Part of having a little business means that I sometimes you need to ask for advice or guidance. But I am surrounded by wage earners- not really business people – who have no experience to pass on or firm advice. Compounding this, I live in rural NSW, in relative isolation with a brain that is wired for things not usually business-like.
Sometimes I feel quite frustrated or unsure of what to do or how to do things. It all feels a bit hard, and my spirits sag. Sigh. Overwhelmed!
Thankfully, I am part of a few business groups online, which have been a great source of advice, information and knowledge. These guys usually rev up my motivation and help with the overwhelm because just finding others with similar interests and needs can be enough to revive and make me keep going.
One of these lovely peeps has been Cathy Smith – the founder of Planet Revive.
Like me, Cathy is concerned about reducing landfill, conscious consumption and living mindfully. I use The Breadtag Project and creativity to create awareness and educate, but Cathy has gone on to grow a business around these ideas. So, although different ways of acting on our concerns, we have the same core ideas.
I reached out to Cathy when I saw her posts and had a peek at her lovely website, and was thrilled to find out she had been following The Breadtag Project for a while. I was curious about her journey to starting up her business. So I queried – could I ask her a few questions for my blog? – and she said YES!
So what is Planet Revive?
“With a passion to save the Planet and reduce our environmental footprint, Planet Revive is proud to be a ZERO WASTE business.
What started as a simple desire to reuse leftovers from a sewing project, our founder Cathy has grown Planet Revive into one of Australia’s most loved Eco-stores. Partnering with leading brands such as Biome & Little Eco Shop, we have expanded the brand nationally but always remaining true to our grassroots values.
If you’re a conscious shopper who is keen to support local, ethical and environmentally friendly businesses, we’d love you to join our growing list of happy customers.”
Tell me Cathy, a bit about yourself in 5 sentences?
I am the person who is always there to help anyone in need. I am a creative person with a passion for anything art/craft/sewing/photography. I recently did one of those silly Facebook name tests, and it said I both holy water and hellfire; the version you get of me will depend on how you treat her. I believe in respect for all people, and I treat people how they treat me. I love music; music soothes my soul!
Cathy, where/when did your interest in the environment and ways to reduce landfill stem from? Have you always been a bit of a Greenie?
I remember at Christmas time, my Dad would always keep the leftover wrapping paper, and we would always reuse it over and over again. We would always collect aluminium and trade it for cash. And this was in the early ’80s! My Mum told me about her and her parents growing up and using the inch thick menstrual pads. She told me how they boiled anything that needed to be sanitised. I thought it was fascinating. So, I decided to design a range of menstrual pads but kept in mind comfort.
Travelling to third world countries also gave me an insight into how people in poor villages live. They live simply, happily and with little waste. Many of these women can’t afford menstrual pads, so they use leaves to wipe themselves.
Was your business organic or very planned, strategic and organised? Did you have much help to get it to where it is now?
Planet Revive was organic, almost accidental. I started another business, which was very planned, strategic and organised. I was making nursing pillows. I paid a fortune for branding and went to a Baby Expo. A friend of mine suggested that I need some other products to offer to new mothers. I had a lot of leftover fabric scraps, so I decided to make Reusable Breast Pads and Post-Partum pads. On the weekend of the baby expo, I sold out of the pads and didn’t sell one single nursing pillow. From that moment on, the pads were a hit, and Planet Revive was born. So, I designed more and more reusable products. And here we still are today 3 and a half years later, going stronger than ever.
What has been the lowest point and the highest points of your journey?
The low point would have to be working for other people while I was still trying to get Planet Revive off the ground. People copying my products. Silly me didn’t trademark my products early on. Little did I know how successful they would become.
The high points would be the fact that my friends and family are proud of me! I am happy working for myself and loving what I do. Oh, and receiving global recognition this year, receiving 2 small business awards. But most of all, the high point is always seeing people switch to reusable products.
Any pointers for someone starting up their business?
Just do what you love. Don’t spend money on the wrong people to help you. Listen to your intuition, trust yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, then it isn’t right for you.
Okay, down to important questions and answers!
Cats or dogs (or other pets?) Dogs and I love birds
Lots of bright colours or naturals? Natural colours
Summer or Winter? I’m more of a Spring/Autumn gal.
Stay up late night owl or bed early-early morning? night owl
Tea or coffee? Coffee
City or country?
Country (bonus points if it is a country town near the beach
Mountains or coast?
Cheese or chocolate?
Neither. I actually hate both, but I do love a good fruit platter
Camping or resorts/motels?
Tough question. I do love camping and grew up camping. But I also do love a nice resort in Bali. I’ll choose camping. I love sitting by a campfire and cooking over it.
Green thumb or plant challenged?
Plant Challenged sadly. I’ll put that down to being time-poor. My Dad has a veggie garden, and Mum has her greenhouse with all her pot plants; that gene just missed me. I do love nothing more than walking through a rainforest and looking at all the amazing plants.
Fave authors/books/ magazines?
Carlos Castaneda “Journey to Ixlan” and love I “Celestine Prophesy”
Fave music/ podcasts?
Music is my favourite thing of all time, and I must always have music on in the background. I have an eclectic taste in music so it ranges from Grunge to Whitney and everything in between.
Fave Instagrams/ websites?
I actually don’t spend a lot of time on social media
and lastly…. WHAT REVIVES YOU?
Sitting or walking on the beach and listening to the ocean does the trick. But as I don’t live near the beach (yet) my dog Shelby, music and sewing soothes my soul.