A young nurse determined to rid the ocean of plastic waste has made upwards of $350,000 in the past three months selling hammocks made from recycled bottles.
Horrified by the water pollution she witnessed while scuba diving around the world, Tegan Gilroy, 28, launched Nakie, an online range of camping equipment ‘upcycled’ from landfill, in September 2019.
The dedicated nurse still works 12-hour shifts at a Brisbane hospital three days a week, which she says leaves ‘plenty of time’ to run her website on the side.
Between May 1 and July 31, Ms Gilroy sold $358,075 worth of products – putting the business on track to turn over $700,000 in its first year of trading.
Brisbane nurse turned businesswoman Tegan Gilroy (pictured in Monaco) has banked $350,000 in three months selling hammocks made from recycled plastic
Each Nakie hammock (pictured) is made from 37 plastic bottles recovered from landfill
Daily Mail Australia has verified these figures from the company’s financial statements.
Each $129 hammock is made from 37 plastic containers recovered from landfill, an approach Ms Gilroy claims has ‘saved 118,992 bottles going into our waterways’.
‘As someone who loves the ocean I hate seeing how much plastic is tumbling along the ocean floor and washing up along our beaches,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
Not only that, she also plants four trees for every item purchased in partnership with Eden Reforestation Projects, the world’s largest not-for-profit tree-planting organisation which has planted over 350million saplings to date.
Such is the scale of Ms Gilroy’s reforesting that Eden has provided her with a ‘planting reserve’ on the East African island of Madagascar, where she has committed to planting at least 500,000 trees over the next five years.
And for the month of August, she will plant an extra tree for every new follower Nakie gets on Instagram.
Ms Gilroy (pictured in Reykjavik, Iceland) launched Nakie in September 2019 and started planting trees in March on the East African island of Madagascar
Nakie two-person hammocks (pictured in packaging) usually cost $129 but are currently reduced to $99
The brand’s best-selling style, a two-person hammock with built-in straps, is currently reduced from $129 to $99.
Customers have been raving about the quality and affordability of the hammocks on the brand’s website, with one woman calling it her ‘best purchase of 2020’.
‘Every one of my friends and family who have napped, relaxed or read in the Nakie absolutely loved it,’ she said.
‘Super easy to put up and take down and packable, which I love! Love this company.’
Another said: ‘It’s a great hammock and a killer deal. Higher weight limit than similar brands and about half the price if you were to piece together the hammock, straps, bug net and rain tarp.’
Ms Gilroy said the majority of her customers come from Australia, Canada, the US and UK, where hiking, camping and other outdoor pursuits are popular.
Making the hammocks (pictured) from 37 recycled containers has ‘saved 118,992 bottles going into Australian waterways’, Ms Gilroy claims
Tegan Gilroy’s top business tips
1. Be patient
‘It’s hard work and sales will probably start slow while you are building brand. Keep at it because once it starts to take off, it will grow rapidly.’
2. Only sell what you’re passionate about
‘Choose a product or niche you’re passionate about because when you are working overtime it won’t feel like chore.’
3. Choose quality over quantity
‘Pay extra for the best quality product you can buy. It increases brand trust and drives sales through word of mouth.’
4. Always put the customer first
‘Be attentive and responsive to customers and potential customers on all social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram as well as over email to ensure your customers have the best experience possible.’
Her success is all the more impressive given the toll the coronavirus crisis has taken on the wider camping and outdoor equipment industry.
The sector is expected to record significant revenue losses in 2020 as the pandemic continues to disrupt global supply chains, limiting the availability of products, according to forecasts from market analysts IBISWorld.
And still, Nakie is seeing an exponential increase in sales every month.
Ms Gilroy is even planning an expansion of the range which will soon include reusable titanium bottles and blankets stitched from recycled materials.
‘I have some very exciting news coming in the next couple of months. All the products are lightweight, compact and environmentally-friendly,’ she said.
In a time of hardship and extraordinary uncertainty, it’s comforting to know that at least one Australian business will be marking its first anniversary with a six-figure celebration.
To view the full range of Nakie hammocks and camping equipment, please click here.