Hi I’m Livia Co-Founder and CEO of Era Zero Waste. We’re on a mission to make it easy for everyone to live zero waste and make an impact.
Vielleicht möchtest Du uns Euer Startups, ganz zu Beginn unseres Interviews, kurz vorstellen ?
We are building the Amazon of packaging free products. Era Zero Waste is our own brand sustainable personal care products. Get refills in your postbox. Starting with refillable hand-sanitizer, shipping EU wide.
Welches Problem wollt Ihr mit ERA zero waste lösen ?
Single-use plastics is not only an environmental problem but also an economic opportunity. Around 80% of Consumer goods‘ cost is packaging, and most of them end up in the landfill.
Wie ist die Idee zu ERA zero waste entstanden ?
When me, Livia Zimermann moved to Berlin, from Brazil, I noticed how clueless I was about sustainability, and felt guilty about it, but I would still buy stuff that are not sustainable because they were affordable and convenient. I noticed that this was a general feeling and that people have ditched everything for convenience , so my hypothesis was that if we managed to make being sustainable more convenient than not, people would switch.
Starting with consumer goods was an obvious choice. I had developed over 200 personal care products, winning global prizes for sustainability from: WalMart and Carrefour. I had a few other businesses including an agency where I created the Digital strategy for billion dollar consumer goods brands from clients such as Nestlé and Ab Inbev/Budweiser
I also have worked in product management at Ecolab and was one of the 3 trainees over 4000 applicants for Athos Farma, in a program for logistics and sales for Johnson & Johnson in Brazil. In Berlin I’m finishing a MsC (Innovation Management, Entrepreneurship and Sustainability – TU Berlin), got involved in tech startups, joined an Ad Tech startup and later helped build first green coffee online marketplace at Bonaverde. So all my career evolved about it and finally there was a good approach to make this happen.
But I don’t want to do this alone. I met Leonora at the google female founder program, she was running a fintech startup at the time, had founded other businesses and has lead sustainability for Vattenfall for 10+ years, we instantly got along and became friends, an so started my quest on bringing her to Era. Her dream has always been to build a business in sustainability and that’s the reason she left her corporate life, she loves Era’s topic and can help Era achieve a bigger sustainable impact and be ready to scale. She is now in charge of all sustainability and operations.
It was clear that I needed to rethink consumer goods and retail and make it convenient. I knew Linda Holmqvist and her work on making everything beautiful and convenient at Ericsson and now leading the UX at PFC in Stockholm and I ran into getting her to the team, we‘ve been working on Era for over a year together. Than I needed to bring someone who could help us achieve a bigger impact and be ready to scale. That is Leo, who was leading Vantenfall’s sustainability in Stockholm and Berlin.
Wie würdest Du Deiner Großmutter ERA zero waste erklären ?
ERA zero waste uses the old milk man system. we come to your doorstep or you will find refills of your personal care and cleaning product needs fulfilled by refills.
Hat sich Euer Konzept seit dem Start irgendwie verändert ?
Initially, we focusson soleyl on bike delivery but then we noticed that we need to achieve a threshold of 300 households to be economically feasible. This will work in cities but we want to make it easy for everyone to become zero waste thats we started the refill system with seaweed pouched delivered by carbon neutral mail to your postbox.
Wie funktioniert Euer Geschäftsmodell ?
We will develop in three stages. Currently, we are in stage 2 of our start-up path:
Stage 1: Prove our concept with Hand Sanitizer and launch our kickstarter campaign to build our community. This campaign will allow us to launch our first line of personal care and cleaning products.
Stage 2: Our products will be available online at our shop and sold through zero waste shops to create a relationship with them.
Finally: Our vision is to serve as a marketplace for zero waste shops and reach where they cannot reach yet and make the zero waste shop concept scalable.
Our business models is a subscription model and a marketplace:
- flatrate + 4 shippings a year
- sales of era products + shipping
- commission from zero waste shops in out marketplace.
We would like to test out a system of selling on a starting flatrate of 20€/month which is the average expense of cleaning and personal care products.
16 items would cover 80% of the sales volume. (there will be also options of 6 products for 9€/month)
4 shipments a year are included and we would charge extra for the remaining. This model would give us 34% profit margin.
The remaining 20% of the sales volume would be fulfilled through the shops of our marketplace. where we would charge a 20% take rate.
4700+ zero waste shops in the world right now and the trend shows that there will be 20.500+ in 5 years.
Wie genau hat sich ERA zero waste seit der Gründung entwickelt ?
Wir hießen zuerst zero waste ERA, nun heißen wir ERA zero waste 🙂
WE launched Zero Waste Hand Sanitisers for EU deliveries and pick-ups in Berlin. We set up and tested our refilling station in the back of a cargo bike. It includes a contactless refilling vending machine prototype. We have already developed exclusive formulas a zero-waste supply chain for 14 essential hygiene and personal care products and Zero waste operations.
Our packaging improved: developed 100+ uses ocean recovered packaging and exclusive design.
Technically, we developed App & Smart Labels: App1.0 live at IOS store which interacts with the smart labels.
We also have the support from 8 volunteers that includes senior tech talent from delivery hero to the head of board of the Zero Waste NGO here in Berlin.
In general, we have matured a lot within the past months, looking very much forward to the next steps ahead of us.
Nun aber einmal Butter bei die Fische: Wie groß ist Euer Startup inzwischen ?
We have 1100 active customers, and have shipped 1300+ units.
Most interesting valuable set of customers: Small town environmentally conscious individuals in France. 65% of them recommend our product to their friends and 75% of them said they would completely dissatisfied if they could no longer purchase Era products. That is how we found out that the issue is that even though ether are 400 zero waste shops in France, the smaller towns still have no access to them.
We 3 people working full time, plus volunteers, and half time tech support.
Blicke bitte einmal zurück: Was ist in den vergangenen Jahren so richtig schief gegangen ?
Difficult to say. We focussed too much on market stands which took a lot of time and didnt really bring much.
Was habt Ihr daraus gelernt ?
We focus on our strategy and branding.
Und wo habt Ihr bisher alles richtig gemacht ?
We found the best people for the team.
Wie ist Euer Startup finanziert ?
We got funding from grants and competitions.
Was sind Eure Pläne und Ziele für die nächsten 12 Monate ?
We will launch or first 6 high quality sustainable personal care products and close our first funding round of 320k.
Vielen Dank für das Interview.