“The world is evolving and it requires consumers use sustainable products that are environmentally friendly but also reusable. My ideal customer is health and eco-friendly-minded, and I see a lot of that in Loudoun County.”
Loudoun entrepreneur Melissa Kang’s included those words on her application to join the FireUp Business Mentoring and Coaching cohort this Spring. She was on to something; just weeks before, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a range of environmental measures, including:
- The creation of an environmental advisory commission;
- Expanding the county’s C-PACE program to take full advantage of Virginia’s Clean Energy Financing Law;
- Investigating the ability to update the county’s fleet of vehicles with electric, hybrid and natural gas-powered options;
- Investment of $1.1 million into improving the energy efficiency of county facilities.
Kang also knew these issues were important to Loudoun residents, including reducing plastic waste that comes from food preparation and storage.
Her business, Komotree, provides eco-friendly products that are better for the environment but also better for the people that use them. Komotree’s flagship product is a series of glass containers with bamboo lids, making them free from plastics and harmful chemicals.
“Our goal is to continue to add more products as we are able to generate income,” she said. “We are also launched a Shopify site to sell through our own website versus Amazon.”
Kang initially launched her business on Amazon in August 2019 before production issues caused her to pull back the inventory and revisit her supply chain. She re-launched in January 2020 and sold 2,000 units during the first six months of the pandemic.
Participating in the FireUp program has been a game-changer for Kang and Komotree, who took it as an opportunity to inspect the foundation of her business before scaling up.
“The FireUp Business and Mentoring program has validated my entrepreneurial spirit and helped me better connect with the Loudoun community,” she explained. “The weekly lessons have helped me redefine my target customer and leverage analytics to better understand their behavior.
“Since beginning the program, I have redefined my business concept to offer personalized engraved bamboo lids to reach a larger audience. I look forward to completing the program.”
While Komotree’s business model is built for national and international distribution, there is something special about Loudoun County that makes it a great place for her to get started.
“Loudoun County is the perfect base to grow my business and my family. It has the modern conveniences and comforts of a major suburban area, while simultaneously providing beautiful landscapes for inspiration,” she said. “Loudoun has always had a great reputation for technology as its affectionately called the Data center capital of the world, it has highly rated school districts, diverse business opportunities and excellent public services.
“Always at the forefront of small business owned shops, beautiful vineyards, farmers markets, family friendly events and a growing online presence, Loudoun is emerging as a dream destination for many families.”
Learn more about Komotree and shop their products online at Komotree.com.
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