Charlotte Greer - Founder of Veto
YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR CHAT WITH CHARLOTTE BY CLICKING HERE.
In 2019, Charlotte Greer was studying a degree in Economics and Management focusing on Sustainable Development and Circularity. By the end of her degree she was sick of reading case studies about circular supply chain.
Also, as a student trying to live sustainably, Charlotte decided to start making her own washing powder that cleaned both her clothing and her dishes. An affordable way to clean everything.
In 2020, Charlotte was meant to be doing her big Kiwi OE that we all tend to do but the world pandemic ruined those plans and her parents made it very clear that she just couldn't sit around doing nothing. So, she took the travel money that she'd been saving, turned her attention towards that washing powder thing that she'd been making while studying, and thus the business Veto was born.
Charlotte, we would love for you to tell us a little bit about the next steps of how you got the business off the ground.
Well, the next step was simply going through the motions of what it means to start a small business and what that actually looks like. The next thing was a website and thinking about how people would get the product. I thought to myself - if it's just one product on a website what’s the point of starting a website. Okay develop more products. So, I launched the website in May, but I only had the washing powder in two sizes. That was it.
But it was just to get it out there and let people know what was happening and familiarize themselves with what Veto was.
So, out of interest, are you doing everything from ‘woe to go’ yourself?
Right from the beginning you did the web stuff, all the social media and you're actually manufacturing the product itself?
100%. It’s a one woman show. I developed the website, did all the branding, all the logos and that was beneficial to me as we were in lockdown at that time, so I just had the time to fill my time with something and be productive.
Do you think that there is a natural fear with a lot of people to make that leap into something just for fear of failing or think that they don't have the resources to do it?
What's your advice to people like that who are just too scared to just make that that first step?
Well, I think it's quite funny cause fear can actually be an advantage.
If you break it down into tiny little tasks that you can manageably do that'll actually push you beyond those fear points and actually get you to start laying out a groundwork and all of a sudden, you've got this thing laid out for you, but you've done it yourself, so the fear can actually help if you minimize the volume of what you think you need to do.
You mentioned for Veto Sustainable Living about fitting alternatives into your lifestyle and not the other way around. Can you tell us a little bit more about this?
When I started Veto and decided yes this is what I'm going to do, my big thing was to make it fit everybody's individual circumstances. So for me, as a young woman versus a parent with young kids, I am going to have a very different set of circumstances.
I don't have kids to clean up after at this stage, so my ability to clean is different versus somebody with young kids and they've got a higher volume of things. I can justify spending $15 on a soap slab which cleans my dishes, it cleans my shower screen, it cleans my oven door, it mops my floor and it can sit on my bench and it can last me at least six months, but I can do that cause that's one tangible change that removes all liquid detergents and therefore plastic bottles from my home. That's your Veto, that's your line in the sand, and then you can progress further.
And the same thing applies with all the packaging which is completely biodegradable. You don't have to worry about putting stuff in your recycling bin, just pop it in the garden.
What’s is actually in the washing powder that you wash your dishes and your clothes with? What's the base of the product?
It’s all natural. The key ingredient is my Castile soap, but I make the soap which is an old ancient Greek soap. It’s very durable but the difference with my one, is that it's used with organic and natural oils locally sourced in Tauranga, so it starts and finishes in Tauranga.
And I think society is coming back to that whole farmers market mentality as well and just grabbing produce from the back garden and using the oils from the forest.
And the rainwater.
So, I'm sure through these times there's been lots of things that you've learned in your business, and obviously personally. What would be your biggest learnings professionally and personally?
I think the biggest thing professionally is investing back in yourself. Investing in the knowledge that you lack by researching it. If I need to know something or I don't know where it needs to go, I will sit and try and figure it out with the help of that person who's the expert but not off load onto the expert just yet. I think the biggest thing is reinvesting in your knowledge and furthering your own understanding of your business .
There’s something to be said for starting with a blank canvas carving your own way. I’m aware that you're only 24 years old. It's just amazing that you've come so far at your age.
It's a funny little thing like everybody else, but I feel like I'm quite lucky now. There are a lot of us in that same boat. We had different expectations and now we're in a different reality, but we've all made the most of it, and I think that this is the coolest time to see all the cool stuff that's coming out of it. It’s so exciting and it's from really young capable women.
For more information on Veto go to www.vetozerowaste.online