After leaving a role in Digital Transformation and Technology, Mikaela King was looking to turn her passion into a career and build a business from the ground up. As she embarked on her own eco journey, she launched The Unwaste. Together with support from The Enterprise Hub, Mikaela has successfully launched and grown her business – all during a global pandemic.
How Mikaela started out
After taking redundancy from her digital role in fashion retail, Mikaela wanted to find something she really cared about and turn it into a business where she could work for herself.
At the same time, Mikaela had been making eco swaps and other changes at home to reduce her impact on the environment. But she found it difficult to find eco-alternatives to everyday household cleaning products that all came in plastic bottles.
Mikaela realised that other people must be struggling with the same thing and the idea for The Unwaste popped into her head. By offering eco-friendly milkman style refills of plant based, vegan household cleaning liquids, she could help other people take a step towards curbing climate change, conveniently and easily.
While Mikaela already knew a fair amount about business and marketing, she didn’t have a lot of confidence in herself as an entrepreneur. She started promoting her business on Facebook and Instagram and had some success, but soon she reached the limits of her social circle and things slowed down. That was when a friend suggested she contact The Women’s Organisation.
How the Enterprise Hub helped
Mikaela contacted The Women’s Organisation and was connected with the Enterprise Hub programme. The programme gave her access to a host of business planning and finance courses, as well as one-to-one support from Jacqueline Daley, a Senior Business Adviser. Having Jacqueline there to reach out to really helped Mikaela feel supported when she was taking steps to start her business.
“Jacqueline put me at ease straight away and listened to my situation and my idea and helped me put down some next steps and a plan to move forward. All the sessions were really enjoyable and gave me the chance to meet other likeminded people in a similar situation, some of which I kept in touch with.”
Jacqueline suggested that Mikaela should network more to grow The Unwaste. She was nervous about reaching out to other businesses in case they saw her as competition, but Mikaela pushed herself out of her comfort zone and made lots of connections with other small business owners and local support networks.
How the business has grown
Mikaela has now successfully launched and grown The Unwaste, despite the challenges of the pandemic. The advice and support of the Enterprise Hub has helped Mikaela face these challenges and plan for the future of her business. Since launching in May 2020, The Unwaste has expanded across Liverpool and Wirral. Mikaela has also expanded her range of products.
Eco-business is a new and fairly unknown sector – but it is one that will only become more important as companies and consumers adapt for the future. Making people think about how they can switch to more eco-friendly habits is right at the heart of Mikaela’s business.
“I am hopeful The Unwaste is helping to force the change in consumer behaviour that’s much needed, albeit a very small contribution to a very large problem. My vision is to increase awareness of the problem, being a catalyst of change towards more conscious consumerism.”
Mikaela has big plans for The Unwaste – she will be going beyond refills and adding some other eco-friendly products to her range soon and is in touch with businesses who would like to use and sell her products.
Although the pandemic might put people off starting a business right now, Mikaela is an example of what aspiring entrepreneurs can achieve with the right support and confidence in their idea and themselves.
“I’ve come to recognise that entrepreneurs come in all different shapes and sizes and there is so much you have to discover, learn and do during the business start-up process I’ve realised I am more capable than I give myself credit for – one of the many things I’ve discovered about myself during this process.”