Chapter 3: But what kind of business?

So, they were dead serious. The plan was to start a business so that they could eventually offer meaningful and worthwhile employment to asylum seekers and other people facing barriers to the workforce. They had no money and no jobs themselves. Alex had just quit her cafe job swearing never to return to hospitality and Sophie was in conversations with her cafe manager about how her “heart might not really want to be in the hospitality sector” (an understatement). They had plenty of university and other educational certificates between them–however, these were definitely not to do with business.

The business needed to be ethical itself, naturally. They had always had a dislike towards plastic and other rubbish in the environment, and this became their focus. What if they could fix two problems at once? Inquality and discrimination AND plastic pollution? They thought of making a long-lasting bag by weaving soft plastics together, OneBag. They tried to crochet...and soon realised they hated crocheting. Through research and many a dinner, coffee, wine, whiskey, aguardiente, and protest, they decided they wanted to melt the plastic and forge it into something different, transform the disposable into something treasured. They discovered some artists who had made a furnace to make a ‘seachair’ from plastic debris in the ocean– and they found this beautiful. So they built a furnace too. The first thing they made was half a pig moulded from an old piggy bank they found at the Op Shop. As they pulled the pig from the mould they observed the object; it appeared like a pig had drowned trotters up in black petroleum, they were struck by their own accidental yet poignant statement. Throughout their research stage it was difficult for them to find things created from plastic that they found attractive, this was the beginning of a big challenge: how to make plastic beautiful?

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