Caitlyn first had the idea for bringing a beautiful, functional and sustainable reusable coffee cup to the world in October 2019. They launched for pre-orders less than two months ago, and have already sold hundreds of cups via pre-order.
While there are already quite a few different options for reusable coffee cups available, Caitlyn identified that there was a market for something more stylish and functional. Their cups are made from hand blown borosilicate glass with a wrapped silicone base and silicone lid. And I love that they come with 8oz and 12oz fill lines so it’s the perfect cup for whatever size coffee you are craving.
I caught up with Caitlyn to learn more about The Indi Life, why sustainability is important to her, and how she was able to build a community before they’d even launched.
Tell us a little bit about you and your business
I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial streak and I knew whatever I did next needed to be something that did better for the planet. Enter Indi. Beautiful, long lasting products that are good for the planet. I’m a dog mama (I’m obsessed with my two miniature sausage dogs, Indi and Ernie), fiance to Dave and a house made almond coffee snob! We live by the coast in Scarborough, Perth.
How (and why) did you get started?
We (my fiance Dave and I) originally had the idea for Indi in October 2019 after watching the 2040 documentary. I’ve always wanted to create my own business and I knew whatever we brought to the world had to be good for the planet. Dave and I have owned many reusable coffee cups over the years, but we’ve never found one we really loved, so we thought why not create our own!
What was your launch (and/or the first few months of business) like?
We launched for pre-orders mid-September 2020 and we have sold hundreds of our Cups to date! We are currently waiting for our first shipment to arrive from overseas – we have been told mid-November. We have been blown away at the love and support for our Cups!
Tell us about your products, and what makes your business different
We are passionate about creating beautiful products that are good for the planet, with a focus on items that replace single use products. At the moment we have our Reusable Glass Cup – Indi Cup and Stainless Steel Straw Sets. We have a few things in the pipeline, including double-walled stainless steel water bottles in some pretty soft and dreamy colours!
Do you consider the environmental impact of your business? Is there anything you are doing to reduce your impact? What kind of packaging do you use?
For sure. If it’s not sustainable, it’s not right for us. We are committed to putting the planet above profit. All of our box packaging is made from post-consumer recycled card printed on locally using vegetable based inks in a solar-run factory. Our shipping boxes are sourced locally and are also made from post-consumer recycled card. To help us reduce unnecessary waste, our customers can choose to receive their products without box packaging at checkout.
We plan to send the bulk of our orders out with Sendle, the only Australian carrier with neutral carbon emissions.
What have been your most popular product(s) so far?
Our Powder Indi Cup has been selling like crazy! We picked this to be our most popular colour. It’s such a dreamy and earthy light pink.
Where are your products made? What influenced your decision to make the products in this way?
Our products are responsibly and proudly made in China. We would have loved to have had them manufactured locally, however there was not one factory that could produce a glass and silicone cup in Perth or Australia. We spent many months picking our factory and have built such a great relationship with our factory manager Alex.
How do you attract and retain customers?
Most of our customers have come through Instagram! We spent almost 12 months building our online community before we launched our pre-orders. We are so grateful for our amazing online community.
How much time do you spend working on your business?
Virtually every other minute of the day that’s free!
What’s something you’ve learned since starting your business?
To make quick, but calm decisions! As someone who suffers from serious procrastination disease (ha!), making quick decisions has been a game changer for me. I think you just have to back yourself and go with your gut. I’d hate to think how long the process would have taken us if I didn’t make quick decisions and back myself.
What has been the hardest part of running a business?
Self-doubt. I think many small business owners will attest to this! That voice in my head saying, “Your Cup isn’t really that great” and “No one’s going to buy it”. You have to get really good at positive self talk.
What has been the best part of running a business?
The people I’ve met along the way! I have met some of the most amazing humans, a lot of them being other small business owners. There are so many people out there doing incredible things and I feel so lucky to have built some beautiful friendships with some of them.
What tools and software do you use?
Our website is through Shopify. At this stage, I manage our website and socials by myself, however this may change in the near future!
What’s next for you and your business?
Dispatching our first orders (pre-orders) and seeing people receive their Cups! We hope to start production for our water bottles by the end of 2020.
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?
If you have an idea/product that you think is needed in the world, start taking steps towards making it happen. The world needs more people doing great things. In terms of making your business more eco-friendly, I would say to start by looking at your packaging. If you’re not sourcing it locally, can you? I would also say to look at the carriers you are using and what they are doing to reduce carbon emissions.