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Green&Happy has sold 6 continents and more than 50 countries. Handmade with natural materials, this little shop is proof of the large impact you can make by switching a few items. A zero waste home is a promise of convenience and savings!
We interview Valinda, founder & hand maker behind of Green&Happy Etsy shop, which brings you the entire zero waste home range of products, including baby basics, kitchen, and other everyday items to make your life truly sustainable! Without further ado, enjoy this fantastic interview!
Hi Valinda, we absolutely love Green&Happy! Can you please share what’s your background and what led you to start the zero waste shop on Etsy?
When I had my baby girl I noticed a large amount of waste disposable diapers produce. Switching to cloth diapers was the start of my zero waste journey. And I started on Etsy around the same time with baby clothes.
I loved making clothes for my baby girl so I decided I could also sell them. I also added different mom and baby-related items to the shop like reusable baby wipes and nursing pads which I had also made for myself. I noticed that these sustainable items were much more popular than the baby clothes so I decided to make more zero-waste products like washable face rounds, reusable kitchen towels, and snack bags. By now the baby clothes did not fit my shop anymore so those were removed from my store.
What is the mission of the brand?
This might be a bit over the top but I like to leave this world a little better than when I came here and my brand definitely helps with that. Firstly, I make people more aware of how the products they use in their daily lives contribute to landfills. Secondly, my shop offers them alternatives to the ones they currently use.
Etsy is a platform just for people who handmake their products. What is the range we can find in your zero waste shop?
Green and Happy Shop offers handmade zero waste products to make your life more sustainable.
We are very curious about which are your most popular sellers?
How do you decide your next handmade zero waste product and how does your creative and production process look like?
My inspiration for new products come from what I use myself and the challenges I find in my own household. For example, during the holidays I notice how much wrapping paper is used. So I looked into alternatives. By now you can find reusable wrapping paper (Furoshiki gift wrap) and reusable bags with prints that can be used as gift wrap in the shop.
All the materials I use are made from natural resources like cotton, bamboo, and hemp. I try to avoid fabrics made from non-renewable resources like polyester.
In terms of the choice of materials, we see you have menstrual pads made out of cotton, bamboo, and hemp. What are the benefits of each material for such a product?
Which material is right for you depends entirely on what matters to you the most. In short, is budget the most important factor, go for cotton. Is the softness of the material the most important? Go for bamboo. Is sustainability more important? Go for hemp. Read this blog if you would like to know more about each of the materials.
With your Green & Happy zero-waste brand sales, could you share an approximate of the impact your brand has made?
1 tree makes about 500 rolls of paper towels. The average household uses about 2 rolls per week. Over the course of 5 years (the lifespan of the unpaper towels) a household consumes 5x52x5=520 rolls of paper towels. Having sold just over 2,000 sets of unpaper towels Green & Happy Shop has saved over 2,000 trees from just the unpaper towels. Not even taking into account the amount of money the buyers save!
What is the product we would make the biggest individual impact if we switch to a zero-waste alternative right now?
The biggest individual impact women could make is changing from disposable menstrual products to reusable ones because there is a double win. Disposable products can have chemicals to solidify moisture, something you definitely want to avoid around your lady parts. Reusable products don’t have any chemicals and you save lots of money too!
What do you think stops people from shopping for zero-waste alternatives for their daily life?
Convenience. Using a product and throwing it away is very easy. You use it and it is gone. You don’t have to think about it again, but people forget all waste either end up in landfills or is burned in furnaces.
For those who think to go zero-waste is difficult, how would you suggest they start?
Start with taking small steps and keep in mind that every step counts. Reusable face rounds are a good place to start. This is what I advise newcomers to the zero-waste lifestyle. It is a pretty safe first step and it is easy to implement.
And what are the benefits of going zero waste?
A large benefit of going zero waste is that a lot of products never ‘run out’. I never have to go to the store to buy diapers or wipes for my baby. I never have to buy paper towels, toilet paper or sandwich bags for my husband’s lunch. This saves me a lot of time and money.
What have been your challenges as an eco-entrepreneur?
What I find very difficult is that something very bad has to happen before people consider the environment and decide to do something about it. At the end of 2019, there were severe bushfires in Australia; during that time I saw an increase in orders from Australia. This gives me mixed feelings: on one hand, I am happy that they decided to invest in sustainable products, but saddens me that this had to happen for them to make the switch.
Another example is the outbreak of COVID-19 and people hoarding toilet paper, which has resulted in a significant increase in sales of reusable toilet paper.
What has been the greatest success of the brand so far?
Being a small business that I run from home, I think it is awesome that I have sold to 6 continents and more than 50 countries (including all 50 states of the US) helping all these people making their lives more sustainable.
Is there any advice you’d like to give to other small businesses trying to make a difference?
Take small steps. Each time you run out of a product look for a more sustainable alternative.
You are based in the Netherlands, how do the eco and social entrepreneurial venture look like there? Do you feel there’s a change happening in the country?
The Netherlands is way behind on the topic compared to the rest of Europe or the United States. Luckily, I see a change. I have been attending local fairs and exhibitions and I can see my products are gaining in popularity. I talk to people and make them more aware of how they could make their lifestyle more sustainable. The first step is often the hardest but if I take them by the hand during that first step, they can make the second and the third by themselves.
If each of you could write a message on a big wall that the entire world could read, what would it say?
Each step counts, no matter how small.
Finally, where can we find you? Shop, online, worldwide…?
You can shop online at www.greenandhappyshop.com.
What are the zero waste essentials you already have that are making your life so much more convenient?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Green&Happy. Ourgoodbrands only features brands and contents that are aligned with an ethical, sustainable, eco-conscious world, which means we have carefully researched and written the contents in this article, and specific product information is checked with the business. For the interviews, any opinions expressed are the writer’s own, generally being the founder of the brand. Images supplied and approved by the brand featured, or credited accordingly otherwise. For more information about our policies, click here.
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