Digital Solutions Success Story: moss & pear

September 11, 2023

Less than four years ago, Fiona Caie was an IT support office worker with a passion for the environment and a fear of running her own business.

Now, she is a successful entrepreneur and founder of moss & pear - an online Zero Waste Products Store creating planet-friendly and sustainable products for homes across Australia and New Zealand.
How did she make the first leap?

“Feeling a bit jaded with office life I decided to follow a dream and get involved in a passion of mine; fighting the climate crisis, reducing plastic waste, and hoping to be part of the change,” Fiona explained.

“For years, I’ve been conscious of the damage plastic is doing to our planet. I have always used soap bars, refusing to buy the single use hand wash and shower gel bottles. The possible toxic contents also bothered me, and I have always sought out natural alternatives for skincare. Another thing that really irked me was the soap bar going mushy. I recalled a device from my youth that kept bars dry between use, a magnetic soap holder.”

After only finding ‘cheap and nasty’ plastic options available, Fiona decided to take matters into her own hands and design her own device.

“The Sustainable Timber Magnetic Soap Holder was born in mid-2019 with the help of a local woodworker. We now have two designs and make them ourselves in the garage, with my husband doing the wood-cutting and me completing the rest of the process.”

Moss & pear also sells products from other Australian businesses who align with their core values. Determined to keep her carbon footprint low whilst supporting local businesses, Fiona loves being able to work with products she ‘100% believes in’.

“I can’t say that about any of my previous workplaces. The decisions - good and bad - are my responsibility. I’m accountable, and therefore more focused and careful with all aspects of the business. This can be very empowering and satisfying - as well as frightening.”

Since launching a mere few weeks before COVID-19 took hold, moss & pear’s digital strategy has been ‘a moving target’.

“Where I saw the business going initially was revised and reconfigured to suit the ever-changing e-commerce environment. A personality trait of mine is to follow my nose, and I like to ensure there is a smidgeon of that mystery in the business too; without taking big risks of course!”

Moss & pear uses a variety of online platforms including Shopify, Creator Studio, Trello, Klayvio, Canva, Instagram and Facebook. As a first-time business owner, Fiona was very happy to find the Digital Solutions Program.

“Fear of running my own business was the main reason I joined the program, if I’m totally honest. I wanted to be armed to the teeth with skills to succeed. I’ve self-taught myself a lot online, but asking questions isn’t an option with those courses. Being part of the Digital Solutions program gave me validation to continue, as I met others who were in a similar position to me. I didn’t feel alone!”

Fiona completed a number of courses within the program, including Grow your Business on TikTok, Where to Start with SEO and How to Create and Plan Content for your Business. “I’ve learned so much from each one. Some gave me insights that overwhelmed me such as marketing! But this process made me realise we’re all human and can’t be great at them all.”

“Reaching out to real people helped me realise that running a business isn’t as glossy as social media would make you believe. Real people, real conversations and getting examples of how others have failed or succeeded are so important. Being able to ask questions in real time is invaluable. Having the ongoing webinar support is fantastic too.”

Would Fiona recommend the Digital Solutions Program to entrepreneurs and business owners?

“Absolutely, yes. I still watch older webinars as a way of re-training myself. There is a fabulous wealth of knowledge available to anyone who wishes to explore it.

“I’ve learned and grown in so many ways.”

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