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Vanessa Bell Mumbition the Podcast

Mumbition

The Podcast By Mums & Co

Episode 85: Sustainable Solutions: Replated’s Journey from Pitch Competition to Impact

Naomi Tarsisz

Founder of RePlated

February 20, 2024
In this episode of Mumbition, Carrie and Lucy welcome Naomi, an alumna of the Mums & Co pitch competition from 2018, to discusses her business, Replated. Naomi’s company focuses on creating reusable takeaway food containers and designing systems to simplify reuse for food service and businesses. Their tagline, “Takeaway without the waste”, emphasizes the impact of small actions in collectively driving positive change.

Links

Replated - Home
rePlated 🍽 Co (@replated) • Instagram photos and videos

Credits

Produced by - Lucy Kippist 
Edited by -
Morgan Brown 
‍Interviewers - Carrie Kwan and Lucy Kippist 
‍Guest – Naomi Tarsisz

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00:00:00:00 - 00:00:05:00 

Carrie Kwan 

A big welcome Naomi - one of our pitch competition alumni back in, I think it was 2018. I know that you know that we love to educate women on pitching with confidence. And we've been cheering on your business from the sidelines since then. But for our wonderful listeners that are tuning in that might not know Replated, please give us your current pitch. 

00:00:24:20 - 00:00:43:20 

Naomi 

Okay. I hope I've got my format right. I'm Naomi Tarszisz, the founder of Replated. We make reusable takeaway food containers and we design systems to make reuse simple for food service and businesses. Unlike other systems, we also ensure that food businesses are rewarded for promoting reuse to their customers. 

00:00:44:05 - 00:00:59:07 

Carrie 

Such an incredible business, Naomi. And I know that you've I think I've heard a tagline for your business before. It's about small actions make big impacts. Can you share why this is so important to you? 

00:00:59:07 - 00:01:02:18 

Naomi 

I think there's a few things we like. The tagline for the for the mailbox is takeaway without the waste, which is a lot more specific. But that concept from a business perspective of small actions make big impact, is this idea that we all think, well, I'm just one person, what difference can I make? But you know, even one person's actions do add up to a lot over the course of time and collectively together, the impacts, the small impacts and the small changes that we make have really large impacts. And it can be really, you know, it's this idea of refusing single use for takeaway or for anything might seem small, but over time it does add up. And that, you know, individual action to collective action is really powerful, a powerful thing. 

00:01:42:16 - 00:01:53:04 

Carrie 

I love that concept, and it's so important because, you know, like all big things, they actually take a lot of effort. But that effort when you can you know, I love that saying how do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time. So we just need to keep at it. We need to all collectively contribute to this, you know, rather big challenge that we've got I'm teaching my little boy at the moment. He's in year three and and the other one’s in year one about recycling and the importance of it and reuse. And then they're doing their part too. So I love it. 

00:02:21:04 - 00:02:30:17 

Naomi 

I think there's a wider comment. And if, you know, if anyone's watching more in waste, which the 30 things just come out recently, I think there's this, you know, this idea that we all have an impact. But there's a bigger societal problem in a systems change that needs to happen in a lot of levels. And we absolutely acknowledge that. But also this idea that, you know, taking those small actions is also really important, too. You know, I don't love that it's always on the consumer. I think it should be on the producers as well. Like I have a I have a lot of opinions about that. But from a brand perspective in that we really try to be positive in this idea that, you know, it does matter, saying refusing, you know, saying no does matter. You know, obviously sometimes nobody's perfect. I know we've all, you know, walked into a coffee shop and we've got a cup or whatever. But this idea that, you know, if instead of striving for 100% perfection, if we can also try for 80% all the time is actually going to make a really big difference as well. Progress. I like progress not perfection as well, but that's personal. 



00:03:16:13 - 00:03:25:10 

Lucy  

Naomi, you've obviously got an incredible vision there for the business that you've been building on. But the flipside of that is actually how that happens in the everyday. So just inviting you to share a little bit with our community about what a typical day in your business looks like?

00:03:32:20 - 00:03:36:17 

Naomi 

Well, this is the thing, right? You go, well, what is it? I don't know if there's a typical day. 

