Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate & Nataly.
Hi Kate & Nataly, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
We are sisters—Kate and Nataly—and Ukrainians. While Nataly lives in Kyiv, Ukraine, I (Kate) live in Austin, TX. I had this idea in mind for over a year, but April 1, 2020 is the date when we started to actually do something about it. During the lockdown, I went to Ukraine and spent over three weeks in Kyiv. I had more time to think and rethink all the details with Nataly and make it work, step by step. I came back to Austin and started the business. My ex-coworker inspired me to use eco-friendly products in my own life. Living in the US, I found it difficult to get all the products for myself. I thought if it was difficult for me how is it for others? That’s how the idea was born.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We are still working full-time jobs. Nataly works as a personal assistant in Kyiv, Ukraine. I work at a tech company here in Austin, TX. So I would say time is our main struggle right now, so we are looking for the ways to expand our team and get more people on board to help us with our project. At the beginning we had lots of issues with the legal business documents, since none of us did business in the USA before. New terms, permissions, tax filing and all of that admin tasks were on our shoulders, and of course without the educational background in this area it wasn’t easy. The time difference actually works well for us. It’s only 8 hours, so we adjusted pretty quickly. It means that we have time to work together. Normally, we use FaceTime for communication. And we still have enough extra time for sports, hobbies, and friends.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Kiwi Eco Box?
Kiwi Eco Box is a new eco-friendly subscription box that helps people start living Zero Waste step-by-step. Once you subscribe, you start to receive a box every month filled with 5-7 eco-friendly goods that help you to replace plastic items for cleaning, storing food, hygiene, traveling. KIWI Eco Box will help you to build a Zero Waste routine and implement eco-friendly products in your lifestyle. The idea came from my own experience. I used a loofah sponge for dishwashing and normally it lasts for a month or so. And a loofah sponge isn’t a very popular item, so you can’t just buy at any store. So to get a new one, I had to search online and place an order. And of course you remember needing a new loofah only when you need it to wash your dishes. Then, when you get to the computer, you forget it. So I thought it would be wonderful to receive it each month without all the hassle. Same with the toothbrush. Dentists advise you to change your toothbrush every three months. Finding a good bamboo toothbrush isn’t that easy. But if you will get it every three months, that would be super convenient. That’s why we think the subscription model fits perfectly, because you receive the new items right when you need to replace the old ones. And you can throw out old products without any harm to the environment.
Risk taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
We’ve just started and we are still learning, learning from our mistakes and of course from our competitors. It is definitely not easy to start something new in a foreign country: culture, holidays, interests, law—everything is different and unknown. It is quite a challenge, to be honest, but we love it when it’s hard. Otherwise, it’s not interesting.
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