Twins Rhema and Raina Wong are the owners of Rplanet, previously known as Planitbox, an online shop that sells “Earth friendly home goods.”
Rhema Wong said, “We sell products that fit our values: waste-free, plastic-free and cruelty-free.”
Rplanet offers all different types of sustainable products, anything from bamboo straws to bamboo fiber floss. With businesses needing to switch out use of plastic straws for something more sustainable, many are considering metal straws.
However, according to Wong, “The problem with metal straws is that they take a lot of energy to produce.” Bamboo is also a more natural option, she said.
The twins’ journey as sustainability entrepreneurs began when they were in intermediate school and saw a documentary on how the Earth was dying that scared them about what could happen to the planet if people did not start to change.
They began to make small changes by using sustainable products in their everyday lives. Wong said people would get mad at her and her sister because they would constantly remind their friends about how they were harming the environment by using plastic materials. The twins eventually decided to give their friends products to use.
Other people took notice, and soon more people wanted to use the products but did not know where to get them. That is when Rhema decided they should start their own business.
They started selling the products at their school, which evolved into selling at various fairs. Their parents helped them set up a website, and Planitbox was born.
Recently, they wanted their business to be more about education, so they switched the name to Rplanet. The sisters both have names that start with the letter R, and the letter R sounds like “our,” which is a play on words.
Wong said the shop “was never about the money” but about educating people.
“It is our responsibility to take care of our planet,” she said.
The website also has educational stories on small ways to incorporate sustainability into one’s life. For example, around Halloween, Wong said it featured an article describing different ways to make Halloween “a little less orange and black, and a lot more green” by buying pre-owned costumes and encouraging people to eat or compost their pumpkins instead of throwing them out.
The twins also do pop-up shops around the island but do not have a set schedule of appearances due to their busy school schedules. For more information, go to their website at rplanet.co.
by Reyn Matsukawa, Special to Ka ‘Ohana