I was saying to someone, I have one of two types of day and I kind of have these crazy days where I'm really busy and I'm out the whole time and I'm having lots of meetings, meeting customers, you know, or doing things like this, you know, where there's a lot of activity and sometimes really, you know, away from the home like I do, I tend to work at home, but I have a co-working space I go to a couple of days a week. But there's you know, I'm just you know, that is just the biggest gift. I, I actually one that they see through Hub Australia they do an impact membership every year for a bunch of lucky social impact start ups I guess, and social enterprises and so I won that this year. It's been amazing because I've actually been traveling a bit in the  last few weeks. I've been to Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne for work and to have an office when I get there is just the most amazing thing. But you know, you've got to be really I try to be really grounded in that. Obviously, you know, this balance to be done, but my typical day. So I don't, I don't know. I think a typical day is a hard question, but I would say they always, always begin with meditation. I start every morning. I do 10 to 20 minutes, depending on when school people come. It comes for me actually often. But the the you know, the idea is I really try to set some time for myself aside At the beginning of the day. I try to plan what I've got, you know, run through the day, look over my calendar, make sure I've got everything ready to go with. I still sometimes you like to a meeting and you like I completely forgot. So what have you like? I've got 5 minutes. I'll go and do something and then you're still 5 minutes late. But I really try to plan everything to review the planning and to just keep on top of it, because I think that that feeling of overwhelm comes when you go from meeting to meeting to meeting, and you have to rush off and go and do something else at the end of the day. So you're really trying to build that time at the beginning of the day for myself to keep that calm and try to carry that through is it's the consistent thing. 

00:05:32:22 - 00:06:06:01 

Lucy 

That's a great tip. And it's such an important reminder to that plan. I saw something on Instagram the other day that was talking about the importance of planning depending on the type of work that you're about to take on. So the suggestion was if you were going to be doing some project work with your thinking brain, it's better to read something before and then if you're going to be doing some writing and stuff like that, it's better to be outside using, using the nature to infuse yourself with energy. 

00:06:06:01 - 00:06:27:11 

Naomi 

Correct. I think there's a little bit of balance to that. Like as in I look at them as input output, like when I'm doing work for other people, if it's responding to emails, writing, sales pitches, you know, you know, this kind of like output where you're doing stuff with other or for others, whereas the deep work, you know, when you're actually, you know, when we're thinking about what is the product like, what is, you know, what is the social media look like for the next three months? What you know, what does the next range of products look like? That kind of really deep work where we're thinking is that is is the one I really, really try to carve out as a quiet space. I try to also do those I love. I read that being a kind of what it's called, but it's what you do about an hour and a half block. I think it's the Pomodoro method. It's about 45 minutes to an hour and a half. And I definitely try to carve up my time up into that on the days that I’m at home. And also really try to make those days the whole day because what I’ve also found for me personally is, coming back after having been out doing lots of output to then sit down really seriously, and then you know, and think internally can be hard. Because it is a bit of a switch. So I try to have those times in the morning, on a day where I’m in the office so I have a solid block.  

00:07:16:11 - 00:07:30:05 

Lucy 

And what about in terms of how things are operating at home with your work and your family? Is there something that you've had to stop doing in order to make the business and the family responsibilities work a little bit better in harmony? 

00:07:30:05 - 00:07:45:17 

Naomi 

Yeah, I mean, that's a really good question. I think look, I think my life shifted quite a lot when I you know, I did leave a corporate job around the time actually, my son started school, and it was a while ago now, actually. But this, you know, one of the things with having the co-working space this year, it's actually been revolutionary in terms of going back out of the home again to work like I was at home for a really long time and actually finding that in it, being invigorating, being in that space, but also you having that commuting time. And for me actually, you know, when I've got when I'm really busy, sometimes that does fall away. I think that commuting time's great for listening to a podcast and having a walk. So I like to work there, but really just making sure that that all my time is efficient. Like if I am really busy that I'm minimizing, you know, any extra stuff. I'm saying no to coffees, I'm saying no to, you know, I get invited to do things quite regularly now, which is lovely, but I have to say no to some of them because I think there's also this point, which is there's only so many hours in the day. And I, I actually I remember hearing this one once, which was like, you know, we have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce, and saying I'm like, yeah. But like within that, there's only so much any one person can do. And I, you know, and people at that kind of I guess that level of success are not just one person. They have teams of people behind them helping them. And when you are a solopreneur or you've got a very small team, I have you know, I have people that help me about three days a week. You know, it is mostly me. You know, you really have to say no. So I think learning to say no is probably my big one. I used to say yes to everything. 

