Futureminded Founder Q&A: Tony Small
Decent Packagaing are helping turn the tide on plastic pollution by creating food packaging that's made entirely from plants. We asked founder Tony Small about what inspired the business, how he makes time for himself and what's next for Decent Packaging.
Name: Tony Small
Disruptor Brand: Decent Packaging
Founded: in 2013 in New Zealand as Innocent Packaging
Parent Company: Innocent Packaging
What inspired you to create decent packaging?
Back in 2013, I read that there would be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050. I love the ocean and had been working on yachts in France and was returning to New Zealand. I thought at the time - and still believe - that the only way we're going to impact the vast majority is by simplifying sustainability, making it so easy for them to be sustainable that they almost don't have to think twice. Our mission is to make packaging from plants, transforming disposable food packaging into an industry beyond oil.
What are the brand values and promises you stand behind? How did you challenge the status quo and disrupt conventional wisdom? How did you set your brand apart?
We were the first packaging company in Australasia to only produce packaging made from plants. Most packaging companies use both plant materials and oil to produce their range of products. We're also one of the only packaging companies in the world to be carbon neutral. We offset all of our carbon each year and work hard to find solutions to reduce our carbon in the first place.
What’s next for decent packaging?
We're very focused on the UK market. It's an exciting market with huge potential. We're also keen to partner with waste management companies to help our customers solve the challenges around recycling and diverting their waste. We've recently partnered with First Mile and will be launching a collection network in East London in October.
What were the big lessons you learned in your first year as a business?
When I founded the company I didn't think titles mattered. I soon learned they did after giving the wrong people the wrong title.
Give us a quick insight into a day in your life?
I'm normally up just before 6am, starting my day with 40 minutes in the gym before 10 minutes of meditation. I get to the office at 7:30am, with my first meeting normally at 8am with our NZ office or team here in the UK. I then spend the rest of the day meeting with current and potential customers.
My day normally finishes around 7pm and I try to stay offline for a good hour before bed otherwise I don't sleep. I've learned that business is a marathon, not a sprint so this year I've tried to make sure I'm doing personal things for my body and mind to put me in the best position to tackle each day.
What’s your personal mantra?
Be kind and be mindful of your ego. We all have an ego and it can very quickly get in the way of business and good relationships if we're not careful.
What’s your favorite self-care activity?
The gym, it's one of the only times in my day when I'm without my phone or laptop. I think exercise is more important than brushing your teeth, but brushing your teeth is a close second.
What’s your favorite book?
This year, The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, although Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins is a close second.