Climate change is real. Not a hoax perpetrated by foreign governments. And now more than ever we need people who give a damn, people who are ready to become accountable, conscious consumers. Much like Virginia based Hamilton Perkins who has made it his mission to pound the pavements, Captain Planet-style, turning plastic bottles into travel bags. Read on to find how his Certified B-Corp is shaking things up. MC, editor
Tell us how your journey with social entrepreneurship began. At what point did you decide to go out on your own?
I started my journey by solving a personal problem I was having. I couldn’t find a bag that I was proud to carry. I came from a corporate background but decided to go out on my own in the summer of 2016. I never had a Plan B, I went all in!
What led you to source plastic bottles from Haiti?
I established a wonderful partnership with Thread International. They have extensive ties to the country and have been working with us so we can keep creating great products that make a difference.
Being an entrepreneur is no easy feat, what’s your secret to staying power and time management?
It takes a lot of actual work. There is nothing else to it. I don’t have a secret; I just know what I want to achieve and I take action. It’s about always improving, always listening, always taking the necessary steps.
What about staying motivated? How easy does it come to you?
My days always start with exercise. I run every morning before I do anything. I also write in my journal every morning and every night. This has been a personal hack for me as it helps me organize my day and track what I have accomplished. I try to have 3-5 big accomplishments per day. I don’t multitask. The value for me is to go back at the end of the day to review the results.
I don’t have any other gears except being motivated. I’m always motivated. It’s a blessing to be in a position where I can create and make products that change lives. It’s that easy. Motivation comes from within me.
What would you say is the most impact you’ve seen your work/personal efforts make?
The biggest impact is the over 10,000 bottles we’ve diverted to date. That is a big milestone for a company that’s still largely in pre-launch in the direct to consumer channel. We’re just getting started.
It’s about always improving, always listening, always taking the necessary steps.
From the design phase to manufacturing and product testing, there are different skillsets involved. How did you figure out which skills to develop and which to delegate?
Some things come naturally to me and I really enjoy doing them. I’m fairly well rounded in business. However, at the stage I’m at right now, all facets of the business are critical. I have to be hands on. I can’t afford to have people not understand what the steps are and how important it is to execute.
Before getting started I think the marketing and branding skills that I had were helpful. What I really needed though was an elevated sense of patience and work ethic. I can always learn new tactics but having the ability to stay focused is what I concentrate on improving. There’s really a different skill set for entrepreneurship that I don’t think you can prepare for.
I never had a mentor. Historically, I’ve had better results from listening to myself and reasoning for myself. At the end of the day I have to be able to answer to myself and live with the decisions I make. I just think it’s best to take your own advice and execute what your vision is, whatever that may be. I’m actually a big believer in that: Who better to turn to for advice on your own vision than yourself?
What would you say is the best way to spread the word about reducing our environmental footprint?
I think it’s through physical products. I might be biased but I believe that half the reason we overlook recycling and related issues is because the results are hardly ever visible. We take it for granted. But physical products serve as constant reminders of how our behaviour impacts the environmental footprint; so that’s the best way to spread the word.
“Fear is the mother of failure. You can’t be afraid of what anyone is going to think.” – Antoine Fuqua. What advice would you give to someone about starting a venture that challenges conventional ways of doing things?
If you’re challenging the conventional way of doing things, then that’s already a big step in the right direction as far as I see it. I think it’s important to have fun, but at the same time be patient. Work hard and work smart!
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