In 2012, Amanda Buckingham was driven by the need to create a product that would revolutionize her industry and give back to the planet. Her story begins with the borrowing of money from her family, the sale of her own family home and the sale of her award-winning salon, all to fund the development and launch of her product, her dream. Intertwined in her story is the incarceration of her then business partner, the legal mess that followed and the rebrand and relaunch, which almost killed her dream.
It reads like a movie script and most people would have given up but not Amanda.
A mother of three who has won countless awards, as both an educator for hairdressers and as a personal stylist, realized how much waste she was creating with aluminum foils when colouring her client’s hair. Aluminum foil which is deposited straight into landfill sites is one of the most wasteful and toxic products to produce and recycle on the planet. Amanda saw an opportunity to create a reusable, recyclable, fully degradable foil that could be manufactured with a zero carbon footprint.
Paper Not Foil was born.
“I decided to make a change. A change that would make an impact on helping our industry to be more sustainable, environmentally friendly and have a responsible choice on the market worldwide, however, I didn’t know how hard it was going to be,” said Amanda.
The product development started in 2012 and nearly two years later, the first iteration of Paper was almost ready for market. At the end of the development phase, she partnered with a long-term colleague and a trusted friend of eight years. Together they began the manufacturing and distribution of her reusable, recyclable paper foils branded as “ONE”. The business started well, the response from the market was one of appreciation and excitement, salons started to adopt the product and orders poured in.
In early 2016, sales had stagnated and communications between Amanda and her business partner had become strained. Her business partner and effective C.E.O of the company had been working on cutting Amanda out of the company by.replicating the product and plagiarizing key I.P. of the product design. The issues came to light on top of another embezzlement scandal that her partner was involved in and as a result, he was imprisoned taking both the brand and business with him.
At the end of 2016, Amanda was left with a raw product and facing the reality that her product and dream might be just that. She had lost 4 years of hard work, her family home, their life savings and no income to fall back on.
That was the point in time, most people would call, “the end”.
Going back to her roots and starting again, Amanda picked up a job as a stylist, scrimping and saving along with a personal loan, she began the rebranding process and launched under the brand name Paper Not Foil.
Fast forward to today her product is now stocked in over 100 salons across Australia and New Zealand, distributed by two companies internationally and most importantly driving change that her industry has desperately needed.