Terrence: Hello and welcome to another episode of our podcast, Know Better, Be Better. Last week we shared with you some of our biggest learnings. This week we thought we wanted to share with you some of our business goals moving forward and something that we have planned and something we want to strive to in 2020.
Rebecca: Yeah, a new decade and the start of the year get me super excited. And this year we have some pretty big goals. We started our business based off ethical production almost nine years ago. Soon as we hit that February mark, it will be nine years in natural fibers which we feel hugely passionate about and we want to build on this in 2020 and take it another step further. Previously, we have done some GOTS products and this year we are hoping to do some more. So for anyone that doesn't know what GOTS is, it's a certification that covers the whole textile process including fair labor practices and their insurance that there is no known toxic substance used as part of your manufacturing process and therefore safe for humans, which I would also like to say we already test many of our products, particularly the baby toys and hand rattles and things like that. And we use water-based dyes. So this is something we already have been doing. Although we haven't been advertising it, it is something that we are already doing.
Terrence: Yeah. And I think for us with climate change and all of that going on as well, we want to play our part and as Rebecca mentioned, a lot of these things we are already doing in terms of ethical production, natural fibers, but there is always room for improvement and we feel we can always be doing better as well and always strive to do better. I think just with the current situation in Australia with the bushfires there is change needed. I think for us as business owners as well as individuals, we all need to have an impact and make that change. So anything that we can do to make it better and also educate other people out there about climate change and the role we play in that, we will definitely be doing that.
Rebecca: Yeah, that's right. So we want to continue what we are doing and that goes from everything from in our whole entire supply chain. So that is everything from starting from design. So that means designing better, making the products more economical. We already use natural fibers, which is a huge part of. We get so much feedback that our products last, and to be honest, it's also educating people about looking at the tags that they are buying. Understanding the labels, which is a huge part of investing in products that are made from natural fibers. So anything that's made from polyester will have little bits of plastic going into the water stream when they are washed. So it's understanding what those labels mean, which is like food labels to me, they can be very confusing. So it's educating people about what we have been doing and why we feel so passionate about natural fibers for the last nine years.
Terrence: Yeah, and I think it's also something we've mentioned in one of our previous podcasts about knowing your suppliers, especially when you are working in the ethical trade and ethical production as such knowing where your product comes from. And with us, being able to visit our suppliers, we know for a fact that these products are being made where they said they are being made and how they said they are being made. And that's also very important for us.
Rebecca: Absolutely, visiting your suppliers. We've actually been working with these suppliers for close to 10 years now. Speaking to your suppliers, visiting your suppliers on a regular basis is also crucial to putting your stamp on the ethical in my belief, because seeing is believing. As I've mentioned previously, if you want to go back to our manufacturing, I tell the story where I have worked for bigger organizations and even though the ethical stamp has been there, when you've gone out to visit, it's not necessarily that way. So that is why it is crucial to understand your supply chain, understand where your products are coming from and also as consumers to be asking the brands if they are visiting their supplies, where their products are being made. Start asking the questions. It's a great way to understand where your product is coming from.
Terrence: I think it also holds everybody accountable that they are doing what they saying they are doing. Another goal for us this year that we really want to focus on is going more paperless, not just within the office, but also within the warehouse. I think all of the packing slips and order forms, that’s being printed, is something that we want to sort of eradicate within our business. This will mean implementing scanning. So there are a whole lot of systems and procedures that we need to streamline and work on getting that implemented as soon as possible, something probably we are going to look at doing over the next two months or so. But like I said, a lot of investigation on our behalf and we are super excited about starting that process.
Rebecca: Absolutely. I think the point here is also it doesn't matter how big or small you are. I mean, we are only three full time staff. Yes, we do have a warehouse. Yes, we do have casuals that come in and help pack our orders. But no matter how big or small you are you can still make change. And so we've been passionate about that from day one when we were only one person in the business that working with the ethical suppliers, working with natural fibers, this was all so crucial to us. So visiting our suppliers, even when we were only one person, we made a plan and we made it work for me to be able to go out and visit the suppliers face to face. So I guess my point is no matter how big or small you are you can still make change. I think that's been a blocker for a lot of people going, "I'm only the small guy". We can all make change. And this is as a business and also personally as well.
Terrence: Yeah. And I think quite often the change needs to start with a small guy. You only need a few people on board. Someone will jump on board and this is how the whole process starts. So for us, this will definitely be a big, this moving into 2020. And it's not just about what we are doing as a small business. We also want to offer our customers some solutions to minimize their footprint. We will be doing that by work by implementing some solutions at checkout where they can select minimal packaging which will eliminate a lot of paperwork and packaging as such when they receive their orders as well.
Rebecca: Yeah, that's right. We are already transitioning and have been to The Better Packaging Co, which is recyclable plastic envelops or not plastic, sorry.
Terrence: Probably more compostable, I think. Yes,
Rebecca: Compostable, sorry. At present we 100 % recycle all the cardboard boxes that come in. They go out to our wholesalers. So theyare never a pretty box. Or if someone has received something in a box, it is from a recycled box. So 100% of our cardboard packaging already is recycled. We do have some inner plastics because we, as this year we have had our products get wet before. We've had containers leak. We've also had our products hit. If you listen to some of our other podcasts, we've talked about how one of our containers collided this year. So there is still some packaging that unfortunately has to go in it for the safety of the products that come over. But we are also working on solutions for that. There also are new compostable plastics and things that are constantly coming in. At this stage we are pretty minimal and we started our business that way and we just want to constantly improve on that.
Terrence: Yeah, I think we went back and looked at how we were doing this earlier days and instead of having items individual plastic, we now only use a plastic liners which minimizes and cuts down on a lot of that plastic when we send out product as such. So there are some little things that we've already done, but like I said previously, there is always room for improvement and we will continue to strive and improve on this and eliminate a lot of those plastics and unrecyclable materials as well.
Rebecca: As you've heard, the environmental impact is a huge thing that we want to focus on and improve on as businesses. But as individuals we already do a lot so far and we've implemented that into our lives. In 2019, we went to solar, we grow a lot of our own vegetables.
Terrence: Yeah, it's something that we as a family get very heavily involved in as well. I think the decision that we made to go solar late last year was probably one of the biggest impacts that we made around the house as well as growing our own vegetables and the kids get involved and it's some family time as well. So you are doing your little bit for the environment and it makes you feel better as well knowing that you've got a part to play in minimizing global warming as such.
Rebecca: Absolutely. I grew up in the country and I guess I grew up with always having something from the family vegetable patch or the farm on the table, so everything from down to milking the cow by hand to, preserving peaches and apricots to growing our own vegetables. So in our family, I've grown up that way. So we've also taken that with our family. Plus we really enjoy the garden. We enjoy getting the kids involved in the garden. We only live on a very small block of land, 600 square meters. So even with that, we still have vegetables, we grow vegetables and we also...
Terrence: We grow some fruit and we grow some strawberries, et cetera. So it's not just about the quantity, but it's also about having a go and making sure that you do have that fresh produce. And like I said, the kids get involved. I remember as a kid growing up as well, we didn't grow up on a farm or anything. We were in town, but my mom's parents had a small little plot where they had some cattle and my grandfather grew some veggies and there was nothing better than going out there in the morning. It was always early morning and he would go milk the cow. And then I would have to watch my grandmother skim the cream off the top of the milk and she would make butter, et cetera, et cetera. I think a lot of that has sort of gone by the wayside and people are now starting to pick all of that up again and making their own produce and growing their own produce as well.
Rebecca: Yeah, I guess we want to... We want to share our journey so we don't share a lot of that and unfortunately, some of our messaging has gotten lost along the way. We started our ethical journey back nine years ago and along the line we've lost some of that messaging, so we want to share with you some of the things we do as a family down to composting, all of those things and share a little bit more about that on our blog and also through video, which is one of our other big goals for 2020.
Terrence: Yeah, very excited of maybe starting up a YouTube channel and also doing a bit more with the podcast as such in terms of educational pieces, but more about educating people out there about how you can play your part and how to do things as well. Certainly from what we've learned and we want to pass all of that on and make sure that we share as well and educating others out there.
Rebecca: Even things, small things like sewing on buttons, how to sew a bag. We had the pre-school not long ago with my second son and I remember them putting a call out for someone to sew up some library bags. I think I took home 30 library bags to sew up and then they asked me if I would do the other 30 because no one else could sew. Even those old school traditions are being lost. So going back to, rather than throwing those things out, repair those things. If a button has full enough, don't throw it out. Repair the buttons. So sharing some of those skills that we have with people to show how your products can last a little longer.
Terrence: Yeah. That almost brings us onto another point is something that we want to be focusing on as well is about educating customers too about buying smarter and buying the right pieces and buying good quality pieces. And that's something we will be working on as well in terms of our product so that you buy less, but you have it for longer as such. And you don't have a lot of clothing ending up in landfill, et cetera.
Rebecca: Something else we mentioned last week was increasing greater efficiencies. I guess being a small team of three we are constantly looking at ways that we can improve the way we do things that will save us time because time, like everyone else is our biggest thing that we are so stretched on. So we are looking at increasing greater efficiencies and that is starting with a brand new website, which we cannot wait to launch. So stay tuned. We are hoping that's going to be ready around February, March. We've got some really exciting things planned for the website.
