Environment / Manufacturing / Startups

Susty Party: sustainable kitchenware startup at 8 employees, $1M revenue

Starting a company with a basic idea that fulfills a need can pivot into one that influences a whole industry. Susty Party started simply and now is an 8-person team with $1 million in annual revenues selling compostable supplies.

Emily Doubilet (left) and Jessica Holsey (right) Image provided by Susty Party.
Spelling correction on Greenpoint. 10:14 pm 1/24/13.
Susty Party began as a company that scoured the web for sustainably sourced and made party supplies and then curated them on its ecommerce site. That was 2009. It has since grown into a company that is producing its own party goods under its own brand and makes the majority of its revenue selling products designed in house through major retailers, such as Whole Foods. The success earned the cofounders a spot on Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

Today, their revenue is about 50 percent retail sales of Susty Party branded goods that go through distributors out to major retailers, 30 percent ecommerce (which still includes some non-Susty Party products that fit their values) and 20 percent commercial sales, where they create specific products for major clients, such as cups for the Iron Man competition.

It’s a story similar to the one Andre Plaut told of Groupon, which started as a blog that posted scanned coupons and evolved into a multi-billion dollar company that finds deals for its users.

The company started with the most basic version of its idea, as an ecommerce site, and evolved into a brand that’s moving its industry.

The CEO and cofounder of Susty Party, Emily Doubilet, told Technically Brooklyn that as they have grown they have been able to work with their manufacturing partners to get deeper into the process of making products.

For example, they are now selling branded plates and bowls that are microwave safe and biodegradable in a home compost pile. The tableware is made from tapioca starch and grass fiber now. While it’s all manufactured in the U.S., the tapioca starch isn’t domestic. They are in the process now of working with researchers to find something closer to home to substitute in for the starch.

Similarly, they are working with their manufacturing partner at NatureWorks to come up with a bioplastic resin coating for their paper cups that is made without genetically modified corn, so that they can offer a party cup that qualifies for a Working Landscapes Certificate.

The company has a lot of new products coming this spring, including what will be the only compostable bioplastic tablecloth on the market.

They have the ability to have these conversations with suppliers because the company has grown — annual revenues are more than a million dollars per year now and they currently employ eight people.

In addition to that, they work closely with the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired to do a larger portion of their assembly and packaging, which has been able to add several jobs thanks to its contract with the party supply company.

Doubilet makes her home in Greenpoint and her cofounder and company President, Jessica Holsey, lives in Williamsburg. The team has its HQ in Greenpoint now. They went through three offices in about three months due to the sudden closure of 3rd Ward.

That event was a shock to the organization, as it had grown there from a company of two and an intern to a team of six. Suddenly, they didn’t have a place to work from.

It led, ultimately, to the company signing its first independent lease, inside 67 West Street (the building where Good Eggs did its launch). In fact, they have so much room that they have four extra desks that they are looking to rent out to co-workers. One is taken now, but they have three more available ($400 per month, access to storage and a conference room — let them know if you’re interested).

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Companies: Susty Party / 3rd Ward
Series: Brooklyn

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