It may seem like everyone has a cheeky little side hustle going on outside of their regular lives – and it’s true, we’re all trying to do our best to be absolute bosses both inside and outside of work – but not everyone can manage to create something that’s legitimately sustainable as well as being cool as heck.
Recently, Greater Bank did a massive search for some prime side hustles that deserved a little bit of a leg-up – and by “little bit” we mean a seriously epic $5K prize and some exclusive mentoring from Charlie Ercan (founder of Unique Muscle).
Two of the eco-friendly start-ups from that search are killing it in the sustainability game, and are basically serving as a reminder for us to sort ourselves out when it comes to both fast fashion and food wastage.
Because trust me, you do not wanna be the dodgy human who isn’t eco-friendly when the opportunity is totally there.
Friends Of Her
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First up is Tahnee Cook’s brainchild, Friends of Her – a totally sustainable and ethical fashion brand that seeks to not only look great, but also work in a charitable sense too.
“Friends Of Her is not in the business of fast fashion,” said Tahnee. “It was really important for me to create an ethical brand that focused on high quality and unique pieces … I wanted to create a brand that would empower individuality and sustainability.”
But as great as her designs are, it was also super important to Tahnee that the brand worked in a sustainable and ethical way behind the scenes as well – especially in terms of production and avoiding exploitation.
“I have an amazing woman in Thailand helping to bring to life my designs. The reason I chose Thailand is not only because I’m half Thai, but because I have a personal connection to social and ethical issues in the country. I wanted the brand to be about giving back, and helping support underprivileged women and children.”
So at its core, Friends Of Her is aiming to deck women out in great threads that actually mean something.
I think we can all safely say we’ve been responsible for indulging in a cheap fast fashion dress instead of actually buying smart, so let’s all not do that anymore, yeah?
I Am Grounded
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These legends are changing the game with a socially-minded (and frankly, delicious) enterprise: eliminating coffee fruit waste by making fruit bars.
Not gonna lie, I had never thought about coffee as having fruit before – obviously the beans come from somewhere, sure, but it just didn’t click. Turns out coffee farms tend to just turf the fruit away pretty wastefully, which is not what we’re about at all.
So we chatted to Vanessa and Lachlan from I Am Grounded about what they’re doing to combat the issue with their side hustle. The first hard truth we heard? The scale of it.
“Coffee fruit has had little innovation in terms of commercial usage,” said Vanessa. “Representing about 20 billion kilos of waste per year, or put into perspective about 0.2% of the worlds CO2 emissions.”
Yeah that’s a loooot of waste. When Vanessa’s father (a food scientist with a biotechnology background) developed a way to get the coffee fruit extracted into a liquid, it was the jumping start for her and Lachlan to turn it into something bigger.
“Being Colombian and coming from a coffee family, sustainability in coffee farming has always been a conversation on the table. When my father told me about the waste issue in coffee, the lack of transparency and the lack of empowerment coffee farmers face with such a volatile crop, I took to reading his research and started to get passionate about building a brand that is sustainably minded,” she said.
“Our goal is to empower coffee farmers by giving them an economic channel to which value their coffee fruit. From waste to empowerment, we’ve got big dreams in this space!”
Being part of the Greater Bank’s mentoring program is opening up a bunch of doors for both of these start-ups, having had mentoring from mega talented entrepreneur Charlie Ercan.
Charlie founded the company Unique Muscle with her partner Daniel Papanikolaou, with a focus on diet and fitness that has seen folks all over Australia getting fitter and drinking unicorn water (yep, you read that correctly).
By giving the above start-ups exclusive mentoring opportunities with Charlie, AND a seriously impressive $5K to give them a massive jump, you best believe that we’re gonna be seeing more of both I Am Grounded and Friends Of Her.
Excuse us while we flick through their Instagram feeds for some more sustainable inspo.Image: Instagram / @coffeefruitbar