00:09:12:12 - 00:09:33:09 

Carrie 

it also be “no right now” I think timing plays such a huge, huge role because as a non, as a solopreneur, we're always kind of going, what's the next opportunity? And we're trying to, you know, be scrappy and take every opportunity that we can. But we can also say, you know, that's a great idea. I really want to do that, but not right now. Right. 

00:09:36:13 - 00:09:53:19 

Naomi 

Well, I think it's just also making sure it aligns to my priorities. You know, I think sometimes it's you know, if I'm know, like a lot of the time it's mentoring young up and, you know, mentoring start ups and things like that. You can you come in and talk about product development and that process and that sort of thing. And I love doing those things. I absolutely love it. But also going, you know, have I done this a few times recently? You know, is there someone else who could do it? I think the other thing I really try to do in those cases when I do say no is also make a recommendation. And if it's someone, something that's really specific to me, I try to say yes, but if it's something somebody else can do, I might make a recommendation and say, Why don't you talk to this person? Because I think they'd be really good for that. So I think it's it's never just no, I'm not going think one of my mentors actually calls it ruthless prioritization. I really have had to be much more specific around what I'm doing and following that path a lot more clearly, because there is a lot to be done and, you know, and I have to be conscious that there's only so many hours in the day. And so it is it's just that. And when I do say no to things, yes, I completely try to pay it forward to somebody else who might have a bit more, have a bit more capacity and sometimes more expertise than me. 

00:10:55:00 - 00:11:01:13 

Carrie 

Now, Naomi, you have a product based business, and feel free to explain a little bit more about your products. And we're keen to hear what's the one thing that's really helped propelled the visibility of that product? 

00:11:08:23 - 00:11:12:13 

Naomi 

we are still like one of those brands that a lot of people haven't heard of. If you're outside of the circular economy space and part of that, you know, we are a product business. And I think even when I do my pitch, we start with product, but we're also a systems change business. And that is a hard thing and it takes a lot of time and a lot partnerships. I think the two things I can I do to maybe rather than one partnership, that probably the most important thing to us, you know, we work with a lot of really incredible other brands in lots of different contexts. I mean, our office pilots and programs, we work sometimes we work with Husky Corp. There's also another brand called Circle Cup. And having, you know, and working together with those brands. We've been doing a lot in the consumer space, in the B2B space with Husky actually this year. And actually those partnerships are really helpful for us getting visibility outside of our existing audience. But from a from a product perspective, that is also the case too. So Maybe it's one thing which is partnerships. You know, one of our customers vanish. We are listed on their amazing store lady who runs. It is just a total rockstar. She actually posted a video of her using one of our products at a sushi train or a sushi bar in the city last week. And I think that Tik Tok had over a million views. I mean, that was probably the biggest thing that's happened in the business in ages in terms of visibility. And I think I think I would always go back to partnerships super, super important, like the people who use, you know, who do you supply to who talks about you, your customers will talk about you are the people that will talk about you, the right customers. You know. So I think I'm really I've been really fortunate to find incredible people like me who support what we're doing and help us, you know, help us with our visibility. And, you know, it's such a hard you know, it's such a hard thing. I don't think I don't know if there's one thing, but I think partnership is to me, I think the overarching theme that probably helps with the. 

00:13:06:11 - 00:13:16:08 

Carrie 

Couldn't agree more. We love our partners, and if we expand that to say, your network, right, which partners are there? 

Where do you find them? How do you stay in touch? Is there a yeah, is there is there some sort of tool or some sort of app or how do you go about networking? 

