“Powering our facility with renewable energy” With Penny Bauder & Abhi Lokesh

Powering our facility with renewable energy: Last year we cut the ribbon on our new 30,000 square foot facility that is completely powered by solar energy. The sunlight is absorbed by solar roofs as well as solar “trees”, architectural installations with metal “tree trunks” and “limbs” with circular solar panels taking the place of leaves. […]

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Powering our facility with renewable energy: Last year we cut the ribbon on our new 30,000 square foot facility that is completely powered by solar energy. The sunlight is absorbed by solar roofs as well as solar “trees”, architectural installations with metal “tree trunks” and “limbs” with circular solar panels taking the place of leaves.

As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Abhi Lokesh, CEO and co-founder of Fracture.

In 2009 Abhi Lokesh co-founded Fracture, a Gainesville, Florida-based photo decor company that allows users to upload digital images, have them printed onto glass, and shipped in an environmentally-conscious package, ready to mount or display. This young CEO achieved success without compromising the environmental ethics at the core of his brand’s culture and has sustained their carbon-neutral status — even after moving his diverse 80-person all-collar team into a new 30,000 square foot solar-powered manufacturing facility last summer. Fracture is active in environmental and social causes and recently processed their one-millionth order.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

It’s my pleasure, thank you. So, in 2006, I collaborated with two of my University of Florida classmates to start a nonprofit focused on alleviating the health and poverty epidemic in Swaziland, Africa. My role focused on revenue generation and business development. This became the foundation from which Fracture was born.

My main inspiration to be a business owner came from a really clarifying epiphany I had when I was considering my employment options as a senior in college. I was incredibly fortunate in many ways — I didn’t have a family to support, I wasn’t burdened by crippling debt, and I had the love and support of my parents in whatever endeavor I chose. When I thought about all those empowering factors, I realized that I would never have less to lose and more to gain from trying something than at that exact moment in my life. There was literally nothing but upside in front of me. So I took advantage of the opportunity to start Fracture knowing full well that if we didn’t succeed, I could then focus on a more traditional career path.

My co-founder and I also had been paying attention to some really interesting developments in technology and made a few basic observations: more people had smartphones, smartphone camera technology was rapidly getting better, more people were taking more digital pictures on their smartphones, yet fewer and fewer people were printing and framing photos. We knew there was a unique, and very large, opportunity for us if we could give people an affordable, modern, and high-quality way of printing and displaying their favorite digital images.

What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?

Fracture is a photo decor brand whose mission is to help the world focus on moments that matter. These days, our lives move at such a fast pace that there’s not much time for reflection or appreciation for the things that truly matter — things like small moments with friends or family. We take billions of images that capture these moments but don’t really ever stop to actually look at many (if any) of them, so they all stay locked away on our devices or online. Fracture’s goal is to give you a simple, easy, and affordable way to print and display those moments. As a carbon-neutral company, we’re always looking for ways to bring those moments to you in a way that leaves as small of a footprint as possible on our planet.

Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?

Powering our facility with renewable energy: Last year we cut the ribbon on our new 30,000 square foot facility that is completely powered by solar energy. The sunlight is absorbed by solar roofs as well as solar “trees”, architectural installations with metal “tree trunks” and “limbs” with circular solar panels taking the place of leaves.

Carbon offsetting: We work with a local partner, We Are Neutral, that specializes in helping organizations like ours understand and calculate our carbon footprint and then neutralize it through carbon offsetting/reduction initiatives such as the planting of trees. In 2015 we began offsetting the carbon footprint of our facility’s utility consumption and of the orders that we ship around the world. In 2017 we went further and also began calculating and offsetting the footprint from any company air travel. We’re still looking into ways we can improve — for example, we’re researching how we can also calculate and offset the carbon footprint from the shipments of raw materials and inventory we receive.

Sustainable packaging: We’ve worked incredibly hard to minimize the amount of waste and unsustainable materials involved in packaging and shipping our product. All of our shipping boxes are made from 100% recycled cardboard and can be fully recycled. We’ve custom-engineered our packaging to not need any plastic or fossil-fuel derived “packaging fluff” such as packing peanuts, bubble wrap, etc. Given that we shipped well over 100,000 orders in 2019 alone those efforts appear to be worthwhile.

Glass recycling: We reclaim all the waste glass we produce and actually pay to have it shipped to a local glass recycling facility where the glass is ground into “cullet” that can then be recycled in a multitude of ways including being used in concrete and road construction. This amounts to over 100,000 lbs of glass each year that is diverted from landfills.

How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or an example?

One way businesses can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious is by evaluating your energy consumption habits to see where you could identify opportunities to install/retrofit energy-saving appliances and systems (timers that automatically shut off lights and equipment after a certain period of time, etc.). You’d be surprised at how quickly the savings can add up if you start taking small steps towards consciously conserving energy. Sure — there’s always an initial up-front investment — but it’ll absolutely pay for itself over time.

The youth-led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are the main things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.

Ultimately the most important thing parents should do to inspire the next generation is to emphasize that there’s no need to try and save the world in a single day through some grand gesture or project. Yes — the climate crisis is urgent but it can be intimidating and overwhelming to feel like the fate of the world is on your shoulders. Parents should encourage small, daily, incremental steps that can allow the next generation to gain momentum and confidence and as the next generation becomes more experienced and educated, they can begin taking bigger and bigger steps towards solving the climate crisis. For example, doing a “home audit” to identify quick ways to immediately be more sustainable (swapping out single-use plastic bottles with a reusable plastic bottle, stocking up on canvas/reusable tote bags for groceries, composting at home, washing your laundry in cold water to save energy) are great ways to get started and to build momentum.

What are your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. One lesson I recommend to all new business owners to figure out financial planning/forecasting, cash-flow, and how to be profitable from day one. It sounds obvious but learning how to monetize your business early on is a competitive advantage that’ll put you in control of your startup’s destiny.
  2. Your business journey will take far longer than you imagined — buckle up for a marathon, not a sprint.
  3. Set aside your ego and aim to surround yourself with people who are far smarter than you.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When Fracture was starting up we desperately needed financial backing but our options were limited. As a first-time business owner right out of college with no prior work experience in the heart of the Great Recession, I couldn’t even get approved for a credit card on my own. We ultimately received financial backing from my father and some family friends, and I don’t think I could possibly have had any more motivation to succeed than knowing that my father had so much faith in me that he invested in our company. It gave me a deep desire to persevere and repay him for his belief in us.

We’ve experienced countless challenges in our Fracture journey — from being unable to find the right hires to struggling with marketing to barely making payroll. Through it all our saving grace has been the humility to be willing to do absolutely whatever it takes to succeed — nothing was below or beneath us. Our grit and drive kept us afloat during the dark days and we’ve made sure to never forget how those challenges felt.

You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

That’s a deep question and to be honest, I haven’t completely figured out an answer to it yet but I’m still searching. The core value of our company is one that resonates with our mindful customers and that’s to always tread lightly on the planet while celebrating the moments that matter. We’re continuously inspired by the beautiful candid moments that our customers share with us and we feel grateful that our service inspires them to celebrate these moments.

Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?

“Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” — Marianne Williamson

I find the quote incredibly empowering because it forces me to look in the mirror and not make any excuses for myself. I have just as much of an opportunity to make a dent in the world as anyone else, and I owe it to myself to try.

What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?

There are several ways to connect with Fracture on social media. Here are a few links to begin with:

And my personal social media channels are and

This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

It’s my pleasure, thank you for allowing me to share a little bit more about Fracture’s commitment to operating sustainably while helping others focus on the moments that matter most in their lives.

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