Circular Manufacturing: The Progression of an Idea
From day one, Toni set out to build a zero-waste, circular manufacturing company to prove that businesses can have a positive and even regenerative impact. Our mission, core values, and B Corp certification are driving forces behind product development & design here at Abeego. We carefully take into account all aspects of the product from raw materials and packaging to how it ships and sits on the store shelf. The Mini Campfire didn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of 3 separate products all with the goal of becoming 100% zero waste.
IT ALL STARTED WITH A CORE PRINCIPLE:
WASTE IS A RESOURCE
Toni was a holistic nutritionist who was obsessed with nose-to-tail and root-to-stem eating when she started Abeego. The principle of valuing all parts of the resource spilled over into Abeego and she knew she needed to give every shred the value it deserved. With a little bit of creativity, some time spent in the garden, and a love for fire & food, we drew a connection between our food wrap production scraps and a whole new, truly mesmerizing product. It didn’t happen overnight and it evolved through many iterations.
The Abeego Twist was the first unofficial spin-off product we launched in 2017. Long strands, less than a centimeter wide, were twisted into sticks. Customers were encouraged to use them for a garden tie or a firestarter. This multi-purpose tool was our first step toward becoming a circular manufacturer and only got us part of the way there as they used only one type of waste. We weren’t sure if they were going to catch, so we launched them package-free, giving them away as a gift with purchase to test the market.
Today, it’s common for beeswax wrap companies to sell scraps and waste as firestarters and we beam with pride knowing our original Twists sparked these circular manufacturing initiatives.
MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT
We knew we had something of value when customers began to ask where they could purchase The Twists. We realized we weren’t dealing with waste but a product that could grow our business! Before we could go to market, we needed to revisit their product design - all the way from the product itself, packaging, and how it’ll ship and catch your eye on the store shelf.
To test the market, we completed our first iteration of packaging. You might remember seeing these at One of a Kind Show and Circle Craft during the holiday season, grabbing one online, and even seeing them in-store. What we heard most from customers was that they were without a doubt, the absolute best Fire Starter.
TWIST TO FIRE STARTER
After receiving customer feedback & evaluating how we operationally made the Twists, we realized we didn’t actually need to twist the trims for them to be useful as a Fire Starter, saving us an extra step in the production process. If you’re in production & manufacturing, you’ll know that operational efficiency is key! On the customer side, there was confusion around the product name “Abeego Twist”. While we like to come up with creative names, we knew our customers needed something more self-explanatory.
The Abeego Twist quickly became the Abeego Fire Starter. The product spoke for itself! Customers received these at shows and online and understood what was given to them.
From camping to cottages, Abeego Fire Starters were our top stocking stuffer during the holiday season and a big seller during the summer. Everything was moving along but there was only one problem. We weren’t using our waste fast enough, and not all types of waste. We were stuck. Our rock and a hard place were quantity and consumer demand.
Over the course of all this, we’d been prototyping, Solstice Balls. Inspired by the change of the seasons and the mesmerizing nature of fire, we lit these during Summer and Winter Solstice to reflect & set intentions for the coming season. About the size of a cannonball, these tightly packed balls of trims were fun and used a lot of waste, but were heavy and awkward. Not something we could easily package and ship, or even explain well. They never became available to buy and the Solstice Ball simmered on the back burner of our minds.
CAMPFIRE MAGIC IN A TIN
At some point, we saw portable campfires in a tin for sale and it dawned on us that all the Solstice Ball needed was essentially a tin and some additional wax to make our original zero-waste dreams come true. You could say it was serendipity. We checked off a lofty B Corp goal, achieved zero-waste production, and turned our magical Solstice Ball into a product that everyone could understand and enjoy. Meet Abeego Mini Campfire.
Backyards to beaches, balconies to backcountry, the instant and portable Abeego Mini Campfire elevates moments to memories. Brighten everyday outdoor occasions with a small, captivating fire that lights quickly and extinguishes instantly. Burning for 3 hours, ignite a family-friendly activity at the strike of a match! Did someone say instant s’mores?
The goal to become zero waste didn’t happen overnight and ignited an entire line of new products. We set out to prove that a manufacturing business can be a circular business. With a spark of creativity and obsession for design, each product iteration built on the success of the former to achieve our zero waste goal.
We’re never short of ideas at Abeego. It is a process that never stops and somewhere in the dark recesses of our minds the next innovation or iteration to make something new, different, and better the world is just a spark away.
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