Hey there, what are your plans this September?
If you are looking for a fun, eco-friendly, family friendly activity offering great prizes we’ve got you covered!
Picnics Unwrapped is about the joy of sharing food with family, friends and colleagues while raising awareness about the impacts of food and plastic waste.
This year, we couldn’t believe our luck, finding a local business to partner with for our Picnics Unwrapped campaign Saltwater Picnic Co.
A picnic rug that is crafted 100% from fabrics made by recycling plastic water bottles!!
There could be no better fit for Picnics Unwrapped… right?
So we were over the moon when we got to meet founder Emma and her husband Adam and discovered our missions are very much aligned!
To introduce them to our community we thought a good old Q&A would be a great way to find out all about them, their business and their plans for an eco focused future … enjoy.
Q: Let's start with the obvious question, why start a picnic rug business?
Emma - From a very young age I have always loved picnicking, and some of my fondest memories as a kid involve a picnic as we used to use them as a reason for family catch ups.
And a Fun Fact, this is not my first Picnic Rug business, I actually created Australia’s first designer waterproof picnic rug a decade ago which I used to sell at markets. Once the kids started school and weekends became more precious, we decided to sell to a wholesaler that was always trying to buy the business.
Adam - Saltwater came about after we purchased an ecommerce business in the Pet Industry a few years ago and got to know the ins and outs of selling online. One day I asked Emma if there was anything she would consider launching as an ecommerce brand and she mentioned she was online only a few days before and that while there was a few brands selling designer rugs now, she could still not find the perfect picnic rug available for sale, and that is how it all started.
Q: So what was this Perfect Picnic Rug you were looking for Emma?
Emma - The list I gave Adam to look for went something like this.
Large Family Sized - I wanted a rug that was big enough for the whole family (2m square) but it needed to be one piece as most of our competitors joined two pieces of material, which not only looks bad, but creates a fault point and makes it unable to be machine washable.
Stain Proof - With kids being kids and the ground you lay the rug on never perfectly flat, I wanted to find a treatment that would make anything spilled on the rug to bead up and not soak in. This would allow a wipe over to remove the spill without staining the rug.
Water, Sand & Grass Resistant - The reason I got into designing rugs over 12 years ago is that I couldn’t find a rug outside of the old small material red plaid style ones. You couldn’t use them on dewy grass and when the grass was dry, grass seeds would stick to it and it would take ages to remove them all, and don’t get me started on sand. So our rugs had to be able to repel water, sand and grass.
Machine Washable - As I mentioned before, I wanted to be able to machine wash the rugs, so the material and the construction had to allow it to be machine washable and line dried so the rug could look great for longer.
Eco-Friendly - One thing that horrified me when looking at the new rug companies that started after we had sold our original company, was that none of them were using recycled fabrics. Plastic pollution is such a major problem that if the technology exists to turn it into amazing fabrics, we just had to partner with suppliers who could do it.
Q - One the eco topic, I see you plant trees for every order as well?
Adam - Sustainability has been big for us in all our businesses, so while Emma gave me a list to source her perfect picnic rug, if making it meant that we were going to affect our kids ability to create their own businesses in the future, we would have walked away.
So choosing recycled fabrics, while awesome to help reduce plastic waste, takes some carbon to make said waste into a luxurious fabric. And while we chose a manufacturer utilising renewable energy, there was still a carbon footprint we wanted to address, so we partnered with Ecologi to fund a mangrove plantation in Madagascar where we have planted over 400 trees so far and look forward to that number growing into the tens of thousands over time.
Q - Final Question, what are your plans for Saltwater Picnic Co. in the future?
Emma - For me personally, it is to keep growing the business in a way that our very earth friendly Gen Z kids will be proud of, and who knows, maybe one day take it over for themselves. Professionally, it's all about raising the bar around design and product performance. We live in a world where new technologies are born everyday, so I want to keep utilising new, sustainable techniques to deliver the most perfect version of a picnic rug as I can … smiling while I do it.
Adam - As a serial entrepreneur, I will always try to grow something to the biggest I can get it while remaining aligned to our personal goals. For Saltwater, that will be utilising all the skills and experience from our past media and events businesses and implementing them to the picnic industry, so keep an eye out for some September Picnic Events in the future (Unwrapped of course). A Big Picnic Lap is also on the cards where we will travel around Australia in 2023 filming our adventures along the way … you should love what you do right?