GOOD ON YA – News on Companies Doing Good Stuff

A Business Built Upon Gratitude

 

“Koha” is a Maori custom that can be translated as “gift” and this business specialises in exactly that, gifts. Early this year the team at Little Koha introduced their charming online shopping site; a site that provides shoppers with the option to send luxury gift hampers around New Zealand. The hampers, filled with personalised homeware items, are either built by the shopper or simply chosen from a range of pre-designed gift boxes. The service continues to go the extra mile by delivering the wrapped gift boxes right to the door of the recipient accompanied by a quaint handwritten personal message (worded by the shopper).

Here at Ecomailbox, we proudly support businesses that do good for New Zealand. In their own words, Little Koha has been built upon “gratitude” and they entrench this philosophy within their actions. They do this not only by providing the service of gift giving, but by donating $5 to Live More Awesome per purchase. Live More Awesome is a great New Zealand charity that is working towards breaking down the stigma of mental health. Ecomailbox had the pleasure of talking with Director Chloe Johnson about how and why Little Koha does what they do.

1) What was the journey behind Little Koha – how did this business begin?

Little Koha began after an inspiring conversation with a cousin who owns a successful online beauty store (Beauty Bliss), and two physical stores in Wellington and Auckland. Her story motivated me to stop thinking about business ideas (of which I had done a lot of) and just start doing – and that’s exactly what I did.

The idea of Little Koha came about after drawing upon several life experiences such as living overseas and not being able to send gifts to loved ones back home because postage was too expensive, working at a school that values appreciation, gratitude, and service to others, and becoming slightly obsessed with gorgeous homeware items after buying my first home a couple of years ago. All those experiences were bundled together to create Little Koha – an online store that offers boutique gift parcels for the home. 

2) At Ecomailbox we celebrate businesses that set out to help New Zealanders. Why did you feel it was important for you to set up your partnership with Live More Awesome?

Little Koha is in the business of giving and we believe it is important to give back to the community. Therefore, we donate $5 from every gift parcel purchased to Live More Awesome, a not for profit helping to break down the stigma of mental health. We chose to support Live More Awesome because their cause is close to my heart. Sadly, I lost an immediate family member to suicide 15 years ago and I often wonder if she would still be here if there was the level of awareness and support for people who have a mental illness as there is now. The work that Live More Awesome do is, well, awesome. If we can help them help others, that’s a win-win-win.

3) What key messages would you like potential shoppers to understand about your business?

  1. Little Koha is ideal for busy people or for those who live away from their loved ones. Being busy doesn’t mean you have to give fuddy duddy presents or, worse, forget to celebrate a special occasion.
  2. We are a personal shopper, stylist and shipper in one. We take care of everything from meticulously choosing homeware items that will style effortlessly in the home, to beautiful presentation, hand-writing personalised messages and sending it to you or your lucky recipient in a timely manner.
  3. High quality is non-negotiable. Each homeware item has been hand-picked to ensure premium quality. We use all of the items in our own home before including it in our gift parcel range so we can personally guarantee its quality and style.  

4) What’s next for Little Koha – do you have any plans for the future?

We launched almost two months ago so our primary focus is to continuously review, tweak and improve on what we offer. It is very tempting to scale the business quickly but we resist that temptation because we know doing less well is far more effective than doing lots at a mediocre level. We are, however, working on launching a blog that provides home styling inspiration and a greater insight into who we are. Watch this space.

5) What do you personally enjoy the most about working for Little Koha?

At the risk of sounding cheesy, there is so much enjoyment in running Little Koha, but I’ll share two things that really stand out. The first is writing the personalised message cards that go in each gift parcel.  Some are mysterious, others are humours, thoughtful or emotional. All of them make us realise that people are connecting through our gift parcels and that’s pretty special. The second is the connections we make with creative people in New Zealand and Australia. Where we can, we support small businesses as a priority and have partnered with some very talented people including Real World, Pika and Pookie, Smitten Design, Kasbah Design, JS Ceramics, George + Co, Felt That and Tree Horn Design to name a few. We really enjoy building relationships with our suppliers.

