Introducing one of our 2022 RISE UP finalists - Charlotte Greer, founder of veto. Based in Tauranga, veto. offers zero waste, multipurpose cleaning products to make sustainable living as accessible, practical and economic as possible. Products include washing powder, washing bars and cleaning products. All products are 100 per cent grey water safe, septic safe, compostable and handmade, formulated, designed and distributed by Charlotte.
How did the idea for veto. come about?
I had been studying a degree in economics focusing on sustainability/sustainable development and circular supply chains. At the end of my degree, the novelty of reading case studies about circular economies began to wear thin so I started applying the theory into real-life practice by making zero waste cleaning products for my flat. I started with my now infamous washing powder that’s both a laundry detergent and dishwashing powder in one! Fast forward to graduating, I was meant to be heading off on my big Kiwi OE in 2020 but ‘rona jumped in front of that plan, so I put the money I’d saved for travel into starting veto.
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love being able to be in control of my time and goals. The sense of pride that comes with problem solving and developing something new is amazing!
What has been your biggest challenge so far in your entrepreneurial journey?
Making sure I’m working to a realistic pace. It’s easy to see other small businesses’ successes or progress and assume you should be where they are or further along. Sure, business is competitive but it isn’t a race. I know what I want to achieve with veto. And I’ve established the steps I need to take to make it happen. Sometimes it's about sticking to your lane and not jumping the gun.
What’s a business highlight you’re proud of?
My branding! I have zero design expertise so creating the aesthetic for veto. all by myself (using Microsoft word, might I add) is an absolute win. On top of that, the packaging being 100 per cent compostable and circular. The soap wraps are made using excess from the paper bags that the powders come in and the labels are made using extra label paper from local businesses who were about to throw them out.
What or who inspires you?
What inspires me is the goal of reducing NZ households’ waste and toxins. I know that sounds fairly mundane but keeping on that path for the past two years has really helped with keeping veto on the right trajectory.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Get the pricing right, first.
Do you have any advice for female entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea that you think could be a business, I suggest creating a start-up savings account where you can begin to grow your seed capital. Having some money from the start is the best place to begin.
How do you unwind?
I unwind with watching TV shows. There’s nothing better than finishing a day with an episode, or 10!
What three things can’t you live without?
My headphones, music and coffee!
If you won RISE UP, what would you use the money for?
I would expand the production of veto to make it more accessible to Kiwis nationwide.