How business is the way we can shape the world
Ten years ago I faced a decision. As a literature and philosophy major at university I had stumbled on a kitchen tool from a couple of hundred years ago, realised I needed it in my kitchen and recreated it. I was home with babies and could do with some extra pocket money, so I started selling it at market days.
I was not looking to start a business making beeswax kitchen wraps. I was perfectly happy with my dreams of writing and raising babies.
But, I’d been puddling along in my kitchen refusing to use cling wrap, making pickles from scratch and finding other ways to make a difference to my family’s landfill contributions, proudly cloth nappy-ing all the way.
It was only when I started selling out week after week at our market stall that I was faced with the potential impact this product offered if it was actually available at scale, that I found myself reassessing.
Running a conscious business can magnify your impact on the world, from one person, one home and one family to a whole marketplace of individuals, shops, and other businesses that work together to implement change in a tangible way.
Here at Apiwraps it’s one piece of cling wrap at a time, multiplied over hundreds of thousands of homes that is making a way bigger difference that I could make in my little home when I ditched the cling wrap. It’s what gets me out of bed every morning ready to take on the endless obstacles that get in the way… well that, and the anxiety attacks that haven’t stopped since I said yes to the challenge.
Here are some of the ways that running a business, creating something for other people to consume, can exponentially magnify the difference you make in the world.
1. Researching and understanding our supply chain on behalf of your customers
When I purchase textiles, beeswax, packaging, packing tape and any and all of the ‘stuff’ our business uses, I have an opportunity every time to look deep into where it comes from, what’s involved in its manufacture and how that ends up impacting landfill or waste systems before we get it and after our customers use it.
I have the opportunity to understand the difference between post-consumer recycled paper, 100% recycled paper, and sustainably grown paper, before weighing up the differences and choosing, on behalf of our customers, the best option.
I have the opportunity to look into worker’s conditions and water supply issues in different countries before choosing a country of origin for our raw cotton bale.
It’s a huge responsibility and privilege, and it’s a lot of extra work, but the impact is significant when we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of packs a year.
2. Working collaboratively to support artists
When I was a consumer I was able to like and share the work of artists I loved on social media, I could buy their art to put on my walls and more to give to friends. But putting their art on a consumer product and sharing that with so many thousands of people, day after day?
We can make that difference and allow those artists to carry on in their zone of genius while I keep busy getting that beauty out there into the world.
Showcasing beautiful Australian art does more still, because we’re shaping the face of what Australiana looks like in the 21st century, the memories kids will grow up with and how we perceive ourselves as Australians…
And that is pretty damn exciting too!
3. Building an ecosystem
The most dedicated micro-solo-preneur amongst us doesn’t live on an island.
The ecosystem we create around us of accountants, web devs, graphic designers, stockists, suppliers, educators and consultants is a network we get to influence and create.
When we find a great service or product which aligns with our values we’re helping another business do the same thing and it magnifies again.
After ten years developing our relationships, we have an amazing community of geniuses, each doing their thing and we get to support and lift them up while they help us out.
And that egomaniac who left our accounts in a horrific mess… did not get our support for another year. Thank heavens we’ve found a good accountant now!
Each decision we make ripples out into making our impact, creating the world we want to be a part of.
4. Being a great employer
The most profound impact I think we can have as business owners is this one. The role of a ‘boss’ is pretty huge.
I’m certain no business owner heads into employing people intending to wreak havoc on people’s lives, but how we manage our own stress and anxiety, how we communicate and how we lead can make or break a person’s day, week or life.
Having the opportunity to offer young women a great first place to work, where they are respected, treated fairly and given opportunities to grow and learn has been one of my favourite things I’ve ever been involved with.
Creating a workplace where we, as colleagues working together, are explicitly given permission to make, influence and create that better world we want.
And that ripples out too, into their own lives, their families and communities.
5. Creating better ways for consumers to buy what they need
One of the most profound privileges of being a business owner is that, besides being compliant with the ATO and industry associations, we have enormous leeway to do our own thing and create our own path.
When I was fielding requests from all sides to offer afterpay on our website I was a bit puzzled – and the entire concept behind afterpay and creating small debts didn’t really sit well with our big vision.
Our biggest pack is $40 so it’s not a crazy huge investment. But people were busy thinking that paying over a month or two was better – so I found a way to give them what they were asking for – without the debt.
The thought of their Apiwraps making them run short of cash at the end of the month made me feel queasy.
What resulted has been the most fun I’ve ever had with this gig, combining my philosophy love in a little letter about what I’ve been reading, and an Apiwrap or two each month for $9.
The lateral thinking opportunities never run short in business!
6. Educating an audience
The biggest driver of all is here, it’s our impact on the consuming public.
Before Apiwraps there was no beeswax wrap on the shelf at the local healthfood store. There was no oilskin by the metre at the hardware store like our great grandparents would have had. That option was simply not available.
When I was selling beeswax wraps at market days in 2012 to make some pocket money on the side with an idea I read about in my colonial poetry unit at uni, I was not trying to change the world…
I was trying to make sure I could stay home and look after my babies without having to put them in care and head off to work every day.
There was a pivotal moment about 6 months in when I realised that this little product I’d created could actually turn into a business, the fear that provoked in me was real.
I was a writer and a philosophy major.
What did I think I was going to be doing with a product based business?
In journal entry after journal entry I dug into every preconceived notion I had about business and came to the conclusion that if I didn’t give it my best shot, I would actually be depriving the world of something so potentially impactful that it would be downright irresponsible.
Shaping the world towards a form that we love and want to see more of, little by little, needs more thoughtful, conscious and conscientious business owners. More caring service providers, and more ethically proactive retailers.
I leapt into the waters and here they are, Apiwraps on the shelves of your local healthfood store, Foodlands, and ALDI ready to help you make a difference in your house, for your family.
Exponentially magnifying any small step I could have taken for my family and my home.
Over the last ten years Freyja Tasci has taken a little idea and $200 of her housekeeping money to nation-wide distribution in over 1000 stores and saving almost 9 million metres of cling wrap from ever being used.
Pioneering the modern use of beeswax food wraps for keeping fresh veggies, wrapping sandwiches and keeping cheese she advocates for healthier, more sustainable living with a simple shift away from cling wrap.
Today, Apiwraps on the shelves of your local healthfood store, Foodlands, and ALDI ready to help you make a difference in your house, for your family.