Lizette Smook, Innovasians, The Story Exchange, Environmental ProductsYour Name: Lizette Smook

Business Name: Innovasians Ltd, a biodiversity solutions provider 

Type of Business: Environmentally friendly products

Business Location: Hong Kong, China

Twitter @sustaintologist

Reason for starting
I wanted to make a difference! I wanted to create an impact with scale. Human health is at stake if we continue to consume the way we consume. The toxicity of what we do and the volume of what we do is not sustainable. By investing in technology and converting these to commercialised products that are human health friendly and environmentally friendly – there is impact on the environment and on human health and that is paramaount as both these are critical going forward. I was sick with the mass fashion industry working with cheaper and cheaper labour in country after country to make more and more profit with lower and lower prices resulting in more and more wastage…

How do you define success?
Achieving your dream! living and setting out doing what you intend doing and living and eating and breating this with such enormous passion that there is incredble satisfaction when you achieve your dream. I gave up a highly paid profession to live what I dreamt about. It is not easy to start all over after voluntarily giving up stability. It is hard and lonely and you are alone to blame for the mistakes made. Yet to see the dream through and NOT give up is the road to what you want to achieve and seeing the dream realize and making progress albeit not always as fast and progressive as you would like – getting there !!

Biggest Success
Starting the business before the biggest economic meltdown I look back on now and this was not set out to be a success but I made it through the global economic meltdown with a total green/new approach that was totally doomed – and I made it! Getting through to blue chips on my portfolio today to make them conscious and aware of the health aspects of what we do and at the same time the environmental impact and supplying to them has been an enormous contributor to succeeding. Seeing your message and your brand gaining support on social media gaining more and more ground has been my biggest achievement

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
Great ideas and great concepts lead to great products and great clients. To get scale and impact the largest challenge was to get a global distribution network. The market in Hong Kong is minutely small and Asia is not that large either? How to create an awareness of my products and find a need for my products globally was daunting. Getting to work on social media and finding candidates to approach and then interview and then physically visit face to face has been costly and a large task, but critical in getting global distribution network in place to up the volumes and increase turnover and sales.

Who is your most important role model?
Yvon Chouinard – the Founder of Patagonia retail who lives by – ‘Everyday I cared about the environment, I have made money’ Despite being early for his time in converting plastic bottles that are recycled into garments – he built a very successful brand and never deviated from his goals. A retail business built on a dream and a vision, while caring about the environment and resources.