Philippine Retailing Magazine Q4 2020 (Digital Edition Only) - Page 12

SPECIAL FEATURE

A Humble Beginning to Sustainability

When co-founders Niña Opida and Josef Werker started Humble last year , their main motivation is not about getting profit but about creating meaning and purpose in what they do , especially in their passion of adapting a circular way of living .
Humble Sustainability is a start-up founded by the duo with the aim to help people declutter their homes and lives by taking things that they no longer need and giving them a new purpose . Niña relates that the idea of founding a start-up focused on circular living started with a trip to the UK in 2019 .
“ We found ourselves in awe of charity shops , buying second-hand plates and clothes ( me , especially !). These charity shops which sell items that are affordable and of high quality were quaint , traditional and appealed to a much older demographic . The concept promoted a circular economy and therefore immensely sustainable ,” she shared .
So , they thought : “ Why not bring this concept online and make it appealing to millennials ?” That way , circular living could become mainstream and create the impact they believed they could make .
A Project Beyond Profit
According to a report by the National Solid Waste Management Commission , residential wastes accounts for more than 57 % of the total wastes collected , and the country ’ s solid waste generation is expected to increase by 165 % in 2025 , according to a World Bank projection . Much of these collected wastes can still be recycled or reused .
According to Humble , clutter at home starts when people keep things that they no longer use , such as old stuff , clothes they don ’ t wear , or damaged appliances they think might still get fixed . And when your home remains cluttered , it can result to increase in stress , lack of productivity , and obsession of buying new things . These are the problems Niña and Josef want to address with the founding of Humble .
How Does It Work ?
Niña described how people can be part of Humble ’ s advocacy .
“ First , the customer books a collection , entirely free through the Humble website ; Second , Humble arrives at their doorstep & takes the items to our warehouse so we can tag and sort these items ; And lastly , we then reuse , recycle or upcycle those items .”
For items like plastic and other recyclables , Niña explained that these are sent to their partners who will turn these plastics into meaningful things . Some plastics are turned into planks to build shelters for natural disasters and other recycling companies turn plastics into school chairs .
“ We also partner with NGOs and charities in the country so they can be a recipient of the items we have collected - we make sure to meet them and ask what items they would like to receive from us ,” Niña shared .
She also shared that they have partnered with local artists such as Anina Rubio , Leeroy New and Bea Samson , to name a few , who will be in charge of turning the items received into works of art and products with great functionality .
“ The designer will make prototypes exclusively for Humble ! We then reach out to fabricators or maker-partners - or even a community - that can help us to sustainably & ethically mass produce the design using the materials / items that Humble has collected . In all of these , we hope to give livelihood to local artisans and community partners ,” added Niña .
Niña admitted that it can a challenge to collect various items from different people especially when they ’ re collecting from homes .
“ The way we look at the upcycling is we look at our inventory as to what materials or categories we usually have in bulk , then we inform our artists and show them the inventory so from there they will decide what to make . To keep things simple , we will start by using clothes as the main material for their designs as it ’ s about 44.6 % of our inventory .”
“ Another way we ’ re thinking of making this less challenging is when we start collecting from offices or companies soon we would be getting a bulk of certain office items ,” she mused .
One Step at a Time
Right now , their buyers are their B2B partners .
“ Humble aims to become a global platform and community where living sustainably is the new normal . We have a three-year plan for this , first which is this year ( 2020 ), traction , build the foundations . Second , build the technology and scale . Finally , become a marketplace & data company where customers can easily declutter , track where their items go , purchase other products in the Humble marketplace and measure their carbon footprints ,” shared Niña .
She also revealed that they are building their web-app very soon that will help Humblers declutter their home or office , track where their items end up , purchase other items from the Humble marketplace & measure their carbon footprint , so Humblers will not only have an enjoyable decluttering experience , but a sustained circular living journey .
“ Our intention is to do this one phase at a time ! We hope to do our second launch in the last quarter of the year but for now we are building partnerships with companies or startups that ’ s aligned with our values .”
Niña knows that there is still so much to be done , but she is optimistic that that with the help and support of their partners they can make these things happen .
With such dynamic founders who are rooted to their values and goals , supported by a comparably enthusiastic team , their plans and goals are unfolding impressively .
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