By Mots’elisi Sekonyela
Lerato Moteane, 25 from Ha-Matala is the founder of Linaleli Greeting Cards which she explains as an eco-friendly business that recycles waste paper to produce plantable greeting cards that have made their way into the Pick n Pay store front shelves.
What makes this business eco-friendly is that the final product is biodegradable, meaning the paper decomposes into the soil, thereby reducing pollution.
This unique idea she says was inspired by a famous United States singer, Beyonce in one of her clothing line PR packages that included a plantable card. She then got curious and undertook a research on how that could be done. Furthermore, she says her educational background in B. Comm Sales and Marketing with major in Sustainable Supply Chain Management played a role in sparking her love for recycling.
Moteane recycles newspaper, printing paper and thin cardboard paper which she produces using machinery to shape and cut and put seeds inside before it dries. When put in soil a variety of flowers, vegetables and herbs grow. There are currently 15 seed options to choose from. Flower seeds include forget me not, daisies and poppies, while herb options include basil, thyme, chamomile, lemongrass and lavender. With vegetables, one can choose from tomato, carrot, lettuce, chili and green pepper. Production currently takes place at the passionate Moteane’s home in Ha Matala which she says significantly cuts costs.
Linaleli Greeting Cards started in 2021 January at a kiosk in front of Pick n Pay, Pioneer mall. It is then that the founder realized that she had to strike a deal with the store as most of her customers were those that went in and out of the store. She then reached out to the store management through an email and soon got a response for a meeting, requesting that she brings samples. The store then liked her work and a deal was made for her to display her cards on their shelves.
According to the founder, this move has been very beneficial to her business due to the increased visibility. She gets more custom orders now and in store demand of her products is growing. She is positive her business will create more employment, thus growing the country’s GDP.
On behalf of the store, Janine Caradonna who is a public relations officer says Pick n Pay prides itself in working with local suppliers and displaying their products on their shelves, as with Linaleli Greeting Cards. She says they are particularly always interested in displaying various environmentally friendly options, such as the store’s Livewell green range.
“Pick n Pay has always cared about its impact on the environment, and this is embedded in its value of doing good is good business. They have assumed a leading role in working with various associations to set environmental targets,” said Caradonna.
Initially, Moteane kick-started her business with own capital, but entered the BEDCO business plan competition in 2022 and came out victorious, winning seed capital worth M100,00.00 which she says is going to help a great deal in advancing and expanding the business as well as hiring more staff as demand is growing.
Linaleli Greeting Cards produces cards themed around all significant annual events like Valentine’s, mothers’ day, fathers’ day as well as birthday cards, congratulatory and well wishes cards. She also produces custom orders like business cards and event programs.
The founder remarked that she is working on bringing in more eco-friendly which she says are essential for the environment.
“This is a very good initiative towards protecting the environment and fighting against global warming as everything is biodegradable. The paper becomes compost and the seeds germinate into beautiful flowers, herbs and vegetables,” She said.
In terms of the card lifespan, Moteane says yes, the message on the card will eventually wear off as the paper biodegrades, but she says that’s the whole purpose. “These cards are supposed to be sentimental, the message on them lasts long after the paper has biodegraded, as the seeds germinate into beautiful plants and the recipient keeps remembering who gifted them the plants they are now taking care of and the message they came with,” she said.
She also says one does not have to plant it right away. They can keep it for as long as they want before putting it in soil. Moteane is available at +266 6922 6236 and at email@example.com