Hey Jayden, tell us a bit about yourself
I grew up in Wellington. When I was 18 and had just finished school, I was unsure of what I wanted to do, so I bought a 1-way ticket to London and travelled Europe for a year by myself. Once I got home, I still did not feel ready to settle into a career, so I went to University down in Dunedin. I got a Bachelor of Commerce and Applied Sciences, majoring in Marketing and Design. I finished half way through my fourth year, and needed to wait until the start of the next year to be able to apply for grad jobs. So, in the meantime, I moved to Wanaka to snowboard for the season.
I learnt one main lesson in a design lecture at university that has guided my life ever since. The lecturer explained that everything is design: Cars, buildings, cities, job descriptions, packaging, societal systems; everything. This means that when we come across a 'problem' in life, all that is needed is a redesign. A redesign to turn that problem into an opportunity. When you really grasp this, It gives you the power to turn negatives into positives.
One of my friends in my final year had a Nespresso machine in his room. During my time in Wanaka, I found myself pondering the system and the capsules. It did not take long to work out that there was a problem in the design. They were designed to be used for seconds and then go to landfill.
Two weeks before heading back to Dunedin to graduate, I had founded my first business, Honest Coffee, distributing the world's first compostable capsules for Nespresso machines into Australia and New Zealand.
What is For The Better Good?
For The Better Good is a road map to regeneration. We believe that we can design waste out of the system, and create a world where our existence regenerates our earth, rather than degenerating it.
We prove this through our own products, and then use our findings to assist other businesses to move beyond sustainability, and into regeneration.
What did your life look like growing up?
I have a few stories from my childhood that generally act as some quality surprises to friends. A couple of weird highlights - I was a childhood actor, the peak of my career probably came when I was chosen as the only New Zealander to audition to be Harry Potter. I had to have a knee operation when I turned 16 due to a rugby injury. This led me to take up Jet Ski racing, where I ended up winning the New Zealand Nationals in my class before getting sponsored and heading over to the USA for the World Finals where I came 8th.
Looking back, I guess I’ve always been a little unconventional in my thinking and have always sought out exciting life challenges and opportunities.
How did For The Better Good come about?
Honest Coffee made me realise two things:
1- A better material alone was not going to save us, we needed to build an entire new system. 2- We have a powerful message but, as not everyone drinks coffee or uses coffee capsules, so we are not reaching as many people as we need to. We need a louder voice as this affects everyone.
After having those realisations, I stood back from HC to work out a plan. While taking a drive from Auckland to Wellington, I was an hour in when I realised I forgot my reusable drink bottle. I pulled over to get a drink of water at a petrol station and, as I stood in front of the fridge, I felt a feeling of frustration and then confusion rise up within me. I needed water. I can't speak for everyone, but most of us humans do, yet my only option in this enormous fridge was to buy a bottle made from oil. I did not want to support the oil industry as I knew all of the destruction it brings to our environment. All I wanted for myself, and to be able to provide to others with, was a choice.
A choice not to support oil just because you need water. A choice not to buy something you’ll only use for days or hours, but instead buy it in a bottle that will outlive you and your kids (and grandkids..). The choice to buy something I can reuse and not just 'throw away', where it will inevitably end up in our ocean or landfill if not recycled. So, I set out to develop this choice. The brief was simple: take every negative plastic item, and redesign it into a positive.
Creating a plant-based plastic bottle, where do you even start?
You just start. You talk to as many people as you can who might be able to help. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and, eventually, it becomes clear. It also helps to not have any time expectations. If you never give up, you'll get somewhere. I thought I would have a product on the market after 6 months of R&D. 3 years later, we finally launched.
You are the founder of @forthebettergood_ + @edibleearth_ and co-founder of @buddyhempgoods, @nudesdrinks. Have you always considered yourself an entrepreneur?
Never. To be completely honest, for some reason the word makes me cringe a little. I don't know why.
Generally, I do what I do because it makes 100x more sense than what we are currently doing. If I get this feeling about something, and work out a better way to do it, I generally run it by people to sense check it. If they agree, at that point my motivation has grown and I don't feel like I have a choice but to do whatever I can to help make that change.
Any advice to someone starting out on a business journey in uncharted waters?
Just start. Aim for unchartered waters, this is where the magic is.
Don't waste time looking for something to do, trust that it will show up when the time is right, then just make sure you have the strength and passion to see it through. The best advice I would give after looking back is to commit until you feel like you’ve come too far to quit, because you will want to some days. You’ll want to give up right before something magical happens, so I find it easier just to take that choice away.
We always do our best work when we are backed into a corner.
Edited by Kate Broadley: