Why Not Now?

Go into the world and do good, Jack+Jules

We’re a small company right now. There’s just the two of us, working in a converted office in the back of a garage (which doubles as our warehouse). Fueled by coffee and chocolate, our hodge-podge surroundings are perfect for now.

But we have plans, ideas that are swirling behind the scenes. We launched online seven months ago and while we are happy with our progress so far, we have visions of a future that is bigger than this.

So often, in life and business, we are advised to move slowly, to wait until the right time. Don’t expand too quickly, don’t borrow more than you can afford, don’t risk too much. Often this is prudent, but sometimes you have to dare to be bigger than yourself.

We’re not alone when we say we would like to make a real difference in the world around us. One of our dreams is to direct some of our profits to help others, to use our resources to make the world a better place. When we’re big enough, when we’re successful enough, when, when, when…

When should be now. Why wait? The world needs help now, in whatever form available.

So we’re excited to announce that beginning July 1, 2016 (the start of the Australian financial year), we will be donating a portion of our profits to environmental causes that align with our values. We’re still working out the details, but felt this was important enough to announce now.

Each year we will choose a different recipient. We may ask for help in this regard, we may need some suggestions to narrow down the field, but our focus will be on environmental conservation and sustainable development.

Why not now?

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To Market, to Market...

Jack+Jules is headed to Market... the South Melbourne Market, that is!

We're thrilled to announce that Jack+Jules has its first pop-up store in South Melbourne Market's SO:ME Space. If you're unfamiliar with SO:ME Space, it's the Market's retail space for emerging and established designers. With an emphasis on design, sustainability and local fashion, it's the perfect opportunity for Jack+Jules to introduce itself to the vibrant, South Melbourne Market community! 

SO:ME Space, South Melbourne Market, Jack+Jules pop-up stall

Please come visit from 20 April to 15 May (Wednesdays 8-4; Fridays 8-5; Saturdays 8-4 and Sundays 8-4). We're located in Stall 226 on the East Aisle, closest to the intersection of York and Cecil Streets. We're across from Bakerlite and around the corner from Claypots Evening Star. And if you're still not sure how to find us, here's a map just for you!

We can't wait to meet you!

Jack+Jules

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How To Use a Jack+Jules Market Bag (the Shopping Edition)

Jack+Jules reusable market bag, shop stuff repeat

We’ve all been there. You walk into the shops and (smack hand to forehead), remember that your reusable bags are back in the car. You might trek back through the parking lot… or you might just grab a plastic bag and mutter something about remembering next time.

Habits are hard to change, so to help anyone who has struggled with this, we’ve produced a handy, how-to-guide:

Step 1: Purchase a set of bags. Consider your shopping habits and the number of people for whom you shop. Several shops and 1-3 people? A 3-pack should suit. A large weekly shop and a family of four or more? You may want to consider the 6-pack. If you’re shopping for more than six people, then bless you… you have our admiration.

Step 2: Give your bags a home. Do you drive to the shops? Then leave them in your car, preferably where you can see them/reach them easily. Personally, we keep ours in the cup holder in the door next to the driver’s seat where they’re easy to grab. Are you a walker? Then leave them by the front door.

Step 3: Use them. Fill them up- they’re incredibly strong. Politely decline that plastic bag for the watermelon or the steak. Should anything leak, our bags will absorb small amounts of liquid and can be thrown straight into the washing machine. You may have to tell the baggers at the register to load them up- they may be used to wimpy, one-use disposable plastic bags.

Step 4: Return them. To their new home, that is. When you’ve unpacked your bags, stuff them back in their sack and place them back in their home. If you keep them in your car, hang them on your front doorknob to remind you to take them back to the car on your next trip out.

They say it takes 66 days to form a new habit. With these hints, we think it’s in the bag.

See you at the shops!

 

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Positively Positive

 

Jack+Jules. Positive mind. Positive vibes. Positive life.

Did you see us “bagged” in the newspaper?

As a start-up business, publicity is extremely important so we were absolutely thrilled to be profiled for Fairfax Media’s Small Business section. The article ran on February 26, 2016 in newspapers throughout Australia and if you haven’t read the article, you can do so here.

