Tech For Good – Feat. Bower Collective

As part of our Tech For Good series we had a chat with Nick Torday, Co-Founder and CEO at Bower Collective. Bower Collective makes sustainable living simple. They are a digital first sustainable consumer goods business specialising in plastic free, reusable and refillable home and personal care products.

The purpose of the Tech For Good series of interviews is to create a platform that showcases and champions companies, products and technologists who are using technology as a force for positive change in the world.

Gareth @ ADLIB: Can you please introduce yourself, what your business does and what makes your business and offering unique and a force for good?

Nick: Hi, I’m Nick Torday, co-founder of Bower Collective. Bower is a sustainable consumer technology business that delivers a wide range of award-winning natural household products in BowerPack™, our unique reusable packaging system. Our mission is to eliminate plastic waste from coming out of our customer’s homes.

We are a multi award winning B Corp who believe strongly that business can be a positive force for change, and everything we do is about enabling consumers right across the UK to make small changes to live more sustainable lives.

Gareth @ ADLIB: Can you share the story behind the origin of your business and Service / Product?

Nick: I used to run a tech business (offices in Bristol and London) that specialised in working with social and environmental impact organisations, like the UN, Greenpeace, WWF, etc – some years ago we did a major campaign on marine plastic waste which ignited my passion in this problem space.

I then got together with my old friend Marcus, who had recently sold his successful bio-packaging business to a FTSE 100 company and was looking for his next challenge. We both share a passion for purpose-led business and put our heads together to come up with a transformational and scalable business that would directly address the plastic waste crisis.

That’s how Bower Collective came to life in late 2019, with a clear mission to eliminate plastic waste and create a more sustainable world. The plastic waste crisis is one of the defining environmental challenges of our time. Globally 1 million tonnes a day of plastic waste are generated and the $1 trillion dollar consumer goods industry plays a major part in this and also in global carbon emissions.

We believe there is a better way to provide consumers with everyday products, which is why we are at the forefront of the reuse and refill revolution. Our unique BowerPack™ system is a market leading innovation that has already saved over 44,000kgs of plastic from landfill, incineration and the natural environment.

With over 95,000 customers and a YOY growth rate of 234%, we’ve had a fantastic first couple of years in proving that we are delivering an outstanding service and solution to the problem we aimed to address.

Gareth @ ADLIB: Can you share some tech challenges or barriers you had to overcome to create a Product / Service offering with potential, whilst remaining ‘for good’?

Nick: One of the main challenges we have is that we have a complex multi-category subscription model, i.e. we sell a wide range of home and personal care products on subscription which often have different cadences and frequency of consumption.

With a subscription-based business model, you want to avoid two things – one, your customers have too much product (surplus) or they have too little! So getting this just right and providing a delightful customer experience is central to our strategy.

We undertook an extensive process of customer-led interviews and qualitative analysis of how we could make subscription management easier. Our customers remain at the heart of all our design and technology processes, defining scope, testing prototypes and shaping content strategy. Together we delivered a massively improved ‘Your Bower’ customer portal for subscription management, which saw a reduction in subscriber churn from 12% (not sustainable) to 3% (excellent by industry benchmarks). The better our technology, the higher our customer retention and the bigger our impact in eliminating waste and saving carbon.

Gareth @ ADLIB: Why do you think is it a growing trend for tech professionals to seek out opportunities to work in purpose-driven businesses?

Nick: I think it is an increasing trend across all work disciplines, not just tech – as people look at the world around them and make career decisions that are genuinely aligned with their values. I’ve been working in this space (purpose-led business) for many years and the best hires are always those that have a genuine passion for the business mission.

Gareth @ ADLIB: What has been the key thing you’ve learned about ‘tech for good’ and your target audience specifically?

Nick: Within the context of our business – consumer goods – we know we are addressing a problem space with huge demand. A recent Deloitte survey of 20,000 consumers globally said that reducing single use plastic waste was their number one priority. So in many ways we are pushing on an open door.

Our priority as a technology-driven business is to provide a delightful and frictionless customer experience which encourages as many people as possible to engage with our product and service and collectively drive incredible impact.

We are also actively crowdfunding at the moment so if your readers are keen to get involved, you can invest and co-own shares in Bower Collective before we close our round on the 28th June.

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Gareth Hollywell