There’s something about the effortless beauty of Kappi’s range of zero-waste products that tugs at the heartstrings and unleashes your inner conservationist. That, combined with the knowledge that they are created consciously and with a focus on reducing everyday waste, turns even the most mundane household product into an exercise in elegant sustainability.
The story for many ethical and sustainable brands often begins with a passionate founder or founders that take matters into their own hands to affect real change by creating products of value and integrity.
This is absolutely the case for the founders of Australian household essentials brand Kappi. In 2017, Emily and Fred Carlstrom, two self-confessed partners in crime, identified a need for reusable alternatives to single-use plastics. They wanted things that were beautifully designed, effortlessly functional, and reasonably priced, while also taking care to preserve our natural reserve. And so, Kappi was born.
Since then, they have created a range of products that make it easier to replace everyday single-use plastics with affordable, functionally designed and stylish alternatives.
We caught up with Emily before the couple embarked on their latest big project - a new addition to the family - to talk about their journey with the brand and how they approach plastic-free living.
Name: Emily Carlstrom || AKA: Emmy || Often found: Probably just Kappi HQ in Windsor with my two dogs Winston and Poppy. I’m a bit of a work-a-holic || Listening to: Anything on Triple J || Whilst sipping: A soy matcha latte || Passionately discussing: Climate Change. My most talked about topic with anyone || And working on: Developing new alternatives to single-use plastics.
How did your journey with sustainability begin?
We were both raised to be quite Eco-friendly, but our love of animals and the environment inspired us both to go vegan. Learning about the environmental impact of that change really inspired us to do more and more.
What was the spark that led you to launch a brand focussed on ending plastic pollution?
A few years ago, my husband Freddie and I were working on bringing out a range of sustainably sourced and manufactured yoga goods to the market. I’m a yoga teacher (when I have time) and saw a need for more environmentally friendly products.
During this process, we saw the first season of The War on Waste and saw an opportunity for us to make an even bigger difference using our newfound knowledge of e-commerce, logistics and manufacturing. We wanted to create products that we would be proud to carry around with us everywhere, so you could say that Kappi was started to fill our own desire for affordable, gorgeous and functional reusables.
How's the ride been thus far? Is there anything that you didn't expect when you first kicked off?
It’s been a huge learning curve - Google has been our best friend. We’ve come across many challenges in our journey thus far, however, our biggest hurdle has been the use of plastic throughout the supply chain. We’ve vowed to not use any plastic and where possible use minimal and environmentally friendly packaging to ensure the product arrives to the customer with as little waste as possible. Going even further, we have worked really closely with our own suppliers to ensure plastic waste is minimised throughout the entire supply chain.
Our Metal Straws. I love a smoothie in the morning and really struggled to find one on the market that wasn’t packaged in plastic. So we decided to design our own.
What was the first product that you produced and why was this chosen first?
Central to the ethos of Kappi is a commitment to creating "beautifully-designed, incredibly functional and fairly-priced reusable alternatives to single-use plastics.". How does this influence the decisions that you make within the business?
Any new product we launch has to fulfil a purpose. We don’t want to create a product for product’s sake. It has to be easy to use and we have to be able to bring it to market for an affordable price. Then, of course, it has to be good for the planet and good for our health.
What would be your advice to people starting a journey towards minimising their plastic consumption?
It can be a really overwhelming process - there are so many things you can do! The best thing to do is to start small and go from there. You’ll start to think more about the things you buy and use and it’ll become second nature. It’s impossible to be 100% perfect all of the time, but it’s better to give it a go.
What are you most proud of?
The community we’ve created and the fact that we’re able to educate people on how to be more eco-friendly and reduce their waste!
Anything else you'd like to share?
One of my favourite quotes is: “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
You can find out more by checking them out on Instagram at @kappi.life or follow their blog for eco-tips, news and recipes at: https://www.kappi.com.au/blogs/kappi-life