For Samantha Rayner, co-founder of sustainable homewares company Better Basics, the motivation to empower Canadians to live greener lives runs deep.
“I grew up in a family that put environmental responsibility and stewardship at the heart of their concerns,” she says. “After losing both my parents, it really propelled my desire to create change. We only have fragile lives and I want to spend my time and energy putting something into the world that I think would have a positive impact on future generations and would also honor the legacy of my parents.
But it would take more than a vision to bring his dream to life, Rayner knew. From learning how to create a pitch deck to understanding the fundamentals of corporate finance, an MBA was essential to mastering the tools needed for success.
However, when it came to achieving her specific goal – to create a lifestyle brand that incorporated sustainability from the ground up – Rayner knew that just any business school wouldn’t give her what she needed. .
“I wanted to embed sustainability into my business end-to-end, from product design to consumer marketing, supply chain, supplier standards and internal company values,” says Rayner.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Rayner has long been inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds her. She credits the majestic west coast with driving a wave of sustainability-focused companies that preceded her own, such as Lululemon and Saje, two successful companies she came to work for before. . Rayner considered other MBA programs, but there was no doubt that staying in Vancouver and completing her MBA at the UBC Sauder School of Business would position her best to achieve her dream.
“There’s no better place to learn about sustainable business than in one of the greenest cities in the world, a city that seamlessly connects you to rainforests, mountains and the ocean. “, says Rayner. “What appealed to me about UBC Sauder is that the program, the teachers and the community are really built around Vancouver. When I look at successful businesses here, I see very strong entrepreneurial momentum. I look at the retail, sports, real estate, and gaming industries here. They’re all relatively new, with new philosophies built in designed to live healthier, happier lives.
Along with co-founder Caitlin Rushton, Rayner set out to make greener living more attainable by creating a line of home products, including biodegradable soaps and cleaners and attractive reusable products, that help reduce plastic use. . “Our mission is to leave the world better than we found it,” says Rayner.
The idea for Better Basics came after graduation – the partners’ own overflowing recycling bins sparked the inspiration – but Rayner says it was her time at UBC Sauder that helped her realize that an environmentally friendly company could be sustainable on several fronts. “We talked a lot at UBC Sauder about the triple purpose: creating profits, improving the planet and caring for people,” she says. “That philosophy really resonated with me.”
For Rayner, exploring how the goals of environmental protection and business success could be intertwined was the “big a-ha moment” of his upbringing. “When you plan to start a business, you want it to last. If we exhaust all of our resources and don’t create a future that can handle our performance, our business will never survive. We cannot compete with our environment. We have to work with. »
Likewise, Rayner says his involvement in the UBC Sauder community has taught him that a collaborative, rather than competitive, approach to the local business community is a win for all. “It’s amazing to see all the support and guidance we’ve received for Better Basics through my school network,” she says.
“I’ve always been a values-driven person, making career decisions based on product and culture, more than salary or opportunity,” says Rayner. Although Better Basics was a successful and profitable business, that was not its primary goal. Rayner has remained true to her goal of creating sustainable options for the masses.
For more information about the UBC Sauder School of Business, visit sauder.ubc.ca.