Can you tell me a little bit about you and your values and how you formed them?
I am a Mum of two gorgeous girls (5 and 9) and married to blues musician Ash Grunwald. I was born in 1977 and I clearly remember driving in the car with Mum and Dad not only smoking in the car but we would fling our rubbish out of the car window as we drove along! My gosh. At the time that was the "norm". In the late 1980s the Clean Up Australia campaign was launched and suddenly and very quickly it became very uncool to litter and our neighbourhoods were quickly cleaned up. I guess the idea of cleaning up and living in a clean neighbourhood was planted from a young age. After lots of holidays to Bali, the enormity of the plastic pollution issue was there for the world to see. The number of tourists (including ourselves at the time) walking around with water bottles that were ending up all over the beach and all over the roads made me start to question the problem in South East Asia with the amount of plastic being consumed and not being disposed of correctly. The ideas and questioning sprang from there...
We want to share our love for Earth Bottles, Australian owned and supported.
Dani, the Founder & Owner of Earth Bottles, a fellow earth lover sharing her insight and passion for working towards a more environmentally conscious community and more sustainable future.
Earth bottles are unique in there cause, not only are they having a positive impact on the environment itself but proceeds are going toward organisations like Beyond Blue, The Breast Cancer Foundation and Clean the Coast Collective. They have also planted 180 trees to date around Australia and are working with artist Zachary Bennett-Brook - for Arnhem Land’s Hope for Health; Which is what we really love about Earth bottles - their inclusive community focus and supporting causes of human value!
We have caught up with Dani and heard all about the creation and evolution of Earth Bottles, the full interview is below;
Where did you grow up & what you was it like?
I grew up in Eltham and then Castlemaine in Victoria. It was quiet. We had horses and a fair bit of land. There was lots of sleeping under the stars and cooking on the fire.
Now being a Mum what makes it important for your kids to learn and have for the future?
Well, now we know so much more about the environment and the problems our Mother Earth is faced with as our plastic consumption increases and the amount of plastic in the ocean is reaching a crisis point. It's no longer a case of the "bloody greenies carrying on" it is a real problem that our kids are going to have to try and solve. So it's so important to educate the kids. I believe the only way things will change is with the next generation to come through. That's why we concentrate a lot of our efforts on teaching kids in Indonesia and also at home in Australia.
What shaped you to want to create and urged you to do this with earth bottles?
It all kind of started in Bali with the big realisation. We then went home and decided to organise more merchandise for Ash that would be more useful and help with the problem. Earth Bottles started with putting Ash's logo on wooden pattern water bottles and finding a factory in China, which were engaged in workplace safety and paid their workers correctly as well as assured that the highest quality products were used. We released the bottles for Ash and they sold like crazy. At this stage, there was no design like that in Australia. We sold out over night, and I decided then I might like to start a business of my own with these designs. I got a logo going, got my friend Briody to help me sell them and just like that Earth Bottles was born. I realised very early on that I wanted to not be about profits, that I wanted to also support some Australian charities that were close to our hearts, so that has been our ethos from very early on. We currently support over 10 charity organisations in Australia and Bali.
Who supported you and your ideas and how did you know you had to do this?
I had full support from Ash who has been so supportive and has a very active role within the company. The more we get into it the more people we meet and the more we learn. What I love most about Earth Bottles are the beach clean ups and educating kids about plastics. I think that is really where my passions lie and as we go forward our plans to really expand in to more education programs is growing.
What was it like at the beginning and creating a new business?
It is really really exciting. I am by no means a business person and have never had any training or idea on how to run a business. I didn't really expect it to grow as quickly as it did so there have been a lot of steep learning curves. But we learn as we go and I don't get too hung up on mistakes I have made, I just try and learn, dust myself off and keep on going.
How has earth bottles impacted the environment?
Well, last year it is estimated that 22 billion plastic water bottles were sold. I hope that Earth Bottles and all the other reusable bottle companies out there will help to spread the word and to bring that number way down
What's the plan for the future of Earth bottles?
We are currently working on expanding our education programs and hopefully starting a foundation that will help to educate kids in South East Asia and Australia about plastic pollution and how to make a difference. That is the main one and sales of our products are helping to facilitate that. We have lots of plans coming up for next year with lots of amazing people so we are very excited and hope to just spread the word more and more and to help make a difference.