EcoStraws.ie

Founders: Brian O’ Callaghan and Sarah Keyes
 
Number of Staff: 2-10 (seasonal)
 
Tell us what your business does?
EcoStraws.ie supplies the largest range of alternatives to the plastic straw anywhere in the world. We also sell a fantastic range of Guaranteed Irish reusable products, such as water bottles, coffee cups, lunch-boxes and much much more. We sell directly to the consumer through our website EcoStraws.ie and we supply a broad cross-section of retailers & hoteliers across the country. Another string to our bow is the Corporate Gifts market. If you’re looking to reward your staff or customers with a branded sustainable gift, contact info@EcoStraws.ie
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Our business was born from the shocking realisation that single-use plastic was having a devastating effect on our wildlife, particularly marine life. Research had led us to the fact that in Ireland alone, 1 million plastic straws were being discarded every day. Single-use plastic straws are made from the cheapest plastic available & by their nature are not recyclable. They inevitably end up in landfill, in drains & subsequently in our rivers & oceans. In an effort to reduce this scourge on our environment we set out to find the best reusable & biodegradable solutions. And so EcoStraws.ie was born.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Absolutely!
What planning did you do before you started up?
In advance of launching EcoStraws.ie we undertook extensive research in other countries such as Australia, Singapore and California in the US. These were the first areas globally to introduce plastic straw bans. We also researched sustainable materials such as bamboo and compostable PLA as well as reusable alternatives such as steel, glass and silicone straws.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire?
Colm O’ Brien and sisters Lisa & Vanessa Creaven
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Time management is a huge issue for any fledgling business, and because it is essentially your ‘new baby’ you can be inclined to be switched on 24/7 in the beginning. Now into our third year in business, we have learned that there are always issues that can wait until Monday morning and that the to-do list will always be there. Family time & down-time are just as important as emails & deadlines!
How have you promoted your business?
We are always active across the social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linked In. We attended networking events locally and nationally when we could and now connect with other business owners through Zoom networking events. We have put ourselves forward for business awards and competitions and have accepted every invitation to speak about our business in schools, colleges and universities across the country. We have also been picked up by local & National Press and have featured in The Sunday Business Post, Cork Examiner, Belfast Telegraph, Limerick Leader & Limerick Post.
Where do you see the business in 3 years’ time?
We continue to research into plastic-free living and more sustainable products. We see the business growing to supply high quality, Guaranteed Irish products to households and businesses across the country. We also aim to grow the sustainable corporate gifts market.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
There is no such thing as can’t! Try everything you are asked to do and put yourself forward for all events. You will learn something new from every experience, from every interaction and from every mistake. Most of all, believe in yourself & enjoy the ride!

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