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From eco-warriors to TikTok stars – How Hero Packaging found global success

- June 23, 2022 6 MIN READ
Anaita Sarkar with Hero Packaging in background

As co-founder of sustainable packaging company Hero Packaging, Anaita Sarkar is a self-confessed ‘eco-warrior’, but she admits she hasn’t always been that way. She joined editors Cec Busby and Adam Bub on the First Act podcast to share the genesis of her business and how she’s using TikTok to change consumer habits, one video at a time.

Saving the planet is all in a day’s work for Hero Packaging co-founder Anaita Sarkar. She founded the zero-waste, compostable packaging business with her husband Vik after finding herself shocked at the amount of plastic packaging used for her previous company, luxury leather eCommerce brand Olivia & Co.

“I wasn’t an eco-warrior at all when I started the business,” Anaita admits. “I was trying to find a solution for my previous business because I was sending everything in plastic packaging, and I thought, this isn’t right, something is really wrong here.

“So I decided to look into this myself. It was a nine-month process of researching different manufacturers and suppliers and seeing who could make something that looked like plastic but was compostable and mainly plant-derived.”


Hero Packaging (left), Anaita Sarkar (right)

“We are trying to be the go-to packaging company for sustainable business or any business worldwide; we want to change people’s thinking. Instead of just sending packaging to them, we want to educate them on compostable packaging. We want to push ideas forward and be creative about the end of life of a mailer or packaging – how can we get people to do the right thing rather than just put it into a landfill?”

Hero Packaging now partners with some of the biggest global distribution houses and has sold over 16 million mailers to over 40,000 businesses globally. That’s a lot of plastic kept out of the oceans and landfills.

Transparency and content are the secrets to success

Anaita credits much of their success to being completely authentic and their regular content creation on TikTok, where she has built an impressive base of 300,000 dedicated followers on her Sell Anything Online profile and nearly 1,500 fans on the Hero Packaging account.

@hero.packaging

Just a couple of reasons off the top of my head 😎 #sustainableliving #aussiebusiness #packanorderwithmetiktok #packanorderwithme

♬ Originalton – S☆U☆N☆N☆Y

“I think what has impacted is being very transparent with everything I create,” Anaita reveals. “If you look at some companies and the content they create or the emails they write, it’s very sales-oriented, very transactional. People are just buying packaging from them.


“With us, they are buying from me. When I write an email, it is from me. When I do a piece of content, I’ve literally gone into my home compost and taken out a Hero Pack with my bare hands, and I’m showing it breaking down in a compost bin. So it’s very authentic; you are buying from me as a business owner, and I’m trying to do the best I can.

“For example, a couple of years ago we had a few customers complain because some of our mailers weren’t sealed properly. Now, I know that many of our competitors had similar issues, but we came out and apologised publicly; we were very open. We took back and replaced hundreds of thousands of mailers and composted them ourselves. The message was, ‘We are sorry, we’ve made a mistake, and we are going to fix it for you’. It was my face to camera, not just words on paper.”

Listen to Anaita Sarkar on the First Act podcast:

Why TikTok?

TikTok can feel like an unknown territory for a lot of small business owners. Still, Anaita believes every business should consider it and shares some top tips for getting started and organically building your following.

“TikTok is such a sophisticated platform,” says Anaita. “You can reach far more people in your target market than most other platforms. TikTok has a reach that Instagram does not. When you post to Instagram, all you’re doing is posting to your current followers. On TikTok, it could be thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of people who don’t know you but might be interested in your stuff.

“If you like someone who’s talking about books or business, and you watch their video to the end, TikTok will automatically start showing you things that are more relevant to you.”

@sellanythingonline

Pick one: #emailmarketing #tiktokcontent #instagramcontent #blogpost #websitecontent

♬ Darling – Trees and Lucy

Four top tips for getting started on TikTok

1. Post regularly

“I hate to say this because everyone rolls their eyes at me,” Anaita admits. “But when you start on TikTok, you need to be creating content consistently in order to grow. They say that only five per cent of your content will go viral, so if you’re only making one video every so often, you’re not giving yourself the chance to get one of them to go viral.

“I was talking to a business owner who shared one video a day, getting hundreds of views, just here and there. One day, she used a Kevin Hart voice-over – she was just opening and closing a jacket – and it went viral with around half a million views. She sold out of all her kids’ jackets.

“There are so many different things you can do, so try something simple. Just show your product to a trending sound – you don’t know where that could go.”

2. Keep it simple

“You can post TikTok videos up to ten minutes long,” says Anaita, “but I would suggest starting at seven seconds. It can be seven seconds of you opening up a product or package using a trending sound. Or it could be you talking to the camera saying, ‘This is what I do for a living’ or ‘This is how I started’, ‘This is my struggle’, ‘This is a day in my life’.

“If you grow and build a following, you can sell your products and services very easily for free.”

3. Consume content

“You should be consuming content before creating content,” Anaita advises. ”I’m not closed off to anything. I look at anyone to source inspiration. I will look at a 13-year-old dancing or a 45-year-old male giving business tips. I don’t just look at female founders; I look at everybody because then I can see what’s working and what’s not.

“I like to consume a lot of content. I’m reading marketing stuff; I’m watching TikTok; I’m on Instagram, and I’m looking at people’s Stories. I’m seeing what’s working because things are changing every day. So I take inspiration from a bunch of different sources.”

4. If you’re not feeling confident

“I don’t think anyone’s naturally good at TikTok videos,” admits Anaita. “I’m not – I’ve had to learn, and I’ve made so many mistakes. I look back at my previous videos and think, ‘What was I doing?’ But every time I make a video, I’m getting better and better. All of this stuff is learned; everything is figure-outable.

“If you don’t want to show your face, simply using your hands and doing a voice-over is an excellent first step into showing what you are doing. There are lots of ways to be authentic without showing your face.”

Anaita’s most significant piece of advice for an eCommerce business is?

“That not everyone is going to buy from you, just because you launch a product,” says Anaita. “No one’s going to do you favours – you have to sell yourself, you have to sell those products yourself.

“There’s a lot that goes into just selling one product, and you need to work hard.

“What I loved about your previous episode with Roxy Jacenko is that she says, ‘You do what you’ve got to do, to be the best at it.”

Book cover: 'Sell Anything Online' by Anaita Sarkar

Get your copy of Anaita’s book, Sell Anything Online, here.

Anaita Sarkar on the First Act podcast

For more TikTok tips and tricks and insights into the excellent impact Hero Packaging has on the planet, listen to the entire First Act podcast episode now.


Join us each Tuesday for a brand new episode of First Act, because every story has a beginning.

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