Kevin Garcia is only two years into his entrepreneur journey, but already he has revolutionised the stationary space. Founder and creator of Karst Stone Paper, Kevin makes ethically-sourced workplace tools. His most popular product? Beautiful stone paper notebooks. We sat down with Kevin to hear more about his journey as a small business owner and entrepreneur.
Tell us a little bit about you
I was raised in Sydney and studied Medical Science, which landed me as a medical device consultant in Melbourne. It didn’t give me the sense of fulfilment that I was looking for and I found myself wanting to do something that would give me a sense of ownership. I soon started Karst Stone Paper.
Tell us about your business Karst
At Karst, we make ethically sourced workplace tools. Our main product is a collection of notebooks made from stone paper. Stone paper is amazing because it’s waterproof, tear-resistant, and requires 60% less energy to make than regular paper. Not to mention it feels amazing to write on.
I first came across stone paper while travelling. The original technology was used for food packaging purposes, but I questioned why it wasn’t already ubiquitous. It’s way more durable than regular paper, has a better texture, and is brighter as well.
I’m passionate about the environment and also about design, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to merge those two interests. We do have an eco-conscious benefit, but we believe for a product to actually add value to a customer’s life, they have to enjoy using it. That means the look and feel of our products is just as important as the manufacturing process.
What was the biggest hurdle you faced?
One of the biggest challenges was definitely time. There’s always so much to do but only a finite amount of time. It’s hard to prioritise tasks between fires that need to be put out and tasks that can contribute to long term growth. Understanding how to prioritise effectively is the key to running a successful business.
What do you enjoy about running your own business?
Aside from the obvious perks of setting my own hours and enjoying the freedom to travel, one of my favourite things about running my own business is choosing who I work with and creating a positive work environment.
What sets your business apart from the competition?
If you consider us an eco-friendly company, we stand out because our products don’t have the distinct look and feel of other eco-conscious products. It’s just a beautiful product that happens to be eco-friendly.
If you consider us a stationery company, our high-quality products are significantly more durable than the competition. Lots of chefs, mechanics, and even those in the military love our products because they’re able to hold up in difficult environments.
You use QuickBooks to manage your business finances. Why?
Quickbooks allows us to securely and efficiently manage our finances from any location. I love the ease of access, as well as the ability to have our invoices paid online—it’s important to me to be paperless for accounting as much as possible. Ironic, I know.
What features of QuickBooks do you use the most?
Definitely the invoicing features. I appreciate that we can change up the currencies because we often engage with retailers who are in different countries, so this simplifies things for us. I also appreciate that we can easily create quotes for our customers online.
G Suite integration for Google calendar is also a huge feature I love. Being able to sync across platforms so I don’t have to repetitively key in data is a huge bonus.
Why did you turn to a digital accounting software solution?
I really value being able to access my books on a mobile device, especially while travelling overseas or running around from meeting to meeting. Mobile access has been key to saving time and generating more leads.
What’s next for Karst?
We’re excited to get started this year in expanding our product offerings. A huge thing that I love about running this particular business is that I get to make things exactly as I envision them. We hope to be able to offer anything you’d use throughout your day in a workplace, from laptop cases to desk accessories.