Smart Cookie: Rachel Sebastian, Founder Of Zilch - Ecobuy
1) Could you tell us a little about yourself and what’s your business about?

I’m a Brand Designer from NZ, and I’ve always been a very keen traveller. Lived in London for 10 years, and now sunny Sydney, travelling through 53 countries along the way! I love creating brands that care about people, the planet and the responsibility to do good.

I created Zilch after my frustration trying to find truly zero waste alternatives. We sell curated boxes of zero waste products online. Helping you make a big impact through small changes in your daily routine. I wanted the whole process of buying a box to be really simple. All the products are carefully vetted and curated by me, so you can be confident that it’s the best for you, and the planet.

2) Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
My (very cheeky) toddler is my alarm clock, and she goes off around 7am every day. Me and my husband spend about an hour with her in the mornings, prepare her breakfast and have some family time. Sometimes she’s all giggles, other times it’s food fights haha. I walk her to daycare, then try to fit in some yoga before getting stuck into things. After that it’s shower, smoothie then sofa with my laptop, and I’ll see what my priorities are for the day.

Zilch-zero waste bathroom box

3) Why did you choose to go sustainable and eco-friendly?
I heard about the great pacific garbage patch and honestly it just blew my mind. I then spiralled down an internet rabbit hole, and before I knew it I was hearing about microplastics in everything, and once my eyes were open to it, it’s all I could see! In NZ we’re raised to be “tidy kiwis”, and it’s something I still really keep to heart. It just felt like there was soooo much we could change, and I wanted to start somewhere and see what difference I could make in our house. It took a few months, but honestly our waste is so much lower now, and we’re looking for ways to reduce it even more every day.
4) What was the hardest part of starting your own business?
For me, the timing was really difficult. Covid had just hit and there was a serious illness in the family so I wasn’t sure if we would need to go to the UK, so deciding whether to actually commit and launch when I did was a difficult decision. But potentially there is never the “right” time, life isn’t a perfectly simple path, there will always be some sort of hiccup or obstacle that could lead to never actually taking the leap and starting a business. I think it’s important to just commit, work through any challenges along the way and learn from it.

zero waste products

5) One book and/or documentary everyone should read/watch? Why?
There’s two documentaries I have to mention as they’re both really important to my journey. One is Minimalism; I feel strongly about being more mindful of our consumption and watching it will really make you question what’s important to you. The second is A Plastic Ocean; it shows just what impact plastic is having on our beautiful environment. It was crazy to see how much plastic they pulled out of a dead birds stomach — they compared it to the equivalent of 12 pizzas worth of plastic stuck inside a human’s stomach!

zero waste products

6) Best piece of advice you have ever received?
I heard this recently, but it really resonated. Find something that you feel passionate about and just start doing something. Start creating, start talking about it, just do something small, taking it step by step. Don’t let that self doubt set in, and at some point the momentum has taken you past the point from a potential idea to something that is actually happening. So whatever it is that you can’t stop thinking about, just do it. Start today.