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Ecostore chief executive Pablo Kraus on youthful optimism, shopping habits inherited from parents and building a sustainable business

Ecostore launched a major brand campaign this week in a bid to send the message that consumers have the power to choose the kind of future they want their children to inherit. The campaign, running across various media channels, made the point that we don't have to accept the pessimistic status quo and that we can learn from the optimism of the younger members of our society. We chat to Ecostore chief executive Pablo Kraus about the insight behind the campaign and what this means for the consumers Ecostore would like to get on its side.       

Why do you think it is that the children were so much more optimistic about the future than the older participants? Why do you think optimism wanes over time?
 

Children have a very idealistic view of how they see the future. At a young age, they can see past things they choose not and with a young mind imagine how they wish or would like it to be. As time goes on and children learn more and more about the world, their sense of reality, and what’s achievable starts to come through. It’s important that as adults we keep our eyes on the idealistic future because ultimately by thinking big we are able to create the future we want.
 

Does the realisation that consumers tend to be pessimistic make it more challenging to sell a product that promises to make a difference? 
 
People ultimately want to be good. Whether they are pessimistic or not, selling a product that makes a difference is an easy choice for them when they are able to see the benefits for them and our world. Part of the campaign was to incite the feeling of optimism we had as children. The opportunity with consumers is giving them the choice to be a part of creating a better tomorrow.
 
Have you noticed a generational gap in terms of who buys your products?
 
Our consumers span several generations. I’ve even met parents with children and teenagers that ask for our products through to our older generations. The green space is very quickly becoming the main space. Our consumers choose Ecostore because not only do they want to do the right thing but we’re able to do so without compromising in other aspects (e.g. efficacy in cleaning products).

Kids often inherit their purchasing habits from their parents. So how difficult is it to shift them to buying a new product that might not have mum's stamp of approval?
 
Kids do often inherit their purchasing habits and brand loyalty from their parents. They are also incredibly inquisitive and this paired with information at their fingertips are now often the ones educating and influencing their elders. Given the credibility and honesty founded in our brand, it would be hard to see how any child would not be able to get their parents' stamp of approval when choosing Ecostore. As a parent myself I always try to be open and allow myself to learn from my kids on a daily basis. Although it may be an easy approval for an Ecostore product, my kids still struggle to convince me why the kinder surprise is a better choice than the apple.
 
Do you think pessimism is sometimes conflated with rationality? How do we separate those two concepts?
 
Pessimism can sometimes be conflated with rationality. It’s important that we recognise when we are being pessimistic and take steps to separate the two concepts. The best way to separate the two is by taking a step back and thinking about the positives. It can be easy to have a clouded mindset once you start down a negative track. This helps to separate pessimism and rationality by allowing yourself to have perspective and form a more rational view. Hopefully, through our campaign, we are able to incite people to take that step back and have that aha moment.

You've recently launched a new range of products called Skin. How is Ecostore tracking on the business front? How has the business performed in terms of sales, revenue and profit over the last few years?
 
Ecostore is on an exponential growth curve and continues to enjoy double-digit revenue growth year on year. We have strong sales in NZ and Australia and our export business now represents close to 15 percent of total revenue, having grown from less than 1 percent in the 2015 financial year. Based on current forecasts, we are looking to achieve close to 100 percent growth in revenue from Asian markets from the 2017 to 2018 financial year. We have ambitions to be the global leader in sustainability, health and wellbeing, by creating products that are safer for you and our world. Although Ecostore has a healthy profit, being a private company, our directors are uncomfortable sharing specific numbers.