Today we’d like to introduce you to Julia Jaye Posin.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up in a town of 1,072 people in Southern Oregon, I was surrounded by expansive nature. It was easy to fall in love with the wilderness enjoying the forest as my playground and the creeks and ponds as my pool. At eight years old, I attended my first protest against clearcutting. I marched down the street with a branch in my hand with my best friend, chanting “save the trees, save the trees!” Little did I know, 15 years later I’d make national news by getting arrested for climbing into an oak tree trying to save an old-growth forest in Arcadia, CA.
My lifelong moral compass has been tuned through advocating for the environment. My love for nature has guided me as a student, organizer, director, artist, educator, producer, and entrepreneur. Everything I do is in service to our people and planet.
I began working with artist Spectral Q when I was 22 years old. I produced a series of human aerial art pieces with him, bringing thousands of people together to create images from above with their bodies, all in the name of environmental justice. This work has taken me around the world to South Africa, Peru, Brasil, Belize, Alaska, Nebraska, and New York. I graduated from UCLA with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Systems and Societies. This work was an incredible fusion of my studies and passions.
Last year I served as campaign manager for a CA US Senatorial Candidate. We traveled the state in our ethanol and solar-powered bus dubbed the “Rabble Rouser”, speaking at town halls, debates, demonstrations, festivals, fireside chats, you name it! The campaign garnered 140,000+ votes and was dedicated to mitigating climate change, enacting Medicare for All, getting corporate money out of politics, and instituting criminal justice reform. I came to understand the systemic intersectionality between all these issues.
Living in LA for the past 13 years, I’ve become hyper aware of the overwhelming single-use waste humans produce, combined with the inadequacy of our public infrastructure to manage this nasty problem without causing harm to our ecosystems and communities. Plastics are at the hart of this issue, and the sad part is, most of them are entirely unnecessary. From the point of extraction to production, to consumption and straight through to waste stream – this petrochemical product is causing irreparable harm to us all. At the same time, most of us interact with single use plastics daily. Often times we actually have a choice to refuse and to bring our own reusable gear.
My most satisfying moments come when I find myself out for the day and can pull out my reusable tumbler, metal straw, tiffin or linen napkin. When I get to show off my gear, be the example, get people excited about bringing their own.
This passion evolved, and in 2018, my fiance and I joined forces to co-found Steel Straw, a social-good company with the mission of reducing single-use plastics in our oceans and communities by providing consumers sustainable products which both 1) serve as a reusable replacements to plastic, and 2) demonstrate the consumer’s desire to “be the change”.
Between his background in activism and advertising, and my deep experience in environmentalism and management, we make a great team.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My fiancé Max and I started Shuki towards the beginning of our relationship. I feel like I’ve experienced falling in love and launching our company in a very connected way. Collaborating on this company is an expression of our love for each other and our planet. This is my first time owning a business, so I’m definitely learning how to run it as I go. There are challenges along the way, but each month we move in the right direction, and I’m inspired by how many people around the world are sipping from our metal straws!
Plastic pollution, especially from single use straws, is an important topic currently trending worldwide. I’m excited for us to continue to develop our brand and further differentiate ourselves from other companies.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Shuki – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Shuki is a California-based social impact company hyper-focused on eliminating plastic pollution.
Shuki was founded on Earth Day 2018, after my fiancé Max and I were frustrated with the constant barrage of single use plastics in our daily life. As our deep concern for the plastic pollution crisis grew, so did our conviction to do something about it.
Together there was an opportunity to get reusable straws into the hands of people who want to “be the change”. We see this focus as a powerful first step in directly mitigating the issue, and bringing more awareness to people’s consumption habits.
We pride ourselves on being a social good company. To us, this means both carrying a sustainable product, and supporting coalitions and organizations that fight this issue every day. We are a part of 1% for the Planet, and have partnerships with seven other organizations who support our shared mission.
It’s not every day you find a metal straw company with owners so actively involved in the fight against plastic pollution, We organize environment-focused community events in Los Angeles, and guest lecture at area colleges including UCLA, Otis College of Art and Design, and Santa Monica College.
I express my environmental activism through serving as a Vice President of the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council which covers Los Angeles’ Arts District and Little Tokyo areas, and as board member on both Pacific Palisades Democratic Club and South Central Farm.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Donald Trump’s hateful presidential campaign is selling Trump-branded plastic straws. It’s a cruel slap in the face to Americans who understand that plastic pollution is a major environmental & human health crisis. Plastic (like Trump straws) is made from fossil fuels.
Well, we’re a couple of progressive Democrats who just happen to own a reusable metal straw company. So, we made TRUMP SUCKS & BERNIE STRAWS to show the world that Americans don’t want single-use plastic — we want a BERNIE SANDERS vision for the U.S.!
I’m excited to continually improve our supply chain, incorporating upcycled fabric for our carrying cases, and manufacturing more products in the US. We will be expanding our product line to feature other eco gear and significantly scaling our digital footprint. I’m very excited about this!
- Our metal straw gift sets start at $11.99, or 2 for $20, at Shopshuki.com
- You can use discount code PLASTICFREE for 15% off at Shopshuki.com
Original story can be found at:
Image Credits (x2) photos of product on black cloth courtesy of: abriendocaminosproductions.com
Image credit: Lauren Raquel