Kath Austin On Quitting Clingfilm, Refined Sugar And Her Comfort Zone
Kath Austin, founder of BeeBee Wraps, is the smart, self-possessed, environmentally savvy, mum-boss you need to know. We’re all worried about our plastic usage but how many of us created a new product to replace clingfilm? Well? Me neither. Kath Austin not only cracked down on her own single use plastic habit, she started a booming business in the process. I asked Kath all about her lovely BeeBee Wraps and I got myself some great life advice too.
How did BeeBee Wraps come about?
As a new mother I was horrified by the amount of single use plastic we were getting through. In particular, I looked into ways to stop using clingfilm and thought beeswax would be a good alternative. I experimented with wax paper but found that cotton dipped in wax worked best. After 18 months of development I had the right formula and BeeBee Wraps went into production.
That was a huge step!
Well, my husband actually suggested I turn the idea into a business. I think we were drowning in beeswax and he asked me when I was going to do something commercial with the idea. In the end he left his job and now works for the company. He’s an accountant so that’s handy!
The business is going really well. We’re stocked in a large number of shops including Booths, Cookshop and the list is growing. Plus we’ve been featured in The Guardian, Marie Claire and on BBC Radio, among others.
I just think we all have to do our bit and this is my way, so far.
You don’t hang out in your comfort zone much, do you!?
Well, I think it’s really important to move outside of my comfort zone but that’s not to say it’s easy. By it’s very definition I am moving from comfort to the alternative, discomfort. However, although the journey may cause discomfort, the arrival point is mostly always a happier place.
I like to think of it as climbing a sheer rock face. I could stay at the bottom and admire the obscured view, imagining what the top looks like, or I can start my ascent, straining and stretching to reach the next platform. Every time I reach a point when I rest, the view is more incredible and my sense of achievement is growing. I might ache but it’s still feels good.
When we try, we grow. We cannot fail to grow because it just happens as part of the process. So yes, I believe that we need to step outside of our comfort zones to find the best version of ourselves, which is only the best version until we do even better again.
We recently heard from Penny Parks about limiting beliefs. What are yours?
Often we don’t know we are limiting ourselves, it’s a sub-conscious assumption created slowly over time. I found mine was steeped in not having a formal university education and being a mother. When I took a closer look at the words I chose to describe myself I realise I was reaffirming my limiting belief.
How have you overcome those limiting beliefs?
I step outside of the headspace and look in as if I were an objective observer. Is this belief true? Does it make sense logically? The long-held belief that a degree opens doors and without one those avenues are inaccessible is untrue.
Logically, having children doesn’t preclude me from success either. It can make the journey trickier but I am just as capable and entitled to success as a father or another person without children.
The other element of this strategy is to make an effort to remove the emotion, the hormones driving that physical reaction. Stress hormones play a huge role in magnifying the beliefs. Reducing their hold over me was and is crucial. Exercise, sleep, good food all help towards this and some moments breathing from my belly.
I gave up alcohol and sort of ‘woke up’ to myself. What have you changed in order to move forward?
My big vice is sugar, specifically 50/50 sugar and fat, like cakes, chocolates etc.. I love them and I find it hard to stop eating them. (Never let me near salted caramel). I completely gave up refined sugar in 2014 and it changed everything.
My hormones regulated more readily, my PMS subsided, my ability to smell increased, my palette corrected rendering bananas overly sweet, and my appetite halved. But the biggest change was my energy levels, I had so much energy that I could achieve anything I set my mind to.
Nowadays, I still struggle. It’s incredibly hard to walk away from completely, especially since we associate celebratory events with sugar. As I type it’s my daughters birthday and last night I made her a cake, which I am dreaming about eating now. Ultimately, to be successful, to be my best self every day, I need to stop eating this sort of food because it doesn’t serve me well.
I have tried to moderate my sugar intake but I find the mechanism others have to stop is hard to find in my head. I know what I need to do but will power is finite. So a blanket ban is easier to implement and having as little sugar accessible as possible is a good system. I guess it’s an addiction. Just know that we all struggle, and it’s not just you!