Danielle founded The Eco Warrior after many years of searching for her true passion. After graduating from The University of Adelaide with a degree in Commerce, she entered the workforce as a fashion buyer. The role as a fashion buyer really opened her eyes to the world of waste and consumerism. Visiting supplier factories overseas, retail stores and shopping centres around the world gave an overall understanding of the lifecycle of a single product and it began to make her wonder if her chosen career path was the right one.
The next few years were a blur of highs and lows, travel, failed startups and working with her partner in his IT business. It wasn’t until Plastic Free July 2018 came around that Danielle realised, shen could use her experiences from the retail and tech industry to actually be able to help the environment and raise awareness for a low waste lifestyle.
unutbread: When you first had the idea of The Eco Warrior, how big did you dream? Did you plan to pull off a startup right away or were you just going with the flow to see, what’s at the end of it?
Danielle: I went with the flow and we are still dreaming big! One year in we are ready to take The Eco Warrior to the next level, so stay tuned – exciting things to come!
‘Dream big’ or ‘let’s see’ – What would better describe your mindset and how would you say it has helped you with bringing The Eco Warrior to life?
Dream big with a “Let’s see” attitude to begin with. My parents brought me up with a can-do attitude and a mindset that I can make anything happen if I keep trying.
Starting uncutbread, I found myself in an ongoing emotional rollercoaster. Most of the days I see everything crystal clear in front of me, and then, on some days, I ask myself, what I was doing and why should anyone care? Have you had similar experiences? Was there a moment of doubt when you started and how did you overcome it?
I have such a passion for The Eco Warrior values I have always felt that everyone should care about our mission. However, having your own business is such an emotional rollercoaster but that is half the fun. Some days you feel as though everything is in place but then sometimes there can be periods of uncertainty, anxiety and doubt. The low times make the high times even greater and I think it is really important for all business owners to learn how to manage stress and anxiety. I often feel overwhelmed with the goals I set for myself. When I am feeling this way I ride the wave and complete some easy tasks, then see if I feel better the next day. If not I re-evaluate as I am too optimistic with my time.
After a successful first year of The Eco Warrior: what would you consider was your biggest challenge so far? Was there a particular highlight as well?
Biggest challenge is not having enough time and feeling as though I was never doing enough in a day. The highlight would be hiring The Eco Warrior’s first employee, Caitlinn!
Coming from the retail industry, did you have already the right contacts to get started or did you have to build your network up from scratch? If the latter, what were the biggest challenges to cold-pitch your idea to potential partners at the beginning?
I am building up a new network as The Eco Warrior is certainly in a niche industry with high standards for transparency and supply chain. My biggest challenge is finding great suppliers to work with, who have the same ethos as The Eco Warrior, but it is also the part I enjoy the most as this is our differentiator.
What would be your advice to people coming from different professional backgrounds?
In starting a new business? Don’t wait until you are an expert at something to start – everyone else is learning along the way too!
Having a PR and marketing background, I know, not everybody feels comfortable in things like writing, designing and turning things from plain to pretty – but it’s a huge part of a successful business. I’m really enthusiastic about your visually inspiring platform and the realness of your brand, and would love to know, if you have had a certain vision for your brand’s look, feel and tonality right from the start, or is this the beautiful result of hard work? How did you get there?
I created the website, branding and aesthetic of our social accounts. As soon as I started creating it all came into place as though it was always in the back of my mind ready to go! I have been told that my strongest skills are making a site look eye catching whilst also delivering a clear message and call to action.
I consider someone, who is being the change we all want so see in this world, in a certain way fearless. But deep inside, most of us might have (hidden) fears. If that also applies to you: What is the one thing you would do if you had no fear at all?
Great question! I would move rapidly with scaling The Eco Warrior.
Is there a non-profit project or organization you find inspiring and would like to see supported?