00:13:27:00 - 00:13:46:11 

Naomi 

Don't think there's an app or an app for that. I'd love that. So I would I would say a lot of a lot of my favourite founders and a lot of my favourite mentors are women, although they're not exclusively women. Some of them have come actually through the pitch training. We did. I like I actually, you know, it's like I think it was at 28, I think. Well, that was a while ago. That was right at the very beginning. But I think some of you know, some of the people that I met from that I'm still, you know, I'm still connected with we're still in the same sustainability space like Frances Atkins and the rebels who have given all. And I think that that, you know, I've done a few program like accelerators and things like that. So, you know, even the circle guys, I met them you know, through connections in Boomerang Labs, which is a sector economy group. So I think there's I wouldn't that is one place I go. But I what I would say is there is there are ecosystems out there like Mums and Co, you know obviously a really great one for female found, you know, female founders and female business owners. But there are other places that might be more specific to your industry because I also think that that's, you know, finding people that, you know, that are speaking the same language as you to understand what you're doing that might be even trying to solve the same problem. I just you know, I just had a really great bootcamp up in Queensland for the Queensland Government called Beyond Cups, which has been amazing. And we're working on some incredible things up there at the moment. And I met other founders like Lauren from Lydie, who again is working on the same product and she actually lives near me. I think we could talk about meeting up now, but I think there's this, you know, you don't know who you're going to meet and where you're going to meet them. Networking is really important. And the other place actually, I've met some really interesting people is doing conferences - like going actually getting out there and and talking, talking, talking businesses, programs like, you know, Hatch Accelerator. I've got two really great friends from that as well. So, yeah, I think, you know, those kinds of, you know, industry specific groups and I think just broader business groups are really great to get involved with if you want to meet other people. And I think it's important too, because it can get very lonely out there. Otherwise. 

00:15:35:04 - 00:15:36:19 

Carrie 

So important - from the isolation or reducing that perspective for the exchange of ideas? And we'd love that. You know, you're still in touch with some of your mums and co pitch competition alumni from from way back then and supporting each other because, you know, we're going on this journey and you know, having, having someone to back you all on the way is so, so important. 

00:15:59:02 - 00:16:03:10 

Naomie 

I can't even Yeah, I mean, completely. 

00:16:03:14 - 00:16:06:18 

Carrie 
Let's just in turn things to an area that is always fascinating for me because I think everyone's got a different perception or a different relationship to risk. I'd love to hear what role does risk management play in the success of RePlated, of your business? 

00:16:20:11 - 00:16:33:17 

Naomi 

My background was actually project management. So project and program management, that's what I did before I started Replated. And so, you know, like risk risk management is something that, you know, I understand. But when I came into this business and went from, I guess, a digital environment to a physical environment, things changed a lot for us. And I think I just kept those processes in place, like we maintain a risk register for the product and for any project that we do just you know what, know what's not. You know what could go wrong. Thinking of thinking ahead about, you know, what problems could come up. You know, we look at systems design, it's the same thing, you know, like it is, you know, risk mitigation is really, you know, management mitigation plans, things like that are really important as well. And I think finding practical ways to mitigate and reduce risk is really important. And I'll give you an example of something really specific. You know, for me, you know, our product sometimes, you know, it has hot food, making sure that the lid stay on properly. What's going to happen if people spill it? Like what? What's the conversation that you have with customers if that does happen? Because things can be misused or, you know, and degrade over time. And we haven't had issues yet, but we have you know, we have what we haven't had or anything like that, but we also had a project product development journey. We did have issues in that product development journey, like we tested for a lot of scenarios. And then, you know, in, in, in life, actually it turned out that this the testing that we had done, you know, we were in a piloting phase, but we, you know, we need to do more testing and we actually had to switch the cool product that we use like the raw material. And that was a really difficult journey for us. And we were really fortunate to have, I guess, to have had that in the framework of a pilot and to, I guess, make those mistakes. And actually, what do you do with your customers? How do you manage reputational, you know, reputational risk through, through those issues? And that was a really hard period for us. And I think we learned a lot and, you know, and you can, you know, we plan for that now. We really we really look at all of those scenarios and, you know, and I guess, you know, trying to make the absolute best product that we can, We so, you know, we so proud of it now. And I think, you know, I guess sometimes I talk about that. I think we've learned a lot through the product development process. And that's something I'm always happy to share. Like that journey was was hard, but we're really happy with where we got to. 

00:18:52:05 - 00:18:56:09 

Lucy 

Thanks for sharing that, Naomi. Now, you're about to join us as part of our Mums and Co expert program for the next 12 months, which we are thrilled about. And I'm wondering is a little segway to that - If you have a lesson that you learned as a micro-business owner and startup founder that you've always wanted to share with another business owning woman and inviting you to share that now with lots of them at the same time. 

