would just come out of the woodwork and send me an email or give me a call and say, “Hi, this is who I am. I’d love to do some work with you. These are my designs.”

J: So again, quite organic in the way that happens. I don’t put anything online and say, “Hey, we’re looking for something and red.” Basically, artists just knock on the door, and I have a look at their portfolios. And if we have a really good relationship, then we take it forward and we choose some artwork and we give it a go.

Growing out of the 3rd bedroom

T: You’ve been going on for just over 10 years now. I’m really interested to know from your third bedroom to your second bedroom – how did the growth progressed from that?

J: I guess I can’t speak for other businesses. I’d never been in business before. It was just one step at a time, and it was a lot of hard work. Running your own business, you’re wearing every single hat. You’re the chief accountant, you’re the chief customer service, the chief toilet cleaner, chief assistant and design. It’s just one foot after the other.

J: We kind of got to the stage that the third bedroom couldn’t hold the stock. So, I moved into the second and the stock in the third. And then we build something on the carport that was an enclosed unit so we could store stock in there.

J: And then I have a funny story. I moved into one of those Kings Storage type places. And I rented myself a storage unit that was basically the size of one and a half cars. Of course, I’d only been into the unit in the daytime. I put my money down, moved all my stuff in, and then a customer said, “Oh, look, I’d love to come and see you stuff, but I can’t come until 6 p.m. Is that okay?”

J:  And I’m like, “No problem. I’ve got this flash pants storage unit.” So, I met them out at the storage unit, and it was right on sunset. I said, “I’m really sorry. I can’t find the light switch anywhere. I just moved in here last week. It’s got to be around here somewhere.”

J: I had to get my car and put the headlights on into the storage unit. And I’m like, “Oh, my gosh. There’s no lights at this thing.” I didn’t think to ask. It was literally just for people to store stuff while they were moving house. It certainly was not set up as a business space. But, I only had $70 a week to pay for extra space. So, you get what you pay for.

J: After six months, we kind of outgrew that. And knowing that we didn’t have power, I couldn’t run a computer from there. I couldn’t work early in the morning or late at night. So, then we moved into a place next door that was a bit bigger and got a short lease. Because the big fear whenever you grow is that you’re ready now, but oh my gosh, what if sales stop, or what if the bill pops up that you hadn’t anticipated? I don’t want to make this commitment for a 12 month place if I don’t know if I’m going to be in business three.

J: So, I found a place that was happy with three months up front and a month on month after that. And just every step of the way, just one foot forward, sometimes three steps back, but I just keep plodding along and going forward and kind of just working it out as I went, really.

J: Some product lines were successful, and others weren’t. You just got to keep on top of it, and go, “I wonder why that wasn’t successful? What can I read into that? Why was that successful and how can we replicate it, but that’s different? Obviously, you don’t want to replicate it identically, but change it up but appeal to a different audience.

How big is Recycled Mats today?

T:  So, how big is your office space and warehouse space now?

J:  I think we’re at about 180m2 now. There’s five on the team. So, we’ve got two offices. I’ve got a warehouse gentlemen, that works five days a week, but just four hours a day. So, we don’t need him to pack all day. We’re not that big. But yeah, we’ve got a pallet stacker thing that moves all sorts of things around.

J: I feel really quite grown up now. It’s like, “Oh, my gosh! This is not just me anymore.” As a business owner, I’m responsible for four or five other people’s income. It’s pretty serious stuff. I’ve got work cover to pay, and insurance to pay and occupational health and safety to think about.

J: And then, of course, there’s the artist themselves that I work with. And as I said, not all of our designs are culturally inspired, but we do have a lot that are. I’m responsible for those. And also our manufacturers, they all have families.

“You want to keep doing business with good people, and you understand that they have families and they have staff and they have commitments, as well. So, it’s kind of a big responsibility, I guess. But I love what I do. I love who I work with. And I love the fact that I can work within the green space. So, it’s all very rewarding in that aspect.”

More about JJ

T: Let’s talk about the green space a little bit, because it’s obvious that you’re so passionate about it. When you had an opportunity at the very beginning to decide if you’re going to use virgin plastic or not with your first mat, you immediately chose recycled plastic. Where does that passion come from?

