Imagine an online marketplace and listing where environmentally-conscious consumers can easily search for products, type their location, and an array of options become available, featuring local eco-friendly brands.
This is the vision of SaltyLama, a Luxembourg-based consortium of co-creators looking to build the world’s most trusted curated online marketplace for sustainable and sustainably-made products. Earlier this year, the founding team attended the Founder Institute’s accelerator programme and were one of only three start-ups to graduate from the BeneLux Founder Institute.
Committed to sustainability and the reduction of global footprint, SaltyLama is a project where 32 people have joined forces so far, with the initiative gaining the support of international experts and senior executives from the likes of Ebay, Amazon or Walker Edison.
“We do this via a co-creator initiative where each on-boarded person has a 7-hour per week schedule,” Bernardus Smith, CEO of SaltyLama, tells Silicon Luxembourg.
“People can keep their jobs and be part of SaltyLama. It decreases the risk for them and increases the potential of candidates we can on-board,” he adds.
He reveals plans for the team to increase to about 184 people in the next 6 months, with the aim for everyone to transition to a full-time capacity in the next two and a half years.
“…Sustainability, unfortunately, is still a bit of a privilege…”Bernardus Smith, CEO of SaltyLama
Eco-friendly laundry strips
While the marketplace is being built, which the team hopes to be ready by Earth Day (22 April) 2022, SaltyLama has launched its first sustainable product, an eco-strips laundry detergent that is hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, vegan-friendly, zero waste and made from natural ingredients.
“Detergent is a consumable and creates massive plastic waste,” Smith explains, with the laundry strips being launched “in the idea of plastic saving”. Both the lightweight concentrated strips and compostable plant-based envelope they come in leave no trace after use.
According to Eurostat, some 34.4kg of plastic packaging waste was produced per person on average in the EU in 2019 alone.
The SaltyLama CEO adds that laundry strips are in high demand across the world and points out to the “massive opportunity” to launch in Europe following Brexit. A direct competitor used to offer a similar laundry product on the continent but it became “massively over-priced” as a result of the new UK-EU customs fees.
While the SaltyLama eco-strips are currently made in China, the start-up aims “to keep things local” in the future to save emissions with regards to transport and production itself.
“Our revenue target for 2022 is €3 million just on the sale of strips and €15 million for 2023. If we reach these targets, we will be able to build our own manufacturing plant in Europe,” Smith explains.
With more cleaning products in the pipeline, SaltyLama aims to reach consumers in Luxembourg and Germany and plans to later expand to other countries with high spending capacity and eco-conscious mindsets, like the Netherlands and Sweden. “We are focusing on countries with more buying power because sustainability, unfortunately, is still a bit of a privilege. It’s a bit more expensive to live sustainably,” he concludes.