Re-Luminate is shining a new light on the challenge of waste, giving waste new life as designer light fixtures with a retro flare.
Please describe your business idea and the overall impact it would have on the Austin community.
Re-Luminate will begin by repurposing wine bottles and vinyl records that are destined to the local landfill by creating a retro Austin artisan wine bottle lamps with vinyl record lampshades. Once Re-Luminate establishes itself with in the interior lighting decor market, additional market share will be gained by expanding product offerings. Re-Luminate has the potential to divert up to 500 lbs. of vinyl records and over 40 wine bottles per week. By being based in Austin, Texas this will help Austin’s economy grow and provide employment opportunities. This is in alignment of the community support of zero waste by 2040.
Which [Re]Verse Pitch Material Supplier byproducts would your business repurpose?
Wine bottles and vinyl records.
What makes your proposed business model viable?
Re-Luminate uses the lean business model approach. Initial costs are kept low by utilizing low raw material costs and already owned tools and equipment. This approach will allow for low overhead and the potential for higher margins. Higher margins will enable Re-Iluminate to draw potential investors and the ability to reinvest into itself. Reinvestment will allow for the expansion of products as well as the overall growth of the company to be able to gain greater market share. Additional equipment, tools, and staffing needs will then be able to be acquired for sustained growth.
How scalable is your proposed business model?
Our lean business model allows for scalability by starting with the focus on one product to gain brand awareness and gain early adopters. Once brand awareness is formed, the company can quickly move beyond break-even and offer more products for manufacturing and sales. Additional products would include the additional use of re-utilized materials as well as custom products and the flexibility to adapt to customers wants and needs.
What funding will be required to fully implement, and then scale your idea? What funding do you plan to seek (beyond Reverse Pitch funds), and what will make your idea attractive those funding sources?
Initial start- up costs would be low and will utilize already owned tools and equipment. As Re-Iluminate grows and gains market share, funds will be needed to purchase additional equipment as well as manufacturing space. Growth-stage funds will also be required to pursue marketing avenues and additional employees to meet an increase in manufacturing demand. Funding will be provided by initial personal investment followed by friends and family. As the company moves further into the growth stage other funding avenues, such a seed investors, venture capitalists, and incubators will be sought out. Crowdfunding is another option that would allow individuals to acquire products from us prior to manufacturing. This funding method would allow us to test demand and provide Re-Iluminate with working capital to produce the first wave of products.
Describe your team and how your experience relates to your ability to execute your business plan.
Christopher has a Bachelor’s in Business Finance and has worked in the private, federal government, and nonprofit sectors. He’s a zero waste entrepreneur pursuing several ventures that increase sustainability: Founder of Re-Mat, a nonprofit seeking to recycle mattresses in Texas, Co-Founder of Bronko Bikes LLC which sells e-bike kits and provides e-bike conversion services, and a venture that will steam-compress recycled plastic into building blocks used to construct affordable housing. Bridget has a B.A. in Psychology and is currently a construction project estimator of several multi-million dollar projects for a local HUB company. Before moving to Austin, Bridget was an office manager under a federal contract where she was responsible for the daily office activities and human resources. Aaron is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces that has served two overseas tours and has experience in operational leadership and management. Most recently Aaron has completed an MBA focusing on social, global, and environmental responsibility and entrepreneurialism. All three team members have hands-on training in lean startup business model.
How will your business impact the Austin economy? Include the quantity and quality of jobs that the business would create and how the business would support other Austin businesses.
Re-Luminate will support the local Austin economy by providing a product that will be able to be produced and sold within Austin. Local Austin businesses will be supported by Re-Luminate by having reduced the disposal costs, material acquisition, and tooling and equipment purchases. Re-Luminate will have a positive impact of growing and strengthening Austins economic landscape.
During the initial phases of our start-up there will be a minimum number an employee's needed to manufacture the lighting product. As the company grows, more employees will be able to be added that would include designers, manufactures, sales, and administration. Lower skill jobs will be filled by more difficult to employ individuals. Additionally, Re-Luminate strives to maintain social responsibility and provide wages that meet or exceed the local living wage.
Please describe the overall environmental and zero waste impact of the operation, including whether the product design allows for the material to be diverted to its highest and best use at the end of the product’s life.
Under the Zero Waste Hierarchy, Re-Luminate is diverting to the highest use by designing a product that manufactures waste into new goods. Waste is directly reused and processed, not destroyed and recovered. One environmental impact is the reduction of needed landfill space required for waste. Another environmental impact is the reduction of greenhouse gases by having a smaller carbon footprint. At present, larger commercial vehicles collect the wine glass and vinyl records and transport these materials to the landfill. Re-Luminate will use smaller more environmentally friendly and efficient vehicles that have a smaller carbon footprint.