60 Seconds With

“If you are unsure what to do about a situation, sleep on it” – 60 seconds with Sarah and Oscar Lai, Co-Founders of Ecoset

By Business & Finance
10 August 2021

Pictured: Sarah and Oscar Lai, Co-founders of Ecoset 

Greystones couple, Sarah and Oscar Lai, set up Ecoset during the pandemic in an effort to tackle the climate crisis. Ecoset provides reusable water bottles, aiming to reduce the mountain of plastic pollution. While working, Sarah and Oscar witnessed first hand the effects of single use plastic and vowed to proceed with a more eco-friendly mindset.

What was your first job?

Sarah: My first job was as an AA Traffic broadcaster on the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show.
Oscar: My first job was in a famous landmark Italian restaurant in Brooklyn New York called Lentos.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

Sarah: I worked as a TV producer for a number  of years before I  set up Location Fixer Ireland in 2016 which provides production support services for International Crews filming in Ireland.  At the end of 2019 we decided to ensure that all productions we were linked with worked in a more eco-friendly manner.  First step was to get rid of plastic water bottles. When the pandemic hit in 2020 all our international productions were put on hold so we had time to set up Ecoset a new reusables company based in Greystones Co. Wicklow. 

Ecoset offers eco-friendly on-the-go products perfect for drinking outdoors. A stylish selection of bottles, travel mugs, tumblers but we specialise in more grown up products like wine tumblers, reusable wine bottles, whiskey tumblers and champagne flutes which are the new eco-essentials. All products can be personalised with our laser engraving service and we also offer a co-branding service to companies. All engraving is done in our workshop in Greystones by co-founder Oscar Lai.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

I think Oscar and I are hugely proud to have set up Ecoset during the pandemic in 2020.  It was a really unsure time for everyone but we decided to take the plunge and just go for it.  It was something we had spoken about for years and it was only because our international productions with Location Fixer were postponed that we had the time to really focus on Ecoset as a brand and get it up and running.  We are hugely proud of all we have achieved with Ecoset in the last 10 months.

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

I think maybe staying in jobs or roles that we knew were not the right role for us at the time.  However I think every job you are in, even if it is not the right job, is a great learning opportunity and a step closer to where you are meant to be in life. 

You can learn something new from each role you are in and it’s really all about creating connections.    

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Success for us is a steady process of many small accomplishments that can lead to a major achievement.  

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

If you are unsure what to do about a situation, sleep on it, everything is much clearer in the morning.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

It’s hard to maintain motivation all of the time, some days you’ll have a really great productive and creative day and some days you won’t. So I think you just need to go with the flow. Sometimes it helps to just get out for a walk and clear your head and focus your mind. At Ecoset, Oscar and I have very different roles and manage different aspects of the business but we would always spend some part of our day bouncing ideas off each other and getting feedback from one another. It helps us see the bigger picture, plan ahead, incorporate ideas and motivate each other.  

How do you handle adversity?

Staying focused, trying to keep a positive mindset and pivoting quickly if you come up against obstacles.

How do you relax?

We love to go out for a walk on the beach with our kids and our dog, we also love to jump in the sea for a swim and I do yoga to settle my busy mind and Oscar loves to play tennis every day.

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

We have achieved a huge amount already in the short 10 months since we launched Ecoset.  Customer feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with most of our customers becoming repeat customers.   We have also provided corporate cobranding and collaborations with big Irish companies and brands like Barry’s tea.  We are also entering the retail market this year with our products  being launched in 3 Mobile Stores throughout Ireland.  In the next year we would love to grow our corporate collaborations and expand our product range for our loyal customer base. We are excited about our plans for the next year!