I’ve always worked in sales and events and for anyone who’s ever met me, I don’t come across as your typical sales woman. I eventually left and went travelling for a year and a half and painted along the way. I came across this idea of plantable paper whilst on a tree planting job in Australia. However, it was only after I spent some time in Portugal volunteering at organic farms, I discovered all I wanted to do was create things, in an ethical way. When I came back to the UK I worked out how to create greetings cards with this plantable paper and the business was born.
Loop Loop is an ethical company which uses recycled materials. I have over 60 greetings cards designs, all made from recycled materials and embedded with flower seeds, so they can be planted to grow flowers. Some have a wildflower mix and I have just introduced two new seed mixes as well. I sell the cards at over 70 retail shops, as well as direct to consumer through my website. My vision is to branch into other ethical products, and have just started selling recycled art prints as well.
One of the highlights about starting a creative ethical business is simply the fact that I have been able to create the business in the first place. I’ve always been told there was no money in art, so to have people purchase little pieces of art from me, is just amazing. Another highlight is that I had my largest order mid-COVID for over 5,000 cards to be sent from a CEO all over the globe.
The biggest challenge I have faced is production. I used to do all the printing myself, but then couldn’t handle the capacity, but have since outsourced this and I have had real issues with the printers. Due to the nature of the product being handmade paper, it creates a lot of wastage, and printers shy away from working with it, or have increased their prices. I’ve definitely been demotivated because of that and it takes effort and energy to pick myself back up and start finding new printing partners.
I listen to a lot of podcasts, which are an incredible source of information and means I can listen while I go running. I love Creative Rebels, Happy Place and How to Fail with Elizabeth Day. I like reading before I go to sleep and like to balance business books, with fiction as well. Business for Bohemians, by Tom Hodgkinson and Start with Why, by Simon Sinek have both been very useful.
My tips would be, start running if you don’t already. I literally can’t think straight unless I run at least 3 times a week, so if you feel stuck, then getting out and doing a run is a great way to help your mind clear. Solutions to problems often present themselves mid run. This also helps me to keep a positive mindset, which doesn’t come naturally to me, and is 100% essential when starting up.
Each month the leadership team at Brighton’s NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator select a founder of the month to recognise the individuals that have demonstrated a growth mindset and entrepreneurial spirit to overcome challenges and accelerate the growth of their business in a short space of time.
To find out more about the Accelerator hub, email BrightonAccelerator@natwest.com