Why I took the leap to start an eco-friendly business.

I wasn’t always an environmentalist. In fact, I was far from one. I loved to shop and buy the latest fashions. I felt that instant hit of gratification whenever I would go out and find some unknown treasure. Shopping became a cathartic release. I think in part because I was dealing with so much happening in my life - both my parents had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and the days felt long and hard, but when I discovered something new it brought me a glimmer of joy and a sense of hope and opportunity.

5 years ago my parents passed away. It was a defining moment in my life. I was lucky enough to spend over a year with each of them, and as we made the most of every minute, relishing old memories and spending time to discuss our hopes for the future and our values, it unmistakably changed my perspective on the world.

In those discussions with my dad, we always dreamed of starting a new business together. Something that could leverage my marketing and product skills with his superior entrepreneurial skills and business acumen. My dad had endless drive, optimism and tenacity. He always said we could do anything we put our minds to, and that life was about taking calculated risks, putting yourself out there and creating the future you wanted. We started to explore new ideas. Unfortunately he passed away long before we could conceptualize this dream.

My mom, on the other hand, drew her motivation from a thirst for knowledge and a passion for nurturing people and the planet. She instilled in me a natural sense of curiosity and appreciation for nature, design, and the more simple pleasures of life. In the last year of her life we spent as much time outside in her garden, appreciating good food, painting and philosophizing on life. She was a true values-based leader and taught me the importance of composting, sustainable design, minimal consumption and the art of DIY-ing. 

It was through this loss and ability to re-look at my life that I felt compelled to do something bigger than myself. I started to evaluate my lifestyle, looking for ways to make small improvements that had some sort of positive impact on the next generation. That is how I came to find myself researching plastic waste, and the concept of living a more minimal, and lower impact life. I started bringing my own containers to bulk stores to refill, actively refusing bags and products that came in too much packaging, and shifting my purchases to smaller, local producers who provide products without the fluff.

It was through this journey that I started to see a need to support other people in reducing waste and making the adjustment to purchasing better quality, fewer products with less packaging.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I still like things to have an aesthetic appeal and fit into my busy lifestyle. There are many times when I turn to take out dinners and have to accept the amount of waste that comes with that. Our mission with starting Better Basics wasn’t to completely transform my entire existence, it was to develop some products that could seamlessly fit into my routine, bring me joy and contribute to less waste. It became very apparent as I started to get into my own plastic-free journey that this is not easy. There is also a lot of shame and guilt wound up in this industry, and so much room for developing joy out of the experience. The products and experience could be modernized, I thought. So that’s what we set out to do.

So here we are, introducing our new brand, Better Basics, built on the mission to impact the world for the better and help people reduce plastic waste. A personal honour to both my parents and their values, and my commitment to do my best to make better decisions every day.

-Sam Rayner