What an exciting month it’s been at Eco Food Wrap HQ, Eco Wrappers!
Last month, we were contacted by Candice Helfand Rogers from The Story Exchange to do a story on our Own Queen Bee, Elishah! How exciting, right?
The Story Exchange is a non-profit Media Organisation dedicated to telling the personal and professional stories of women business owners — and to exploring the role of entrepreneurship in advancing women’s economic independence. They showcase entrepreneurial women around the world who are contributing to their communities and aim to provide role models and inspiration to women pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams by way of interviews, articles and content on their website; thestoryexchange.org. (1)
Candice had discovered EFW through this very Eco Blog! She had been researching Melati and Isabel Wijsen; the two Balinese sisters taking the fight against single-use plastics to the top, and had stumbled on the blog we featured on these two amazing eco-warriors and decided to reach out to us.
Her article 3 Solutions from Women to a Staggering Plastic Problem is the result of that connection, and we couldn’t be happier to see Elishah getting the recognition she deserves for an amazing, yet simple idea that can make a real impact on the future of our world!
SO; for this week’s Eco Blog, I thought I would sit down and get the inside scoop on our very own boss-lady Elishah Rahman- the brains behind Eco Food Wrap’s conception and one half of the mum-and-dad entrepreneurial team that hand-makes and packs all of your EFW orders each day (often after the little ones have gone to bed and long into the night!).
So first off- introduce the business for us:
Eco Food Wrap is a family-owned and run small business that provide a sustainable, reusable, chemical-free alternative to plastic clingfilm for food storage in the home and school and work lunches. They are made using organic cotton that is locally sourced and are infused with jojoba oil, tree resins and beeswax that I developed and refined into our signature beeswax blend that we use on all our wraps today.
And they’re amazing! What I love most about EFW is the fact that the whole process from start to finish is a sustainable one. How did that influence the business starting out?
My husband Shuaib (who runs Eco Food Wraps with me) and I had always been environmentally conscious people and tried to live in a way that made as little impact to the planet as possible. We also started wanting more from life than just a way to exist and pay for things, and started exploring ways we could not only live more sustainably but also work in a way that ‘gave back’ to the world whilst supporting our growing family.
I started Eco Food Wraps as a hobby, really. Shuaib was working and travelling daily and I was at home with my then-baby son Makayo, and I had been making sustainable wraps as gifts for my friends and family at first. I began selling them at local markets under the name Munkiwraps and found that they quickly gained traction, with people responding to the bright patterns, adaptability and sustainable nature of the product and the fact that they were handmade using low impact raw materials and processes. I loved the thriving market atmosphere and found myself connecting with other like-minded creative entrepreneurs and customers. I still love our weekly markets; it’s where we started and why we grew, and I’ll always value how the business evolved organically from that point. Each conversation became a chance to share ideas about sustainability and ways we can help improve our world for ourselves, but most of all for our children’s futures. I started to realise that this could be more than just a hobby- this could be what I have to offer the world- a way to solve a real problem in everyday homes.
It was around this time that life changed for you in a big way, right?
Yeah, It was during this time that I fell pregnant again, and soon we were blessed with the
addition of little Zaia. Shuaib decided to take a few months off work to spend with our growing family; as well as work to get our property more self-sustainable.
I loved having him at home, and so did Makayo and Zaia- not only was our off-grid home coming together, with our own power, rainwater systems, fruit and vegetables, chickens, rescue animals and of course our beautiful bee hives, but Shuaib was so much happier at home with us. After 3 months off, he decided not to go back to work. He decided to start his own business instead, providing residential and commercial furniture installation & assembly services.
I approached him one night after the kids were asleep and asked him if he might help me grow Munkiwraps, which had been doing really well at its usual market locations. I could see that if we both combined our individual skills- my creativity and resourcefulness with his operations experience and business acumen, we could really take this business and make it our life’s work. Not only would it be helping the environment, but it also meant we could live more as a family unit; work from home, travel to markets together and ultimately live in a way that made us far happier and in the end- way more productive and driven. We put our minds together and rebranded and renamed the business to Eco Food Wraps, and it has gone from a hobby to help people live more sustainably to a formidable small business!
It really has! It’s amazing to see the business grow- has it changed much in that time?
We still hand-make every order and ship it ourselves- but we’ve also gained the help of fellow business owners to help grow Eco Food Wrap and have our business stay relevant. For example we now utilise a Social Media Management business to help keep our social media channels relevant and engaged with our customers- this preparation meant that when beeswax wraps went viral a few weeks back, we were prepared for the sudden interest in our business- we even had wholesale request for stockists from quite a few International Businesses! Also, in April we teamed up with a local Designer to redesign and relaunch our website to accommodate for the growth we experienced, and we continue to use all these channels to share not just our product but ideas about how to live more sustainably and make life changes to help the environment (such as through our online blog, or article shares and discussions on facebook). While it’s gone through some huge changes, it is still at it’s heart a sustainability-focused, ecological mum-and-dad business with a hand-made, ethically sourced product.
Thanks so much for taking us through the story of Eco Food Wraps in more detail. Any last thoughts for the Eco Blog Readers?
We hope that Eco Food Wrap customers feel they’re more than just someone who purchases our product. We want them to feel part of a growing movement to live a lifestyle that helps our future world- not just the reducing of single-use plastics, but also things like, being self-sufficient, living off-grid, growing produce, reducing waste and sharing news and information on the progress we are making towards improving our environment.
Thanks A lot!
You can read The Story Exchange Article '3 Solutions from Women to a Staggering Plastic Problem' over at The Story Exchange website.
Keep an eye out on our main page for more EFW in the media!
(1) Source: http://thestoryexchange.org/about-us/