Saloni Doshi is passionate about treating the planet with respect and working to reduce our global carbon footprint. Which is why she decided to quit her day job and start running her business EcoEnclose full time four years ago. Since then the Louisville, Colorado-based entrepreneur has worked to grow the sustainable packaging company a little bit everyday. EcoEnclose provides earth-friendly packaging alternatives and sustainable shipping products to e-commerce businesses. Because Doshi believes that the buck on climate change stops with us – and we should all be working towards ways to preserve the liveability of this planet.
Doshi’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
EcoEnclose was started because the founder of Thirsties (a cloth diaper brand) was irate that she had to ship her zero waste products in virgin, single use plastic that would be thrown away. This launched a search for, and ultimately the development of, innovative, sustainable packaging solutions that allow progressive brands to ship products in ways that align with their values. Our first product was a recycled poly mailer, which is now 100% recycled, 50% post consumer resin, and recyclable. We have expanded into over 200 shipping solutions, almost all of which are 100% recycled, recyclable and many of which utilize cutting edge packaging designs or technology.
My main definition of success surrounds growth. When I look back on a day or a week, the questions I think about are “What did I learn?” “What challenges did I face, how did I overcome them, and did they make me stronger, more knowledgeable, smarter, kinder, more empathetic?” In our warehouse, we have Albert Einstein’s quote posted on the wall, “The power of compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.” This is a daily reminder that if we simply focus on getting better, in ways large or small, every day, we will be astounded at what we can accomplish over time. The second definition of success for me is how I influence those around me – my employees, my kids and husband, our customers. If I can inspire others — to be their best self, to get through a struggle and be stronger as a result, to run their business more sustainably, etc – those are tremendous victories for me.
It’s a cliche but the times I feel most successful are when I step back and observe my family at their best. Our three kids being curious, adventurous, and engaged with the world. My husband and I being present in our time together and with our kids. Our entire family experiencing new things together. These moments feel fleeting, but they fuel me for a long time.
Professionally, I am most proud of my decision to make EcoEnclose my full time career. For several years, I was balancing EcoEnclose with a steady job in sustainability consulting. Balancing the two left my family more financially stable, but me emotionally drained. Taking the leap was risky and scary, but necessary so I could give the company (and its customers and our employees) my all. I’ve grown so much since then! I have a greater comfort with risk and uncertainty, I have a more laid back attitude towards errors, and recognize that decisions that seem fraught and insurmountable are actually opportunities and gifts.
As with many inventory-heavy businesses that need to manage the gap between payables and receivables, we are constantly balancing the tension between our rapid growth rate and our cash reserves. Addressing this challenge takes a combination of tempering our growth rate when we need to, working with manufacturing partners on their lead times and terms, and seeking out affordable debt. Its an ongoing battle!
My second challenge is balancing work and life. I co-own and operate my business with my husband. At times, this is a huge gift. I love problem solving with him and find that our professional partnership makes us better co-parents as well. But when business is tough or we disagree at work, it comes home and affects our marriage and our kids. This is the type of challenge that doesn’t ever “get addressed” but with every “low period” we learn more about each other and ourselves, and try to approach the next set of issues more productively.
My goal for my business is to become the go to resource and partner for e-commerce businesses who seek to operate and ship sustainably. To become an ecologically net positive business by 2030. This would be achieved not through carbon offsets but by a systematic focus on the materials we use, the way we operate and how we transport our goods. A small example of this is that we are working with Living Ink Technologies to offer algae ink to our customers. Algae Ink has been shown to be carbon negative (i.e. it captures more carbon than is needed to produce it). To double the size of our business every two years. To bring to market 10 more sustainable packaging innovations in the next three years. Perhaps most importantly, to be a workplace that enables our people to thrive and grow.
I don’t have a single most important role model. I tend to be generally in awe of other people and “take” some insight or inspiration from everyone I am around and famous people I read about. With my closest friend, I admire her follow through. In my oldest son, I admire his intense focus in a task. In my husband, I admire how at ease he is in his own skin. In my father, I admire his incredible intelligence and patience. And then those people who are larger than life! How could anyone not be inspired and humbled by Malala’s fearless activism or Rachel Carson’s mind for research and willingness to be one of our first eco crusaders? I could go on for days! When making decisions, dealing with hardship or setting goals, I tend to think about the folks I know or have read about to help focus and inspire my actions and attitude.