Over the past few years I have started to take more of an interest in my little space in this world: am I making a difference, am I harming my surroundings, how do I engage with people, do I leave a positive and kind impression? These are just some of the questions that run through my head!
One area l have taken a particular interest in is waste. Things like single-use plastic, and the bits and bobs we consume and throw without thinking.
This is how I came across BeeBee Wraps, beeswax food wraps, which are making a huge difference in my kitchen.
Small businesses like this inspire me, so let’s find out a little more about Kath Austin, the lady who came up with this fantastic product!
Name: Kath Austin
Company: BeeBee Wraps
Social Media: @BeeBeeWraps
Q1. What were you doing before BeeBee Wraps?
My background is in Fundraising in the Third Sector. In October 2017 I resigned as a fundraiser for Arthur Rank Hospice Charity to pursue BeeBee Wraps. The decision was very hard because they were a brilliant employer and a wonderful place to work – it was like a second home.
Q2. What made you think that you could make a business out of using beeswax coated cotton to preserve food?
BeeBee Wraps is the ultimate accidental business. I set out to cut my family’s plastic usage, and it took off from there. I had very low expectations, but our BeeBee Wraps have potentially saved over 2 million occasions of single-use plastic! There’s a real demand for an alternative, but until BeeBee Wraps was started, the choice wasn’t freely available.
Q3. What has been the most difficult task so far in your journey as a business owner?
That’s a hard question because there are so many. Making decisions which affect where we go is super scary. There are lots of responsibilities on my shoulders. However, the one everyday difficult task for me is balancing motherhood with running a business. I was always feeling the pull from both angles. I do make it to the school gate at least three times a week on a typical week, and if I’m not there, my partner is. We’re lucky to be able to work flexibly.
Q4. What words of wisdom would you offer to someone hoping to start their own business?
Surround yourself with people who can help. Join a networking group, or incubator program or get friends who have business experience to mentor you.
All the advances BeeBee Wraps made in the early days – and a huge majority now – come from networking, so never stop talking to people.
Prioritise yourself. Make sure you are resilient. Eat well, sleep well, exercise. Sounds simple and a bit silly but if you neglect that you’ll fall apart. I’ve been a total sugar addict for years and have given up refined sugar to enable me to have the energy to keep going.
Q5. What are your dreams for BeeBee Wraps? Any new products on the horizon?
My only dream for BeeBee Wraps is that we have real, authentic, positive impact. In practical terms that means BeeBee Wraps becomes a household name which people prefer to plastic. Changing behaviour and habit is the only way to stop the plastic crisis and save food waste.
In the short term, I am really looking forward to our new range of designs. I’ve always maintained that the eco-alternative should be as beautiful as it is functional. People can only be motivated by virtues up to a point. We had to make BeeBee Wraps beautiful; it was non-negotiable. Our new fabrics are so gorgeous – I can’t wait to show you!
And finally, which local business would you like us to feature next month and why?
I think you should pay a visit to Gatto Gateau. Firstly, because you might get a slice of the most divine cake, but also because Jo is building a brilliant business with a reputation for absolute excellence.