All of the team at Bristle are driven by the desire to promote positive, sustainable change. We started this little gig from scratch, with nothing more than a few hundred quid and a load of enthusiasm.
We did it and so can you - the learning curve is steep and fast, but here are a few things to be aware of when starting an environmentally friendly business.
1. Stick to your guns
So you’re starting an environmentally-friendly business. Good stuff. But do you know exactly what you want to offer? You need to make sure you have a solid plan for every process your product or service entails.
Your plans need to be detailed and your ethical goals need to be set in stone.
When it comes to your moral principals, settle for nothing less than the best. There are plenty of nay-sayers out there who will try to get you to cut corners to reduce costs. Old school business folk who don’t understand what you’re about: drop these people immediately.
Don't be intimidated by the jargon, processes and people who think they know better. You don’t need to cut corners to make your environmentally friendly business idea financially viable, you just have to do your research and put the time in. Crunch the numbers and only partner with third parties and manufacturers who support your true goals. It’s well worth it in the long run.
2. Prepare to be scrutinised
No matter how modest your business is and how good your intentions are, any environmentally friendly venture becomes the target of intense public scrutiny. You’re offering an alternative, but people want to know you’re legitimate, not just trying to make a quick buck from their hard earned cash.
You need to have every detail of your business scrutinised and perfected before launching to the public. So long as your principals are in line, you shouldn't have any problem dealing with the harsh criticism from those who may become your biggest fans.
3. Beware of the greenwashers
And more importantly, don’t be a green washer. "Greenwashing" is the art of making your business seem more environmentally friendly than it actually is. Companies do this through marketing and design, throwing a thin veil over their unsustainable practices in an attempt to attract would be eco customers.
Companies like McDonanlds, CocaCola, Starbucks and many many more. Avoid having anything to do with these sorts of companies, call them out boldly and aim to over take them with your solid moral compass.
4. Modern technology makes it possible, but embrace it wisely
The internet provides everyone with a platform to start an independent business and be almost immediately competitive in any chosen field. With an online store and a decent social media platform, you can start your own shop or service and spread positive ideas. Just remember that anything you put out there, is out there for good. Your content can spread like wild fire, and your business can grow or crash at alarming rates. Carry out your research meticulously. The internet is full of B.S. don’t contribute to it.
5. Take a small bite - it's more to chew than you think
It may seem pretty simple thing to run an online business, selling a single small product, but if you’ve no previous experience, it’s a big ol’ commitment and a lot of work. We started Bristle knowing it would be a challenge with lots of unknown bridges to cross. If you're just starting out, keep it bite-sized - you may be surprised exactly how big a commitment it actually is.
We started Bristle to try to reduce the obscene amount of plastic wasted as a result of our toothbrushing habits in the UK. We deal with toothbrushes, it’s what we’re good at. But we’re also into other ways to help tackle the UK's excessive and unsustainable consumer habits. If you are in the process of starting an environmentally friendly business, and have any questions you think we may be able to help with - drop us a message! We can't promise we can help, but we will certainly give it our best shot!