Founder & CEO, KeepCup
Abigail Forsyth is the co-founder and spokesperson of KeepCup, the creative response to the dilemma of disposable packaging that has become a global phenomenon.
In 1998, Abigail left a promising legal career to start up Bluebag - a chain of fresh and healthy sandwich shops in Melbourne's CBD and a corporate catering business - with her brother Jamie. Although the thriving business was sold in 2010 the large volumes of disposable packaging had alarmed Abigail, and she saw an opportunity to design a sustainable and environmentally gentle product that would inspire and assist consumers to reuse it - the result was KeepCup.
KeepCup products are designed and manufactured in Australia and exported around the globe. In 2013, KeepCup has offices and warehouses in Australia, the US and the UK, 25 global distribution partners and is sold in 32 countries around the world
More about Abigail Forsyth:
Abigail's entrepreneurial spirit was kick-started as an eleven-year-old, selling sandwiches in the business park where her father worked during her school holidays. She had recognised a need she could satisfy and got a taste for the relationship between effort and reward as well as delight in others' appreciation of a creative idea.
Following a Law and Arts studies at the University of Melbourne, Abigail worked as a solicitor for a boutique law firm in Melbourne while regularly volunteering at the Immigration Advice and Rights Centre (IARC), giving legal advice to refugees and immigrants to Australia.
In 1998 Abigail left the law to start up Bluebag with her brother, operating six stores and a thriving corporate catering business. The pair was inspired to launch the business when they saw how much disposable waste cafes created and became increasingly concerned about the contribution of their own cafe waste to landfill. After realising that the biggest waste-producer was disposable coffee cups. Abigail looked for reusable cups to be sold at Bluebag and couldn't find any suitable options. This discovery eventually led to the creation of KeepCup.
KeepCups are the first Barista Standard reusable cup and, since launching in 2009 at a designers' market, three million cups have been sold. In the first six hours of the business, they had sold 1,000 KeepCups and since its launch KeepCup has experienced exponential growth of 300 per cent year on year. In four years, over three million KeepCups have been sold with the business generating an annual turnover of more than $5 million.
Abigail's passion for finding a creative sustainable solution has resulted in a product that is changing the way consumers think about their impact on the planet.
Abigail was received really well, she was engaging and had a great story to share with our members. Her story gave our members a lot to take away.