My name is Farzan Dehmoubed and together with my wife, we created a new bagging concept called the Lotus Trolley Bag. An all in one system of 4 bags that have rods that allow the bags to sit upright and open in the shopping cart. It makes grocery shopping easier, faster, and totally organized. There is a deep insulated bag for cold items, pockets to securely hold eggs, wine sleeves to keep bottles safe, and strong mesh bottoms to prevent spills from pooling and molding. They roll up neatly into a clutter-free, lightweight carrier and are machine washable.
The product has quickly become the best selling reusable bag system on Amazon with over 2500 Five Star reviews. Our company, Lotus Sustainables, was started with the mission to eliminate plastic from shopping. Our goal is to motivate individuals to change their shopping habits to use fewer plastic bags. And it’s working! Today, with our Lotus Trolley Bag and our matching reusable Lotus Produce Bags, we’ve helped eliminate over 400 Million plastic bags from circulation. We’ve grown from 500 to 15,000 retail stores in the last year and our goal for next year is to help eliminate over 1 Billion plastic bags.
Can you believe the average family uses over 1500 plastic bags per year? We think we can help change that alarming statistic.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
From my early teenage years, I always had an interest in entrepreneurship; maybe it was from my father who started his own electrical business in Canada as a refugee from Iran. With no money, support, or contacts, he found a way to support our family and make it on his own.
The lessons you learn along the way will prepare you for the next big idea which will inevitably come if you are prepared.
To this day I'm thankful he didn’t go out and just get a job like everyone else. That had a huge influence on me. Outside of my early university internships, I have thankfully never had to work for anyone.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
Our business was born out of pure frustration. The sad facts are that Americans use 100 BILLION plastic bags per year (I know, hard to even wrap your head around, right?). Can you believe only 1% of plastic bags are recycled per year and they are used for an average of 12 minutes? It is projected that there will soon be more plastic than fish in our world’s oceans. Anyhow, I could go on with all the disheartening facts I’ve learned while entering this space. I knew plastic pollution was bad, but I really had no idea the extent, magnitude, and damage until I entered this space in our business. (Whoa!)
So what to do?
Enter our idea and creation of the Lotus Trolley Bag.
My wife and I put our heads and hearts together and came up with a sustainable and convenient alternative to plastic bags. Our company was born out of necessity and frustration.
We initially thought we’d do a test run of the trolley bags on Amazon with 1000 sets. After spending time developing the perfect bag and sourcing it overseas, I decided to jump in with both feet and order an entire container of bags which we thought would last for 4-5 months. (I don’t recommend this). Fortunately for us, we were ecstatic to find ourselves selling out our entire stock in just 10 days! Our video got picked up by a website called BestProducts.com and our Lotus Trolley Bags went viral with 2 Million views! We couldn't believe it. And then the amazing review started to come in. People writing 2 paragraph reviews claiming it was the best thing they have purchased all year! That’s when we knew we had something special on our hands.
Ever since then, we’ve been working 12 hour days 7 days a week to make this dream of ours come through. Promoting plastic-free has become our mission and passion.
Our small business of 2 has grown to a family of 20. We’ve been featured on Good Morning America, The TODAY Show, Buzzfeed, Good Housekeeping, and even on ELLEN. We feel so blessed to be doing what we love while making a real and significant impact.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today we are focused on growing the team, expanding our retail presence, and continuing to build our Lotus brand around sustainability.
We invested early to patent our Lotus Trolley Bag in multiple countries and today we are working with strategic partners and retailers to bring this concept and product to the masses.
We are also looking to raise a small amount of growth capital from specific angle investors that are mission-oriented and passionate about our cause.
With the trend towards Scan & Go, our bags work perfectly for the future of grocery checkout. Our Lotus Trolley Bags perfectly complement this technology and allow people to easily scan, bag, and organize as they shop. This is an exciting change in the industry and we look to grow rapidly along with this technology.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
If you want to come out with a product, you have to learn how to dive deep into Amazon. Amazon has grown to such a huge sales platform that it can’t be ignored.
While your product is being made, start studying amazon and crafting your perfect listing. Pay special attention to reviews and work to fix bad reviews at all costs! It’s worth every penny and those reviews will ultimately build your business and reputation.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
As an Amazon seller, I recommend getting Jungle Scout. This is a powerful tool but one of the best features is the visibility of competitor sales. Before you jump into developing or manufacturing a product, the first thing that should be done is a detailed and complete study of the competition and the marketplace. Jungle Scout allows you to see how many units per day or month any product on Amazon is selling. Huge insight!
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
If you are going to be an Amazon seller, definitely listen to the Rock Your Brand Podcast by Scott Voelker. Amazing insight for beginner and professional sellers.
I also particularly love the amazing stories in the HOW I BUILT THIS Podcast. The struggle is real but so worth it.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
I always say ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s all about execution!
Learning HOW to execute is key. You can’t become good at execution until you actually jump in. No textbook or podcast can fully compare to doing it yourself. So pick something you are passionate about and dive in and execute. It doesn’t matter if it’s unsuccessful. The lessons you learn along the way will prepare you for the next big idea which will inevitably come if you are prepared.
Where can we go to learn more?
Follow us @lotustrolleybag or visit our site.
Connect with me on linkedin.
Hey! 👋I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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