WHAT started off as a small project with his circle of friends has since blown into a full-scale operation for JOCO Cups founder Matt Colgeate.

The JOCO brand, which launched in 2009, was somewhat of a side project for Colgeate who wanted to do something about the vast amount of disposable waste being created around the world.

In the years since, JOCO has grown monumentally in Australia and overseas, having broken into the European and US markets.

The cups have almost become synonymous with the reusable movement, in part thank to their iconic silicone sleeve and glass body.

Colgeate says much of the brand's success has come from the group's ability to produce a quality, safe, and genuinely environmentally friendly product.

Business News Australia spoke to Colgeate about how he's managed to create a product that stands out from the crowd, the rise of fast-fashion knock offs, and why JOCO is important for the health of planet Earth.

Why do you think Australians have really come on-board to reusable cups?

We're seeing that Aussies are definitely progressing with the use of reusable vessels but also they're really starting to delve deeper into getting real solutions as well. We've definitely seen big lifts form a business perspective but one of the more focal things we've seen is customers are actually looking for further detail as to what solution they can use. They're asking more in depth questions about the materials, how they're going to last, what they contain and it's been a real eye opener for us and been very pleasing to see that this way of thinking is now taking place which means that people are making a change for the long term. They're not just jumping on a band aid solution because they might feel guilty they're making a change for the long term which is great.

How did you go about differentiating JOCO from other eco-friendly cups on the market?

At JOCO we're all about creating experience, and enhancing eco-innovative reusable vessels. From day one we've always looked to provide what we believe is the smartest choice for the people and the planet. We've worked with baristas from all parts of the world to ensure we have the right DNA in the product for the best coffee service but also the best coffee experience. Since day 1 we've been 100% plastic free and that's a very big difference that exists between us and pretty much the majority of the other options that are out there.

What got you into wanting to start JOCO?

The inspiration was really to provide a real solution to the incredible impact that disposable waste and plastic was having on our health and environment. We noticed that there really are a lot of barriers to using reusable vessels and we also found that if the reusable vessel detracted from the experience in any way at all then the customer would discontinue using that vessel then they'd return back to the convenience of disposals. We also knew that there is a large demographic of people out there that aren't necessarily in tune with what;s happening in the environment and what's happening to their health. We really wanted to identify with this demographic as well if we could get them using this product because they saw it as a fashion accessory. That's what we wanted to deliver and make it really easy for people to make the switch and so they make the switch for the long term.

The fast fashion industry has pushed into the renewable vessel market, how has that impacted JOCO?

We've definitely seen, from a business perspective, a lot of the fast fashion brands pick up on the eco space. We've had a fair bit of questioning about that. The eco space is quite trendy, and that's actually a point that we do communicate a lot on. We've seen situations where people have had bad experiences with poor quality fast fashion style eco products and that's something that we definitely always look to separate ourselves from because it is one of the hurdles that is placed on reusable products. In today's world we've become very good at removing the waste that we create on a daily basis, we become very good at removing it from our sight but not from our lives, so that's why it's understandable that a lot of people are disconnected from the real issue and if you've had a bad experience with a product than you just go straight back to convenience.

What's in the pipeline for the brand?

We continue to work with the leading organisations and people within the coffee sector. All of our vessels are used at world coffee events and especially coffee association competitions and so on and so forth. We do have a lot of exciting products in the pipeline around the reusable side of things as well, so we'll continue to evolve and develop product solutions that fit into everyone's daily lives, enhances the experience and the end result is best for health and the environment.

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