J: I’m forty-seven now. I don’t know if it was just the age that I was brought up in. I’m from New Zealand. Everything’s clean and green. I’ve sailed the world, and it’s just horrific when you sail into a beautiful port or even when you’re in the middle of the ocean and you see plastic floating in the ocean, and it’s just like, “What? I’m supposed to see birds or dolphins or whales, not rubbish.”

J:  You know, I’m a big scuba diver. It’s what I did for five years in Thailand. So, I had the opportunity to dive all over the planet and to go down to see stingrays and sharks and turtles. And you come back out with your BCD (buoyancy compensator) full of plastic. It’s just wrong.

J:  We all know there’s more than enough plastic in the world. I certainly didn’t want to be guilty of manufacturing more plastic, especially for a non-essential item. And at the end of the day, let’s face it, a plastic beach mat, whether it be beautiful or not, is a non-essential item. That’s not something that’s needed in surgery to save somebody’s life. I certainly didn’t want to be adding to the global problem of excess plastic in the environment.

J: Knowing that there was a recycled option out there, I was like, “Yeah, this works for me. This sits well for me. I feel comfortable of manufacturing a product because of that recycle aspect to it. So, let’s give it a go.”

Running a sustainable company too

T: And you’ve taken that same view on sustainability, from what I understand, into the way you run your entire business. I saw something about your head office and your warehouse in terms of energy and water. Do you want to talk a little bit more about what business practices you put in place to ensure that you’re actually running your corporate side as sustainably as you can?

J: Yeah, sure. We built a small warehouse about five years ago, I guess. And we decided to go off the grid at that stage. It was on a rural property. So, it would have been the same cost for us to get power put in or to go totally off the grid for solar and water. So, we chose a sustainable option back then.

J: Then when we moved into this premise that we are in here now, I think within 12 months or so, we got solar panels on the roof to sustain the business. So, we had like a bit of a green audit done, and they said, “This is what your output is, and this is what your input needs to be.” And we just do that in every aspect of the business.

Green packaging for recycled mats too

J: We had another green audit done probably 12 months ago now. And we’re always looking at options ourselves like with the packaging that we use. We use recycled cardboard, and we’ve got (I think it’s called) Hero Packaging, which is biodegradable packaging. We are always looking for other solutions.

J: So, we had this audit done and it was like, “This is who we are. This is what we do. This is how we do it. From a packaging perspective, can you give us any other ideas that we just haven’t come across yet?”

J: We got some other really good ideas there. So, we’ve changed out our strapping. You know, when you strap big boxes, you have those plastic clips you threat your strapping through and the plastic clips keep everything snug and tight. We changed from plastic to metal, which is more expensive, and so was the recycle packing type that we use that is more expensive.

J: But again, we just decided that, well, that’s who we are as a business, and we want to practice what we preach. And if there is a better way of doing things, then we’re putting our hands up saying, “Hey, we’re happy to give it a go.” I’m sure there’s more things that we can be doing. And we constantly on the lookout for those things.

J: So, I’m often on different webinars and podcasts like yourselves just trying to get other ideas to go, “Oh, yeah, I hadn’t thought about that. I wonder if that’s an option for us?” Then, one of the team goes out and researches that.

J: I’m very lucky that all my team wanted to work for Recycled Mats partially because of what we stand for, what we do. So, they also come from an environmentalist aspect. So, the team sometimes will be like, “Hey JJ, I saw this on the weekend. I wonder if this is a bit packaging for us or I wonder if this could be a solution that we can bring into the warehouse?” So, everyone’s constantly on the lookout to see how we can do things better and make those changes if it works for us.

T: I think it’s really important for businesses to see that it can be done. That you guys have obviously taken not just your passion for making a recycled plastic product and reducing waste in that aspect. But to look at it from a sustainability perspective all the way from the sourcing of the product down to the packaging, and then certainly in your own corporate space. That’s pretty remarkable to see how much work you’ve done in there.

Future Plans for Recycled Mats

T: JJ, what other future plans do you have right now that you’re willing to share?