6) It seems that at Little Koha you have set out to create a business that not only brings people together but celebrates creativity. For new shoppers, what are your tips for them when it comes to choosing the perfect gift?

We live in a world of personalisation and not all gifts are suitable for everyone, so it can be challenging finding the right gift that’s also within your budget. A few things to keep in mind when choosing a thoughtful gift is:

  1. Choose something that lasts. While chocolates and wine are yummy, they are consumed and then quickly forgotten. If you give a gift that sits on their coffee table, or is used in the kitchen every day, it is going to be an ongoing reminder of your relationship, whether it’s personal or business.
  2. Think back to conversations you’ve had with that person – most people drop hints (intentional or not) about what they like or what they want. Listening to people takes the guesswork out of gift giving.
  3. Put them first. It sounds obvious but we are all guilty of buying someone a gift that we really like, right? Remember it’s about them – what do they like? What are their interests? What have they already got?
  4. Ask. If you’re really not sure then simply ask. Sure, it ruins the surprise element a little bit but it’s better than giving a gift that will be shoved in a cupboard and never used or admired!

Good On Ya, Litte Koha! ☺

Ecomailbox goes behind the scenes and ‘Beyond the Bin’ with this exclusive chat with eco-events extrordinaire, Kim Renshaw!

 

One company is rocking the events space by diverting up to a whopping 97.5% of event waste away from landfill into composting and recycling. Setting the standard for zero waste events, they’ve even banned single-use plastics at New Zealand’s leading zero waste event!
Big events can create a colossal amount of waste. Unfortunately, this waste can often end up in landfill. Luckily, Kim & friends at Beyond the Bin have led by example through showing event organisers that it doesn’t have to be this way! After a staggering 97.5% of waste was effectively diverted from landfill at Kim’s own ‘Gourmet Night Market’, other event organisers have since started to take notice.
With a view to encourage at least 80% of all event waste to be compostable, Beyond the Bin are working alongside event organisers to make it easier to reduce waste. The team have been working on the ground at some of NZ’s largest events and developing zero waste initiatives which are fit-for-purpose.

Whether your event needs a handful of budding volunteers to litter pick or a new innovative idea on how to recycle waste, Beyond the Bin can help you get the job done. With a crew 150 strong, Beyond the Bin was able to divert a massive 40,124kg of waste from landfill by getting down and dirty at WOMAD in 2015 & 2016.


With awareness of the great work of Beyond the Bin spreading, helping event organisers deliver waste free events nationwide could be just round the corner. Luckily, we were able to have an exclusive chat with Beyond the Bin founder, Kim Renshaw:

What made you decide to start up with Beyond the Bin?
I started an event in Mount Maunganui in 2013 and was diverting 95% of the waste into composting and recycling. Event organisers kept calling me and asking how they could do the same with their events, so I decided to sell my event and start helping events reduce waste full time.

What impact does Beyond the Bin have on the community?

Our community now sees recycling at most local events. We have been able to normalise the practice of offering recycling, enabling everyone to be able to do the right thing!

What is your top tip for minimizing waste as a business/individual?
The first step is to look at what’s in your rubbish bin, and see what can be diverted or prevented. Have a good think about buying in bulk and storing in glass jars, rather than plastic. I buy my coffee from a local cafe and have them grind it fresh straight into my jar. Remember, every small action combined together makes a huge action.

What will help Beyond the Bin grow?

I’m not sure if we want Beyond the Bin to grow, our aim is actually to do ourselves out of a job. Once recycling and composting is deemed normal at all NZ events our mission is complete… and then, we can find some other awesome way to help the world.

What’s next for Beyond the Bin?
We are releasing 10 videos for event organisers on event waste minimisation. We are so excited to share these free resources with the events community to help reduce waste at all types of events across NZ.’

Which event has been the most interesting to clean up after?
WOMAD of course, it’s so much fun and so exciting. We don’t have to do huge clean ups post event because we keep the site tidy during the festival. WOMAD is such an amazing combination of different cultures, it’s totally worth checking out.

