Meet The Maker: Kate Stewart Founder and Managing Director Of Stay Tray

Meet The Maker: Kate Stewart Founder and Managing Director Of Stay Tray

Stay tray is a super small, sustainable business based on the Mornington Peninsula about an hour from Melbourne.

It’s an eco friendly reusable drinks tray made from 100% recycled plastic. Available as a convenient 2 cup holder and 4 cup holder depending on your needs. It is designed with simplicity, style and sustainability in mind. 

The Stay tray idea first materialised as a reusable coffee cup tray to reduce the waste of cardboard trays typically supplied at coffee shops and cafes to help with large coffee orders. 

Stay tray is really fast becoming known for its versatility. Yes, it’s great for the morning coffee run plus it also carries standard drink vessels of various shapes and sizes. Drink bottles, juices, smoothies, sports drinks, baby bottles and fast food drinks can all be conveniently carried with Stay tray. 

It’s really the extra set of hands you wish you had. We are here to help everyone with their busy lifestyles and to help reduce waste for our planet. Our mission is to encourage the use of reusable drink trays. We deliver sustainable products that challenge the culture of single use, whilst rehoming the worlds plastic waste.

How did you start your homegrown business?

The Stay tray idea was sparked one day late 2017. I witnessed friends and workmates carrying their reusable coffee cups in disposable cardboard trays. It was painfully ironic, reusable coffee cups being carried in trays that got discarded at the end of each coffee run. The best case was that the cardboard trays be recycled and would still consume energy and water in the recycling process. At worst the cardboard trays would contribute to the 30% of paper waste not recycled and ends up in landfill each year.

What inspires you? 

My kids. Being a mother of two small children I worry about the future of our planet. What I am leaving for them?. What will it be like when my kids are my age?  What sort of planet will they inherit?  

What are the benefits of manufacturing locally?

There are so many. Supporting Australian jobs. There are so many wonderfully talented designers, engineers and manufactures right here in Australia! There is no need to go overseas! At Stay tray are truly proud to be Australian made and owned! In fact, we have kept all design, engineering a manufacture within a 60km radius from Stay tray HQ. I can jump in the car and be at my manufactures within half an hour! It is so amazing!

What makes the Australian consumer unique?

I think the Australian consumer is really willing to support new businesses. Start local and gain some momentum from your local community. Aussies love to support their local community!

What is the best business advice you have ever received?

Never give up. Every day is different.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in business?

Starting my business. Taking the leap of faith to leave a secure job of 17 years and learning all that goes with a new start up. For at least the first 12 months my head was consistently spinning!

What has been your positive takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic?

We can get through anything if we all work together!

What was your first job?

Working in a chemist while I was a school

Do you keep your vegemite in the fridge or pantry?

Pantry for sure.

Favourite Australian film quote?

Tell him he’s dreaming – the Castle

Which classic Aussie song would you perform at karaoke?

Powderfinger – These Days

Check out Stay Tray today and get your own reusable drink carrier! 

