[image taking from pelacase.com: https://pelacase.com/collections/all/products/gift-card]
Sunta, leading growth at Pela Cases, speak all about the brand ethos, the meaning behind the brand, and the importance of the customer relationship. Pela phonecases is a brand built all around recycling and reducing waste on the planet. Read on to find out more.
Company Name: Pela
Job Role: Leading Growth
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your brand and the products that you sell.
My name is Sunta and I am Leading Growth at Pela. I am a serial entrepreneur with experience building handmade jewelry brands and also consulting with a range of businesses to help them grow. I have always believed that experiences are always more worthwhile than material goods so whatever I do make and sell, I want it to truly connect with people beyond just an impulse purchase.
Our brand believes that together we can make less waste, one case at a time. Our bigger mission is to show people what sustainable plastic alternatives look and feel like and bring them into the mainstream. Right now we only sell bioplastic iPhone cases that are compostable after use but we are already in research and development of adding more sustainable and eco-friendly consumer goods to our company.
So what does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability means thinking through every step of the business process: what products can we make and sell that can be produced using renewable resources and with little waste and carbon footprint as possible. Sustainability also means making products that are good quality because nothing is more wasteful than something that doesn’t serve it’s purpose and lasts. Yes our big differentiator at Pela is a case that is 100% compostable BUT it also has to protect your phone AND look and feel great so that people actually use it.
What led you to focus on environmentally sustainable and recycled products in particular? And what makes your products ethical, sustainable, and eco-friendly?
Jeremy, the founder of Pela and the proprietary blend we use for our cases called Flaxstic has always had a love for nature since he was a child. He grew up in the beautiful Canadian prairies where he saw flax shive burning after the oilseed harvest year after year. He always thought this was a pretty wasteful thing to do and was curious since those early years if there was a better way.
When he witnessed plastic waste washing up on the shores on a trip to Hawaii he was inspired to create a material that was better for the environment than petroleum-based plastic which could never break down completely and wanted to also include flax shive because he knew it was an annually renewable byproduct in Canada and had great natural properties. That’s when he formulated Flaxstic – a blend of biopolymers and flax shive that creates a 100% compostable material that is durable, beautiful and absorbs shock. With these properties, the first product was introduced as the Pela Case in 2011 and has been gaining momentum ever since with iPhone users who care about the protection of their phone and the protection of the planet
What is the meaning and ethos behind your brand?
We want to spread the message “Believe in Better” because we know that people get overwhelmed when they try to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and change everything at once. We believe that through small choices we can make a huge impact, even as simple as getting a case for your phone that has a small eco footprint.
What is your best advice for other people wanting to get started and create a sustainable business of their own?
Be true to yourself and available to your customers. People who shop sustainable businesses are super passionate people. Be there to help them understand your business and products as best you can because they will be your most vocal advocates if they feel they can put their trust in you as a person and a business.
What inspired you to start your own business and to sell eco-friendly phones cases?
See above answer re: trip to Hawaii and all the plastic waste. We realised that there are now more smartphones out there than there are humans! Phone cases seemed like the best place to start and introducing people to our bioplastic and educate them on sustainable alternatives.
What challenges have you faced so far within your business, if any?
There are new challenges everyday, too many to list! There’s always the challenge on how to be an ethical, conscious and sustainable business while also asking people to consume. There’s always a conflict between being too salesy but also wanting to get more Pela Cases out into the world so there are less wasteful plastic ones ending up in our landfills and oceans. You have to find the balance and be comfortable with the idea that yes you have a mission but you also need sales to keep going and to be able to make enough money to give back to environmental initiatives like 1% for the Planet.
What would you say is your biggest achievement with your business so far?
Our biggest achievement is striking a cord with our customers. I think if you own a business you want to feel connected with your audience and that keeps you encouraged to keep going. We get letters, emails, reviews, Facebook and Instagram comments and photos with people who not only like their purchase but tell us they LOVE their new phone cases and can’t wait to tell everyone about Pela. Love is a strong word and we don’t take it lightly 🙂
In what ways do you live your life in a sustainable and eco-friendly way?
I am in no means perfect but I try to do little things that help lighten my impact on the environment like: walking to work, using my reusable water bottle, travel mug, saying no to plastic cutlery, finding ways to reuse and upcycle the things I own and asking myself “do I love this” before I buy anything. I am always looking for ways to do more but again, one step at a time. I think doing better little by little is much more achievable and sustainable than trying to be perfect.
What does sustainable living mean to you?
Sustainable living is about paying attention. It’s about asking yourself the impact of your choices and your actions because a lot of what we do that isn’t sustainable comes from being on autopilot for too long and just following the status quo.
For people wanting to move towards a more ethical and conscious way of living but are feeling overwhelmed, what would be your best advice?
Don’t try to be perfect. Try to do better. #BelieveinBetter 🙂
Do you believe that everyone can adapt a conscious lifestyle and live more ethically and eco-friendly?
Of course! Like I said, I think the mind shift is just by thinking about how to better pay attention. With so many businesses and brands shifting their attention to sustainable practices and creating eco-friendly products, it’s getting easier and easier (and less expensive) to lessen our footprint on the planet.
Why do you think that consumers should choose a Pela case when they next decide to purchase a phone case?
I think people should choose Pela because 1) it actually protects your phone and preserving your investments (like a smart phone) is important. The more we can get out of the things we own the better. Of course, not everything can last forever and so the next best thing is for them to go back to the earth to create more life. That’s why Pela is 100% compostable. It’s important for us that our cases don’t end up in a landfill or ocean beyond our generation or the next! Pela can also be shipped back to us and we’ll turn it into a new phone case.
Please share the most inspiring or motivational piece of advice that you have ever received.
“You are responsible for the energy you bring into a room.”
This is from an interview I listened to with Jill Bolte Taylor (famous for her Ted talk) and when I heard it , it struck a chord. This is how I remind myself to stay present and to take responsibility for all my choices and I think that when I stay aware of how I’m behaving and the energy I am giving off, I only want to emanate positivity and kindness.
Website: www.pelacase.comInstagram: @pelacase