Eco-friendly Childrens Tableware
This innovation also has a Project Page where you can read more about its latest progress.
Go to Project: Eco-friendly Childrens Tableware.
To decrease the amount of plastic and melamine childrens tableware from our landfills by offering parents an alternative at a consumer-friendly price.
About Your Organization
Canada, BC, Salmon Arm
Country where this solution is creating social impact
Region in BC where your solution creates social impact
Is your organization a
How long has your organization been operating?
Less than a year
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Growth (your pilot is up and running, and starting to expand)
How long have you been in operation?
Operating for less than a year
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: Describe the need for your solution and the size and characteristics of the community(ies) your solution is engaging
Right now there are over 500,000 couples living in BC with children, and over 4 million in Canada. The main form of tableware for these children currently is made from melamine and plastic. Both of which are filled with toxins and chemicals. Melamine can also not biodegrade or be recycled and quite often plastic tableware is not recycled and ends up in our landfills. The need for my product is great when it comes to the health of our children as well as the health of our planet. These plastic and melamine alternatives have chemicals in them such as urea and formaldehyde and it seems we are always finding scientific reasons as to why these are bad for our health. Once used and worn these items also end up in our landfills hurting our planet and the future planet for our children.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
I have designed and have product being sent to me at the end of May from Asia. This tableware product is made from bamboo which is an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic and melamine we are using now for our childrens tableware. It is biodegradable, it is a renewable resource, it is cost friendly for both the manufacturere as well as the consumer and because it's a wood-type of product it can also be personalized with the childs name on it as well as allow it to be designed with pictures.
This solution will go much further than my town or province. It will reach and benefit the whole country and has already started to do so. Possibly one day North America.
My product is made from bamboo, no chemicals are added while it's growing to keep pests away because bamboo does it on its own naturally. It also doesn't have any chemicals or toxins used on it after it's been turned into my tableware aside from vegetable oil.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include the primary activities involved in your solution.
Going into any store to purchase childrens tableware right now leaves you very few choices. You can purchase plastic tableware, which even with removing BPH is still full of chemicals, or you find melamine tableware. Both of which are made through chemical processes. Unfortunately these are the only two forms of tableware that parents have at their fingertips right now. My solution will give parents another option to provide for their children. A safe alternative to purchase for a reasonably similar price to what they are spending right now. My product can not be recycled, however, it can biodegrade over time and has no harmful effects on the environment or on people.
By offering my cups, bowls and plates with different picture options relating to the childrens interests, as well as their names I can help draw new customers in. Names can also be added to each of the products including the handles of each cutlery item. These personalized items will be able to be bought online and the other items with the pictures can be purchased in box stores for easy purchasing and accesability.
Pictures and names will be added using a laser wood burning machine to keep up with the demand.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others working to address the same needs as you and indicate what sets you apart from them.
Currently Alpine Tableware in Vernon, BC has the only other cutlery made from wood products. However, there are many details that set us apart. They make their product from alpine, not from bamboo. Their product is also disposable and meant to be used once and then thrown away. My product is meant to be used, washed, and enjoyed for many years.
Their line also only has cutlery where as my line has a full tableware set for children the perfect size for their hands and portion sizes. I can also decorate mine with the laser wood burning machine (currently pyrography), where as theirs are in their natural state of wood.
My peers are amazing and local entrepreneurs here in Salmon Arm. Winston Pain, the owner of Lakeside Insurance has been upmost amazing, as well as Mike Bordreau.
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
It all started when my youngest daughter; whom has a very unique name, asked for her own personalized spoon just like her older sisters. Knowing that we would not be able to find one in the stores I decided to make one for her. My first initial reaction was to purchase a blank melamine spoon and paint her name on it with special paints. Upon researching melamine tableware to purchase I began to realize how many chemicals went into making the product. I knew this wasn't the route I wanted for my daughter and began to research alternatives. That is when I discovered bamboo and it's very long list of great qualities to being in the kitchen. I also knew that with my pyrography experience I could add my daughters name to the spoon by hand thus keeping it eco-friendly and human-friendly.
