Around eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans each year wreaking havoc on marine life and damaging the environment.
One Byron Bay woman is on a mission to bring plastic-free living to peoples’ lives.
At the beginning of this year, Sophie Kovic founded Seed & Sprout, an eco-friendly online shop which sells plastic free products, such as stainless steel lunch boxes and silicone food covers.
“There’s a bit of a gap between your idea of wanting to live a more sustainable life but actually putting that into practice,” says Sophie.
“Seed & Sprout really aims to provide practical solutions to everyday problems.”
For Sophie, her business journey coincided with her own journey of going green.
“I started this idea when my son was starting school and he had the no plastic policy for his lunch box, which led me down the road of buying all of these crazy non-plastic lunch containers which didn't really fit the bill," explains Sophie.
“It was exhausting.”
Since launching the business at the start of the year, sales revenue has grown exponentially now drawing in $350,000 a month according to Sophie.
A key to her success was testing appetite for her products on the market before launching.
“I created this lunch box that I needed and I loved, but before bringing that to a wider audience, I really wanted to test that idea and make sure people were going to buy it,” she says.
“I took the product to market on Amazon in the US.”
Sophie sold 3,000 lunchboxes on Amazon in four months.
She also tested the market in Australia, starting a Kickstarter campaign which raised its full funding goal within 48 hours.
Despite achieving rapid growth, Sophie has had to deal with some growing pains – contending with cash flow challenges and problems with overseas manufacturers.
“Recently one of our Chinese manufacturers individually wrapped each straw in a poly bag which was really worrying," explains Sophie.
"So now when we bring in a new manufacturing partner they have to sign off that there will be no plastic packaging present in the supply chain.”
Sophie has built a loyal following through the use of social media.
She regularly posts on live stream applications such as Instagram Live to keep customers informed.
“I think people these days want to connect in a deeper way with brands and they want to trust a person, not a corporation.”
“I really involve our customers in decision making, I'll show them samples, I'll ask them what color they want something.
“I think they really appreciate that.”