Alumni duo on a mission to save the planet, one compostable package at a time
Anaita Sarkar and Vik Dave


Alumni duo on a mission to save the planet, one compostable package at a time

November 27, 2020


Over five million tonnes of packaging were used in Australia in the year to June 2018, according to Clean Up Australia. Worryingly, only half of it was recycled, while the rest ended up in landfill, in our waterways, and scattered across the land.

Concerned by the amount of plastic waste her first e-commerce retail business (OLIVIA&CO.) was producing, Macquarie University alumna Anaita Sarkar – plus alumnus husband and business partner, Vik Dave – found a more eco-friendly solution and then turned her vision of a more sustainable world into a successful business.

Hero Packaging, an Australian-based provider of 100% home-compostable shipping mailer solutions for homes and business, has helped prevent over three million plastic mailers from entering the planet. On a daily basis, the company sends over four thousand HEROPACKs around the world, with demand rising due to COVID-19′s effect on online shopping behaviour.

Of course, the journey of this dynamic duo really began at Macquarie University. Anaita completed her Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) in 2010 and Master of Commerce in 2013, while Vik completed his Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing) in 2008.

At the time, Anaita was working full-time as an Assistant Auditor for KPMG International Limited, so initially, she chose Macquarie due to its course flexibility and proximity. Over time, though, she grew to love campus life, the insightful lectures, and the wealth of extracurricular opportunities. One of her most treasured memories was being able to travel to Thailand and Singapore as a volunteer.

“I volunteered to go to Thailand and Singapore with fellow students to learn about South East Asian trade and to understand their culture and lifestyle. I learnt so much from that trip and made some amazing friends.”

For sporting enthusiast Vik, maintaining a healthy, active, and social lifestyle was important to him. Fortunately, the student groups and facilities at Macquarie meant he could get involved, represent the campus at sporting events, and form lifelong friendships. In addition to this, Vik was inspired by his lecturers, and the amount of practical knowledge and experience they brought to each lesson. One lecturer, a Marketing Manager for a large auto manufacturer, gave the class valuable insights into the real world of business and marketing, an experience that Vik says, “…was fantastic … and really set me up for the workforce.”

After graduating, Anaita and Vik gradually rose the ranks in their respective fields. Anaita was promoted to Senior Auditor at KPMG and then moved to Media for Commonwealth Bank where she was responsible for digital media buys. Following her master’s degree, Anaita became a Marketing Tutor and guest lecturer at Macquarie University, where she still teaches today. Vik spent nine years working at a B2B industrial firm, before he spent five years as head of e-commerce at a large online retailer.

Exciting times were ahead, when, during maternity leave, Anaita decided to use her marketing skills to start an online retail business. Named after her two beautiful children, OLIVIA&CO offers personalised leather accessories and gifts for men and women, including phone cases, pouches, bags and wallets, to name a few. According to Anaita, the company’s success lies in her focus on  customer-driven (‘if they ask for it, they get it’), functional, and sustainable accessories.

Although wildly successful, Anaita discovered a problem. She grew concerned about the waste produced by her plastic shipping mailers. After some trial-and-error, she found the perfect replacement material, one that was waterproof, highly durable, looked and felt just like plastic, and would break down in a compostable environment.

Curious if other businesses were interested, Anaita spread the word of her ‘wonder’ packaging, to which the answer was a resounding ‘Yes!’ With this in mind, she started Hero Packaging. Following this, Vik left his job in 2018 to manage the daily operations of the company.

Looking back at their time at Macquarie University, Anaita and Vik have fond memories of their experience. When asked what advice they would give their past selves as students, they responded:

University life is the beginning of your career. Take the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things, volunteer as much as possible and gain work experience (even when you think it’s not relevant to your career). These things will propel you forward, not only on your resume, but also as life experience. And always ask for advice when you need it. – Anaita

I was working full time and studying at Uni part time, so I would definitely tell myself to immerse myself more into university life and explore everything it has to offer, such as extracurricular activities and volunteer work. – Vik

In terms of running a business during these uncertain times, Anaita and Vik say to remain optimistic, even in the face of adversity:

“Don’t let slow growth stop you from pushing ahead. The buying environment in these times is fickle. It can make most business owners worried about the future. Focus on your points of difference, tell your story consistently to your audience, and focus on the long-term goals.” – Anaita

“Truly respect the economic forces at play. Take the opportunity to really reinvent your business! – Vik”

And to students starting out at university, the couple says to forge your own path – no matter how unconventional – and focus on your long-term goals, instead of being distracted by short term uncertainties.

“Your career may take many turns. You are lucky to live in a time where you have the opportunity to try many things, to see what your passions are. Everyone will feel uncertain about their future at one point or another. But it’s important to put one foot in front of another and keep moving forward. It’s also inevitable that certain choices you make will not be the right ones. Don’t look at these as failures, because every decision and its outcome is a learning opportunity.” – Anaita

“Don’t get distracted by uncertainty and the ‘doom and gloom’ purported by the media. One thing remains true: jobs and businesses will always exist. The world will go back to normal. You need to stay hungry and work hard. Have goals and don’t be swayed by short term uncertainties.” – Vik

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the perfect time to order compostable mailers use your special code HELLOHERO to get your FREE sample pack. Check out the range at

Words: Shannon Jackson-Barnes




Comment (1)

  1. Gool Patel

    Wonderful life. I wish I had the opportunity to live the life like this. I wish it in the next birth if I have the next birth!


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