00:19:17:07 - 00:19:51:05 

Naomi 

When you go into business, you don't know how to do everything. It's, you know, unless you've had a very, very, very wide experience in life, you know, like it might be that you didn't know how to do marketing or it might be that you didn't, you know, you'd never you never negotiated a contract before, whatever, you know, whatever The thing that you've never done was, I think finding, finding that tribe, having people to ask questions of like, you know, finding those mentors, you know, by people who are at the same place as you, maybe people who are ahead of you on the journey, maybe people in a completely different who are you know, who just, you know, maybe older or or more experienced to lean on. And I think finding those those peers and mentors, your tribe is really super important. I think it does help you carry on when it gets tough. And like, people have a tendency to be like, it's all rosy. My journey was amazing. Like, I think I just shared with, you know, that that period where the product wasn't perfect, like that was six months of sleepless nights. It was absolutely horrendous. And I would not have got through that if it wasn't for my tribe and the people who had been there before me and who had had things, you know, you know, who'd had problems, you know, there are going to be problems like nothing is ever perfect. And I think if we pretend that we are, we're being I guess we're being very much on the surface. And I think people that you can be honest with about how you feeling like you will have low days and good days. And I just think that, you know, brutal aren't honesty. I try with the business we try for I call it radical transparency, like we really do try. You know, like there are things that are not perfect about my product. Still, like we use a silicone gasket on the product, which I don't love the material silicone. It's not recyclable. It's not recycled. Sorry, It's not. It's not from a recycled material. I'll do the rest of the container is. And so it's like your two and a half percent of my weight. And I could sit there and think about that all the time. And I don't like we're looking at, you know, we look at R&D to find if we're looking at R&D to find a better material. We're always trying to be better than what we are. But, you know, when I when I talk about this with people who are who do product, like it doesn't have to be perfect. It's a journey. There are steps along the way. You know, you fixed you fixed one problem you don't have to fix this problem right now. I know you want to, but you know, it is like some of that stuff is because it might be really cutting edge. Like we don't we can't afford to invest in that R&D right now. And so accepting, you know, having those just having people who who who do this. And, you know, so I have someone on my board who is, you know, who's been making physical products for 20, 20 years and will have and he's the one that actually says to me, like, you know, like, I know you want to do everything all at once, but even, you know, in his large company, you know, sometimes you have to wait till the next generation and make, you know, and you make those changes next time.And and so, you know, I guess it's just having those other voices making sure that they're broad as well, that you're not just talking to people who do feel exactly like you. I think sales are really important to so so finding that even voice, if it's just more from the way they think, you know, they it's not about demographics but I mean people who think differently to you and whose perspective is different to yours is really important. 

00:22:22:24 - 00:22:29:01 

Lucy 

Love that tip. So it's like almost like someone who can play devil's advocate, too, to the decisions that you're making in the business. Very clever. 

00:22:30:00 - 00:22:49:06 

Naomi 

Yeah. And also sometimes point out the things that are like what the thing you think might be the most important thing might isn't or might not be like a thing You know? And that's how like on the risk thing, like the risks sometimes also because you focus on those problems and all the things that are wrong but actually like is what's good enough, what's what's, what's right for your business in this moment? What can you achieve? What's achievable sometimes is part of it too. 

00:22:54:02 - 00:23:06:07 

Lucy 

Naomi In the spirit of women supporting women who are the Mumbitious, that's the women unapologetically blending motherhood and ambition that you'd like to shout out to today? 

00:23:06:07 - 00:23:10:06 

Naomi 

I think I'm going to pick two from this community just because there's that rock stars - Frances Atkins, Naomi Bells. 

00:23:12:15 - 00:23:13:16 

Lucy 

Thank you so much. Who is your biggest role model? 

00:23:16:11 - 00:23:36:02 

Naomi 

So you guys ask really hard questions. I don't have a single role model, but I think there are some incredible women who I really admire. And at the moment I'm completely obsessed by Greta Gerwig and what she's done with the Barbie movie. I took my nine year old daughter to see it last weekend, and I was I mean, I'm sure we were all doing this if we've got daughters. I was really worried it was going to go over her head. And when I asked her what she liked, she said I liked it when the mum talked sense into all the Barbies. It was like, that's a really good I'm you know, sometimes we can forget like we're all the, the mums bit is really important and actually the kids, they pick up on all of this and that. But being that role model for your kids and I think Red is a really great example of, of a mother who's doing that for her own children and for our children now too.