As Father’s Day is just around the corner, we thought we would share a bit of the origin story of Eco Food Wrap from the perspective of our Operations Guru and Co-owner of Eco Food Wrap, Shuaib Rahman, who is also incidentally father to two beautiful children that he and Elishah raise together while running their business from their sustainable, off-grid household. We asked Shuaib to share his experiences and how he came to start the business, as well as his main motivation behind it- his children. The following serves as a reminder to all of us that we are never too busy to take time out and play; no matter how many dreams we are juggling!
Take it away, Mr Rahman!
I first stepped on the path that led me to start my own business about 15 years ago. I was working for a company named Source One (now Service West) where I had started out just driving a forklift for them. I remember that time well; working 3 jobs at a time just to get ahead, working my way up through the ranks over the subsequent 10 or 15 years to the top echelons of the company, learning every facet of running a business from the ground up. I was work-driven, work-focused- EVERYTHING was about work. I would go so far as to say I was a workaholic. Profit-and-loss was my oxygen and margins were my lifeblood; I literally lived to work.
After some time, we found ourselves with a little addition to the family - my son, Makayo. We decided to break away from suburbia, and moved to an off-grid property about an hour out of Sydney. During this time, I remained at my job, driving an hour and a half (in peak hour) to work and back, “Making a living”. It was however the birth of my second child- my daughter, Zaia just over 2 years ago, that changed everything.
When she was born, I decided to take 3 months off work to spend some time with my growing family; and invest some time working on the property to make it more self-sustainable.
I forgot about emails, clients, projects, deadlines, schedules, budgets, Mondays….
I slowly began to immerse myself into my children's’ lives more and more. Cars, trains, lego, puzzles, hide-n-seek, or learning something new. Every day became an adventure. A journey. A voyage of discovery.
Slowly, my focus and mindset began to change. I realised that, whilst working, I had been spending the bulk of my time and energy away from the people and things that were truly important to me. My wife. My kids and our off-grid life. There just had to be a better way to live.
So rather than go back to work for someone else, I decided to officially resign my post, and venture out on my own.
My first business venture was called Central Coast Furniture Installations, an idea that had sprung from my time working with Service West, who provided custom furniture installations on a commercial scale. Seeing a gap in the residential market, I decided to start CCFI. Marketing research showed a time-poor demographic; and with most furniture being bought today coming in flatpack, people just didn’t have time to build, clean up and move new furniture. They just want it done and that’s where I came in. A growing proportion of people living on the Central Coast, work in Sydney and just don’t have that sort of time- any spare time is spent with their families.
The business began growing gradually, but it still required me to spend some time away from my family.
(As we’ve covered in Elishah’s story previously, Elishah already had Eco Food Wraps established as a product, albeit a small venture, and had been selling them at small marketplaces and giving them as gifts to close friends.)
It was during that time that Elishah asked me to help her grow EFW into a sustainable business. It would mean that we could spend more raising our children together, and less time apart
It was having my kids as motivation that got us where we are today. I wanted to be with them through every stage in their voyages of discovery- I didn’t want to miss out on any of their amazing moments because I was away working all the time, or be too tired to enjoy their funny, brilliant personalities when I did get home.
So I decided to shift my focus and turn EFW into a profitable business venture. It took some hard work and planning, but today we have a recognisable brand with a strong social media presence. It is also now our full-time business and provides for our family and lifestyle. While it takes a lot of our time and energy living off-grid and running a business, I still make sure it always comes second to the main motivation behind everything we do- spending time with our beautiful kids.
After all, nothing that we do is truly critical, or life and death important. Everything can wait and I really learned that while interacting with my children. The product itself was born from our need to provide a better world for our children.The business was born from our desire to be with, and raise our children... If it comes down to sending an email or my son needing someone to help him with his next lego masterpiece, Chances are, I will get to the email after the lego rocket has taken off.
Thanks so much to Shuaib for sharing with us all! We have a great Dad’s Sale for the week leading up to Father’s Day- simply enter the coupon code FathersDay17 to receive $10 off the Large Triple Pack (normally $40) which is perfect for wrapping those hearty lunches on your next camping adventure or day out with the kids!
As well as this we have a little bonus for all the Eco Dads out there. The first 12 orders that purchase a pack and use the code totalling over $50 will receive a FREE reusable stainless steel straw and cleaning brush set added to your order to make sure your little ones don't need to use reusable plastic straws in their weekend drinks. Don't forget to enter the coupon code exactly as it is to receive the discount!
Thanks for stopping by. Until next week’s blog, Eco Wrappers!