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Ecoriginals case study: Nappy Happy

Stuart Ridley
Business and Technology Journalist

Stuart Ridley is the Smarter Business™ Print Editor and has covered trends in small business, tech and marketing for two decades

Stuart Ridley
Business and Technology Journalist

Stuart Ridley is the Smarter Business™ Print Editor and has covered trends in small business, tech and marketing for two decades

Lisa and Lachlan Laing belong to a very rare breed of people that do not pursue profits to the detriment of others and the environment

When the Laings started their eco-friendly nappy business, Ecoriginals, two years ago they were interested in doing more than just making a living. At the time, they were already putting runs on the board as eco-entrepreneurs operating their solar energy business, Sustainable Man. 

The couple was inspired by a need to address the high cost of nappies among incumbent eco-brands. Lachlan thought biodegradable nappies were so expensive it was a substantial financial sacrifice for families to choose to buy eco-brand nappies.

“We’re putting around 3.75 million nappies into landfill every day in Australia so you can understand the terrible things nappies are doing to the environment − and most people have no idea. And they take a good 500 years to break down in landfill,” Lachlan laments.

After doing some research Lachlan found that he could make and retail approximately 80 per cent biodegradable nappies at a competitive price. “Nappy manufacturers could do it too, but it’s almost that they’re just not interested. And to us, that’s unacceptable in this day and age,” he states.

baby in factory with boxes

Milestones

  1. Ecoriginals founders Lachlan and Lisa Laing diversified from their renewable energy business to develop an eco-friendly nappy.
  2. 280,000 units had been pre-sold before one (production run) nappy had even been made.
  3. With everyone being out of the office more and more, the Laings knew that taking up DOT (Digital Office Technology)™ would help smooth their road to success.

Work-life balance

However, with three children to look after, they wanted a business they didn’t have to be tethered to day and night. “Business is obviously super important but it can’t be your life and you can’t let it be above the things that matter the most, which is obviously your kids and family,” says Lachlan. 

The solar business could get by with a few fixed lines, broadband and mobiles, but it quickly became apparent that their growing nappy business was a different creature. Technology Upgrade Ecoriginals needed a telecommunication package that could serve business and support their increasingly mobile way of working − which saw them spending about 50 per cent of the time on the go. 

Moving to DOT gave the company a complete package of digital voice and internet for business communications with the option to add mobile plans. DOT allows Lachlan and Lisa to have all their services on one bill and helps them save time. It also lets them integrate their office voicemail with email and has included calls between fixed voice and mobile devices in Australia on their DOT account.

“Moving forward as a new business more with Ecoriginals and away from Sustainable Man, our whole structure is being set up to work on the go – and that’s not just us, that’s our staff,” explains Lisa. “Part of working offsite is having accessibility, particularly to the internet, but also to phone service.” Lachlan says DOT has helped them to achieve a good work-life balance. “We’ve learned to work smarter – you know, not harder. A lot of people these days do nine-to-five and have a certain amount of tasks, but we say you can do that same amount of tasks in half the time.”

“I am able to keep my [standard] working days most of the time, even when I’m not at the desk,” adds Lisa, noting that as parents of three young children the couple is used to multi-tasking.

Out of office contact

“Now with the internet on our smartphones we can continue working when we’re out and about. Lachlan does the school run and I’ll be on the phone [hands-free] pretty much both directions, doing the childcare run.”

Lisa explains that DOT’s Voice2Email feature has already taken some stress out of family holidays. During a recent trip to Yamba NSW, Voice2Email allowed her  to spend a small amount of time each day attending to business. The service attaches voicemail messages recorded on the office phone to an email, letting her pick up the email anywhere she has internet, which in this case was the hotel room’s Wi-Fi.

“I spent half an hour each day checking voicemails in my email and calling back customers. So I was able to keep the business moving through handling customer issues or requests while still having time to enjoy the holiday with the family.”

Insights from Telstra

Andrew Stormont, director of DOT strategy, says that while Australians are increasingly shopping, recent consolidation in the baby products sector and the entry of major brands is putting downward pressure on profitability across the sector. This is also raising entry barriers for smaller players trying to enter the market. Online retailers can differentiate their services and get an edge by making it as easy as possible for customers to communicate with them. Telstra’s DOT can help achieve this with features such as simultaneous ring that calls can be picked up on the go. Alternatively, its ‘Hunt Group’ optional extra can let you direct calls to a group of land line numbers sequentially until the call is answered.

See if DOT is right for you

DOT (Digital Office Technology)™ bundle offers some great business solutions.  here.

Find Out More

DOT is only available in areas where ADSL2+ of sufficient quality is available or on the National Broadband Network.

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