Firm flourishes from small beginnings
Swiss couple Dunja and Serge Balmer settled in New Zealand, having fallen in love with the country, 19 years ago when they first visited.
Then, when 14 years ago they made the decision to move here, they came carrying a strong ‘green’ ethos toward living sustainably and conducting business in ethical ways, a philosophy they were born into in Switzerland where even many years ago the country held and practiced strong ‘green’ principles.
Not surprising then that their philosophy in business was to act responsibly, with due consideration to product quality and environmental impact.
Serge says that the real birth of EcoWarehouse began when he had a dream about the couple living in a straw bale house and in that dream they were both travelling the world buying products made ethically well.
However, instead of physically travel-ling the world, increasing their Co2 footprint into the atmosphere, the couple use the internet to research and source products to import.
“There is so much more concern now about the environment and the impact of using one-off products, often made from plastic and produced in ways that impact negatively on the environment. That is why we have experienced the growth and success we have to date,” says Serge.
In 2015, the business began selling 30-40 products including Soap Nuts, an environmentally friendly plant-sourced alternative to laundry deter-gent, sourced from India.
And from those pioneering times, business has boomed.
An example of how cost-effective their products can be is the wooden dish brush with replaceable head. While the initial cost of the brush is more expensive than its plastic alternative at a supermarket, the brush head is long-wearing and replaceable so over time savings are made.
“It’s also not buying a plastic product that will likely be thrown out in a month or two,” explains Dunja.
EcoWarehouse mainly markets through its on-line shop to private customers and retail outlets and today the product range extends to 250, evidence of the level of demand from the market since the business began.
Another reason why EcoWarehouse has had such a solid start is in the support the couple have received from their business mentor.
“We’ve been working with our mentor for nearly a year and we see him once a week. He has been incredibly important to us with things such as work-fl ow and building an awareness of what is going on in our business.”
A focus for the couple now is to widen the demo-graphic that their on-line products tend to appeal to, as Dunja says.
“Our current demographic seems to be mainly women 25 – 45 so we are looking at supplying products that will attract more male customers.”
Another development is in the business management system the couple now use.
After checking out multiple systems for managing our business, which all seemed to be segregated options for individual processes, we settled for the all-in-one solution: Zoho-One.
It’s a professional suite that includes over 40 integrated business and productivity applications and has definitely improved our workflow Serge says.
“We would want to let other business owners know that we also stock a range of products to make today’s office space more sustainable and eco-friendly.”
“Our range of products for businesses ranges from Reusable Rubbish Bin Liners to Stainless Steel Lunch Boxes, Drink Bottles and Coffee Cups (also great for takeaways) to stationary products made of recycled materials.”
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