Rita and Nikolai Ushakov are raising three children and, of course, want them to live in a healthy and environmentally friendly environment, eat natural products. “Our family has been adherents of conscious consumption from the very beginning. We follow the “right” way of life, we want to live in walls that do not emit harmful substances, dress in things that do not harm the body,” says Rita Ushakova. But, as the classic said, one cannot live in society and be free from it. And therefore it is necessary to improve this quality of life as much as possible. Therefore, the Ushakovs, daily faced with how young people drink coffee from plastic cups, thought about how to replace harmful packaging. Create your own small business and pass it on to your children in the future.
– Paper, eco-friendly packaging as a mass-consumption product will only develop and displace non-ecological plastic, – Margarita is sure. – Now in Russia this problem is already being discussed at the legislative level.
Initially, the idea of producing disposable bags and caps from corn starch was considered, but then it was abandoned, since demand for such a product in Russia has not yet been formed. We decided to occupy a more popular niche – the production of paper disposable bags and lids made of biodegradable material for hot and cold drinks. Drinking coffee from a cup with such a lid is not harmful to health, which cannot be said about plastic lids. After all, when in contact with hot water, plastic releases toxic substances that enter the body together with coffee.
The responsibilities were distributed simply: the husband – the head of the family – became the general director, the wife – his deputy and chief accountant, and concurrently remained the keeper of the hearth. All decisions are made together, on the family council. I must say, the Ushakovs are not new to business. We tried out in the service sector – we developed and created custom-made websites, organized events. It took two years to develop a new direction. The regional entrepreneurship support agency “My Business” helped with consultations on accounting, preparation of the company’s business plan.
We calculated financial indicators and built an economic model, consulting with experts. We studied the market, went to thematic exhibitions, got acquainted with the products of the main players. And when they started implementing their project, they immediately “turned on” the multitasking function: they had to deal with the main issues in parallel. One of them was the search for a room.
Despite the apparent availability of places for rent (after all, many entrepreneurs release them during the crisis period), there were very few premises suitable for new production.
– We had clear requirements for the temperature regime, power grid мощности�, the size of the loading and unloading area, even the quality and coating of the floors. We also considered the availability of access roads for Eurofour, as well as the possibility of holidays to pay rent,” the entrepreneurs said. – It was with such characteristics that we picked up a place for production, a room of 400 square meters near the regional center. Rent costs an average of 500 rubles per square meter.
At the same time, they were looking for a supplier of raw materials – exclusively eco-friendly: it was supposed to be paper obtained either from waste paper or from cellulose. We found domestic producers of raw materials with high-quality material. This is a big plus: the company will not depend on the exchange rate. The third task, which has also been solved, is the search for equipment for the production of paper bags. We have signed a contract with a Chinese factory for the supply of an automated production line. The condition was the replacement of all key nodes with nodes of Japanese, American, French and Taiwanese manufacturers. So the line was very expensive. The equipment was delivered by a logistics company, this is a significant expense item, which includes transportation through China, customs clearance, insurance, transportation through Russia, unloading and loading operations. The equipment finally arrived – on November 22, its acceptance began.
“My business” helped not only with consultations. “We received financial support as a new company at a minimum of one percent per annum, and even with a deferred payment on the main debt for six months. These are very loyal conditions. They also provided comfortable working places in the New Rostov coworking, where we were located before the opening of our production.”