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#StartupSpotlight: Eco and Sustainable Home Organization Products with Way Basics

I was first introduced to Way Basics and its' founder, Jimmy Chiang, a few years ago and my love and respect for this company has continued to grow. Way Basics is a home organization company but with a very special message. All of their products are non-toxic and made from 99% recycled paper. Yes, that's right. Their products are made from their patented Z-Board product which is 62% lighter than particle board, but just as durable completely safe for your home, and 100% recyclable. Pretty neat, right? Read on to learn more about this awesome company and their founder who started it all!

Let's start at the beginning! What is your background?

My education and experience is typical of a corporate soldier. Do well in school, get into a good college, work a few years, go back to business school, and find a better paying job with an important sounding title. Pretty standard stuff until I was fortunate enough to be taken under the wing by the CEO of my last job. He introduced me to things before they were mainstream: organic foods, boutique hotels, eco-friendly concepts. He planted seeds which changed my outlook and eventually led to Way Basics.

How did your career evolve into business? How did you come up with Way Basics

Being an entrepreneur was always in my blood. I grew up with both sets of grandparents and my dad being entrepreneurs themselves. I always knew that I wanted to be my own boss . There was never a big bang moment for Way Basics . It was always in the making with my random and fun start-up ideas ranging from shot glasses made of ice, to sandals without straps. None of these ideas were "the one" that I truly believed in, but they were playful! I wanted a business that was good, healthy, simple, and most of all fun. I finally decided to quit my corporate job and take a risk with a paper trash can idea. We were starting to be more aware of our roles to be socially responsible, and an idea to help eliminate or reduce the use of plastic bags was exciting to me. Eventually, Way Basics was born out of the life my wife and I envisioned. Our products needed to be easy and different, and most importantly good. The reason we are named Way Basics is a birth of our values

What do you do on a day to day basis for your career/company?

I am living our Way Basics mission in serving families who appreciate healthy, frustration free essentials. What I love most each day is hearing from our customers , both the good and especially the bad . Their praises fuel our team and criticisms challenges us to be better . We're an online company, and each customer email that comes into my inbox is a fun letter for me to read and respond to.

What do you love most about your career path?

A few years ago my wife and I decided to take the company virtual to continue living out our simple lifestyle. We employ team members from all over the world spanning from the United States, Dubai, Egypt, Bulgaria, Taiwan, Philippines and India. Although we're miles apart, the vision we believe in brings us all together. Way Basics' vision is, “Worldwide team members delivering out of this world service." I love that we are able to serve our customers from anywhere anytime since we span across so many different time zones!

Were there any setbacks that you have had over your career that turned into positive movements in your career?

The first 3 years starting up a business was challenging. That's why being naive is bliss. Way Basics was introducing a whole new concept of "paperboard furniture" and it took time for our customers to get comfortable with something different and believe in it. I had to learn patience and wait for the growth to spread organically. We feel really blessed that our customers took a leap of faith and continue to cheer us on. I've learned that Way Basics is a living and breathing entity. We need to put constant care and attention to our customers and products to make sure we continue to be healthy and grow.

What is the best piece of career advice you have heard? Do you have any advice for our readers on creating their own opportunities?

I am constantly surrounded by go-getters, and need to remind myself of this quote I once read somewhere, "A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms."

What is your goal for your future?

Way Basics has been my wife and I's baby snce 2008. We hope to expand our family with a chubby baby soon :)

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