A whole lot of sol

At 22 Rebecca Veksler founded Sol Cups, a range of plastic-free, sustainable and ethically produced glass cups, water bottles and accessories. She speaks with The AJN.

Five years after it was founded, Rebecca has turned Sol Cups into one of the top-four reusable cup companies globally.

Tell us about your journey towards founding Sol Cups and becoming an entrepreneur.
The idea of Sol Cups was an incredibly special one! It is a family business, so it has a lot of love behind it. The real passion and idea came from a bit of a harder time in my life. I was hit by an intense auto-immune disease, and my body and nervous system essentially crashed. My family had always taught me about health, environment and the body; and growing up, we never had sugar, preservatives or unnecessary plastic in the house. They really instilled in me a desire to educate and investigate. So, I put my passion for the environment and the body into a small passion project while I was stuck in bed for months. It is pretty inspiring to see
where it has taken us. I went from being a successful personal trainer with a start up, to a walking stick, to running Sol Cups, – and two other companies, with more to come.

Why was it important to ensure Sol Cups is a sustainable and ethical business?
The reason why I do what I do is because I aim to share my knowledge and passion of health, environment and business with as many people as possible. That is why we do not use or produce plastic and we only use hand-blown glass and silicon in our cups. Our mission is to end single-use plastics, as well as decrease the need for plastic production altogether. The fact is, it’s all well and good for us and consumers to use reusable items, but they still have a life span. We need to consider the end life; where will it end up? We need to create more mindful, educated and supported consumers, and this can only happen with company transparency and regulation.

Passion and purpose are at your core. With “expectations” making it difficult for many to connect with their true purpose, what advice can you offer?
Passion doesn’t lie. You can’t force it, you can’t coerce it; you can only feel it or not feel it. Being a business owner can be very isolating and often for those just starting out it is easy to get lost in the world of others’ opinions. My advice: If you really need it to work, it will. Honour how you feel, because the truth is, not everyone is cut out for it. Owning a business is wholeheartedly consuming, but if you have true passion, true purpose, then anything and everything is possible. If you are easily influenced by the feelings of failure or the nitty gritty hard work that it takes, then you are in the wrong industry.

Don’t get me wrong – there is so much fun, joy, and positivity that encompasses being an entrepreneur, but it’s in the mindset that success is born. My biggest advice is to train your brain, learn about yourself – all of your weaknesses and strengths – and continuously work on being the best version of yourself every single day, including your mental health, fitness, diet and intelligence. Everything that you are, your business becomes. If you are focused and maintain a growth mindset, there is absolutely nothing that will stop you from achieving your goals.

What tips can you offer other young, budding entrepreneurs?
These 10 simple concepts changed my life:

  1. Leave your ego at the door.
  2. You do not know everything. Seek mentorship and build a support network.
  3. Authenticity and honesty are everything.
  4. Don’t sell a product, sell an experience.
  5. There is always a solution. Think laterally.
  6. Be proactive about questioning things – don’t just presume that everything is ethical or sustainable, just because you want it to be. Ask questions and set standards.
  7. Know yourself, know your skillset and know what you need to work on, because anything that you’re not amazing at, you’re going to need to outsource.
  8. Build an amazing team around you – which takes courage, vulnerability and leadership. But leadership is not a licence to do less.
  9. Know your “why” and ensure you revisit that as often as possible.
  10. Have fun and celebrate the small wins.

Do you see any part of Jewish identity or values expressed in what you do?
I really believe in the power of community, and feel this is the reason why we were so successful in the beginning. I harnessed authentic and long-lasting friendships and trusted in the coffee community and gifting/homewares industries! The best way to create non-digital engagement is to start with who you know. I think this is innately a very Jewish characteristic and something that I just naturally do. I also had no intention to “sell” the product to my community, but simply engage, learn from, and tell my story. That’s a very Jewish mentality that sets us apart.

What keeps you motivated towards achieving your goals?
My biggest mission in life is to create a positive impact on as many people as possible. I ensure that no matter what I do in life, it is clearly aligned with my personal values, goals and ethics – that is motivation enough. I wake up every day excited to do what I do, and excited to be surrounded by the people I have chosen to be in my life. The great thing about people is, we are not trees … we can move. So, if you’re not motivated, inspired or driven by your own life, all you need to do is move. Move your mind, your body and move in a new direction.

For more information about Sol Cups, visit www.solcups.com

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