It was only a couple of months ago that the Canberra Women in Business network welcomed in its new committee for 2017/18 led by the effervescent President, Peta Swarbrick from One Agency.
But rather than introduce you to each of us in one hoorah, we’re breaking tradition to dedicate a monthly feature to each of our new Committee members so you can really get to know them, their business and just what it is that puts a fire in their belly…
Introducing our fun-loving, big-hearted and down-to-earth Events Coordinator, Gemma Thomson.
Only recently appointed to the role, you may have seen Gemma pop up in your inbox a couple of times this month. She’s the Founder and CEO of Puppis Baw ~ Dung Beetles for Dogs — an environmentally-friendly business that is nature’s solution to your dog’s business.
It’s something she is avidly passionate about. And no, not just the transactional kind of business either but rather the business that tends to stink up your backyard. ?
After identifying a gap in the market for an environmentally-friendly option to dispose of her pooch’s business, Gemma came to the realisation that the way we deal with it stinks for both us and our planet.
However, the Canberra-based entrepreneur credits a TEDx Canberra talk by her (now) supplier for inspiring her to take the leap into the eco-friendly business and encourages those seeking a minimum footprint lifestyle to take action now.
‘It’s is the perfect season to be stocking up ahead of those warm summer days,’ she says. ‘Besides who wants to be picking up poo on the heat of the day?’
Ahead of finding out how the little critters work, we asked Gemma to share a little insight into what makes her tick as a passionate Canberra businesswoman.
‘[I love that] I get to do something good for the planet, for people and for dogs,’ she says. ‘I’m the first person to provide dung Beetles for use in urban environments in Australia.’
It’s also what makes this so different to all that she has done before.
Prior to embarking on this project, Gemma was a public servant. ‘Although it gave me a good grounding and transferable skills, the work I’m doing now is worlds apart,’ she says.
‘I deliver boxes of bugs that bury dog owners’ dog poop in the backyard.’
Very much a niche, but one Gemma wholeheartedly believes in, ‘I love that I can help people to live in a more environmentally friendly way whilst making our lives easier,’ she says.
‘Dung beetles are an environmentally friendly way to process our dogs’ poop which also helps our gardens,’ she explains.
‘Without Dung Beetles, every dog poop we deal with is wrapped in plastic and sent to landfill where that plastic will never break down.’
So how does it all work?
Chuckles Gemma, ‘It all comes down to nature’s greatest motivator – “sexytime”.’
‘When animals digest their food, their bodies don’t use all the nutrients that their food holds. These nutrients end up in the poop – which is the perfect food for the dung beetles. The adult beetles squeeze the juice out of the poop for their food, like a protein shake. The solid leftovers become the food for the babies.’
Pretty neat, huh?
As for the business name?
‘Puppis is a constellation which depicts the poop deck of a ship. And Baw means poop in Welsh,’ Gemma explains.
‘Sooo basically, the name means “poop poop”. [But] to me it signifies doing something big and a little bit crazy, like reaching for the stars and breaking into an entirely new market with bugs that bury dog poo.’
Like any good businesswoman can attest, breaking into a new market can be filled with excitement, trepidation, and a lot of unknowns. It’s often not until we’ve established our presence do we reflect on hindsight.
When we asked Gemma the three things she wished she had known when she ventured into business:
‘That someone around you always has the experience or answer you need; that you can do much, much more than you thought, and to trust your gut — no, really. Trust it.’
And always keep our good friend, Albert Einstein in mind, she adds.
Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value.” Albert Einstein.
If you’d like a greener garden for your dogs and a more natural solution to cleaning up after them, check out Gemma’s website, email her for more info or say hi when you see her at our next CWB event.