Sustainable Ecommerce Podcast Episode 72
As we know, authorities around the world are hard at work stamping out single use plastics, especially within the food service and hospitality space. Reusable alternatives to things like coffee cups have exploded in usage, and are a genuine alternative for the majority of times when you’re grabbing some caffeine.
But what happens for spontaneous purchases?
News in NSW recently was that the much vaunted compostable cups were going to get banned because they were starting to contaminate waste streams, and causing just as many problems as they solve. Carrying re-usable everything, while likely the most sustainable option, frankly just isn’t that convenient.
So if plastic is on way out, coated paper isn’t all that crash hot – what other alternatives could there be?
Enter the concept of edible tableware. We’re just starting to see the idea of this creep into Australia with a few brands doing edible cups, but my guest today, Maxim Gelmann is someone who’s been pioneering this concept since 2015. His brand Stroodles started with pasta-based straws, but now covers everything from plates to ice cream spoons.
Whether or not the items used actually get eaten is almost beside the point – what I loved most about Maxim and Stroodles is how he sees the brand’s role in making sustainability more accessible to mainstream consumers.
Firstly, let’s just take a moment to reflect on the power of brands to influence change. Through Stroodles, Maxim has taken the time to develop an extraordinary brand personality that is fun, engaging and accessible to multiple generations.
He’s built a brand language off the back of that which also serves to connect innocuous actions like eating some ice cream or drinking a cocktail with making a sustainable choice. That makes the brand a very powerful vehicle to help reposition sustainability away from hardship, change and confusion, and more towards fun, easy and even conversational. To me that is so, so powerful.
- None of that would be possible without marketing and actually being able to connect with the end consumer, and that’s especially tricky when the dominant part of your revenue base is B2B sales, like in Stroodles case. Early on the critical strategy for Maxim was in building and leveraging partnerships and collaborations to reach and engage with the market. It just so happens that we’re going to come back and explore this more next week!
Lastly, a spoonful of harsh reality, especially in the current market. It’s great to have a strong brand story. It’s great to have an unusual product that really solves problems, especially if it’s a great conversation starter.
But if you’re looking for B2B sales that’s almost always relationship based, and your personality, energy and enthusiasm is still your best asset. Maxim said directly that his early success was all based on selling his personality, and we heard a similar story from Michelle Smith back in episode 57.
If you’re a small brand and you’re not leveraging your biggest asset to build relationships, now is a great time to get started!