After the Christmas rush at Little Green Workshops, and subsequent steady sales since, Kim and I decided to start researching other green niches that may be underserved in the market place.
But why? Why start another green business when I already have a mostly full-time job, 2 blogs, 2 podcasts, a growing YouTube channel, an established e-commerce store and workshop business, and an expansive food garden. All that needed my time as well.
Why Start Another Green Business?
So, why indeed. We both firmly believe that the world needs more sustainable businesses. In fact, all businesses should be sustainable and green. The world would certainly be in a much better place right now if they were.
Anyway, we decided to pile a bit more onto the heap. I believe that is what an observer may think, however with all our systems in place and working, there wasn’t a heck of a lot to do. All our projects are bedded in around the home, with just the odd bit of maintenance required each month. As for the existing LGW business, we are now firmly in control after a year of business!
We were looking for a new green challenge; something that would fit in with our values and allow us to continue to spread the sustainable living message to the mainstream consumer. If their going to buy stuff anyway, why not make it green?
So after a month of research we struck upon a way of appealing to a wider audience.
Enter Little Green Gift Box.
Since going green ourselves, we found gift giving so difficult. We would search for hours and hours to find something eco-friendly for each other on those special occasions. Even our kids struggled to find stuff for Mother’s or Father’s day. I know that I have written many times about the consumer culture and how we should refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle, but you know what? No one except the converted few were listening. It’s time for a new approach.
So this is how we’re different. We’ve developed green gift boxes (aka hampers) with a green twist.
The Gift Boxes
Lets start with the gift boxes themselves. All the packaging and gift wrapping is sourced from post consumer paper/cardboard and is fully biodegradable with natural dyes. The outer wrap is made of jute ribbon with a burlap flower or leaf. The gift tag is made from recycled card. Each product is wrapped in recycled acid free tissue paper.
All of the filler is either shredded office paper from our business, or biodegradable starch peanuts that is all compostable.
We had many brainstorming sessions with friends and family to come up with gift box ideas that people may enjoy. Ideas ranged from the obligatory Mother’s and Father’s Day all the way to the weird and wonderful Zombie Apocalypse Survival Gift Box (now in store). There had to be a bit of fun to the themes as well!
No idea was too crazy and all were written down. Then the search for suitable products to fill the gift boxes began.
We searched the interwebs for suppliers of sustainably produced, organically made, or family owned local food manufacturers that cared for the planet as much as we do. Suppliers of great, green products that could provide us with quality that we were seeking.
Thankfully we managed to find quite a few which I have listed on our suppliers page to be as transparent as possible. We have sources an amazing range of gifts for all ages and occasions.
I started off looking for a web hosting service here in Melbourne that had the option to carbon offset any emissions that were caused by our shared servers. I found that with VentraIP, an Australian owned business.
Once that was taken care of, it was on to website development. I could have hired someone to do that for us, but after getting initial quotes of over $16,000, I chose to do it myself. That meant some serious upskilling and some fancy web design.
The e-commerce website took me about two months of spare time to build, incorporating security, aesthetics, and a remarkable user experience. It’s something that I’m very proud of.
Kim took all the photographs for the products. We had to fork out a bit of capital for the LED photography lighting, but it was well worth it. Much cheaper than getting them photographed at a professional studio. I think her photographs have come a long way since we first started blogging and e-commerce!
You know how I hate going into debt, and compare that financial noose to slavery. Well, the great news is that we didn’t borrow a cent to get this bootstrapped business up and running. We uses some of the profit from Little Green Workshops to purchase the initial stock, and expect it to self fund as we grow to a sustainable level.
We still work from home and have built enough storage for the additional stock. We have no intention of moving, and love our little green home in the ‘burbs!
The Business Systems
Once business systems are in place and working, it is easy to expand to accommodate another, especially if you haven’t overstretched yourself with the first venture.
It wasn’t too hard because bookkeeping and accounting systems were in place. Shipping systems are in place. Some suppliers were in place. IT support (that’s me) and fulfilment workflows (that’s Kim) are in place. We know how to manage cash flow, and how to budget effectively. Marketing, social media, and advertising systems are in place.
It’s a lot easier than we thought, mainly due to cloud computing, and the simple fact that most of what we sell is online (besides physical workshops) and we don’t need to lease a bricks and mortar shop. It also felt good to diversify our income streams even further.
The Learning Never Stops
We’ve certainly learnt so much since we started, and will continue to learn each and every day. We were so tied up in getting everything ready for the big launch on the 6th of April 2016, that I almost forgot to register our new business name! That would have been disastrous.
So here’s to green business. May there be many more of them in our lifetime, all helping to solve some of the problems facing humanity and our environment in the process.
So now that you know why we started another green business, I now cordially invite you visit Little Green Gift Box. Check out our handy work and see why we’ve been a little quiet here on this blog and podcast.
Don’t forget that you can leave your email address if you want to be informed of new additions to our range of gift boxes and information about featured suppliers.
Kim and I would love to hear your initial impressions of the new business via comment below. Please don’t be shy!