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From Fast Fashion to Saving the Environment. How Manon Beauchamp Tardieu became a Female Founder

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Enterprising Girls Team
Academy For Enterprising Girls

Reusable straws and environmentally friendly business The Little Green Panda chats with Enterprising Girls.

“Our goal is to put an end to single-use plastic and that’s what keeps me going,” says Manon Beauchamp Tardieu.

The 27 year old started Little Green Pander two years ago and to date the social enterprise has sold 3.3 million straws made from bamboo, wheat and sugarcane to customers in more than 10 countries.

Watch Enterprising Girls' live webinar with Manon here:

As a child, Manon was very curious and credits her parents for making her feel like anything was possible. 

“When I was little I was always one of those annoying kids who always asked my parents why,” she said from her home in Melbourne. 

By the time she finished high school she knew she wanted to be her own boss and start her own business.

She graduated from Melbourne’s Swinburne University with a double degree in business management and communication design and started working as a designer for some of the biggest fashion brands like Zara and H&M where she saw the harmful effects of fast fashion on the environment. 

Founder of The Green Panda Manon wears a pink jacket and holds a packet of wheat straws in front of kiwi statues.

Then on a trip to Hong Kong to visit her mother she discovered reusable straws made from bamboo which she hadn’t seen in Australia. 

“I decided to test the market by selling them on Amazon to validate if that’s a product that people want, and surprisingly it was,” she said. 

Read: Six steps for start-up success

She then started a social media campaign and watched her Australian customers grow right as the country’s attention shifted to single-use plastics and many big retailers moved to ban plastic bags. 

During its first 19 months the business experienced 200 percent revenue growth month-on-month - a period Manon describes as crazy, exciting and stressful. 

Manon believes mentors have played a significant role in the success of Little Green Panda, offering guidance and support. 

“Find someone that’s really like-minded, and understands your vision and your brand, and where you want to be,” she said. 

However she adds it’s important to be selective and to not overwhelm yourself with many different opinions. 

Woman drinks pink smoothie from Little Green Panda bamboo straw.

“We have at least two or three really good mentors but before we had lots of people and it got busy because you always got very different feedback from people that sometimes clashed and it gets really confusing,” she said. 

Social media has been another major driver in the business’s success, achieving brand exposure without the hefty advertising bill.

“It’s a really powerful platform if you know how to leverage it properly.”

She says in the past brands used Instagram purely for promotion, but Manon says there has been a shift and users now want value, something Little Green Pander achieves by offering tips to followers on how to live more sustainably. 

“When we make content we always put ourselves in the shoes of what would our audience want to learn and what is it that they want to see and then we shape our strategy around that and we mix it with educational content but also fun and entertaining too,” she said. 

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