IT'S SO rare these days to walk into a workplace and see someone using a sewing machine, while another person picks up an iron and yet another uses a paint brush.

There are no big machines doing all the hard work at LilyBee Organic Wraps in Onekawa.
Instead there is a team of mums working at the family owned and operated business founded by Stacia Jensen.

As I walk around the factory learning how the LilyBee wraps are made, it is obvious everyone involved is passionate about what they do.

The LilyBee story began just over two years ago when Stacia and her partner Miko (now her husband) went on holiday in a van.

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"Storing food was a problem - plastic and heat don't go well together and more importantly we hated using plastic, especially when it's only for single use," Stacia said.
So when they got home Stacia started experimenting.

"I first asked myself what did people do before there was plastic. After all, plastic is not that old when you think about it."

She knew what she wanted to achieve and started experimenting with recipes she found online.

"It took months to perfect the recipe. Today we have an eco-friendly wax solution which is hand-painted onto every wrap." The recipe, of course, is top secret.

Stacia says the first months of the business, which has just celebrated its second year, were spent "on my hands and knees cutting, painting and drying all the while pregnant. I wouldn't recommend it," she laughed.

Her son has been with his mum and dad every step of the way on LilyBee's incredible journey.

"He is very much part of the story of LilyBee."

Stacia took her wraps to farmers' markets but says it wasn't until she started the official website that things really took off.

It's easy to understand why the LilyBee wraps are so popular. Not only are they lovely to look at with colourful, eye-catching prints, they also smell divine, are simple to use and most importantly the eco-friendly products are saving thousands of metres of cling wrap from ending up in our landfills.

In fact, in just two years Stacia estimates they have saved a whopping four million metres of cling wrap from the environment.

That's pretty impressive.

"About 95 per cent of our customers are females and most of them are mums making small switches which adds up to a big change for the environment."

The most popular LilyBee purchase is a set of three in varying sizes. They can be used to cover and wrap any type of food you can think of, in the fridge, the car, the lunchbox, you name it. They create an airtight seal to keep everything fresh.
After use, simply wipe clean and leave to dry.

As I am given a guided tour of this amazing workplace by Stacia and operations manager Kimberlee Bennett, staff members share the ways they use their LilyBee wraps. They show me how to make a cone to hold popcorn, how to make a lunch bag - they really are user-friendly and incredibly versatile.

Depending on how they are treated, the wraps last six months or more.

"One of my favourite ways to use them is when I give someone flowers, I wrap the stems in a LilyBee wrap," Stacia says.

There is no wastage at LilyBee Wrap. Offcuts of material are given to the quilting club and the burnt wax goes to a staff member who is an artist. Stacia says the business has grown quickly.

"I felt it had potential when I started, and I was clear on my priorities. I couldn't have done it without the great advice I have had from people in the Hawke's Bay business community and also the depth of care from staff has been incredible."

The LilyBee team is passionate about the environment and inspirational in its work.

LilyBee Wrap founder Stacia Jensen listens to her staff.