“It can’t be that hard, right? Buy some machines, paper, and glue, and we’ll be good to go.” “Paper straws have to be basically selling themselves right now with all the new regulations.” “We already have a successful manufacturing company, so what could go wrong?”
Before you get ahead of yourself, let me answer that question for you. A lot. A lot could go wrong, a lot has gone wrong, and a lot is yet to go wrong. That’s the nature of business and manufacturing.
Ordering the machines was a hurdle. A hurdle that we thought would be the most difficult. Then we were faced with an even larger one, finding the best paper. After months of testing different paper straw and mill options, we were finally getting all our ducks in a row. Then came the glue. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, there weren’t many options to choose from. We went with what seemed best and were on our way to production. That is, until we actually tried running the machine.
Even after having an assistant from the machine manufacturer in our facility for a week, we were still at a loss. With so many moving parts, there was no way to learn every possible thing that could go wrong in five short days. And, just to be clear, we didn’t. It took another eight weeks before we were able to run one full production day without any major setbacks. The good news? Our production is now fine-tuned and running like a charm (see our production videos below). The bad news? Well, we can’t sell the darn things!
Single-use plastics, specifically plastic straws, are being outlawed all over the world, yet here we are with over a million straws in stock and nobody willing to buy them. It doesn’t make sense. We know our straws are fantastic quality (see more on our quality here), our prices are at or below market average, and we have pledged all these altruistic efforts to give back to the environment and gain footing in the market. We’ve tried local sales, in-state sales, and nationwide sales, all to no avail. If nothing else, we learned a lot from our hundreds of failed attempts to sell.
The first thing we learned is that we are too early in the market. Many of the plastic straw bans don’t go into effect for another year or so, meaning that many restaurants, hotels, and resorts are stocking up on plastic straws while they can. The second thing we learned is that, as a society, we are extremely resistant to change and demand convenience. There were a handful of businesses that already tried switching to paper straws when they first started coming back around. Customers despised these paper straws, because, let’s be honest, they were terrible. This gave the business an ill-feeling toward paper straws and made them switch back to plastic (booooo!).
All single-use plastic is going to be banned nationwide eventually. Why not get ahead of the game and buy now before all the quality options are booked up?
The Paper Straw Factory has paper straws available in quantities of 500, 4,000, or 96,000 to meet the needs of many markets including restaurants, food service, hospitals, hotels, and homes throughout the world.
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