The mother-of-two on a mission to replace household plastic with wood
PUBLISHED: 16:27 04 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:27 04 July 2019
Six months after launching her debut company, a mother-of-two said her mission to replace household plastic with wood had been a "roaring success".
Hazel and Jimmy Russell, from Attleborough, started homeware company The Wood Life Project in January, designing wooden alternatives for household products commonly made from plastic.
Half a year on, Mrs Russell said the business had gone from strength to strength, attracting the attention of Cobra Beer mogul Baron Bilimoria, and Breckland Council's own Dragons Den fund.
In 2014, Mrs Russell left her corporate job at Aviva to give birth to her sons, Lennon and Joseph, now three and five years old.
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She said the start-up had given her a welcome boost following the five-year career break.
She said: "The boys are getting to school age now and I wanted to find myself again after being a full-time mother for those years. Having our own business gives us independence and diversity - I've learned so much I would have never thought of before I started this. I feel like I'm exactly where I'm meant to be."
The couple's first prototype, a set of animal-themed children's plates designed by Mr Russell, has been well received by retailers, including Top Drawer London, the UK's largest lifestyle trade show, which invited the company to exhibit in September.
Mrs Russell put the success down to growing demand for sustainable products.
She said: "What we do is truly eco-friendly and people are waking up to the horrible facts of plastic pollution. By 2050 plastic will outweigh fish in our oceans. People are willing to pay more to have a smaller impact on the natural world. All the wood used in manufacturing is sourced in the UK, lowering the carbon footprint of production."
She added: "Since having kids I have thought more about what sort of legacy we are leaving behind. We lived perfectly well in the 1950s before plastic took over and we are seeing a shift away from it again. We're doing more than just selling a product, we're raising awareness. We have big aspirations but we're riding that wave."