Good on Ya Kim, Sam and the team. We love your work!

-Ben McNally

 

Photos from Beyond the Bins Events

 

‘Cycling is not just for cyclists’ says Bicycle Junction!

 

For 4 years now, the good folks at Bicycle Junction have been building, fixing and selling bikes in Wellington and serving coffee whilst they do it! Through his Danish heritage and cafe expertise, business owner Dan has cycling and coffee running through his veins. However, Dan & Co. believe that you don’t need to be a cycle nerd to ride a bike! With an ethos focused on positive vibes in the community, Bicycle Junction is determined to get more people cycling for fun, from bike raves to family trips out! In their own words, they want to create a friendly and warm home for people on bikes and especially for those who don’t yet know they want to ride bikes! Through some lively community engagement and an ever increasing interest from the people of Wellington, Bicycle Junction is looking to upscale, but they can’t do it alone! In order to help accommodate their eclectic target audience and continue their great work, Bicycle Junction will be moving to 1 Marion Street in Te Aro, Wellington, and need your help to do so! With just 9 days to go on their Pledge Me project, these guys are looking for generous individuals to donate whatever they can in return for some awesome rewards – From puncture repairs to forcing Dan to do humiliating stunts! Here at Ecomailbox, we’re proudly supporting this biker gang and had the opportunity to ask them some Q’s that you may find interesting:  

 

What is it that made Dan & Co. start up Bicycle Junction?

Dan started Bicycle Junction about 4 years ago to appeal to people who weren’t currently riding bikes. He wanted to appeal to a new audience. He wanted a meeting place, or junction, to boost cycling as a means to a more liveable city. After living in Copenhagen, he wanted to bring that same feeling to New Zealand.

 

Other than fixing bikes and drinking coffee, what else does Bicycle Junction do?

We sell bikes but we also host lots of cool events in the city like Tweed Rides, Bike Light Raves, movie nights, music gigs, and provide equipment for other people’s events like CubaDupa, Beervana and the Wellington Jazz Festival. People really love pedal-powered equipment and we love bringing it to them!

 

At Ecomailbox we’re all about reducing unnecessary waste, therefore, what is your top tip for minimising waste as a business?

Reuse! There are so many ways you can reuse things in your shop/business that you probably aren’t thinking of. Or offer these things to customers to reuse and have for free. We have an abundance of innertubes and tyres and we see people use them for all sorts of reasons like tie-downs in the garden to suspenders. 

 

What impact do you think Bicycle Junction has on the community?

A big one, actually. We are Wellington’s urban bike shop but we’re also very involved in the community. It’s part of our ethos and what we believe will help the city we live in and love. Not just in hosting events but in helping people get on their bikes. We build special bikes for people with disability and run the NZ chapter of Cycling Without Age, a non-profit aimed at giving the elderly a chance to find joy in riding again. We give equipment on loan to businesses who want to offer something for employees or for people who want to move stuff, by bike. 

 

What will help your business/cause grow?

Space. But this will also offer exposure to a new audience of people who are considering cycling as a means of transport or a lifestyle change. Location is everything. The junction of Adelaide and Riddiford in Newtown has been good for that but we’re ready to grow into all of Wellington’s bike shop. That and we are bursting at the seams because bikes take up a lot of space!

 

What’s next for Bicycle Junction? 

We are moving our shop to 1 Marion Street in Te Aro. We’re raising money to build that new space and purchase some much-needed equipment to host better and bigger events. Watch this space!

 

After a long cycle around Wellington, where’s the best place to park up and rest those tired legs?

Depending on your ride, I quite like resting by the waterfront, whether that’s Oriental Bay or Lyall Bay, I wanna see the water and relax. A good coffee or beer never hurt either!

From the team at Ecomailbox Good On Ya Bicycle Junction! 

With only 9 days to go and some generous rewards for generous donators, there’s no reason not to give them a hand with their Pledge Me Project! You can support and be rewarded from just $10. Check out the list of goodies you can get from showing your support here

Best of luck Bicycle Junction!

-Ben Mcnally