13 Oct #StandTall: Ziah Lane, founder of No Issues
This beauty is changing the world, one small step at a time. Or should I say one tissue at a time…
From studying design and branding to starting her own business that benefits not only the environment and future generations, Ziah tells us about her challenges (there are a few) and why we should all be using bamboo made tissues!
Name: Ziah Lane
Occupation: No Issues director/founder
Home city: Sydney
Social media handles / website: www.noissues.com.au, #noissuestissues
No Issues tissues is an all Australian owned business that creates toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towels and serviettes made from soft bamboo fibres instead of trees. It’s such a clever idea. Is it true you started because you want your children to grow up with trees?
Yes – deforestation is a huge problem for today and especially our future society.
Problem – Four billion trees per year get cut down for paper consumption. 27 Thousand trees PER DAY get cut down for toilet paper use alone.
We have the technology why wouldn’t we make 100% tree-free paper without sacrificing quality or paying any extra?
Solution? No Issues tissues. We are 100% tree-free tissues, toilet paper and paper towels made from renewable and sustainable bamboo. Bamboo is a grass that grows back in front of your eyes. We are the only premium truly environmentally friendly tissues product available in Australia.
How did you get to start a business like this? What is your background?
I worked in design and branding then went back to university to do my masters in Design to further my education. This where I created No Issues.
I presented the concept to Woolworths in 2011 – five years ago when I made a prototype No Issues tissue box for my final project for my masters in Design at COFA UNSW. The company was incorporated in 2012. We are now ranged nationally in Woolworths, Coles and Harris Farm.
Where are the products made and what are the major challenges you faced / face with making the product?
Where do I start!? Major challenges include: cash flow management, rapid growth and having to raise money at short notice. The juggling act of purchasing stock well in advance and balancing it with orders from the supermarkets that change weekly, whilst taking into account their extended trading terms. Being the disrupter brand competing with competitors’ huge marketing/advertising and price promotions budgets.
The products currently are made in China and the UK. With diversification of the range we have opportunities to manufacture all over the world.
You were crowned the major prize winner in The Australian Women’s Weekly/CPA Australia Women in Business Awards. Not too bad at all! It includes a $10k cash injection, free advertising and one-on-one mentoring from a panel that includes some of the best business brains in Australia. How did you feel when you found out?
This was one of the best moments I have ever experienced. I couldn’t believe I won the major prize. I felt all the hard work, persistence was all really worth it. I was really doing something to make a change for good and I was being acknowledged in front of the most inspirational woman I had ever met (I was mentored by Kelly O’Dwyer, who at time was minister for small business and assistant treasurer, Liberal politician and mum – amazing woman and inspiration to all of us)!
You said it took five years between the major supermarket chains loving your idea and it actually being sold in shops. How do you keep yourself motivated over such a long period?
Each small step is big and only seems small in hindsight. Therefore I have never had a lack of motivation. Complete love and obsession for the brand also keeps you motivated.
What does the future have install for No Issues tissues?
No Issues growth strategy is to sell to airlines, petrol stations, independent retailers, hotels and then to O/S markets. No Issues will develop the range of products focusing on innovative and environmental solutions for the modern day consumer.