Terrence: Yeah, super excited about the new website. At this stage we don't have an official launch date, but from previous experience these things can push out, but we are very, very excited about having a new website up and running, some new functionality as well and something to showcase the product a bit better too. So there is a lot that we will be working on with that in the background and that all sort of tie in with going paperless and the procedures for our inventory management systems et cetera, because they all need to talk to each other. So there is quite a lot of work going on in the background there for us. But yeah, stay tuned and hopefully, we will be able to show you a great new website very soon.
Rebecca: Something else that we wanted to expand on is our charitable aspect as well. Knowing that there are so many companies... Knowing that there are so many families this year that have been affected by the bush fires, we always run a 12-days of Christmas where we donate to a chosen charity. We work with a couple of other charities throughout the year. This year we will be working on some incentives to help donate back to bush fire victims and that will go all throughout the year. Our product already is locked in until summer and we are currently working on summer. So we are currently working on some products that we can bring out and donate portions of that to bush fire families in need.
Terrence: Yeah. It's something that we all can play a part in and donating a part of your profits or donating in some kind of way helps out. It doesn't matter how much it is, but every little bit helps out at the end of the day.
Rebecca: Absolutely. I think we've done an initial donation, not based off sales. We made a lump sum donation and we want to continue the support that these people are going to need throughout the year. It's not just now; it's going to be years to be honest and having some things in place where we can do our part in helping these people get back on their feet.
Terrence: Yeah, definitely. I think another focus for us this year would be working with more experts as well and growing a remote team of people with skills that we can leverage off and taking our team more remote rather than office based as such, which is something that we have toyed with for quite a while. And I think we've even mentioned it in a previous podcast, but I think 2020 for us is a year where we are going to make all of these things happen and be accountable for all of that.
Rebecca: Yeah, that's right. We are already working with some people currently remotely, but working with more creatives as well, collaborating with more creatives on things like photography, projects, working with more creatives and experts to contribute to our blog with informative pieces about their environment and ways that we can help and do our part in contributing. I guess running a remote team is going to be new to us. So it's something that we've already got in play, but we are wanting to expand upon and learn.
Terrence: I think for us, there will definitely be some challenges, but very exciting at the same time. I think we have the opportunity of working with people offshore and finding people with certain skills that we can leverage off as well.
Rebecca: Yeah. And we will still have our team here in Australia as well, but we are looking at working with different experts all around the place, both locally and overseas that will be able to help us take our business to the next level. So we are super excited about that. One of our other goals is to have more team building days with a focus on wellness. I guess last year was a big year for us in the health and we want to do a little bit more both for ourselves and also the team with a focus on wellness.
Terrence: Yes. I think if you feel good within yourself and if you are a healthy that comes through. Like Beck mentioned, we both had some health issues and definitely want to put a bit more of a focus on not just being healthy, but being well as well mentally and physically. And I think if we have those opportunities in house for our staff and we create those opportunities where we can all take some time out and spend some time together and get together offsite and focus on ourselves and focus on wellness for the year.
Rebecca: Yeah. So we've got some pretty big lofty goals for a team of three and we are really excited. Another exciting goal that we are wanting to get a little bit more off the ground is our onsite shop that we have. We are wanting to do a little bit more with that, hopefully some in-house days and promotions locally here in Geelong and we are wanting to expand on that shop front a little bit more.
Terrence: Yes, definitely. I think there is a fair bit of work involved in that too, getting that all set up. But it's definitely an opportunity that we have where we can showcase our product for those people who want to touch and feel and see, but also more event style where we can have certain events and have people come and see the team as such.
Rebecca: So watch this space. We've got a lot planned and hopefully we will be able to get to at all. It's going to be an exciting year. We are super excited about the year and if you do have a topic that you would love us to, if you would like us to cover off for podcasting, if it's something that you are thinking about getting into your business and you would like to know a little bit about, please DM us on Miann and CO's Instagram. That's where we get a lot of our questions and our main question we've already covered off, which is manufacturing, but if you do have something that you would like to hear from us about...
Terrence: Or something you are curious about, yeah, just send us a DM.
Rebecca: Yeah. So we are looking forward to hearing from you and that concludes our goals for 2020.
Terrence: Yeah. Great. Very excited about these goals and I hope you've set some goals for yourself too. I think 2020 is definitely the year for goals and people seem to be very focused on those. So let's all make 2020 great with our goals this year.
Rebecca: Looking forward to it. Until next week guys, we will see you then.
Terrence: Thanks, guys. See you.
Rebecca: Cheers. Bye.