The JustGoodness Movement with Shehani Rasaputra
By Mahika Panditha
Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you have been keeping safe and well during these trying times; it is important that we adhere to the social distancing and other safety regulations, and also do everything in our power to keep our immunity in check. With that in mind, I hope you have heard about The JustGoodness Movement (JustGoodness.co) because that is what we are going to be focusing on today.
We had the chance to speak with JustGoodness Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shehani Rasaputra about what she has been working on. Her passion lies in advocating for local purchasing as well as sustainable living, for which we are here.
Our conversation revolves around the movement as well as the impact the pandemic has had on the businesses itself. Aside from this, one of her many goals is to convert 1,000 homes from using plastic shampoo bottles to using shampoo bars – we cannot wait to see what’s coming for JustGoodness and we are in full support. Before I ramble on, let’s get into it.
Let’s start with how JustGoodness started.
JustGoodness started from a place of frustration. I was about to be a new mom and I had spent time researching the damage that common ingredients in conventional products could do to your body and to your environment. When I tried looking for better products that were natural and sustainable, I just couldn’t find anything locally available. There was only one store that had a very limited amount of products and it was just too far. I ordered some essentials off Amazon and got hit with a huge bill of duties and taxes. This was my “aha!” moment. I wanted to be able to do something about the lack of access to better products in our country and it snowballed from there.
What was the inspiration behind the name?
I wanted something simple that explains what we believe in and what kind of products we stand for. After spending several months contemplating, we finally decided that JustGoodness was the most fitting.
Tell us about the product range offered by JustGoodness.
JustGoodness.co is an e-commerce site that offers natural, sustainable, and eco-friendly alternatives to everyday products. We have over 1,200 products in over 12 product categories, from baby products to natural skincare and health food, with delivery available islandwide. Basically, a healthier alternative to anything in your home.
Some of our most popular products are our range of natural deodorants, biodegradable laundry powders, and gift boxes. We also just launched our www.JustGoodness.global store. People worldwide now have access to some of Sri Lanka’s best locally made, all-natural products! The site can be used to send Sri Lankans living anywhere a little piece of home, or for anyone who loves Sri Lanka, it is a new way of supporting the local economy and local artisans.
How do you find the companies/small businesses to work with?
Initially, we did some research and started calling companies that we had heard of. Eventually, as the movement built, companies started reaching out to us. Today, we have 80-plus local SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) that we support through the platform.
In terms of the current situation, how has Covid-19 affected JustGoodness and what have been the biggest hurdles to overcome?
Luckily, e-commerce is one of the few industries that has grown because of Covid-19, but with that said, there have also been many challenges. The need to be more responsible with product handling and staff is of utmost importance to us, as it should be with any company currently functioning.
We have had trouble with getting inventory in from different parts of the country, faced issues with sourcing things like packaging when most factories were closed, and also delays in getting orders to customers. It was definitely a very challenging time, but we got through it, thankfully with the support and understanding of our customer community.
What is your opinion on the impact of Covid-19 on business in the future?
I really prefer to look at this from a positive perspective, even though there are many negatives to consider. Right now, I think there’s a good opportunity for consumers to start buying more local products (especially with import bans on so many popular imported products). The entrepreneur spirit locally is strong and there are many local companies out there that make products that are really up to international standards. These companies really put a lot of love and care into formulating products that are good for the people who use them and don’t have adverse effects on the environment.
I think it’s important that more people give these companies a chance, which is one of the reasons that I started JustGoodness.co – so people could have access to these companies and their products wherever they live. I think it’s also great that manufacturers who were sourcing raw materials from other international markets now need to look at more locally available natural resources. And Sri Lanka is full of them!
Any advice for youngsters looking to start their own e-commerce platforms?
Definitely have a backup game plan on what you would need to do to keep running in case of a lockdown. Watch cash flow – if possible, try and have a reserve for emergencies so you can be sure; so in a situation you need to temporarily halt services, you can look after yourself and your employees.
What’s one thing you would tell them to keep in mind when doing so?
Make sure you are taking the necessary precautions to ensure your employees and customers are safe. If someone is ordering from you, that means they trust you, and you need to take that seriously.