It was great to meet with Sinead from ECOdirect recently. Soul Economy was interested to find out more about why she started the business and how they are giving back. Not only do they offer an environmentally friendly disposable nappy they have also developed a range of all natural baby and family care products. ECOdirect support a number of environmental and children’s not-for-profits and, to add to this, the Good Environmental Choice Australia endorsed Moltex Eco Nappies with its Good Environmental Choice Award . Read on to find out more….
1. What gave you the idea to start the business? How long did you have the idea for?
I used Moltex Eco Nappies for my son, who had mild eczema, when we lived in Ireland and found they were much gentler on his skin because they don’t contain unnecessary chemicals. It was also fantastic to find a disposable nappy that was gentler on the environment for the same reason. When we moved back to Australia and I couldn’t source the nappies here I spoke to the manufacturers about importing them into the country.
I had the idea for about 6 months before I went to Germany.
2. Did you receive much support from family and friends and other people in the community in the beginning?
My business partner Sioned and I don’t have any of our family here but our friends were very enthusiastic and encouraging. We both had to fit the time needed to start the company, in with running our families – luckily we have very understanding and supportive husbands!
3. How long has the business been running?
4. What were you doing before you started the business?
I was a full-time mum.
5. What have been your greatest challenges? Your greatest successes?
I find the greatest challenge is still juggling work and home. Also gaining all the skills needed to run a business. It has been a bit of a learning hill!
6. What is your core product? Do you have other products as well?
Our core product is our Moltex Eco Nappies. They are made using a biodegradable backsheet and specially formulated maize-starch granules for absorption. Packaged in 100% biodegradable bags, Moltex Eco Nappies contain unbleached wood-pulp from sustainable forests and are 100% chlorine free, ideal for children with sensitive skin. The nappies are also free from TBT (tributyl tin – an environmental pollutant with a hormone-like effect), and contain a natural tea-leaf extract to control odour and yeast infections that often cause nappy rash.
We’ve also developed our own range of all natural baby and family care products called WotNot Naturals which includes 100% biodegradable nappy bags and an all natural baby wash and lotion. We will add 100% biodegradable baby wipes and an all natural sunscreen in early January.
7. Tell us about the Good Environmental Choice Awards?
On 12 July this year the Good Environmental Choice Australia endorsed Moltex Eco Nappies with its Good Environmental Choice Award.
Good Environmental Choice Australia manages the Australian Ecolabel Program and is a non-profit organisation with management representation from Australian industry, environmental organisations, scientific and technical professionals and a wide spectrum of stakeholders. It is the only environmental labelling program which indicates the environmental performance of a product from a whole product life perspective. For further information visit www.geca.org.au
8. Are there other people out there doing similar things?
There are other companies selling similar products but we differentiate ourselves through our customer service and our environmental and community initiatives.
We plant a tree through the not-for-profit environmental organization Trees For Life for every box of nappies sold, donate a % of nappy sales to Greening Australia as well as donate a % of sales of the WotNot baby care range to children’s charities and invite our customers to nominate possible recipients.
9. Is it difficult or easier to attract the right people to work for you?
We have hired our staff through ads in our local paper rather than an agency. We’ve been lucky as it hasn’t taken us long to hire the people we needed.
10. How have you gone about promoting the business? Of these, which have been the most effective?
We’ve used many forms of advertising including magazines, newspapers, flyer distribution, expos, markets and web directories. All of these have helped but most of our customers come from word of mouth – people spreading the word is the best promoter we’ve got.
11. What keeps you going?
Total belief in our products, the thrill of learning so much running a company and the 3 people I love most.