With a new part of our business, gCycle (www. gCycle.com.au), starting to simmer in the UK, Kim and I are off to the Old Dart again tonight (via Taipei – who knew?) We were in London in April to lay the ground work and we are heading back to launch. It’s a big step as the nature of the business is so different to the way we have done it for 14 years.
Since 2004 we have been selling our wares via retailers – Bricks & Mortar early on and now mostly via the DeathStar (aka Amazon) to Mums and Dads. In recent years, retail has undergone it’s biggest disruption since the forever. You know you are in a whole new world of hurt when the buyers for the largest bricks & mortar stores such as Walmart and Target are asking vendors like us “what should we do about Amazon then”. The recent bankruptcy of "Babies R Us", the world’s biggest baby retailer was a confirmatory signal of where we are today.
gCycle sees us selling a whole new kind of Plastic Free (TM) nappy directly to Childcare centres. We collect their used nappies each week and convert it into soil / power / fuel. We see it as a way to make a bigger impact in a shorter time frame. In retail, we work in 3 year cycles enrolling new parents in our gDiapers only for them to leave when their little ones are potty-trained (so selfish).
Childcare centres on the other hand have no such cyclicality, working their way through 3 tons of nappies each year. They then have to pay for that waste to be “managed”. “Managed” is a pretty way to say that their nappies get buried in a hole in the ground for 500 years each. We can put a man on the moon (or did we?), access 5,000,000,000 songs on our Apple watches but apparently the best way to deal with nearly all our waste including dirty nappies is to bury it all.
Suffice to say, it is not just the old make widget / sell a widget / collect the money / go home kind of business. We are trying to solve big problems around single-use plastic and waste management and that demands a different approach.
But we like the challenge!