J: As I said, I’ve just been talking to TerraCycle over the last couple of weeks and had a really good chat with one of the guys there yesterday. So, there has been one part of the business, especially for the past two years, that we haven’t been able to find a solution. And that is, as I mentioned early on, is the end of life option or end of use stage of the product – what do people do with the mat once they’re done with that in five-years time, once it’s a bit worn or they no longer wanted or needed or whatever? What do they do with that?

J: We used to be able to say to people, “Hey, just call your local council because some will accept them and some won’t.” My local council in the Redlands used to, but then we moved out to Tweed Heads, and it was like, “No, don’t put them in the recycle bin.” Obviously when China shut the doors, everyone pretty much just went, “Yeah, no thanks.”  So, it’s been on our hit list, I guess, to try and find a solution to that.

J: So, I haven’t quite found the perfect solution with TerraCycle, but we’re on that journey now. Because it’s quite expensive sign up to be a part of TerraCycle program. And we’re not a corporate. I’m still a mumpreneur at the end of the day. But, you know –

“It’s better to start doing something little then not do anything at all.”

Advice for Listeners

T: That’s right. And that’s actually how you started too. You just started one little thing at a time. It sounds like you self-funded as well.

T: I think that you could provide some great advice for some of our listeners. Is there anything you want to request to them or something you want to advise them? Some of our listeners might just be consumers that might be interested in your products, but they also might be business owners as well.

J: I’m more than happy to hear from people if they want to reach out. Jump on recycledmats.com.au and reach out through our email and online form. Happy to hear from people if anybody’s got any specific questions or just wants to have a yarn. I think communication is a really big thing to remember that we can’t solve this ourselves overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, don’t give up just because it feels all a bit too daunting.

J:  I mean, I’m sitting here looking at the home page of my website while I’m talking to you. We’ve got this counter on our website, and we’re at 197,050 kilos worth of material that we’ve estimated that we’ve saved from landfill.

T:  Oh, my goodness!

J: It’s almost 200 tonnes. You know, for someone in their 3rd bedroom at home 10 years ago that barely knew how to turn a computer on, I pat myself on the back. It would be amazing if it was 2 million tonnes. Incredible! But, you know 200 tonnes,

“200,000 kilos is 200,000 more than what I thought I would be able to put my name against 10 years ago. So, imagine if every 20th person did that. It’s a movement. Sustainability is a movement of everybody. It’s not just the corporates. It’s not just a one or two people. It’s a people movement. And we’ve all got to do it together.”

Final Thoughts

T: It’s definitely a team effort for sure. I’ll make sure to put all the contact details you just mentioned about your website in the show notes, as well as the transcripts so that people can find you a little bit easier if they want to.

T: JJ, I just want to thank you, first of all, for your time today and sharing your story. Your passion is contagious in terms of not only your care and desire to do really good things for the environment by using recycled materials in your products, but also implementing it into your corporate structure, your packaging, your warehousing, everything you’ve done – you’ve actually thought about it from a sustainability and small footprint perspective.

T: And then on top of that, the work that you do supporting local artists, indigenous artists to support them and the work that they’re doing is just incredible to see someone that may not have had great ambitions when they started, but certainly with 200,000 tonnes (I think is what you said) of recycled plastic that has not gone into landfills or waterways. I mean, that is showing already the impact that you and your business has already achieved, and it’s incredibly inspiring.

J: Ahh, thank you. We are proud of what we do. And just to clarify, it’s 200,000 kilos.  I don’t want anyone thinking tonnes, but I was mixing kilos and tonnes there, and could have got you a bit confused there. But yeah, thank you.

J: Without my team, first off, that has faith in me. And obviously I have faith in them. We do this together. I can’t do it on my own anymore. It is a team effort. But just as importantly, the community trusts us to be delivering an affordable, sustainable, practical, respectful product. And without their support, then we can’t do what we do.

J: So, again, it takes a crowd. It takes a movement. So, yeah, we’re chuffed to be on this journey. We’re very honoured to be on it.

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Tammy Ven Dange

Purpose Driven Entrepreneur Be kind to animals and mother nature!

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