But then we read the comments after the article. While there were a number of people who were supportive of us, there were a few people who were extremely negative. From price to our choice of nylon, we were “bagged” for decisions we had made. (See what we did there?)

We’ll be honest- we were initially a bit shocked by the negativity but it shouldn’t come as a surprise. We know you can’t make everyone happy, but we’re both extremely positive people who believe in supporting others, especially if they are risk-takers, dreamers and those who believe in living to the fullest (we’ve got a particular fondness for these sorts of people).

However, as some points made in the comments were valid, we thought we’d address them:

COST: Someone decided our product was too expensive. This shouldn’t be a surprise- what is expensive for one person is inexpensive for another. Different people have different ideas of value and what they would pay for quality. While one particular person has decided our product is too expensive for her, we have others telling us we could charge more.

We chose the prices we did based on the cost of producing the Market Bags and getting them to market. We felt it was important to create a good quality product that would last and doing that requires a certain quality of materials that cost more than something made cheaply.

MATERIALS: The majority of negative comments were directed toward our choice of materials, namely our use of nylon fabric. We initially chose nylon for its strength and durability; it’s no good creating a reusable bag that falls apart and ends up in a landfill within five years! (That’s not to say we aren’t open to plant-based fabrics- we are always looking to improve our products and have been researching suppliers prior to the article’s publication).

While nylon is a synthetic material, the length of time it takes to breakdown is much shorter than that of a plastic bag. Nylon fabric can take 30-40 years to break down. By contrast, disposable plastic bags take anywhere from 500-1000 years depending on plastic type and conditions.[i]

Furthermore, single-use plastic bags also create havoc on the environment. From clogging waterways to ingestion by animals, plastic bags are a menace to our earth. And of course there are the sheer numbers. Some figures estimate the typical first-world family using disposable plastic bags takes home approximately 1,500 per year![ii] That’s a lot of plastic bags to fill up landfills, float down waterways and collect in our oceans.

Ultimately, we believe that sustainability comes in many forms and all steps towards protecting our earth are worthwhile. We love seeing more and more people understand that their small actions can make an improvement. And as much as it threw us initially, we also love seeing people who are so passionate about their opinions! As the anthropologist Margaret Mead stated, 

"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."

Please send any other feedback our way. If you have used our bags, feel free to email us about how you’re finding them and if you haven’t, give them a try! We look forward to hearing from you!

 

 

[i] Ocean Conservancy’s Pocket Guide to Marine Debris (sourced from the US National Park Service).

[ii] Natural Resources Defense Council

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Give Thanks

Photo credit: Felice Arena

This past Thursday, Thanksgiving was celebrated in the United States. And in a few places outside of the United States. 

As American transplants to Australia, we both claim Thanksgiving as our favourite holiday for its simplicity: a day to gather with friends and family, eat traditional foods and be grateful. 

No gifts, no special decorations, few expectations other than a turkey and some side dishes. If there's pie for dessert, you've hit the jackpot.

As we are still feeling the afterglow of Thanksgiving, we present to you the Jack+Jules' list of reasons to give thanks:

1) Pie. It may sound trivial, but everything really is a bit better when pie is involved;

2) Traditions. They bring us together with the ones we love. Don't have any traditions? Create your own, and they don't have to be...um, traditional. How about Spaghetti Night Fridays? Or Australia Day Pancake breakfasts?

3) Coffee. If you think you know coffee and haven't been to Melbourne, think again. We still have a special place in our hearts for our Starbucks, but our barista brew is what gets us in front of our computers each morning.

4) Travel. It's a big, big, big world out there and there's lots to see. You needn't go far, but keep those eyes open and get those boots walking. You'll be richer for it. 

5) Our Loved Ones. Both near and far (and thank you Skype/Viber/WhatsApp/etc... for making it that much easier to keep in touch across the miles). 

On that note, we're off to check some travel sites to plan our next trip to visit some loved ones. We'll probably have some pie and coffee with them.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving everyone,

 

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