With climate change becoming an increasingly pertinent issue that is facing our planet, it is no wonder that the global populace as a whole has been increasingly aware of the need for alternatives that are better for the earth. Combined with the advent of social media and the Internet, figures like Greta Thunberg have become household names and the causes they advocate for are now ones that pervade our everyday lives. I’m sure that we have all heard about or even partook in trendy green movements like the no plastic and BYO campaigns, carrying tote bags and metal straws around daily instead of using their plastic, non-environmentally-friendly counterparts. Sustainability has been a hot topic in the past decade, resulting in a market that is becoming saturated by eco-conscious shoppers whose preferences and consumption habits alike reflect these shifting priorities. More and more businesses, being aware of the importance that consumers place on the supply chain of products, have been hopping onto the trend and switching their branding and operations to be more sustainable. An increasing amount of new companies with the environment at their hearts have also been popping up in response, started by those that want to make a difference.
This is the environment to which PoweredByPlant (henceforth PBP) was created.
Sustainable. Plant-based. Ethically-sourced. These are the three concepts upon which PBP was built. Started by two university undergraduates in their final year, the two were a match made in heaven, brought together by their aligned visions for a greener future. Both entrepreneurs in their own right, Cherie and Krish are visionaries with varying prior business experience, which they have applied towards this business that is the embodiment of a cause that they are passionate about. Talking to them, only a year older than I am, really made me realise that a small seed of inspiration can be the impetus to something tangible; something amazing. Cherie’s journey began with her love for everything marine – beaches, surfing, the works. Meanwhile, Krish was inspired by the scenes of pollution and cruelty she’s seen during her travels and at her hometown in India. Their vaguely coinciding environmental and ethical-based motivations collided and the idea for PBP was born.
Krish, being vegan herself, first proposed the idea of a plant-based business. While there were already many other sustainability-based stores online, what they saw was missing was one that targeted plant-based items only. Another important aspect that Cherie, having seen the stigma that eco-shopping is only for the wealthy, wanted to emphasise is affordability, as they came to the realisation that many think that more eco-friendly options are priced remarkably higher than their common equivalents, making them less accessible to the general masses. This is a prejudice that Cherie wanted to prove is unfounded, with many indie Asian brands using incredibility plant-based materials that are reasonably-priced. Arrives PoweredByPlant. An e-commerce aggregator that aims to “make sustainable shopping convenient, inclusive and affordable for all”, partnering only with brands and products that are “plant-based, plastic-free, sustainable, and ethically-sourced”.
“If everyone plays a small part to work towards a healthier planet, it cumulatively adds up. We don’t need everyone to be perfectly sustainable, we just need everyone to take the first step and feel included in our safe and encouraging plant-based community.”
Launched in May this year, PBP is still new and constantly renewing and improving, with the energetic and passionate team continuously coming up with bigger and better ideas to do the best for the brand and the planet. Ecokits (a cute and clever name they call their eco-friendly kits) are the newest direction the company is taking, where products from different vegan planet-friendly brands are collated and combined into carefully-curated kits. Customers are also given the option to create their own combinations, to make a kit that is uniquely theirs! This concept stemmed from the negative environmental impacts of the gifting tradition, contributed to the unsustainable gift packaging and the potential undesirability of gifted items that may themselves be made via unsustainable and unethical processes. PBP posits a solution that is not to stop gifting, but to gift better alternatives – these bundled organic and plant-based essentials with personality; a new way of sharing love. Every kit is made specially for every personality, examples being: “for the yoga mom”, “for my bff”, “for my girlfriend”, “for the student activist”, “for the starter vegan”, “for the ocean advocate”, and so on. Not only does this make gifting more personal, it’s always a surprise to see what’s in the kit.
PBP’s dedication to our universal planetary fight can also be seen through their collaborations with non-profit organisations and environmental-based eco-influencers. They are currently doing a fundraiser with One Tree Planted, an environmental non-profit charity that contribute immensely to reforesting efforts globally. Every eco-purchase on thepoweredbyplant.com equates to a tree planted! I was informed that every ecokit mentioned above plants 3 trees as each kit consists of 3 products, a win-win-win. There is also a separate fundraiser for shoppers who want to do just that little bit more, which can be found here. (I hear that there may also be more charity collaborations in the works, but that’s an exclusive that you didn’t hear from me.)
Another unique feature of PBP is its team – a group of Gen Z volunteers who have come together and are motivated purely by their love and care for the people and the world. They know their own generation and the strength of social media, and are working actively in those mediums to bring PBP to the forefront. The PBP Instagram’s growth has been exponential, starting from nothing in May, and now, a mere 3 months later, closing in rapidly on 800 followers. From their educational posts (some of my favourites being the Black Lives Matter series and this post on growing your own scallions), to IG Lives with eco-influencers, to online webinars, PBP is doing a tremendous job on not just spreading their brand, but also spreading awareness and educating the public on the importance of sustainability. PBP manages to feel less like a business, instead being distinctly down-to-earth, friendly and approachable (just like its founders); a brand that is real, a brand that cares.
With the growth that PBP has experienced and is experiencing, what I was dying to know was what else they have in store for us in the future. Based on the sheer drive and fervour that I sensed from this one interview alone, I know that this team is definitely not complacent and will not just settle here. When asked, the genuine passion and excitement for the places they want to bring PBP to in Cherie and Krish shone through. “America!” The West, where vegans are abundant and sustainability all the rage, is the ultimate goal. But not just that – Europe and other countries like India were also mentioned. In Cherie’s words, “Imagine living in a world where you can order an ecokit for your loved one halfway across the globe, full of sustainable and ethical essentials? With this, I hope to grow PoweredByPlant into Gen Zs favourite ecomart that anyone on the sustainable journey, young or old, can feel safe and happy to shop.” This is a business that they want to bring to the world, and only the future will tell just how far they will go.