Reduce Single-Use Plastics With Recyclable Kai Carrier Food Pouches

Photography: Kai Carrier

Kai Carrier are reusable food pouches that can be filled with homemade food so you know exactly what you and your children are eating whilst minimising the mess. Their pouches allow you to make nutritious food free of additives, preservatives and excess sugar and serve it in a convenient way, anywhere, anytime. All Kai Carrier pouches are reusable; BPA- PVC- and phthalate-free; freezable; dishwasher safe; microwavable; convenient; cost effective and recyclable. We spoke to business director Kylie Matthews to learn more about their thriving business. 

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?

When my oldest daughter was seven months old and starting on the solids journey I purchased a couple of single-use pouches of baby food from the supermarket to use when we were out and about. The pouches were super easy and convenient to use but against many of my principles. It was and still is extremely important to me to do anything I can to reduce mine and my family’s carbon footprint, and the single-use pouches create a large amount of unrecyclable waste. I also wanted to make all my daughter’s food, to ensure she was getting a nutritionally rich diet. I went searching everywhere for a reusable pouch I could put my own homemade baby food in, but couldn’t find one. So the idea for Kai Carrier was born and then the hard work started!

The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?

Coming from a social work background, my knowledge about how to start a business and get it up and running was thin on the ground! From when I first had the idea to create the pouches, to when I finally took steps to doing it, was probably about four months. I kept doubting myself and didn’t think that I had the capacity or ability to do it, but on the flip side I have never been one to shy away from a challenge.

As I toyed with the idea, one day I told myself that if I could come up with a name for the business then I had to do it! I knew that the name had to include Kai, as being called Kylie my nickname is Ky. It literally took me about 15 seconds to come up with Kai Carrier, so from then on I focused on making it happen.

I could not have gotten the business off the ground without help from my friends. I am fortunate to have a great group of friends who were more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise with me. From logo and website design, to helping me find someone to manufacture my pouches, this was all done with their assistance. It was pretty nerve-wracking to begin with – worrying about whether people would buy them, and if I could juggle a new enterprise with being a first-time mum. I am so pleased that I took the risk, as six years down the track I am loving being a small business owner!

The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?

In the first couple of years I worked with a few manufacturers who did not deliver on their promises. Finding a good reliable manufacturer took a bit of trial and error but I am very happy with the company I work with now. They consistently deliver good quality packaging, so having this peace of mind is great.

The popularity of the 140ml pouches made me realise that there is a growing demand for reusable sustainable packaging solutions, which has led me to expand the range to eight pouches or packaging alternatives.

Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?

Since I started the business I have had two more children so this is a challenge I face daily! I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home, so can get stuff done in the evenings after the kids are in bed, or while my youngest one sleeps during the day. However I often feel like there are never enough hours in the day to juggle everything I need to! I make the effort to turn off my emails and not answer the phone after 3 pm so that I can focus on the kids and their needs. I also try and get us out of the house and exploring the outdoors as much as possible so I don’t get sidetracked by work at home.

I have also started doing things for me again. This has been a long time coming, as for the past few years I have prioritized everyone in the family, and the business, ahead of my own needs. Getting back into regular exercise and yoga has done wonders for my well-being and I am able to be a better partner and mother because of it. I would encourage any working mother to take some guilt free time out for themselves.

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