Following her passion for children, the environment and helping those in need, Anna Bordignon set out to create a better future through her business, Munch, empowering families to change the world by making it easier to make sustainable choices. Feeling increasingly concerned about the damage that plastic was doing to the planet, she was determined to make a change. At Munch, their ethical, eco essentials range includes products that are reusable, organic and biodegradable, and all their products and ingredients are sourced from ethical communities. Here, Anna talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about what inspired her to start Munch, the challenges she overcame along the way, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Seven years ago, I followed my passion for children, the environment and for helping those in need. I used this passion to create Munch, which is very much about empowering families to change the world. Even before the current plastic-free movement, I saw the damage that plastic was doing to our planet. As a mother of three young children, I really wasn’t happy sitting by and watching this. I was originally from a legal background, but my desire to make a difference led me to start Munch and offer an alternative range of eco-friendly products for parents and the home. I like to consider myself a trail blazer and always looking for ways to innovate with plastic-free alternatives and offer ideas about how to improve our impact on the environment.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
My career started in the legal industry where I practised as a commercial lawyer for 12 years.
Even though this was a fulfilling and rewarding career, I always had a desire to be doing something that helped others and our environment. After having three children and seizing the opportunity, I started from my kitchen table. The first product I produced was a baby cookbook and a simple blog.
Business rapidly grew and seven years later I am now distributing through major supermarkets, department stores and leading health stores in New Zealand and Australia, supporting 4 full-time staff and even more proudly a home workforce of around 20 women. We are also stocked in America and about to launch in the United Emirates and the GCC countries.
Recently we were ranged throughout the Woolworths stores in Australia for our eco dishcloths and eco dish soaps, which we are super proud of. As a small eco NZ company, partnering with the big boys in Australia is quite unheard of.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Our biggest breakthrough was finally having the larger retailers believe in us. Getting on board the large retailers has enabled us to have the greatest impact. We love all our smaller retailers that have supported us from the beginning, but if we want to really make a difference on this planet, we need to dream big and tackle the big players.
There is still a long way before we can truly say we have broken through, but every day we make small steps to make our dreams come true. The drive is truly from passion. If it was not, with all those ‘no’s’ in the early days and even now with many mainstream industries, I would have closed the doors.
Thankfully, they are still wide open with more opening every week!
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I am constantly reviewing and checking in to make sure everything is balanced. I have to say if I had my time again, it would have been easier to start a business pre children or when my children have left home. I do feel constantly pulled some days and I know this would not be the case if I did not have a family life. I know men have been having careers for years with a family in tow. But let’s be real, women still do the bulk of the work at home, and we are naturally more maternal, so we want to be with our children. I do sometimes ponder on what it would be like to be a woman or a man who was happy to put their kids in full-time care or have a full-time nanny or have close family to look after their children, but I just know I could not do that. So, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to ‘wanting to do it all’. And trust me, I am not perfect at all!
The only way I have managed so far is that I am naturally optimistic, I have strong mental health, I am very laid back and I have a handful of amazing people who I am extremely close to that I can be vulnerable and talk through things with when times are tough and know I will not be judged. I feel very privileged and blessed for this.
I am also following my passion, and this allows me to be driven like no tomorrow. When I look back on what I have achieved to date, I suppose I really do like achieving but it is not driven by money, it is driven by internal connections, feelings, beauty, gratefulness, and the feeling of winning.