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! 

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