Table of contents
- Great Wrap
- Founders - Julia & Jordy Kay
- Based in Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne, Australia
- Started in 2019
- 2 founders, 15 employees (hiring as we speak)
Founderoo caught up with Julia and Jordy to find out the inspiring story behind Great Wrap and how they're changing the way Aussie's think about plastic.
This story is pretty remarkable and shows how working with passion and purpose can make a real difference.
Julia & Jordy, what's your backstory?
Jordy and I met on the roof of a pub in Fitzroy on a sunny day in summer. He unofficially moved in with me straight away, and we never looked back.
I was working in architecture at the time, which had been a dream since I was little. Jordy lived in a cabin in the forest that he'd built where he had been making wine.
We both loved our lives and found beauty in creating beautiful experiences for people in our own way. From our first date, we knew we wanted to do something together. We talked about moving to Europe and crafting wine knives for a living. Safe to say that never panned out!
Before Great Wrap, we tried a few other businesses, including a wine label, cellar door + providore, and experiential dining events. None really took off, but it was a fantastic experience to share.
Tell us what your company does?
Great Wrap is changing the way we feel about plastic.
Today, millions of tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans, at the tops of our tallest mountains, and even consumed inadvertently at our dinner tables.
This waste highlights our current linear take-make-waste economy's inefficiencies, in which we continue to extract finite raw materials, leaving the value of existing materials unrealized.
Great Wrap is on a mission to remove the 150,000 tons of plastic stretch wrap sent to Australia's landfill each year.
Stretch wrap takes the form of cling wrap and pallet wrap. It's a wonderful product that has performed incredibly well for over 50 years for businesses and kitchens worldwide. It holds together millions of pallets freighted across the country each year and keeps just as many meals fresh.
We make an alternative product that allows consumer habits to remain whilst using feedstocks like food waste rather than petroleum-based products.
How did you come up with the idea?
We were sitting on a beach. The discussion at this point about what we would do together was a daily one. Jordy had just had a frustrating week of shipping wine around the world wrapped in plastic.
I had been working on a science building for a school. I'd chosen timber from a site I'd studied and followed it's milling process right through to the replanting. When I watched it roll up on-site covered in pallet wrap, I was blown away. We were just talking about it and decided, maybe we could fix this!
How did you come up with the name of the business?
We wanted to avoid using traditional "green" names. We wanted everyone to want to use Great Wrap, and sadly we realized that not everyone warmed to names like this in the way that we did.
We were texting names to each other back and forth for an intense hour (we were registering the company, and everything else had been filled out ). We both landed on Great Wrap simultaneously, and we haven't looked back.
How did you go about building the business?
We started off in the most naive way possible; we found a product that was (almost) what we wanted to produce and launched our MVP (minimal viable product).
Launching back then looked like us setting up a landing page and posting on our own personal social media accounts. We had no idea it would go so well.
Within weeks we were getting cold emails from Australia's largest supermarkets, wineries and even international airports. Fast forward to now, and we have our own patent-protected formula that we manufacture on the Mornington Peninsula.
Every step of the way has been a huge learning curve for us both, but feeling the support of the community our business has fostered is a fantastic driver.
What did you need to do for the launch?
When we first started, we had a basic brand identity, which I'd developed over a few late nights after work at the studio. It was miles away from what the brand looks like now, but it was something! We had a basic Squarespace web page and an Instagram account.
If you're looking to build an e-commerce brand, I would recommend going straight to Shopify - much more scalable!
How have you grown the business?
Great Wrap got a lot of organic press early on. In the startup world, this is a fairly traditional channel to focus on, but it has been great to build trust in our brand.
Word of mouth has also been fantastic. There's nothing better than talking to customers who have been recommended by friends or family. We are really keen to build a community around Great Wrap. This is an excellent affirmation that everything is going according to plan.
What have been some of your biggest failures along the way?
We've made a lot of mistakes along the way. When you've been making wine and designing buildings all your life, the world of biopolymers can throw you some curveballs that you're not prepared for.
The greatest thing about having your own business is that even when the problem you're facing feels like the end of the world, you still have to get up and go to work the next day.
We once had dinner with a mentor in manufacturing. He told us, "being an entrepreneur is like waking up every day and eating glass" This is 1000% not the case for us, but we do laugh about it often.
What’s your biggest selling product?
Our compostable cling wrap for home is our biggest seller at the moment. You can find it at www.greatwrap.co
What day to day digital tools do you use?
Shopify, Gmail, Slack, Wrike, Adobe, Instagram, Facebook, Notion, Zoom, Fathom and Klaviyo. The list goes on, but these are definitely our everyday touchpoints.
You might have noticed there isn't a lot of analytics going on here. We are running pre-orders at the moment, and this will change in about two weeks - stay tuned
What book has been a great inspiration to you as a founder?
There are so many amazing books great for founders. I enjoy reading as a break too. These are two I keep re-reading:
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
In praise of shadows by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki (unrelated to business but a fantastic read).
Anything you read, watch or listen to that help's you run your business?
At the moment, we 'e going through the Startmate program, so we are surrounded by an amazing family of mentors that both inspire and ground us.
We have always listened to 'How I built this' with Guy Raz. We are also suckers for watching Australian Story. My recent favourite was on regenerative farming with Charlie Massy.
What are the biggest pieces of advice you’d give to other founders?
Working with your partner is fun. We try to make separate time for work and home life. Some weekends we ban Great Wrap talk for a day and go for a long hike or a surf. The following morning we are bursting with ideas from the last 24 hours.
Meditate a lot - even if you're not focused, making the time is important.
Some great advice a mentor gave us when asked how to manage personal expectations on the business.
"The worst thing that could happen is that you just take a long holiday if it doesn't work out."
What keeps you up at night regarding your business?
At the moment, it's building a positive culture within our team. We're hiring at the moment and really want to create the framework for our team to get as excited as we are about our vision.
I can't wait to be in a position where I'm able to pay all the mentoring favours forward I've had throughout my career.
Have you ever felt like quitting, if so why?
At various points, we've both felt like quitting. Sharing this job with your partner means that most of the time, one of you is still 100% in and right there to give you a pep talk.
Personally, I felt most like giving up when I was still working a full-time architecture gig during the day and trying to help with Great Wrap as much as I could. I think with your own business, you really can't do things in halves.
What quote(s) do you live by?
Not really a quote, but whenever things are feeling a little rough, I find myself singing "It'll all work out" by Blake Mills.
In a few words what does it mean to be the founder of a business?
A lot of fun!
Where can people find out more about your business?