OneNine5 on the value of transparency for money and mother earth 🌍

Sarah Hiraki

 · 11/11/2019  · 11/11/2019

When Alex Stewart co-founded OneNine5, he set out to redesign the traditional wash bag. Inspired by the plastic crisis affecting the environment all over the world, as vividly brought to life by the BBC series Blue Planet 2, the motive was simple: tackle the single-use plastics in airports with a cool, fashionable, unisex product.

♻️Saving the world, one bag at a time

Speaking alongside his co-founder, Alex says: “As two passionate travellers, we realised the aviation industry and airports aren't doing enough to tackle single-use plastics.”

It’s estimated as many as 150 million single-use plastic bags are given out at airport security in the UK every year as passengers are forced to separate liquids from their hand luggage.

“You take the grocery industry right now,” Alex continues. “Nobody uses single-use plastics. Everyone now has a ‘bag for life.’ You look at the cosmetics industry. People are starting to use reusable bottles. The same can't be said for the aviation industry right now.”

“Our wash bag uses a 100% recycled plastic lining. It incorporates a reusable clear liquid bag to pass through airport security hassle-free. The liquid bag is designed to reduce single-use plastics at airport security. All our packaging is either biodegradable or recycled or recyclable.”

So what does a day of revolutionising how we travel look like for the team at OneNine5?

“No day is the same. Lots of variation. But that's part of the fun. You pick up new skills and learn new things every day.”

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🌱 A sustainable solution

Running an environmentally conscious fashion brand isn’t without its challenges. There are plenty of obstacles to overcome, too.

“There is certainly a concern towards the economy, a weakening pound and ensuring that we have the plans in place to potentially ride that wave. There's lots of instability right now in both the foreign exchange markets and the political climate. So by looking outwardly to other countries such as the US or regions such as southeast Asia, we feel that we mitigate those risks."

Although it gave the team opportunities such as working with manufacturers in China, the financial aspects of a global supply chain were difficult to navigate with traditional UK banks.

“The main challenge we had in terms of storing money was looking for a business account that allowed us to pay suppliers in multiple currencies. It poses a challenge because high street banks offer you an account in one currency.”

Enter Revolut Business. “One of the biggest perks of Revolut Business is the fact that we can store currency in pounds, Euros, or US dollars when it comes to paying our suppliers who may be in Germany, Hong Kong, or China. We have that currency ready to go and we're not at the risk of the foreign exchange markets at the time. It gives us confidence that we have a longer term business strategy when paying our suppliers.”

Combining all of this allows Alex and his team to focus on the core of the business: creating, packaging and marketing a product to lead the way in the fight against single-use plastics.

“We have total transparency and visibility over a longer-term business plan and that we don't face any unexpected bumps or hurdles along the way,” he says. “It's a sense of relief.”