I made my first spoon for my daughter on July 18, 2011 using a wood spoon and a pygrography machine and it took off from there. Everything is going eco-friendly...why not tableware.
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
My goals are constantly changing over time as I am always setting short-term goals to achieve for my business. Currently my goal is to complete my line of childrens tableware, continue to brand my business, complete websites, and establish consistant clientelle which would be through larger businesses. My goal is also to purchase a laser wood burner as right now I am using a pyrography machine to add designs and names to my product.
In the long term my goal is to not only have a childrens tableware line, but to expand into tableware for adults as well as a kitchenware line with bowls, cuttingboards and cooking utensils all made from eco-friendly products. I will have an out of home location and employ many people in my home town.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
To date I have sold over 6oo spoons to date since July 18, 2011. That means I have stopped that many plastic and melamine spoons from winding up in our landfills, possibly along with the stainless steel bottoms on the cutlery. This is using facebook as my only means of advertising and only by making a page.
I have also had the pleasure of helping many causes in my home town as well as around the country. Families that have lost loved ones, people with illnesses, different organizations that support illnesses, and womens rights are just a few of the causes I have had the pleasure of helping out.
Wether it be a cause close to my heart or one close to a customers heart, or the effect my product has on the environment in all aspects, or even the smiles it brings to children who have never seen their name on anything, White-o-Coccoli impacts many people in many wonderful ways.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
In the next five years my goal will be to complete my line of childrens tableware and have it on store shelves. I will estimate that I can keep out approximately 35,000 plastic, melamine or even stainless steel spoons out of the landfills along with many thousands of plates, bowls, cups, other cutlery items as well as kitchenware items.
The impact that this could have could potentially be huge, and I believe that it will be.
Parents can use a product without worry of chemicals and the harm we'll find out it has five years from now like many other products on the marker. It's safe. Peace of mind is priceless for a parent.
I will also impact my community by being able to offer jobs to help maintain a smooth business.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Currently the cost of advertising is what I am finding very hindering. I have been very lucky that a lot of my advertising opportunities has been at no cost to myself because looking into my different options the price is high.
I have really found that it's all about who you know and I have been able to meet some really great people. Through connections as well as by offering my product for review, or even asking for a story on my business I will be able to advertise in cost-effective ways. My budget will also involve putting money aside for the cost of advertising for when I find the perfect place to advertise. As well, I will be attending trade shows in the larger cities where the amount of exposure would be high.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Complete the process of registering and incorporating my business.
Complete my childrens tableware line.
Pitch my product to larger box store companies.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Complete the adult sized tableware line.
Begin to bring in kitchenware items.
Purchase a laser engraving machine
Tell us about your partnerships
Currently I am working with the private individual to come up with new and great ideas for the business. She is an MD who is no longer practicing medicine due to life matters. Due to her knowledge on running a business from the inside, and her knowledge in incorporating, as well as having an outlook on the business from an MD point of view she is a very beneficial part of White-o-Coccoli.
The angel investor has given me some great tips to get started and will continue to work with me when he returns from his out-of-country trip.
Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?
I am currently targeting moms, dads and grandparents of young children, as well as those who are interested in helping out the environment by purchasing the eco-friendly alternatives.
I will also be targeting anyone who loves trendy, affordable tableware.
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
White-o-Coccoli is an home-based business right now. This helps to keep my costs very low by not accumulating bills that come with an office location. This allows me to save up more money within the business to put towards more product and other sections of the budget allowing me to grow faster and more efficiently.
I also have a family member who is designing a computer program for me to control the orders that come through. From their names, addresses, the date and what they ordered, we will be able to easily keep track of all the information so we can really get to know our market and customers.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
I would love to meet with someone who knows how to successfully market a product line like mine, and learn as much as I can from them regarding this. I believe if I can market right I can achieve my goals.