Latest From Our BlogVIEW ALL
Meet The Maker: Patrizia Tresca Director of Butt Naked Body
Butt Naked is an Aussie born & bred skincare company curating clean, simple and honest plant-based skinfood, without compromising on quality, the environment or ethics. Inspired by real-life & real people, they strip it back to basics because self-care should be easy, fun, personal and compassionate. Free from animal-derived ingredients, certified Palm Oil and cruelty-free, means skinfood junkies and furry friend lovers can make compassionate choices without compromise. Butt Naked donate 5% of profits to save-a-dog scheme. How did you start your homegrown business?Growing up I was always concerned about the environment, animals and had the less is more mentality - from the clothes I wore, the company I kept and the products I used, whether that may be food or skincare. Myself and my sister Sonia have always believed that skincare should be simple, easy and always cruelty-free. As I vegan growing up, I grew tired of searching for vegan products that were reliable and trustworthy. Reading Gobbledygook claims, lengthy ingredients listings with super long words was timing consuming and frustrating. Butt Naked was born with our vision to keep keep it real and simple. And above all else, we wanted people to make compassionate choices without compromise. We were sure that looking after your skin could be simpler, healthier and feel a ton better. Less serious, more yay. What inspires you? - The world and its different cultures and traditions- Our Furry Friends. Our love for all animals inspires us to create 100% cruelty free and palm oil products.- Australian Flora + Fauna, Nature and the environment. What are the benefits of manufacturing locally?Manufacturing locally create transparency from start to finish on the production of our products. It has also allowed us to form strong working relationships with like minded local people and businesses. What is the best business advice you have ever received?This is more of a quote than a piece of advice but it’s something that I always take into account before I do anything.“Question everything. If you don’t question things, there’s no knowledge, no learning, no creativity, no freedom of choice, no imagination” - Heston Blumenthal What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in business?The main challenges we have encountered as business are supply chain transparency, sourcing sustainable and eco-friendly packaging and implementing a circular supply chain. We are focused on sourcing ingredients that use sustainable practices and that we can trace back. This can be quite challenging as you need to do a lot of digging and research to be confident you are making the right choice in supplier. Another challenge is palm oil. We are proud to say that all our products are certified palm oil free with the Orangutan Alliance. This is something we have always been committed too, but it does pose challenges and limitations when it comes to developing products. We have hit some roadblock in the past, but it is something we take seriously so we have learnt to pivot and find new ways of doing things which makes us a stronger brand in the long term. What has been your positive takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic?2020 really made us take a step back and assess our vision for the brand how we were tracking on implementing this vision. It has given us time to hone in on the core values of our brand which in turn open doors to some new opportunities in 2020 and 2021. What was your first job?My first job was and BiLo supermarket stacking shelves when I was 15. Do you keep your vegemite in the fridge or pantry?After opening - Fridge Which classic Aussie song would you perform at karaoke?Tomorrow - Silverchair What is your favourite Australian Snack? Vegemite + Avocado on toast What’s your Aussie spirit animal? Dingo - Because my fur baby is a dingo and we have an bond like no other :) Time for a road trip! Which famous Aussie destination are you visiting? Wilsons Prom - Victoria Check out Butt Naked Body on Buy Aussie Now!
We Feature Our Businesswomen on International Women's Day
In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Australian Life approached four inspirational Buy Aussie Now female business owners to tell us what it took to start their own brands. Angela Infantino of chic online pet accessories store, Molly Barker was selling display homes when she moved into a new property  herself with her dog, Molly. “She’s a big dog and I couldn’t find anything that complemented my decor - everything was very cheesy. So, I saw a gap in the market and I was in a stage of my career when I was ready for a change.” She started Molly Barker from her savings at the beginning of 2018 as added more money over time as she sourced materials. “This was the greatest challenge. I probably contacted 80 manufacturers and I really had to think outside the box for people who could fashion the quality and detail I wanted in leather collars. I went everywhere from upholstery makers to the adult industry to find someone,” she says. Despite many people telling her to “give up luv, cause you’re not going to make any money” she preserved and sees her business grow, year-on-year, thanks to retail platforms like Buy Aussie Now. With skin cancer one of the third most diagnosed cancers in Australia, shielding our skin from the harmful rays of the sun is crucial. However finding rashes and long sleeved swimsuits that look fashionable is a challenge. Enter the light skinned Caitlin Byrnes - the former business analyst and mother of two behind Shy Skin Beachwear, which can also be found on the Buy Aussie Now site.  “As I was growing up, there  were more products on the market to accelerate a tan than to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. School tunics had no sleeves, there was no hat policy at school, no rashvests for the beach and no real understanding of covering up for sun protection. “After many years searching for cool long sleeve clothes and long sleeve swimwear to wear in the hot summer months, I decided to take matters into my own hands and Shy Skin was born,” she explains. It’s designed and made in Australia from recycled marine waste and recycled plastics, in an environmentally safe process.” But she also knew that to succeed her beachwear would have to look the part and the result is a range of great looking sun protection swimwear options for women and children. Buy Aussie Now brand, NueBar is a  shampoo and body bar company, which was founded by a couple - former stuntwoman, turned art director, Kerry Wood and naturopath, Kati Hennah, who both swore they would never go into business together. But then in 2018, they had the idea to create the ultimate ecological  range of beauty products. Ten months and $70k later the business was up and running. “As a naturopath,  Kati, could write her own formulas, so we knew they would be perfect,” says Wood. NueBar is unique, effective and unlike any other solid hair and body bar brand on the market. It’s the only 100% handmade and naturopathically formulated range of solid hair and body bars in the world. “Our other unique features include our pH balanced formulation, our use of high-quality and highly beneficial ingredients, our transparency, the concentration of our bars and our support of eco-initiatives.” So far NueBar is just available in Australia despite there being  overtures from some outlets around the world, as the two women are determined to keep everything handmade and to oversee production Australian women are among the most resourceful anywhere especially Laura Eddington, a former Science teacher and the founder of Little Bumble Food Wraps, who comes from Gippsland in Victoria. “While on maternity leave, I became frustrated at the food wastage and plastic pollution that was occurring in my own home. Being raised on the land and striving to be more sustainable, I researched an alternative to plastic wrap. I put my knowledge and skills together to develop a  reusable food wrap in an all-natural formula to maximise the freshness of food,” she says. It was launched in 2017. Buy Aussie Now brand, Little Bumble Food Wraps allow your food to breath and acts as a natural cover. They reduce moisture build up and are antibacterial which means you’ll be able to keep food fresher for much longer. “I am proud to have developed a well-recognised, acclaimed, and unique formula that can keep cut avocados fresh for up to 2 weeks, cucumbers 3 weeks and even leafy greens and herbs for 5 weeks,” she says. Thanks to Laura Eddington and her Little Bumble Food Wraps, plastic wrap could also become as obsolete as single use supermarket bags. There’s something that these four Buy Aussie Now brands have in common, they’re helping us all to have healthier and happier lifestyles. And it took Aussie Women to do that. ABOUT THE WRITER Ros Reines is a Sydney journalist and the author of four books. She is currently penning her fifth - a memoir of a life in the media.
My Australian Life: Daisy Turnbull
As the Director of Wellbeing at St Catherine’s Girls School in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, author Daisy Turnbull, 36, is at the epicentre of a growing movement to improve sex and consent education in private schools. This now extends across Australia for both private and public institutions. It comes after more  than 4000 allegations of sexual assault were sent to former Kambala student Chanel Contos in the 10 days since she launched an online petition calling for better consent education in Sydney private schools. With International Women’s Day - a focal point for women’s rights, taking place on March 8, Daisy, the 36-year-old daughter of the 29th  Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull and Lucy Turnbull, discusses the issues of the moment. Daisy now has two young children of her own, Alice and Jack.  From my experience of teaching teenagers, the biggest thing is for girls to have a strength of character.  We need girls to have a belief in their own self worth that can be a strength and a defence against all the horrible stuff that’s out there. I think we can do it with heart. Girls are constantly comparing themselves to other people and when that’s happening, it’s hard for them to say I am enough. At school, our mission is to educate women of character and intellect. We are discussing the controversy swirling around at the present time. I think there’s an awful lot of pressure and it’s the pressure to fit a certain mould. That’s not victim blaming, I’m saying there’s a societal pressure for girls and for boys to act a certain way and that’s a big issue. We see that this pressure is everywhere. It’s about having that strength to stand up against it. I also think it’s important that  parents are willing to have uncomfortable conversations with their children. I didn’t grow up as the daughter of a Prime Minister I was already an adult when my father became prime minister. But I did grow up in a family that was very hard working and had a great sense of civic duty. Mum was a Deputy and Lord Mayor of Sydney and continues to be involved in the planning of the city. In both of them I saw the benefits  of hard work and giving back to society. My mother Lucy, is the woman I most admire. I have seen her work so hard and be so passionate about what she cares about. She started the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation and helped it grow, which has been one of her legacies. There’s also her involvement in politics and in planning. It’s all about putting her heart and soul into everything. She is also the most amazing mother and grandmother. My favourite childhood memory is tearing down the beach after school. I had a lot of freedom growing up. I loved going down to Bondi or Bronte after school and sometimes going to Centennial Park before school. My brother and I were often doing fun things with mum and dad especially holidaying in our property in the Upper Hunter Valley.  My book 50 Risks to Take With Your Kids (Hardie Grant) is about nurturing resilience and independence in children. The more children are allowed to play in mud, create games and find their own solutions to problems, the more they will thrive later in life. This book is also a guide to combating helicopter parenting. I have no plans to go into politics myself. I’m very happy being a teacher and doing the student wellbeing stuff at St Catherine’s but I am working on another book for teenagers.  I guess you could say that it’s coming at exactly the right time. ABOUT THE WRITER Ros Reines is a Sydney journalist and the author of four books. She is currently penning her fifth - a memoir of a life in the media.