An interview with Maya Ramnarine of Earth2U Products.
Describe your business.
Earth2U Products is an eco-friendly business located in the Quinte region that offers a sustainable alternative to plastic produce bags. Our cotton mesh reusable produce bags are packaged in sets of 6 (3 large and 3 small) for $20.
I was inspired to start Earth2U Products after my experience working as a cashier at Marc’s No Frills. I was shocked at how much plastic was being used by customers. I started researching and discovered that plastic produce bags are a huge contributor to the plastic crisis. I felt compelled to find a more sustainable solution and sourced out a cotton mesh reusable produce bag. This is where Earth2U Product’s journey began!
What brought you to the region?
I was born and raised in the Belleville area. My parents co-own a business and serve clients in the Quinte region. They raised my brother and in this wonderful community we call home.
What makes the Bay of Quinte a good fit for your business?
A lot of people residing in the Bay of Quinte area are conscious of their eco-footprint. This region is a beautiful area with so many outdoor spaces to enjoy. Many residents want to do the best they can to find simple everyday ways they can contribute to reducing plastic waste. Earth2U Products provides a sustainable solution for local residents to help minimize their plastic usage and work together to preserve our environment.
What was the hardest thing about starting a business?
The hardest thing I found about starting Earth2U Products was sourcing out a product that was truly eco-friendly. Many of the reusable produce bags currently on the market are made from polyester which is not biodegradable and some contain plastic which defeats the purpose of reducing plastic waste. Our bags are 100% cotton mesh, washable, and biodegradable which minimizes the impact on our environment.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs in the area?
It’s important to create a financial plan before you begin to market your product or service. By calculating your profit margin and break-even points, it will be easier for you to track your progress and meet your business goals.
What surprised you about starting a business in a smaller community?
When I first started Earth2U Products, I was surprised at the amount of support I received and how many resources were available for local entrepreneurs in the Belleville region. Hearing all of the positive feedback from customers and other entrepreneurs motivated me to continue to work hard and spread the word of my goal to reduce plastic waste.
How have you changed your operations during the pandemic?
Prior to the pandemic, the majority of sales were generated from local events and markets I participated in throughout the community. Now, I have been selling these reusable produce bags through our website and other retail locations such as Rose’s Refillery and Kimberly’s Deja Vu Boutique.
It was challenging for me to navigate my business throughout the start of quarantine because many grocery stores were not allowing customers to bring their own bags so there was no demand for my product. As places begin to open up again, grocery stores are now allowing customers to bring their own bags so I’m happy to announce that Earth2U Products is back up and running!
What is something good that has come from this difficult situation?
As a result of the pandemic, there have been reduced carbon emissions due to a lack of travel and significantly less waste as people are only buying what they need. I think it’s important to be aware of our own environmental impact and how we can continue living sustainably after COVID-19.
If you were to have one word tattooed on you, what would it be?