EcoEnclose provides both small and large businesses environmentally-friendly solutions for all of their e-commerce shipping needs. Their product suite includes 100% recycled poly and paper mailers, 100% recycled boxes, eco-friendly tape and custom-printed and manufactured packaging options. EcoEnclose aims to bring innovation, eco-solutions and beautiful design to an otherwise archaic industry. For example, when EcoEnclose first explored the idea of creating a poly mailer made with mostly recycled material, manufacturers said it was technically impossible and could not be done. But after several tests and iterations, they introduced an 88% recycled mailer, and that was soon followed by a poly mailer made out of 100% recycled content. Both of these can be custom-printed, allowing customers to communicate both their eco story and brand.
In 2016, EcoEnclose served over five thousand small- to medium-sized businesses across all fifty states, and 23 countries outside of the US, most of whom have a stated commitment to the environment. Many of them are true eco-innovators, finding new, more earth-conscious ways to make and sell their products. Some fun examples include companies making skateboards out of discarded fishing nets, high-quality clothes out of recycled plastic bottles, and wallets and backpacks out of upcycled fire hose. EcoEnclose’s commitment is to not only help customers ship their goods responsibly and beautifully but also to help them deliver their products in ways that promote their amazing work to the end consumer.
We purchased EcoEnclose in September 2015, after three years of searching for an entrepreneurial opportunity that aligned with our moral compass, commitment to the environment and desire to create a positive economic impact.
BusinessInterviews.com: What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner and how have you met that challenge?
Saloni Doshi: One ongoing, important challenge is in how we invest in growth. A business like ours requires investment in sales and marketing, as well as inventory, human resources, machinery and equipment, and business services. Sales and marketing are what grows our business, but all of the other expenses often seem more essential. Entrepreneurs who raise outside capital typically have funds to tackle all of these at once. We instead have to make careful decisions on how to invest cash flow at any given time, and within our leadership team, we don’t always agree.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you/your Company?
Saloni Doshi: There are a lot of misconceptions in the world of sustainable packaging, perpetuated by a lot of factors. One of these factors is that most packaging companies have a vested interest in seeing their particular product and material type succeed. A manufacturer might have specialized in bio-plastics or straw-based paper, and therefore promotes this material type exclusively as the optimal eco-solution. Another factor is that consumers are most influenced by what they see – trash. Therefore, they are biased into believing the only thing that matters in sustainability is how they can dispose of materials. A third factor is that sustainability is just very complex. It is easy to throw your arms up and think – it is just not worth the time to figure this out!
EcoEnclose has a diverse set of products and is always open to expanding our line. We are material and solution agnostic. All that matters to us is that we are carrying products that meet our comprehensive framework for sustainability.
What we are most excited about is that we are now sharing this research and framework publicly, and taking a firm stand on what we believe it means to be sustainable. We will explain why we are not yet stocking bio-plastics, despite the packaging industry overall embracing it. We will explain why we don’t think plastic is evil, though many in this movement do.
In doing so, we welcome feedback and alternative suggestions that we can research. We also know we may frustrate or offend people who have different perspectives. But we’re okay with it if these efforts start a deep and meaningful dialogue that brings our community of eco-minded businesses closer to the truth in sustainability.
BusinessInterviews.com: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs and business owners? What do you wish someone told you?
Saloni Doshi: Live in the present and take in the moments – especially the messy, fraught, and challenging ones (which will be most of them at times!). It is easy to get caught up in envisioning the future, developing your strategy, and potentially selling an exit to an investor. It is also easy to get into the mindset that “in X months, I’ll get past this, and won’t have to be working quite so hard.”
But becoming an entrepreneur is less about the endgame than it is a choice about how you are going to live your life. Every time you conquer a present challenge, you are faced with a new one. So be ready and excited to live in the clutter and uncertainty. Try to make your day-to-day work ethic and routine be one that you can and want to live with long-term.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the biggest risk that you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?
Saloni Doshi: My husband and I acquired our business, EcoEnclose, two years ago. We did this through a combination of much of our life savings and debt. At the time we had our second child on the way, and knew we would not pay ourselves through the company. Yikes!
But the company was one we felt passionate about. We knew if we could grow it into a thriving company and brand, it could have a positive impact on companies, communities and the earth and become a strong asset for our family.
Two years later, it is clear that it was worth it. If only for the experiences alone – of building an amazing team, learning the ins and outs of running this type of business, and working closely with some of the world’s most inspiring and passionate entrepreneurs. The company has grown almost 40% annually and we continue to diversify the businesses we work with and the products we sell. The story hasn’t “turned out” yet and we’re still in the trenches, but we know we are on the right path forward and are loving every minute of it!
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