Interview: Meet HeyJute

HeyJute is a Canadian company specializing in eco-friendly products made of jute material
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Like to Try New Things? How about "Jute" 

HeyJute is Canadian team of creative individuals from various backgrounds. HeyJute is offering extremely unique eco-products because they noticed that the market  was saturated by mundane, synthetic,and oftentimes toxic "assembly-line" type products. Jute is a long, soft, shiny plant fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads and can make everything from bags to guitar straps. Jute is 100% biodegradable,  recyclable, eco-friendly and is a veggie fiber! 

As a leading successful business HeyJute believes in their products without compromising their morals. Making a positive difference and empowering disadvantaged women to help themselves. The branded line of products are made by self-help women's group in India.  Women ranging from extremely poor, no education, single, widowed or living in violent domestic situations. Together all these women share a passion  for financial freedom to sustain themselves and their families, and to be free. 

HeyJute believes in love, music. and peace. "We choose to enhance our lives by working on our own terms. We choose to make it better. We hope that you choose to help us!"

Interview: Meet HeyJute

BG:  What are the things that make your business unique and sustainable? 

HJ: The thing that stands out the most about why we are unique is that we live and breathe the concept of marrying sound ethical practices to corporate profitability. So what does that mean?  We believe that in this day and age, it is not only possible, but also critical, that companies not compromise ethics for profit.  We believe that we can offer hand-made, eco-friendly products at the same price as mass produced plastic based products.  We believe that we can contribute to an organization such as Child Rights & You, make a difference in people's lives, while still maintaining healthy profits. We believe that we can offer products and practical solutions for every-day life, that are made of materials that are renewable without a cost to our planet.  That is what HeyJute stands for ... the marriage of ethics and corporate profitability ... if we can do it, so can large corporations.

BG: How did your business get started and when?

HJ: HeyJute started 8 years ago when I went to India for other business reasons. The iPod had just come out and I wanted to make cases for iPods and sell them in North America. I put feelers out to manufacturers and was exploring metal cases when one day an amazing lady come to my office and told me about her Women's Self Help Group that made products out to Jute.  Being of East Indian origin and having been born in Calcutta, I knew about Jute and saw my Grandparents use Jute bags for every day shopping. I then realized that it was pretty much unknown in North America. The closest thing was Burlap fabric to wrap tree around in the winter time to protect them.  Well, I trusted this woman's energy and lent her my iPod for a few days so she could make a prototype case for it.  Three days later, she came back with the most beautiful iPod case I'd ever seen.

BG: What was your passion/belief for a sustainable business?

HJ:  I immediately wanted to meet these amazing women and wanted to learn more about this Self Help Group. Well, I fell in love with it all, and it soon became a passion of mine to show people in North America, the amazing talent and dedication these women exuded.  We then worked together to design and create every day use products but made out of this natural plant fiber that is so good for our planet.  Fast forward 8 years, and we now have an assembly unit here in Canada, where we finish our products, we supply Jute bags to super markets (so that people don't use plastic throw away bags), we offer unique hand-crafted every day products to the market with thousands of happy clients!

BG: Why buy local?

HJ:  Buying local is paramount for so many reasons.  Supporting local businesses keep the economy alive. The statistic I elude to in question 5 is relevant.
The benefits of owning your own business.  By owning your own business, you keep control. That's the bottom line overall benefit that trickles down to so many other aspects.  You decide what practices to adhere to and what to avoid. You control the speed at which decisions are implemented, you decide the pricing of your service or product ... and you become part of the very brand you started.  Your company IS you and you are your Company!

BG:  What are the benefits of owning your own business?

HJ: As of December 2010, there were 1,138,761 registered employer businesses in Canada. Of that number, 1,116,423 of them were small businesses. That's 98% of all the employers in Canada.  So, what would happen to our economy if we removed 98% of the businesses in our country?  The question is synonymous to "why is water important?" :)


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