We love your lunchboxes ! What made you start Rainebeau ?
Jodie: When my son started school in 2015 the school had a no wrapper policy for lunches. Being a dietitian, I embraced this and even got quite competitive given children won awards for having the least wrappers every month! However, I found the options for lunch containers weren’t working for me and were driving me a bit crazy every morning. Picture messy kitchen from the night before, screaming kids wanting breakfast, no lids left but 5 container bottoms!
Sarah and I came together as business partners over several dinner conversations about this lunch box dilemma. Sarah’s daughter had just started 3 year old kinder and she’d also tried several lunchbox options, so understood my crazy idea to design the perfect lunch box! Rainebeau started from a need for a functional lunchbox that wouldn’t have things that get lost or break and didn’t require wrappers! Thrown into the plan was how we go about making them look really frickin’ cool!
What were you doing before Rainebeau ?
Sarah: First and foremost, we are both Mums with five kids between us, so that keeps us busy!! Before kids, Jodie was a pro surfer and then became a dietitian, I owned a children’s boutique. Between our part time jobs we’d spend warm days at the beach and try to travel through winter to find more warmth in northern Australia or Bali. Besides hitting the beach, we like to visit local farms for their fresh produce, which we are luckily surrounded by at home on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
Best and worst thing about working with a friend ?!
Sarah: I think it’s a pretty special thing to be on this journey with one of your besties and I know we feel really thankful for that. We are both in the exact same stage of life with juggling kids, marriage, school/kinder, house etc. so we really understand each other and each other’s lifestyles. In saying that, we are quite similar in that we are both big over-thinkers which can sometimes make things tricky because we over-analyse everything.
We sometimes find it hard to make quick, clear decisions without fussing over the smaller details. We can also be quite different in what appeals to our design aesthetic. For example, Jodie is drawn to more neutral things and I like a splash of colour, so we can butt heads on colour choices and things like that. We find it helps to have a third person who is completely neutral to the process to give their opinion. This, more often than not, is our graphic designer who we joke is the silent partner of Rainebeau.
Working with friends can be complicated and it’s a learning process for sure, but I think the key to it being a successful partnership is communication. Being honest with each other is a must! I wouldn’t change this experience for the world. Working with Jodie has been one of the best experiences of my life because I admire her so much and we have a lot of fun!
Jodie: The best thing about working with a friend is you know them so well, so you know how to communicate with them. Just like any relationship, the key is communication and respect. We also have a moto in our office: “If it’s fun, it isn’t work. If it isn’t fun, it will never work”. We love our product and our designs stem from the things we love and love doing. We get to high five each other all the time – it’s the best thing to be able to celebrate with a friend.
The worst thing is perhaps sometimes disagreeing on a decision we have to make, but there’s nothing wrong with this. We just take a vote, get others we trust involved in the voting process and make a business decision, so we don’t think this is bad in anyway and there are no hard feelings. We usually find a way of agreeing in the end anyway! When we make a mistake, we just tell each other ‘shit happens’ and make sure we learn from it rather than blame or give each other some kind of guilt treatment – and I think that is because we are friends.
Tell us about the design process. What makes your lunchboxes unique ?
Jodie: The design process started by playing with food containers, looking at what was wrong with what we already had and deciding on the best size. It was like being back at school with pencils, rulers and paper, drawing up dimensions and shapes on scraps of paper, then sending them off to our manufacturer for handmade samples. It sounds simple but this took over a year to get right to the point we were 100% happy. It was also portioned based on dietary requirements for a meal and a snack, given my background as a dietitian.
We developed the designs with the side panels as an extra touch to give it a uniqueness that would make it something special. Packaged food appeals to kids because of the pictures and bright graphics, so we mimicked this desire the children had for food in fun packages by placing it on the wrapper-free lunch box, hence no more packaged food and wrappers, but still a happy child keen to get stuck into their lunch!
What is the philosophy that guides your business ?
Jodie: Our moto is ‘Create, Eat, Play’. We want children to be hands on, to learn and explore where food comes from, how to make their meals and snacks from scratch, get dirty in the garden growing vegies and picking fruit, and make plenty of time to flourish from their healthy eating habits and lifestyles, while running free in natural environments. So, in a nutshell, beneath this moto is fun, food, lifestyle, environment and adventures! Sustainability and health in a practical package is key to Rainebeau Co’s designs.
Is there anything new on the horizon for Rainebeau ?
Jodie: We have so many things we want to do that centre around our philosophy, however it’s one step at a time as our business grows! There are so many exciting ideas and opportunities with so many great followers keen to embrace the same movement we are all about. We do have our ‘Ocean Love’ range landing in November with a beautiful blue wave lunch box and a pale pink sunrise that make the perfect pair. We also have some seriously cool (pardon the pun) insulated lunch bags coming out in the new year, hopefully January just in time for school starting here in Australia. Other than that it’s too soon to share the rest!
What makes you most proud about Rainebeau ?
Sarah: I’m proud of the education our brand provides on nutrition and, of course, the awareness on reducing single-use plastic. If we can educate as many people as possible on the crisis we are in because of the over use of throw-away plastic, then we will be thrilled and super proud of our efforts. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to know you are making a positive contribution to society and helping to preserve the environment for our kids and future generations. We all need to try and do what we can, even if its just starting off small – like introducing a wrapper-free lunch box into your child’s life!
What mark to you want to leave on the world ?
Jodie: If millions of children stop going to school without wrappers in their bag and parents begin to buy their snacks in bulk because of our product, we have won a big battle with unnecessary rubbish. An airtight leak-proof lunchbox also opens up a world of opportunity for fresh food in a child’s day. If our lunch box encourages a parent to pack fresh food, then that child’s health will benefit into the future. We want our lunch box to be that helping hand. We know it helped us, our children love eating their lunches now! We seriously haven’t looked back since using our own product, it’s been a life changer, so I guess we hope it does the same for others.