WHAT HAPPENED SO FAR?
Back in 2016, the glassic journey started with Patrick being on vacation in Thailand. While being aware that the plastic problem exists, he experienced it firsthand on the island of Ko Samet and decided he wanted to change something.
Back in Germany, he initialized a project at Enactus Munich, a student-initiative for social entrepreneurship, addressing the plastic polluting. Our team started searching for alternatives to the predominant plastic products.
Throughout the research on potential solutions, we came across various up- and recycling options but continued research as the economical feasibility ended up being questionable for all the cases. While interviewing sustainable hotels in Thailand we came across Soneva - a leading hospitality brand regarding sustainability and luxury. Within our calls with Soneva we got to know their approach and got aware of the multi-use bottle. In August 2017, we then visited them at their Thai resort ‘Soneva Kiri’ on Ko Kut. After talking to the people on the island we found the small island as a perfect starting point and the multi-use bottle as our first product.
Framing this bottle in a self-sustaining business would then be able to fund educational project as well as clean-ups – Our Vision was born.
In March 2018, we once again packed our bags and traveled to Ko Kut for two weeks. With the support of ‘Soneva Kiri’ we interviewed hotels and restaurants to get to know them better. Additionally, we searched for a place as well as a water source for the future production side. While interviewing the owner of MeDee Resort, Kittaphat, he got to know our vision and was eager to join us as a partner. With his support we then got access to a water source as well as a place for our future building. An awesome case of being at the right time at the right place.
With a clear understanding of the market, a new partner and good connections to the community, we got back to Germany and calculated our business plan. It was crucial for our success, to make sure that we can offer our water for a competitive price while obviously being more sustainable. With the support of our advisors, we succeeded and gained more confidence in glassic. To kick off the implementation we started with a first crowdfunding campaign in autumn that year. But little we knew, how much work we had in front of us.
After we made sure that we have all legal requirements in our focus, we pitched glassic at the Enactus Start-Up Accelerator in Germany and won the Category Innovation. With the funding of our crowdfunding campaign and the trophy money we then planned our future building and with Kittaphat's help it was built in August. In another trip in September, we interviewed potential customers and deepened our understanding of their needs and their perspective on our solution. Thus, we knew after this trip who will be our first customers and how much water they would need – a perfect place to start.
Next was our bottle, while searching for a producer, we got to know the Munich glass manufactory SystemPack. After pitching them glassic, they were super excited to join us and donated over 18000 bottles. As that was not even enough, all his business partners joined as well and donated the crates, swing-tops, printing and even the logistics.
And to finish this amazing year, we joined the incubation program ActOnPlastic in Berlin. This gave us access to various experts, law consultants and extra funding which enabled us to finally purchase our machinery.
Enthusiastic about the successful progress we made in 2019, we planned to start operating our beverage business on Ko Kut within the first half of 2020. We recruited our future manager, Eugene, and shipped all our bottles to the island. In April, we were about to book our flights, just when the covid outbreak reached Germany as well as Thailand. The implementation came to a sudden stop, and we needed to recheck our possibilities. After sharpening our internal project management we started preparing a remote implementation with our partners.
To understand the current situation on sight, our future manager Eugene traveled to the island. With returning lockdowns and ongoing covid restrictions the project on site just slowly moved forward. Still, we used the time in Germany to further professionalize our work and to initialize the founding of our german non-profit company, the glassic gUG.
Since summer 2020 we wanted to ship our bottle crates to Ko Kut but struggled to find free space in a container ship to fit the huge number of crates. In March 2021 we then finally got to deliver them to the island. As soon as our crates arrived on the island, our partners on site organized helping hands to store all our bottles in their crates. Further, we organized everything we need for our machinery which will cover all production steps from water purification, to bottling to cleaning the bottles after use. Now, our machinery is waiting in Bangkok to get picked up and installed as soon as the pandemic allows it. Till then, we already prepare the approval of our water quality under FDA standards to start offering the glassic water to our customers as soon as possible.