Interview with Founder Joel & Anita On How They Run a Conscious Family Business
If you ever met Joel and Anita, you would know that keeping things small, impactful, and within the community is their motto when it comes to business.
While you might never shop Sun & Earth in fast-consumerism stores, you will, however, always come across a handful of passionate people on a Sunday morning at your local market.
Since 2016, Joel and Anita have run Sun & Earth from home, with a little help from family and friends. And between handmaking zinc cream, shipping orders, and travelling across states to attend markets, running this small business from home has been a journey. Add to that a farm, a toddler, and a cancer that led to physical impairment, and you start to wonder in awe how this little family is able to do it all.
Today, Joel and Anita share a snippet of what it’s like to run Sun & Earth.
Making Your Tinted Zinc Cream Sustainably
Sustainability is at the heart of Sun & Earth, so it made sense for Joel and Anita to limit their carbon footprint during the making of the tinted zinc cream.
“At the beginning of Sun & Earth, Joel was manufacturing our Tinted Zinc Cream on his own from home. But when the orders started booming, we bribed our friends with pizza, beers, and banters for help. Today, because of Joel’s impairment, we do welcome extra hands regularly when it comes to manufacturing. However, our process remains the same”.
“Between melting, mixing, pouring, and packing, one tinted zinc cream is touched 9 times. We’re so proud to offer a product that is so lovingly handmade”.
“As we make our zinc cream from home, we have installed solar panels in order to limit the energy consumption of our manufacturing process. Each tin is powered by the sun and packed into reusable tins. We want to make sure to limit our business’s carbon footprint in any way we can”.
“Each week, we spend time visiting our local beeswax farm and health shops to source our organic ingredients. We always work with the same suppliers because for us, maintaining these relationships is important. Plus, it allows us to trust the high quality of each oil, butter, and oxide that goes into our product”.
Adapting Work To Fit a Physical Impairment
While we’ll save Joel’s story for another post, his cancer and the physical impairment that came with it has required some adaptation - both in the home office and the workflow.
“Living and working in a 2 story house makes it that we ultimately have to go up and down the stairs. But with Joel’s mobility issues, carrying orders and tin boxes became a challenge. To make things easier on both of us, we installed a power winch-pulley that brings things up and down the stairs for us”.
“Along with that, when something needs to be carried, we do it together and stay super conscious of our position. Joel walks forward, and I walk back. It took a lot of talking and a few falls to figure it out all, but I think now we got it figured out”.
Managing a Business Consciously
Like any small business owners, Joel and Anita’s schedule is varied. Yet, between taking care of their toddler Heath and the handful of animals on their Lismore farm, they make a point to keep a sustainable balance between their home life and their business.
“With Sun & Earth, we spend most of our time keeping up with manufacturing, printing shipping labels, adding stickers to our tins, and dropping orders to the post office. Sourcing ingredients and keeping track of our product stocks also takes a chunk of our time, but we love it”.
“When Heath takes his nap, I jump onto our emails and tackle customer and stockists inquiries. I also stay in touch with our freelance team, putting in place new ideas for our social media, our website, our market stands, and everything in-between”.
“When it comes to shipping orders, we go to the post office by bicycle. After his surgery, we were surprised by how quickly Joel was able to get back onto the bike. We invested in electronic bikes, which makes it easier for both of us. Plus, it is nice to be able to limit our business footprint”.
“There’s nothing that we love more than running an eco-friendly business, advocating for the environment, and spending our downtime with nature and our community. That’s what Sun & Earth is all about”.