Christmas is just around the corner, and while you’re probably already busy shopping for Christmas gifts, have you started to think about all the other things that help make Christmas special?
The Conscious Cracker Co. is a brand new Australian business that have just launched after a successful kickstarter campaign. We caught up with founder Crystal to learn more about the business, and her mission to make eco-friendly Christmas crackers, that are designed, printed and hand-made in Australia using recycled card, are 100% plastic free, and come with practical gifts (no more useless plastic toys that go straight into the bin).
When did you start your business?
The idea came to me almost 2 years ago, and my original plan was to launch in time for Christmas last year (2019). I found myself hitting several roadblocks and things weren’t coming together so reluctantly I decided to take my foot off the gas and to work on it with a more realistic pace, and then planned to launch for Christmas 2020. What was interesting is from that moment things began to flow, previous roadblocks seemed to clear without having to push it and I have since developed some wonderful relationships with printers and designers who have made the whole process far more enjoyable. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, The Conscious Cracker Co. is now available for purchase online, with deliveries expected in the first week of December.
Tell us a little bit about you and your business
The Conscious Cracker Co. has recreated the conventional Christmas Cracker (Bon-Bon), into a sustainable, eco friendly alternative. Made from 100% recycled card which has been designed and printed here in Australia, the Eco-Friendly Christmas Crackers also feature the Silver Princess Eucalyptus tree making it uniquely Australian. The crackers are filled with plastic free, practical gifts and they are designed to help people celebrate and create positive change.
How (and why) did you get started?
It was the feeling of disappointment after popping my Christmas Cracker only to receive a cheap plastic item that was essentially useless, and destined for landfill. I could not help but think this could be done in a way with less environmental impact, but struggled to find one. This realisation put a fire in my stomach, and I became determined to create a sustainable alternative. I wanted to create a product that would give people a choice to celebrate with less waste, and saw it as an opportunity to create change on our planet. This is being done with the sustainable items found inside, such as the Happy Bee Mix which is a packet of seeds that when sprinkled in your garden, will grow herbs and flowers that help support the food supply for the bees! Another way that The Conscious Cracker Co. is helping create change on earth is by every box of Crackers bought, a native tree will be planted in Australia.
What was your launch (and/or the first few months of business) like?
That is a great question as I am right in the middle of it! I cannot speak with hindsight yet but I can say that I am very busy, but also very happy. I am currently waking up and thinking about crackers, and going to bed still thinking about crackers! While there is a lot of time and energy going into this, I am not stressed or worried in any way. There are two kinds of people, those who finish their homework or assignments a week before to ensure there is ample time for incidentals, and then there are the ‘night before’ crammers. Fortunately I have always fallen into the first category and time management is one of my strong points. I have been testing, trailing and troubleshooting for most of the year at a calm yet constant pace and I am loving seeing my work come together into a finished product. This is not to say there haven’t been testing moments, but that is part of the journey, right?
I chose to do a Kickstarter as it is a great platform to test the waters to see if it is a viable idea, or if it is just me thinking it is a great idea and in fact I am the only person that wants eco christmas crackers!? It turns out I am not alone, and the numbers have indicated this is something I should give my all, this Christmas The Conscious Cracker Co. will feature on many family tables throughout Australia.
Do you consider the environmental impact of your business? How do you try to reduce your impact?
Absolutely. The environment has been the key driver for The Conscious Cracker Co.
Preservation of the environment was the primary reason they were created, to create a choice for consumers to make a small change that will collectively have a huge impact on the planet. Everything inside your box of crackers, including the box, can be reused, recycled or repurposed.
Another way The Conscious Cracker Co. is reducing its impact is by using Carbon Neutral printing on 100% post consumer paper which is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) and is Chain of Custody certified. The crackers have been printed with high quality vegetable-based inks which further reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint. In addition to this, all boxes are shipped with Carbon Neutral postage.
I saw in the updates on your kickstarter page that you’re considering donating some of the profits / contributing to 1% for the planet / planting a tree for each order.
Yes! I have always loved buying products that give back and do good in the world, and always hoped The Conscious Cracker Co would be able to do something too!
I am delighted to say that this is now a reality and for every box purchased, a native tree will be planted in Australia!
What have been your most popular product(s) so far?
From the 2 options, the box of 12 has been the most popular 🙂
Where are your products made? What influenced your decision to make the products in this way?
They are printed in Australia and shipped to me on the Sunshine Coast to be assembled. Yes that’s right, assembled by me. Although time consuming, this gives me a great sense of satisfaction and pride as well as quality control to know each cracker has been assembled and packed by hand. To allow for this we recently converted our spare room into an office space which is about to be full of Christmas Crackers! I can’t wait to take a photo just before they all get shipped out!
How do you attract and retain customers?
I have noticed that the product has attracted like-minded customers and businesses who are aligned in values, and have also been contacted by businesses who simply want to help promote the crackers because they think they are a wonderful idea. Some businesses have reached out to buy in bulk to give the crackers as gifts for Christmas to their customers. It has been a really incredible experience and I am loving connecting with other conscious businesses, it is showing me how many people really do care and are putting thought into action and are also doing their part to create change.
How much time do you spend working on your business?
I want to say a few hours a day keeps the cortisol away, but the honest answer is I am living and breathing this project at the moment. I know it is going to be a busy few weeks and once the hard work is done life will return to a more realistic pace! Although the feeling of posting the boxes out and seeing them in use this Christmas will make all the hard work so worth it!
What has been the hardest part of running a business?
I would say one of the most challenging things is achieving ‘life-balance,’ as it is easy to become consumed by the many tasks on your to-do list. I make an effort to divide my time to ensure I am still giving time to my family, my friends and to do other activities that bring balance into my day. There are days I do this well, and others not so well!
What has been the best part of running a business?
I love the freedom and flexibility to manage my time and work when and where I can. I really love the freedom that my trusty MacBook Pro gives me, it allows me to work wherever I choose. I have photos of ‘my office’ which has been looking out to the mountains as I work, or on the shoreline of the beach listening to the waves as I work.
I also love that by starting and running a business, all business decisions are mine to make. I have full ownership of all areas of the business, and know where I am at in all areas.
What tools and software do you use?
There are so many great tools available to use! As well as my MacBook Pro, I have loved using Photoshop and Illustrator once again, and of course Canva is amazing!
What’s next for you and your business?
That is a great question, and I have to admit that amongst all that is happening right now I am already thinking about what can be done for next Christmas! I will get through this Christmas and assess what went well, what can be learnt and what can be done differently next year. Having a creative mind, I have quite a few ideas bouncing around so my plan is that once the madness subsides I will give these ideas a bit more time and see what is viable. Stay tuned!
Do you have any advice for other business owners who either might be thinking of starting a business, or looking for ways to make their business more eco-friendly?
I strongly believe that collective actions can have a huge impact, so the more environmental and sustainable choices available to consumers the better. I personally will take more time to source businesses who have a strong ethos, who make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and work in a sustainable way. I hope that eco businesses will soon become the norm, and those who are still yet to do anything are left behind. If you are a business thinking about looking for ways to make your business more eco friendly, be an early adapter and rather than being a part of the problem, choose to be part of the solution.
Anything else you’d like to add?
There is no planet B. The way we spend our money casts a vote on the world we want to see, and while it can be overwhelming at times to individually create change, remind yourself that small changes multiplied by many will create immeasurable impact.