In partnership with The U.S. Embassy in Canada, Startup Canada is celebrating and spotlighting women’s entrepreneurship across the border – speaking to leading founders to learn more about their journeys, and the vital role of cross-border collaboration on their entrepreneurial successes. Startup Canada was pleased to sit down with Angie Tran, Canadian Co-Founder and disruptor bridging the health, wellness and sustainability sectors, to learn more about their journey.
Angie’s background is in digital marketing and she has a passion for health and wellness. Her mission is to create a company and brand that can impact the world for the better – that is how Kind Laundry was born. Kind Laundry is a purpose-driven venture innovating in the CPG detergent space. Their product, eco-friendly laundry strips, feature plant-derived ingredients, are pre-measured for your convenience, are lightweight and travel friendly, and boast 100% recyclable packaging. Together, the Kind Laundry team is on a mission to eliminate one billion plastic jugs from polluting our planet every year.
SC: Tell us about you and your businesses! Who are you and why did you start your business?
I’m Angie Tran, Co-Founder of Kind Laundry which we launched in the summer of 2020. We started Kind Laundry to eliminate single use plastics polluting our oceans and landfills while providing people with a safer laundry cleaning solution. We keep sustainability at the centre of every step of our business operations by offering innovative, greener and safer ways to do laundry, to keep your clothes clean and the planet happy.
SC: What’s been your greatest success so far?
Our greatest success so far is being able to eliminate almost 200,000 plastic jugs from going in our oceans and landfills since we launched.
SC: What is the best part of Canada’s and America’s startup ecosystem and community?
Canada and the US are so close proximity wise, and we share so many interests. It has been really helpful to take insights and learn from each other between markets and build a community of people with shared interests and values.
SC: In one sentence, what does being a woman entrepreneur mean to you?
Being a woman entrepreneur is a balance of constantly pushing the limits, being resilient and striving for the best but, at the same time, being compassionate and empowering to those around us.
SC: How has the pandemic impacted your business?
The pandemic impacted Kind Laundry from an operational perspective, mostly. Especially with the pricing of logistics and raw materials – they just skyrocketed.
SC: What has been your biggest struggle in navigating cross-border sales and operations?
For us it has been finding the right carriers, warehousing in both Canada and the US, logistics partners, brokers, and then coordinating with all of them.
SC: What market opportunities do you foresee across the border?
Currently across the border our biggest markets are California, New York, Florida and Texas.
SC: Has going global given you an advantage in bouncing back better and faster amid the pandemic?
Well we launched right in the midst of the pandemic which was scary, but at the same time very exciting because people were becoming more conscious of what they were buying. Everyone was spending more time in their households and checking the products they were bringing into their home. Ultimately it was a good thing and also a bad thing because it gave us an opportunity to educate our customers and give them a more sustainable, safer alternative for their home.
SC: Many women founders have cited mentorship as the biggest support in growing successful businesses. Have you found value in mentorship, either as a mentor or as a mentee?
I am still looking for a mentor, personally, but have come across a lot of incredible women entrepreneurs through reading their books, watching their YouTube videos, or listening to their podcasts. Through those mediums I have been able to gain such valuable insights and have learned so much.
SC: Have you ever experienced running into a problem where seeking mentorship or advisory support has helped guide or empower you to find a solution?
Yes, we have had many challenges and still do have questions. By being able to connect with experienced individuals that we know from our network, they’ve greatly helped us to think through how to approach some solutions that we may have never thought of ourselves.
SC: What does being part of this partnership mean to you? What do you hope to achieve?
This partnership has allowed me to connect with other incredible like-minded women entrepreneurs doing business across the border – I don’t feel so alone. We were able to share valuable insights, our experience, and ideas from our current businesses and help each other with our challenges. It is always so much more fun when you can collaborate on solutions with other people around you.
SC: How can we learn more about your journey and organisation?
SC: Do you have any recommendations for women founders who want to take the first steps towards exporting and going global?
Never be afraid to ask for help. Tap into programs, like through Startup Canada, to connect with other amazing women entrepreneurs who are going through the same journey. I find women entrepreneurs are naturally driven to be supportive of each other. It’s so much fun to network with other founders who you can share insights and experiences with, and even collaborate with.
SC: Do you have any advice for women founders who want to expand and capitalise on their networks?
For me, personally, LinkedIn and Instagram have been a huge resource. There were so many incredible women founders that we were able to connect with there, and eventually become friends.
SC: Thanks so much for talking with us today, Angie!
Thank you so much for including us! We really appreciate it.
This piece is part of Startup Canada’s wider campaign in part with the U.S. Embassy in Canada to celebrate and honour incredible women entrepreneurs from both sides of the border. If you are a woman-identifying founder in Canada or the United States looking for free one-on-one advisory support from expert mentors, private sector partners, or startup support organisations, head over to startupcan.ca/explore/startup-women to learn more and get started today.