Introducing our new series : RIP Corp Life featuring Nik Robinson.
Thinking of leaving your corporate gig and starting your own business? Let our crew of entrepreneurs inspire you with their stories of how they made the leap from #corplife to running their own show. RIP Corp Life is bite sized interviews with BIG impact and short enough to consume on your morning tea break. We’re highlighting epic humans from our community that have moved away from the free morning teas, lunchtime yoga sessions and stepped into their life purpose.
Nik Robinson is the founder of Good Citizens, who make sunglasses from 100% recycled, single use plastic bottles. Alongside his 8 year old son Harry, they had a mission to play their part in ‘untrashing’ the planet. Every pair of Good Citizens sunnies pays for 1kg of plastic to be pulled from the ocean.
Read on to hear how Nik went from corporate life to paving his own way & reducing the planet’s plastic pollution.
RIP Corp Life with Nik Robinson
What was the aha moment you had that made you want to leave #corplife?
I was sat at the dinner table with my kids, they were worried the world was going to ‘break’ because of all the plastic polluting the planet. I woke up the next day, made myself a coffee and thought maybe I could use my creativity to think of a solution.
What was the first step in taking the leap?
One of the biggest waste issues globally is single-use plastic bottles, so I began researching whether recycled PET could be used for products. I couldn’t understand why manufacturers were using new plastic when there was a pile of discarded plastic that could be used. I started with a 600ml bottle, weighed it and then set about finding a product that weighed a similar amount.
Not surprisingly, living in Australia, a pair of sunnies was the first thing I reached for and when it turned out to weigh pretty much the same, it was a no brainer.
I thought that ‘one bottle makes one pair’ would be a really powerful message so not only would we be chipping away at the plastic waste, but also encouraging people to think twice about buying a plastic bottle in the first place.
Once I felt like I’d landed something viable (and the wife approved it!), I went for it – 100% of my focus went on making this business work.
What has surprised and delighted you about running your own show?
You get to control all the decisions. The flip side of that is no one is around to catch you from making mistakes and there have been plenty of those! You work 24/7 spinning many plates. It’s hard to switch off.
You get to know a different side to yourself and so do the people around you. If we had a swear jar in the office, it would be full every week.
I never know what surprises the week has for us. In a single day, you can go from the biggest high to a gut wrenching low of all lows.
We set out to ‘untrash’ the planet of single use plastic and I can finally see the potential impact we can have. It’s knowing that my business is making a difference by turning plastic bottles into something beautiful and at the same time educating people on the plastic issue itself.
The one thing you will actually miss about #corplife?
The paycheque at the end of each month!
I won’t lie to you, setting up this business has drained not only our energy but also our savings. My last full time role was head of content for an entertainment company. I was surrounded by the most amazing team of producers, writers and presenters who made me look good. I miss an energised team helping me make things happen. Some days I feel like the fumbling lawyer, Dennis Denuto from the film, The Castle!
Follow us on LinkedIn
Say adios to cheesy LinkedIn connections and awkward business posts, we are taking a new & fresh approach to a somewhat ‘stale’ platform. Click here up to date with our RIP Corp Life series on LinkedIn.