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Sydney mum Tamara Keniry founded PureFree bottles five years ago after deciding that she was “too old” to do something that she didn’t love.
With a passion for the environment, especially the need for society to reduce the amount of waste it creates, Keniry believed that more people would do the right thing for the environment if it also benefitted them.
With this, the mother-of-three decided to design products that were reusable, but also beautiful to use, providing a viable alternative to the “most popular” items she found washed up on the shores of Sydney Harbour, including single-use water bottles and disposable coffee cups.
With this, PureFree was born.
The company designs and supplies reusable products for people that care about the planet, and also appreciate design, and value “the experience”.
Its products are made from glass because glass is better for your health (BPA-free), better for the planet and better for your taste buds, with each bottle encased in a coloured, food-grade silicone sleeve.
“I love that I’ve helped increase awareness of the huge problem the world has with ‘waste’,” Keniry said in an interview with TheLatch—. “We have embraced the age of convenience (cheap, disposable products) but it has come at a huge cost to the planet.”
“I love that I’m actually helping to reduce waste by creating beautiful, reusable products that people genuinely love to use. Products that are truly practical, unique and useful,” she said.
“We have embraced the age of convenience (cheap, disposable products) but it has come at a huge cost to the planet.”
Anita Lyons: Hi Tamara, thank you so much for sharing your story. We’d love to start with some of your major wins from the last year.
Tamara Keniry: Well, in March 2019 we opened in Singapore which was very exciting. The movement away from bottled water is in its infancy in Singapore so it’s great timing as they are now becoming more aware of the environmental issues associated with single-use plastic, plus their drinking water is great quality, and they also appreciate design.
In December 2019 we launched our long-awaited coffee cup in both Australia and Singapore. It has been months in the design phase and I absolutely love this cup so it’s great to finally be able to share it with everyone and we also added to our fabulous list of corporate clients.
A couple of recent additions that I’m super proud of are Paralympics Australia & KPMG.
To celebrate International Women’s Day KPMG, gifted key clients, with a beautiful KPMG-branded PureFree glass water bottle — a gift that will be used and loved every day. The Paralympics Australia launched their Aus Squad fan club in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics and the associated launch included branded PureFree water bottles which were promoted through Harvey Norman stores.
AL: Wow! What an exciting year! What was 2020 going to mean for your business?
TK: Well, because we had just launched our new coffee cup in December, we expected a great year of growth in retail and corporate markets and possible further international expansion.
One of my corporate clients had been stocking their work fridge with bottled water for years and every time a staff member wanted a drink they went to the fridge and grabbed a single-use bottle, then would throw it away within minutes. It was such a huge waste and a huge cost to the company not only for the bottles of water but also the cost of waste removal. They then swapped to gifting each staff member with a beautiful, company-branded PureFree bottle which is simply refilled with filtered water. No more waste and a much healthier and a nicer experience for the employees.
AL: I absolutely love this idea. Now that we’ve experienced the coronavirus pandemic, how have you been affected personally and how has your business been affected?
TK: As a mum to three kids, I’ve had to commence homeschooling. That’s been interesting. I fluctuate between being a teacher and a referee.
As for Purefree, direct sales through the website have trickled along, but stockist turnover has slowed considerably as people have been unable to physically shop in-store.
In addition, most of our corporate branding sales have been for events and face-to-face gifting so that part of the business has reduced significantly as all these interactions have been indefinitely put on hold.
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AL: So, what do all of these changes mean for your business in the short term?
TK: We’ve consolidated our storage, and tried to minimise costs, and increased marketing in cost-effective channels — mostly our socials and VIP database.
Sadly, we’ve had a big negative financial hit, however, we have stock so our ability to pivot in terms of costs are limited.
AL: What steps will you take to make up for the shortfall after COVID-19?
TK: I think now is actually a great time for corporates to keep in touch with their customers by sending them a gift that they will use every day. It’s a great way to remind the customer of your brand and show them you value the relationship. Similarly, a sustainable water bottle and coffee cup is a great present to send a loved one – something beautiful and practical, at a fab price point.
“I think now is actually a great time for corporates to keep in touch with their customers by sending them a gift that they will use every day.”
AL: How can we support your business?
TK: I’d just love them to continue (or start!) to support PureFree. We are a small business and I am literally doing it as a labour of love! Our customers love using our products & feel good that they are helping the planet too.
Think of us when you need to buy a present for yourself or a loved one. And, if you have a business and you are looking for ways to stay in touch with your customers, please consider PureFree. We can either send PureFree branded or custom branded gifts.
I think it’s been a really hard time for everyone. Most of us have been under emotional and financial stress but I do think it’s important to support businesses to help them to keep going and come out the other side of this challenging time.
“Most of us have been under emotional and financial stress but I do think it’s important to support businesses to help them to keep going and come out the other side of this challenging time.”
How can you get your hands on a PureFree bottle?
PureFree sells directly to the public via its website, through select stockists, and also custom brand the bottles and cups for organisations to give to staff and their valued clients and check them out on Facebook and Instagram.
The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.