Date posted: 01/02/2022 6 min read

The savvy way to scale up

Start-up Nakie is turning plastic bottles into outdoor gear and watching sales soar. They swear by these business Card tips. Brought to you by American Express.

For Dean and Tegan Leibbrandt, a holiday to Thailand in 2017 presented a turning point in their lives.

“We do a lot of scuba diving,” explains Dean, “and seeing the amount of plastic pollution there was a real eye-opener for us.”

A year later, while travelling in Germany, they noticed how effectively the country’s recycling system diverted waste from landfill. It was “a lightbulb moment”.

With Dean’s brother, Jaryd, they brainstormed ways to remove plastic from landfill and waterways while doing something they love. Within 12 months, Nakie was born.

Dean Tegan Leibbrandt

Picture: Dean and Tegan Leibbrandt.

Hammocks from recycled plastic rubbish

Upcycling plastic bottles to create lightweight, durable fabrics suitable for outdoor gear, the company simultaneously removes the need for other raw materials, reduces carbon emissions associated with production and diverts plastic from landfill. Every hammock is made from approximately 37 plastic bottles and in just two years Nakie has kept more than one million bottles out of landfill.

“Our business is a way to help protect the beauty of the wilderness areas we’ve grown up with,” says Tegan, “and make sure future generations will have the chance to enjoy them, too.” 

“Our business is a way to help protect the beauty of the wilderness areas we’ve grown up with.”
Tegan Leibbrandt
Nakie outdoor gear

The right support to scale up

The public response was immediate, with sales tripling each year since Nakie launched in September 2019, but a growing business has also brought new challenges. They needed to find a business Card that could keep up.

With no pre-set spending limit1 on the American Express® Qantas Business Rewards Card, businesses can access up to $1.5 million of unsecured funding across a 12-month period, offering financial flexibility and freeing up time for other aspects of the operation.

“The Card makes life so much easier,” says Dean. “We can scale up our advertising and know that our manufacturers will still get paid, even on orders of $100,000. That gives us the space to look after all the other things we need to do.

“And having up to 51 days to pay for purchases3 also helps with cash flow. That means we can spend more money on advertising so Nakie continues to grow.”

Using a Card to reduce travel costs

“We’re a travel and outdoor brand so we need to travel to create beautiful content, but we’re also quite money savvy,” says Tegan.

“We’re a travel and outdoor brand so we need to travel to create beautiful content, but we’re also quite money savvy.”
Tegan Leibbrandt

“By using our American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card to pay all our day-to-day expenses – from petrol to social media ads and suppliers – we earn up to 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent2 and can make those points work for the business by booking flights and hotels all over Australia and the world.”

Find out more:

Ready to take your business to new heights? Explore the offers available to your business when you sign up for an American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card. Offers are available to new American Express Card Members only. Learn more at 

Terms and conditions

American Express approval criteria applies. Subject to Terms and Conditions. Fees and charges apply. All information is correct as at 1 February 2022 and is subject to change. This offer is only available to those who reside in Australia. Cards are offered, issued and administered by American Express Australia Limited (ABN 92 108 952 085). ®Registered Trademark of American Express Company.

1. No pre-set spending limit does not mean unlimited spending. Your purchases are approved based on a variety of factors.

2. A business must be a Qantas Business Rewards Member to earn Qantas Points for business. Subject to the Qantas Business Rewards Terms and Conditions and the American Express Qantas Business Rewards Card Points Terms and Conditions. Your business will earn 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 of everyday spend, which does not include annual fees, late payment fee and fees and charges for foreign currencies, 0.5 Qantas Points per $1 spent at participating merchants classified as “utilities” and “insurance” excluding insurances offered by American Express and 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent on the eligible Qantas Products and Services purchased on the Qantas merchant account (i.e. directly from Qantas). Excludes Jetstar and other exclusions.

*From 10 January 2024, once you have earned a total of 500,000 Qantas Points on your Card Account in a calendar year, your earn rate of 1.25 Qantas Points per $1 spent will change to 0.75 Qantas Points per $1 spent on everyday business purchases. All other earn rates (Qantas products, services and government, utilities and insurances spend) will remain unchanged. The points threshold is based on eligible Qantas Points earned during a calendar year and will be reset on 1 January each year. Qantas Points earned by all Card Members on a Card Account contribute to the 500,000 points threshold each calendar year. Bonus points earned from Acquisition bonus offers and marketing campaigns are excluded from the threshold.

3. Depending on your method of payment, when you make a purchase, when your statement is issued and whether or not you are carrying forward a balance on your account from your previous statement period.