Shipping materials have a reputation for being wasteful and bad for the environment. But what if you could get a more eco-friendly solution? That’s exactly what EcoEnclose is trying to provide.
The company sells a variety of shipping materials made with recycled and recyclable content. Read more about the business and what it has to offer in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Sells earth friendly shipping supplies to ecommerce businesses.
Saloni Doshi, Owner and Co-CEO of EcoEnclose told Small Business Trends, “Our comprehensive line of products includes shipping boxes, poly mailers, kraft mailers, tape, shipping labels, envelopes and void fill. We try to provide all the materials that an ecommerce business would need to ship their product. The majority of our products are made with 100 percent recycled content and are also fully recyclable. Additionally, we offer design and print for most of our boxes and mailers, with minimums starting at just 250 to 500 units, which we have found very helpful to many of our small business customers. We custom cut boxes to any size and style, with no minimums. Finally, we offer advice and education to those businesses that want eco-friendly shipping options.”
A commitment to helping the environment.
Doshi says, “Our values are clearly evident in our products and services. Plenty of companies claim to have some recycled content in their packaging, but we work hard to maximize both the recycled content and post-consumer recycled content, and we have pushed this beyond what the industry had previously said was possible. We also prioritize Made in America because most packaging is otherwise made in China, where claims around sustainability and raw materials are extremely difficult to verify, and from where shipping of products have a high environmental footprint. Regarding services, we spend a lot of time talking with and advising our customers on the impact and opportunity of eco-friendly packaging. Because of our efforts, we are becoming the leading educational resource for eco-minded ecommerce businesses.”
How the Business Got Started
By recognizing a gap in the shipping market.
Doshi explains, “The company’s founder was running a cloth diaper business and was dismayed by the fact that she had to ship her earth-friendly diapers in virgin plastic poly mailers. Thus, EcoEnclose was born.”
Achieving the impossible.
Doshi says, “In looking for a poly mailer that was made with recycled content, manufacturers claimed it could not be done. That the process and machines to make poly mailers with could not work with a high level of recycled plastic — as these raw materials are inconsistent. We found a U.S. manufacturer that would work with us in testing more and more recycled content. Each time the test worked and they said we couldn’t go any higher. But we tried it. Until eventually they got to a mailer made with 88 percent recycled content, and then one with 100 percent recycled content.”
Launching a product with different standards.
Doshi explains, “Right now, it feels like the biggest risk is something we are about to do — introduce a new product line that does not yet meet our typical environmental standards. It is a very common shipping solution that is largely available only with virgin material and that many companies have decided they simply cannot live without. All of our manufacturing tests with our targeted recycled content have failed thus far. It’s been very slow and frustrating, and unfortunately, we will not be able to hit our recycled content goals …for now.
“But we have decided to move forward with launching a product because we are eager to bring the market something more earth-friendly than they can currently get. To us, replacing a slew of virgin packaging with an alternative that has 40 percent recycled content is a great step in the right direction and it is a significant improvement for the planet. We have also learned that manufacturing partners are much more willing to invest in new tests after we have proven the market; so we believe strongly there we will improve on the product.”
Be intentional with your team members.
Doshi says, “Let go of employees more quickly when it makes sense for them and the business. We are a small business, so one tough employee, who lacks the work ethic and commitment we look for, and (more importantly) brings negative energy to the warehouse can single-handedly destroy our culture.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Hiring more sales and marketing support.
Doshi says, “Today, if you actively search for eco-friendly shipping materials, you will likely find EcoEnclose. But there are so many businesses out there that don’t have time to look or don’t realize how eco-friendly shipping can help their brand, their sales and the environment. We need help getting that message out.”
Celebrating with cardboard cutouts.
Doshi says, “We are very into cardboard cutouts (that our team designs, and we cut from our machine). We celebrate every birthday with a personalized cardboard cutout. For example, MJ (Michael Jordan)-obsessed Kyle got a cardboard Jumpman and guitarist Rocco got a cardboard guitar. Each month, the team develops a fun cardboard cutout that goes out in as many customer orders as we can get them in. A few of our customers have said they collect them and put them up in their office. A few favorites — Valentine’s Day heart with our logo (a bird) cutout from the inside, Statue of Liberty for July 4th and snowmen for Christmas.”
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. ~Dr. Seuss
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Images: EcoEnclose; Top Image: Justin Fleury (Fulfillment Manager), Michael Dooley (Warehouse Associate), Kyle Wente (President), Tim Stokes (Design Manager), Juli Clark (Customer Service Associate), Eric Bonfils (Warehouse Associate), Stephanie Morales (Operations Director), Sage Lee (Printing Manager); Second Image: Saloni Doshi, Owner and co-CEO; Third Image: Sage Lee (Printing Manager)