Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jay Sinha, Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Life Without Plastic, located in Wakefield, QC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Life Without Plastic is a globally established online shop and information resource for safe, high quality, ethically sourced, Earth-friendly alternatives to plastic products for everyday life, including zero-waste essentials. Plastic pollution is choking the Earth and is linked to all kinds of health disorders. As a mission-based Certified B Corporation, we actively work for positive social change, improved health, and environmental sustainability. Our reusable plastic-free products are sourced from vetted and trusted suppliers and are designed to last indefinitely. Building awareness and catalyzing positive action at individual and systemic levels are key elements of the Life Without Plastic mission. Our customers are anyone and everyone who wants to live with less plastic.
Tell us about yourself
I've always been captivated by nature, and I think my environmental protection instincts really took hold when doing a grade six project on acid rain. Now I see chilling parallels between yesterday's acid rain and today's borderless toxic microplastics and nanoplastics that are quite literally everywhere — from the top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, plastics are in our air, water, soil, and bodies. It was the birth of my son 20 years ago that really got this business going. We looked for alternatives to plastics for basic household things like baby bottles and food containers and couldn't find much at all. So we started sourcing and designing and selling our own.
I am motivated by our mission and the fact that I know we are creating positive change. My biggest inspiration is the youth, who totally get the plastic pollution issue. When I do talks at schools, they see it as a no-brainer to avoid plastic and take immediate broad action to educate themselves and spread the word to their families, friends, and beyond. Very very cool and inspirational.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It's the fact that we have made and are continuing to make a difference by waking people up to the dangers of plastics for the Earth and all living beings. And along that educational trajectory that is at our core, I am super proud of our book — Life Without Plastic: The Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Avoiding Plastic to Keep Your Family and the Planet Healthy — which distills well over a decade of knowledge and experience into a deeply researched and tested mix of science, practical action, and activism, with tons of tips and tools for minimizing plastic across all aspects of life. I'm a writer at heart, so getting this book out there was huge for me.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Living with constant uncertainty. You need to have thick skin and be crystal clear and committed to your vision. In some ways, it's never been easier to start a business (all the available online tools and easy global reach), while in others, it's never been harder (huge global geopolitical uncertainty, competition from giants like Amazon, operational costs like staffing and shipping constantly rising). You need to be primed to potentially face new challenges every single day. For some, that's fun; for others, it's super stressful. For me, it depends on the day!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be clear on your purpose and vision for the business, and go beyond "to make money." You need a real depth of purpose to push through the tough times.
- Do business with integrity. Your word and how you operate are gold and directly feed the reputation of the whole company. If you're looking for good examples of businesses with strong values and high integrity, check out the B Corporation movement.
- Focus on the people. Life is about relationships. Your customers, your employees, your suppliers, your partners, your peers, your local community... They all make your business what it is. I think any business is essentially a function of the relationships it builds. One of my absolute favorite parts of being an entrepreneur is the new people I constantly meet and the cool partnerships we've built over the years with other companies, amazing NGOs, influencers, and like-minded folks looking to live with less plastic. Build your own community and tribe one person at a time.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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