Connecting with Julia Kay, Co-Founder at Great Wrap.
Who is Julia?
I’m the Co-Founder & Co-CEO at Great Wrap, a materials science company manufacturing home compostable stretch wrap made with food waste.
What was the process of starting Great Wrap?
My husband Jordy was making natural wine and farming organically and I was working as an architect in Australia and Europe designing buildings with low embodied carbon materials. I was spending a lot of time looking for the most sustainable materials only for them to arrive wrapped in petroleum-based pallet wrap. One day Jordy and I were sitting on a beach and asked ourselves if we weren’t operating in our respective industries would they be any different without us? The answer felt like a no, so we decided to do something more meaningful for the planet and ourselves. We both love spending time in the ocean so the plastic waste problem felt like a natural fit to tackle We wanted to test that there was an appetite for a product like ours and we knew we wanted to use it, but weren’t sure if this was actually a product the rest of the world cared about. So we had some pallet wrapcontract manufactured and posted it on our own personal Instagram accounts - it sold out within hours! That’s when we knew we were doing something important.
Advice for someone starting in your field?
Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before. Have an open mind and surround yourself with people who’ve been there — learn as much as you can. The sooner you ask questions that might feel unnatural, the sooner you’ll know the answer. It sounds cliche but it’s true! Also, blue sky ideas are the ones worth working towards.
How would you describe your day-today work life?
No day is the same at Great Wrap, and we are always constantly learning (which I love). Some days are spent at our factory exploring and trialling new materials while other days are spent doing deep work at home. I also prioritise looking after myself, whether it is a dip in the ocean, cooking a nice meal, or a long beach walk to switch off.
What are your rituals to get you in the zone?
Taking a swim in the ocean, especially when it is a little choppy and there is some wave action. I also like to do a quick two-minute meditation before work to clear my head and settle into the day. If I get stuck for creativity, I find if I don’t try to force it and step away from what I am doing, ideas and answers will come to me naturally. Sometimes I’ll be doing something completely unrelated, like having a shower, and my creativity will start flowing. Getting in the zone for some of the less creative tasks is something I am working on and getting better at in my role. With these tasks, I find that if I am as prepared as possible and have all of the information I need, I work better.
Fun times that have shaped you?
I grew up in Perth, which I loved, but it is pretty isolated over there. So when I finished my Master's Degree, worked in Milan, and lived in a new environment, it was a positive learning experience for me. I later moved to Melbourne on my own, where I again got to learn more about myself, meet new people and grow.
What sets your soul on fire?
A lot of things set my soul on fire! One being cooking - there is nothing better than having a nice glass of wine and some delicious fish in the sun with the people you love. I also live close to the sea so I try to go for an ocean plunge every day. The fresh water always wakes me up. I have recently been getting into oil painting, I love the challenge of figuring out how a new medium works.