Interview with Elizabeth Snape, Founder of Enjoy Eco Box

We caught up with Elizabeth Snape, founder of Enjoy Eco Box, to talk all things from the importance of using sustainable products, to her dream of taking on the British high street…

Tell us about Enjoy Eco Box

Enjoy Eco Box provides stylish gift boxes with a sustainable focus to help people take part in uplifting activities such as walking.

Our first boxes are: Enjoy the Outdoors Deluxe and Mini editions, available online via our website. The Deluxe contains a full set of outdoor essentials, with a focus on plastic-free products and packaging, natural, responsibly sourced materials, and small-batch Made in Britain. Some of the items in the Deluxe are: a water-resistant cotton backpack, a Little Book of Walks & Snacks to inspire routes and recipes (as well as room to write your own favourites), and reusable food wraps to take lunch.

The Deluxe package contains a range of eco-friendly outdoor items

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I love getting outdoors – often walking, occasionally running – both locally and around the UK on holiday. I dreamed of creating a retail destination for outdoor wear, focussing on sustainable and ethically made products. My career in materials development and sourcing means I have the technical background to find the right materials and products for the job.

While thinking about how to make my retail destination a reality, I thought I would start with something I could bootstrap to begin building an audience of likeminded people. Gift boxes seem a good idea at the moment – either to get people started in their new-found love of the outdoors, or to gift from a distance. My friends and family were commenting that it is more difficult to buy gifts now, missing the ‘browsing’ experience in physical shops. Sending an Enjoy Eco Box allows the buyer to know they have a thoughtful and unique set of products without having to search around. I thought I would combine the ideas to create the beginnings of a sustainable outdoor brand.


How has the need for Enjoy Eco Box evolved over the past few years?

While there has been growing interest in ‘healthy lifestyles’ for many years, lockdown saw an explosion in the number of people walking, cycling, gardening and generally enjoying the outdoors. UK holidays are booming, particularly to destinations with world-class walking routes – anyone visiting the South West Coast Path (my personal favourite place to walk) would agree! Awareness of plastic pollution is high following TV documentaries and coverage of Greta Thunberg, so people are open to (and in some cases actively pursuing) new ideas and materials.

During my research I found there are a small number of big companies that dominate the UK outdoor retail scene (I found they even owned shops I perceived to be ‘independent’). The focus tends to be on ‘value’ products made from synthetic materials and few are noted for their manufacturing ethics. As retail habits shift, with the growth of other sustainable businesses such as zero waste shops, the need for an alternative is clear. The drive to ‘shop local’ and ‘shop independent’, which was already increasing has also been accelerated.

From a tech perspective, while online shopping has dramatically increased, website templates such as those on Shopify have broadened the horizons of businesses who want to set out on their own without a major reselling platform. We can offer the best value by selling direct to our customers this way. Outdoor wear retail has remained quite dependent on physical shops – so there is certainly scope to replicate the success of other retail areas such as fashion.

What can we hope to see from Enjoy Eco Box in the future?

Coming soon will be gift boxes for a wider range of ages – including younger children, as well as other outdoor focussed activities. Eventually, we aim to offer flexible gift boxes – so you can choose items to suit a particular person, theme or budget and the unique gift box will be delivered directly. In the long term, we plan to have a physical store to go with the online one which provides a range of outdoor wear brands alongside our own – which must all fit into the sustainable and ethical story.