We had the good fortune of connecting with Elle Liu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Elle, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I was struggling with night sweats and breakouts, so I had a really difficult time getting restful sleep every night. So I looked into cotton sheets and discovered that cotton is one of the dirtiest and thirstiest crops in the world – it takes a significant about of water and pesticides to grow. The runoff from cotton production can create damaging effects on the earth and surrounding wildlife.
As someone who lives very ecofriendly, which was something my parents really valued, I wanted to find a more ecofriendly alternative to cotton. I knew that whatever it was, it had to be sustainably made and really align with the values I have – high quality and ecoconsiously made. I wanted something that was carbon neutral and earth friendly. After over a year of talking to different mills and manufacturers, I discovered our eucalyptus fabric which is just a miracle fabric, and that’s how Eucalypso was born.
What should our readers know about your business?
I want to create products that changing the way people live their life and think about what they’re purchasing. For our consumers, that means purchasing with intention and being thoughtful about how they’re spending their money. It’s about knowing that their money is going to a good place that is helping make the planet a better place.
For our workers, we want to make a difference by providing opportunities they may not have been able to access previously. We have women empowerment programs as part of our social responsibility initiatives, which means giving leadership roles to women who may not have been brought up to seek leadership. We also have adult literacy programs that teaches adults how to read and write if they didn’t learn those skills previously. We really want to make a difference in the lives of people who work with us, and make the world a better place.
My company Eucalypso makes ecofriendly sheets from natural eucalyptus fibers, and our core values are focused around sustainability and giving back. I believe that sleeping well and restfulness is so important to living a healthy life, and I want to help people do that in a way that is also ecofriendly.
All our products are created with the highest eco-standards, from the way we harvest our natural eucalyptus fibers in small batches to the organic solvents we use – we really care a lot about doing things the right way. For instance, we utilize a closed loop process in our creation process, which means that we reuse and recycle 99% of water and solvents in our production process. Our products are not only earth friendly, but they’re also great to sleep in. So even if you’re not a particularly eco-conscious consumer, we still want you to sleep well and enjoy our products.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Animae has a fantastic atmosphere and a great date spot with amazing food. We would definitely go to Farmer’s Bottega for brunch, since they have a fantastic brunch selection. For drinks, Nobel Experiment is a speakeasy that makes incredible cocktails.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur until I read Originals by Adam Grant, which is what sparked the entrepreneurial side in me. I always believed that entrepreneurs were risk takers, someone who was very bold, outspoken, and willing it to give it all up to pursue to big idea. I didn’t have any big ideas, I don’t like being the loudest person in the room, and I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a risk taker. Rather, I’m steady, hardworking, and persistent.
In Originals, Grant shared the idea that leaders and people we see at entrepreneurs are not always risk takers or people very different from you or me. Instead, they’re often people who are thoughtful, steady, and pursue their ideas by working hard at it. It made me realize that I could be an entrepreneur. I didn’t have to quit my job and make a big bet that might bankrupt me; I can have an idea and work hard at it and build it into an empire. It really changed my mindset and gave me the confidence to think about how I can make an impact on the world.