7 Lessons From The Past 4 Years of Net Zero Co.
Written by Amy Kim. 🐢
It’s our four-year anniversary!
Today, I’m sharing my top 7 lessons from being in business that changed my outlook on life.
#1 Your compassion today makes a difference tomorrow, somewhere, somehow, for someone.
You unconditionally understood when we messed up our kraft tape composition.
We were in a hard place of not wanting to sell a product that wasn’t plastic-free, but at the same time, doing what’s right and not landfilling (or incinerating) a whole batch of useful products.
Instead of being met with backlash for my mistake (which I understand and expected), I couldn’t have been more astounded by the compassionate feedback.
We are so grateful, and it set off a new fire in us to make up for the mishaps.
Wanting to do more to give back within the confinements of our budget, it gave birth to our Giving Campaigns, where we donate 10% of our top-line sales. We’ve proudly partnered with Plastic Bank, Coalition of Rainforest Nations, The Pearl Protectors, and counting.
Compassion keeps paying forward.
#2 When opportunities show themselves, do anything in your power to make the most of them.
Who knew that reusable toilet paper would go viral? Maiysha kills it with the videos—we were amazed to see the influx of viewership like that.
In addition, Nat swept up an opportunity when the Today Show got in touch with us and got us a 15-second moment of fame on TV.
When opportunities arise, it’s up to you to do something about it.
Whether it’s certain conversations with a loved one or embarking on a new habit, what you decide to do (or not do) makes a difference.
#3 The sooner you accept what can’t be changed, the more space you allow to create what can.
By draining your energy from reacting to adverse events, you’re robbing yourself of the time that could be used to propel yourself forward.
Not everything is in your control.
Plastic recycling rates hit a low of 5% in 2021. That’s not the type of progress we want to hear, but what’s the alternative?
At times like this, your proaction in the right direction matters most—even if it feels like the world is against you. Especially if you feel like the world is against you.
- What can I do today to work around this?
- How can I help my inner circle see it this way?
- Who do I need to involve on this new path?
#4 Wisdom is based on losses, not wins. Progress isn’t linear.
The obscure words of Kelly Clarkson: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” speaks volumes.
Some days are harder than others.
Some days, the coffee machine breaks, your jewelry falls down the drain, and you lock yourself out of your car, all within the span of an hour.
Some days, it feels like all your efforts just wash away in a single flush.
Within the past year, we faced some hardships that almost drowned us.
- Shipped 25,000 units of stainless steel water bottles to a fraudulent address (our largest wholesale order)
- A subscription box partner went under without receiving payment for goods (our second largest wholesale order)
We had to get really scrappy as a team.
In many senses, this taught us a lot about seeing the opportunities in challenges.
We dug deep into our mission. Spiritually, we could afford the losses.
Hard times will pass, and you CAN fight the uphill battle.
“What doesn't kill you makes a fighter.”
#5 Embrace what makes your daily routine stand out. You’ll enjoy it a lot more.
As we get older, we perceive the passage of time as speeding up—partly due to our stable routines and fewer novel experiences on a day-to-day basis.
When we retrospect on an enjoyable vacation, it feels like it lasted longer than it really did.
So, what can we do to create more of these memories in our everyday lives when Google Calendars own our schedule?
It doesn’t necessarily take a visit to a foreign country to slow down time.
In fact, your daily routine is the best place to do it.
Find stability in washing the dishes and doing the laundry, but discover your new core memories everywhere that lie outside.
- Picking up that instrument that you’ve wanted to learn
- Baking something scrumptious for your neighbors
- Challenging yourself only to use public transport for 30 days
From colorful, marine-themed products to dressing up as a globe (Scott’s a legend), we’re a lover of bold ideas and are thrilled to share them with you.
Feeling excited, nervous, and uncomfortable are signs that you’re stepping out of your comfort zone. Embrace it!
#6 Dream: “What if?” And visualize the impact you make.
What if our land was covered in regenerative farming?
What if we restored our coral reefs and their ecosystems?
What if we lived in a circular economy with much less to be landfilled?
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the negative news that we lose touch with how our actions make a difference.
Visualize that silicone sealer swap that saves 365 plastic baggies in your household.
Visualize that bamboo toothbrush that saves four plastic toothbrushes from ever existing (and lasting!).
Realize that you make a more significant impact than you may think.
That couple that saw you put your produce in cotton produce bags at the grocery store? As soon as they got home, they made a purchase. And now, all their friends have gone reusable as well.
Mica’s decision to ditch plastic wrap for beeswax wraps has already encouraged many of her loved ones to make sustainable swaps in their life.
Your sustainability journey may sometimes feel like an uphill battle, surrounded by complex systems and clunky policies.
But remember, your efforts are not for nothing.
#7 Loving your work means that you love the process and accept the results.
Process vs. results: what’s more important?
After spending three years in India as a monk, Jey Shetty points out that all society tells us matters is the result.
He says that process is as enjoyable as you believe it’s aligned with your values and what you care about.
Oftentimes, Catt faces complex challenges while developing products. Some dilemmas include choosing the “lesser of the two evils” or pondering if an idea is physically possible.
When this happens, he seems to go back to the drawing board—to our design principles and essential intent.
The result always ends up being something we’re proud of.
You and I are both here because we value conserving our natural beauty, and find purpose in making conscious efforts toward a cleaner planet.
It’s not an easy journey. But it’s a beautiful one.
And I think the results will be appreciated for generations to come.
We’re on a mission to normalize conscious consumerism because we don’t have to live a wasteful life to have a good one.
Thank you for your trust in us these past four years. We don’t take your support for granted.
Be the change. 💚