Sometimes it comes down to a leap of faith, creative thinking, and a whole lot of hard work to achieve your dreams. At least that was the case for Heidi Reimer-Epp as she began her adventure into the world of eco-friendly papermaking with her mom Mary Reimer. The duo decided to turn paper waste into a special biodegradable paper called seed paper that is now used by individuals and businesses all over the world.
Watch this short video to hear the inspirational story directly from Heidi Reimer-Epp, CEO of and Co-Founder of Botanical PaperWorks.
Prefer to read the story? Below is the copy from the video:
Way before there were recycling programs, my mom was a teacher and she noticed that the kids in her classroom would take a sheet of paper and scribble something on it and then throw it out. So she figured out that she could take the discarded paper and repulp it to turn it into sheets of handmade paper.
We started talking to each other and thinking maybe there's a business here. So then I made the leap to quit my job and go all in and see if we can make this work.
On my last day of work at the company that I was at, the president brought me into his office. The first thing he said to me was, why are you starting a paper company when we're moving to a paperless society? The second thing was that 80% of all new business startups fail within the first three years.
There's something in my head that just clicked that said, this is gonna work.
When the company first started we were doing everything. It was 24/7 at the beginning. So while we were fulfilling orders we were also doing a lot of experimentation because we wanted to try different parts of the plant and wheat and flowers and different botanicals. The papermaking took place in my mom's basement and then all the customer-facing things took place in my office that I had at home. And actually my grandma was even involved. We outgrew the basement within the first couple of months. We got a bigger facility where we could grow our team.
A publishing company in the UK approached us to write a book called 300 paper making recipes. So it was in the writing of that book that we stumbled on the seed paper idea. When you plant the paper it grows into flowers or vegetables or herbs and the paper pulp composts away and it leaves no waste. So it's very eco-friendly. It actually became more popular than any of our other products and we rebranded the company as a completely seed paper company.
We were contacted by Starbucks to do a special seed paper for their gift card holders. We had an opportunity to work with the White House Correspondents Dinner. We've worked with Lululemon, Toyota, Pepsi, and McDonald's. Today Botanical PaperWorks is a world leading producer of seed paper. We're in 35 countries around the world.
I made the front page of the business section of the newspaper, so I cut that newspaper article out and I sent it to the president who had told me about the 80% failure rates because I wanted him to know that we'd been the 20% that had succeeded.
When you plant a garden, and you plant the seeds, for the first while it looks like nothing's happening. It's tempting to think hey, this may not work. And then all of a sudden there's that little sprout and they start to grow and they start to strengthen and then you are in this stage where you get to look at this beautiful thing that you created. This is my dream come true. Working with a product that I love, an incredible business with incredible people that I get to work with day in and day out.