Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lindsey McCoy, co-founder, and CEO of Plaine Products, located in Cincinnati, OH, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Plaine Products is on a mission to eliminate single-use plastic from the bathroom. Offering a line of toxin-free personal care products, Plaine Products come in aluminum bottles that can be sent back and refilled time after time.
Based in Cincinnati, OH, and founded in 2017, Plaine Products is BCorp and a member of 1% of the planet. Founded by two sisters, Plaine Products is proud to be reducing waste and helping stop the spread of single-use plastics. All of the products are vegan, non-GMO, cruelty-free, biodegradable, color-safe, and free of parabens, sulfates, and toxins, good for the body and the planet.
Tell us about yourself
For ten years, I lived in The Bahamas doing environment education work. While I loved living there, it wasn't all rum drinks on the beach. On a small island, there's no first-world infrastructure to insulate you from the piles of plastic we are creating. You see plastic bags, bottles, and flip flops on the beaches, in the water, spilling out of the landfills, along the side of the road. There's even a place so full of plastic it's called Junk Beach. I can send you a picture. The message that plastic lasts forever, no matter how long we use it, is much more obvious living there than it is here.
I wanted to start using less plastic in my life. I started taking action: carrying a reusable water bottle, reusable grocery bags, skipping the straw at restaurants and bars. I looked for other ways to use less plastic. But I couldn't figure out how to get those plastic bottles out of my shower. I'm not crafty enough to make my own shampoo safely, and shampoo bars didn't work for me; I needed another option.
As we contemplated a move back to the States, I realized that I might be able to solve my own problem. Even better, I might be able to help other people use less plastic in their lives. I pulled in my sister, Alison Webster. She has a design degree and strong opinions about the quality of her products. Together we spent two years finding the right containers and products. We launched in February 2017.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Our goal is to make it easy for people to get quality, toxin-free products without having to buy single-use plastic bottles. The less single-use plastic in the world is taking up room in our landfills, spilling into our oceans, the better for all of us. And although we didn't start out to be a natural company, I've become a huge advocate of keeping harmful chemicals out of the products we put on and in our bodies. I had no idea there were so many chemicals in most mainstream products until I started doing research. We are hard each day to make sure there are safe, sustainable alternatives for personal care!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Patience. Nothing comes as quickly as you want it to, so you have to plant seeds and wait for them to grow.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find a good partner! My sister is my co-founder and having someone else as invested in you and to provide skills you don't have is invaluable.
- Be willing to ask questions and learn. You shouldn't have all of the answers; no one does. The more you can learn from your customers, advisors, employees, and friends, the better. And the learning should never stop.
- Perseverance. You will hit lots of roadblocks along the way. Keep going.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
You don't have to be perfect to start using less plastic in your life, or to start using more natural products. Every step forward is a good one. People try and hide their plastic water bottles or straws from me, and I try and explain that I'm far from perfect, but I try, and that's what is important. The plastic problem we've created, where there may be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, is one we can solve by making better choices. Plastic is an amazing material; it can last forever. But it doesn't make sense to use items that last forever once and then throw them away. Progress, not perfection, is our motto.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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