What Inspires Me – Interview with Malcolm Rands

June 2016


This month we get to know Malcolm Rands, co-founder of ecostore, a brand creating products that are healthier for people and our environment. Also learn about their new fundraiser, ‘Good Soap for a Good Cause’ for your next fundraising project.

1. How did you first become interested in environmental issues?

The path to founding ecostore and the Fairground Foundation started at an ecovillage in the north of New Zealand, and it was a passion for organic gardening that set me on this path. I’d returned to New Zealand after my Overseas Experience in 1981 and moved in with my parents. I felt that making a vegetable garden for my mum would be a good way to ground myself and be more established back in the country. When I went to the library to find a book on how to garden, the one I happened across was on organic gardening. Looking back, it just made so much sense, and I’ve grown my own organic food every year since.     

2. What have been the biggest highlights of your journey so far?

The biggest highlight has been the feedback from customers about how ecostore products have changed their lives. We started examining household chemicals at the ecovillage because of the impact they could have on the water leaving our land – we wanted to keep that water really pure. But as we researched these chemicals more deeply and later developed ecostore’s product range, we quickly became aware of the impact some of them might have on people’s health. We started getting letters from people telling us how, after changing to ecostore products, they didn’t sneeze anymore when they were cleaning, or how much their eczema cleared up. I’ve loved getting this kind of feedback from customers about remarkable improvements in their health. We’ve focused especially on the effects some everyday body and cleaning product ingredients can have on people’s skin, and we’re really exacting about the chemicals we include in our products. We won’t choose an ingredient just because it’s been deemed safe for people, nor because it’s natural – natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe.

3. What has been the biggest obstacle? How did you / are you overcoming it?

Lack of funding and expert help is a common story for many small businesses, and ecostore was no exception. We overcame this obstacle by finding really philosophically aligned partners to buy into the company, invest for growth, and share their expertise.

4. What future plans or goals are you excited about?

Our purpose in founding ecostore was to establish a new model for sustainable business, where a commercially successful entity funds a not for profit organisation – the Fairground Foundation. The foundation has grown in parallel with ecostore and is now ready to launch several projects that we hope will challenge the status quo and encourage others globally to follow suit. One of these projects will help organisations in Australia that are protecting local flora and fauna.

5. What advice would you offer to someone wanting to begin a sustainability program at their school or organisation?

Make sure there is a ‘green hero’ leading the charge. That’s someone who is really passionate about the project you’re working on and will inspire everyone to join them on the journey. But it’s not all about one person – involve your whole team and give them ownership over the part they play. Sustainability programs are also a great chance to get parents more involved in their kids’ school. Don’t be concerned about starting small and growing slowly but steadily. And perhaps most importantly, have some fun along the way!

Thank you Malcolm for sharing your story.

 

Check out ecostore’s recently launched ‘Good Soap for a Good Cause’ as a healthier and safer alternative for your next fundraising project. Visit our Fundraising webpage for further information.

 

Visit the ecostore website for more info about their products, and have a read of their great blog with posts on healthy and sustainable living.

By CERES Education – Outreach Team|2017-11-06T18:35:52+10:00June 2nd, 2016|0 Comments
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