In today’s segment of the Atlanta Small Business Show, Jim Fitzpatrick speaks to Brian Sutherlin Jr., founder and CEO of Green-Go-Box, at the Gwinett Small Business Summit hosted by the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, to discuss the unique startup process for a green company.
Jim Fitzpatrick: We’re out here at the Gwinnett Small Business Summit and we’re ready to talk to Mr. Brian Sutherlin, Jr. of Green Go Box. Welcome to ASBN, Brian.
Brian Sutherlin: Thank you, sir.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. So for the people that are watching right now, what is Green Go Box?
Brian Sutherlin: So, Green Go Box rents and delivers eco-friendly plastic moving boxes as an alternative to cardboard boxes.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.
Brian Sutherlin: So you go online, on our website, you pick a package, we deliver it to you. You pack them and move them, or have a moving company pack them and move them, and we pick them up from your new residence.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. So tell me, how did a young guy like you get into a business like this?
Brian Sutherlin: Yeah, the long story of it, I saw it on the West Coast. You know, West Coast is very green over there.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Brian Sutherlin: And I was like Atlanta doesn’t have this. Lo and behold, I did a little research; they had it, but the companies that were here, they’re now closed and I’m looking to capitalize on that.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, for sure. How long you been in business?
Brian Sutherlin: June 1st.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh, June 1st? Congratulations.
Brian Sutherlin: I’m a baby.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, that’s awesome. Do you know how big the industry is? The Go Green type industry of containers?
Brian Sutherlin: I don’t, but I do know that over 100 billion corrugated cardboard boxes are used every year.
Jim Fitzpatrick: A hundred billion.
Brian Sutherlin: A hundred billion.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh my God. Is that just in the US?
Brian Sutherlin: Worldwide.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Worldwide? Okay.
Brian Sutherlin: In the US, it’s about 42 million.
Jim Fitzpatrick: 42 million boxes.
Brian Sutherlin: And 75% of all cardboard corrugated boxes end up in a landfill.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh my gosh. Isn’t that something?
Brian Sutherlin: Yes sir. It’s ridiculous.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And obviously, your boxes that are right here next to us are just reused every single day, right?
Brian Sutherlin: Yes sir. Yes sir.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Zero waste.
Brian Sutherlin: Zero waste. And one of my boxes gets rid of 500 corrugated boxes.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh my gosh.
Brian Sutherlin: Out of a landfill.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And they’re easier to pick up, right?
Brian Sutherlin: Easier to pick up, easier to pack.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah.
Brian Sutherlin: As you can see, they’re stackable. We call them nestable.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Nestable, okay.
Brian Sutherlin: Waterproof. They can’t be submerged in water, but unlike cardboard boxes, if you set it in a puddle, nothing’s gonna happen.
Jim Fitzpatrick: So let’s talk a little bit about the start-up process. How did you get started? How do you get funded on something like this? Those boxes aren’t cheap, I’m sure.
Brian Sutherlin: They’re not. They’re not.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To buy a few thousand of them or however many that you need to start with, right?
Brian Sutherlin: Correct. So we started with 2,000. I did a small friends and family round to get everything going. Boxes, website, branding, I did a friends and family round.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And that’s awesome. And you’re in business, right?
Brian Sutherlin: Yes sir. In business.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. So where do you find your customers?
Brian Sutherlin: Facebook, Instagram.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Really?
Brian Sutherlin: I’m on a couple associations, big associations, Atlanta Apartment Association.
Jim Fitzpatrick: All right.
Brian Sutherlin: Because multi-family properties are one of our prime customers.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Really? That’s great.
Brian Sutherlin: People moving in and out, they use them as amenities.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay. And what about moving companies? Would they be a fan of yours, or not, because they want to sell the boxes?
Brian Sutherlin: Correct. So I’m in some talks with some local moving companies right now, but most moving companies provide corrugated cardboard boxes, so we’re not really friends. But there’s a couple that don’t, and we’re looking to see where we can partner.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, sure. Because if I’m gonna move, and I want my moving company to be green and be thinking green, I may ask them, “Do you have this service?”
Brian Sutherlin: Yes, yes.
Speaker 1Jim Fitzpatrick
Brian Sutherlin: Big advantage. That’s what I’m trying to sell them.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. So where do you see yourself in five years? Do you have franchises or do-
Brian Sutherlin: Yeah, so five years, hopefully we’ll be all throughout the southeast, emerging. So Charlotte, Nashville, Birmingham, and Atlanta.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.
Brian Sutherlin: We’re gonna be launching on-demand storage, middle of 2019. So we’re gonna be basically pick up your items, store them in our warehouse, and there will be an online dashboard where you can go and retrieve your things, or actually put in a request for them to be retrieved.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, okay.
Brian Sutherlin: Instead of having to go to self-storage units.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, very cool.
Brian Sutherlin: I think so.
Jim Fitzpatrick: And how do you stack up cost-wise, for the consumer that says, “Well, we gotta go out and buy some boxes, or we could rent these.” How do you-
Brian Sutherlin: Yeah. So we’re up to 30% cheaper than most of your moving packages that you … So your U-Haul packages, your Home Depot packages, we can be up to 30% cheaper.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow, that’s … So not only does it provide a savings to the … or you’re saving the environment, you’re saving the consumer up to 30%.
Brian Sutherlin: That’s a value for the consumer.
Jim Fitzpatrick: It really it is, it really is. Well thank you so much for joining us on the Atlanta Small Business show. We appreciate you.
Brian Sutherlin: I appreciate you.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, hopefully we can follow up with you in six or eight months and see how the business is going.
Brian Sutherlin: Please, please.
Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s great. Thanks so much.
Brian Sutherlin: Thank you. Thank you.