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Mehwish & Kelly, Co-Founders, QUIL Packaging

QUIL Packaging co-founders Mehwish Panjwani and Kelly Thomson

Mehwish Panjwani and Kelly Thomson, QUIL

Tell us about your company and what inspired you to start it?

QUIL is a female-founded, Canadian startup on a mission to make eCommerce logistics more sustainable! We provide consumers with the option to choose reusable and returnable packaging when shopping at their favourite Canadian brands (including Huha, Kindred Studios, and more). With QUIL’s reusable packaging, brands and consumers can help cut waste and over 80% of CO2 emissions from packaging.

Kelly and I launched QUIL in the middle of the pandemic to solve a problem that hit close to home. Like many others, we were almost exclusively shopping online during the pandemic and started to see a growing pile of empty boxes and mailer bags in our home. Kelly and I came from backgrounds in supply chain and logistics and realized we could be part of the solution. So we quickly started looking for examples of reusable packaging in other industries or geographies and a few months later, launched our first pilots with 5 brands across Canada.

QUIL Packaging

How specifically does it relate to sustainable design, production and/or consumption?

We envision a world where all packaging is reusable - not just recyclable or compostable. And that comes down to two main components: (1) intentionally designing packaging to be reusable and (2) building a network that allows packages to flow to consumers and back, efficiently.

At QUIL, we’re tackling both these pieces. We’ve designed packaging that’s made out of lightweight, durable, and easily cleanable materials. We’ve also partnered with Canada Post to help us build a national return network that allows us to get empty packages back from consumers, no matter where they live, to be reused. The result: QUIL bags can be reused up to 20x, cutting waste and over 80% of CO2 emissions.

QUIL Packaging

What community or customer behaviors are you hoping to create or reinforce? 

We’re encouraging customers to return their empty packaging for reuse. Thanks to Canada Post, customers can simply fold up their empty QUIL bag and drop it in any Canada Post mailbox to return it. We’re also partnered with brands to give customers a discount on their next purchase when they return their bag!

What is one of the most helpful or enlightening lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Talk to your customers! When you’re starting a business, you’ll receive signals from all different directions. Friends, investors, experts – everyone will have an opinion on what you’re doing. It can get pretty overwhelming.

The most important thing you can do is talk to your users! They’ll tell you what they liked, what they didn’t like, and if they’ll use your product again. And it’s their feedback that matters most.

QUIL Packaging

What’s the biggest problem you’re currently trying to solve?

We’re focused on bringing reusable packaging to every doorstep in Canada. But we can’t do it alone!

We’re encouraging our community of users and brands to spread the word – tell a friend, family member, or brand you shop at about QUIL’s reusable packaging. The faster we can get the word out, the faster we can scale our impact across Canada!

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