Bower Collective was founded in summer 2019 by friends Nick Torday and Marcus Hill. Nick’s background before Bower was running a digital and technology consultancy that included clients like the UN, WWF and Amnesty International, helping to solve major global social and environmental issues. Marcus founded and built London Bio Packaging, one of the UK’s leading providers of biodegradable packaging for the food industry, which he then sold to the FTSE 100 company Bunzl. Both share a passion for sustainable business.
How did you both meet?
Nick: We were old friends back at school way back in the early 1990’s, and have remained friends since.
Marcus: We shared an interest in misbehaviour at school and became good friends!
Where did the initial idea for Bower Collective come from?
Nick: Some years ago at my old business we ran a campaign with a big global NGO about marine plastic waste. This began a process in me of looking into this issue more deeply. Also with three kids, I was very conscious of the large quantities of waste we were generating at home. When we began our own journey as a family to eliminating plastic waste I realised that the product options available weren't great and that there was a great opportunity to do something better, which is when I called Marcus and we began the journey together that resulted in the creation of Bower Collective.
Marcus: I am passionate about using business as a force for good in the world. Start-ups in particular are a great way to address environmental and social problems. Previously I founded a bio-plastic packaging company and for a while I have been thinking about how to engage people more directly with sustainable products (my previous business was b2b). So when Nick got in touch with me to explore ideas around a new start up to tackle the plastic waste crisis I jumped at it.
Who personally inspires you to lead a sustainable life?
Nick: Honestly, the person that inspires me most and holds me to account is my wife Clare. She began reuse and refill long before it was on the consumer agenda and was a big inspiration to me setting up this business. She also tests all our products and gives great constructive feedback! We have reduced our household waste by about 60% in the last couple of years.
Marcus: The person that comes to mind is a friend Peter Harris who founded the environmental charity A Rocha. Starting in Portugal in the 1970’s the charity is now active in 20 countries around the world. Peter showed me that looking after the environment is integrated into all other endeavours to improve the world and can’t be ignored. He also always takes the stairs rather than a lift if he is going less than 8 floors!
What has been the best part of launching Bower Collective?
Nick. For me, seeing the response from customers has been amazing. We’ve had a fantastic first few months and every exchange we have with a new or existing customer is so rewarding - like-minded people who share our values and - luckily for us - love our products!
Marcus: Similar to Nick, I think the most exciting thing is seeing our products in our customers hands and their reaction to our service. We now have a community of over 13,000 people who are really enthusiastic about Bower and that is so encouraging.
What has been the most challenging part?
Nick: Well the arrival of COVID-19 only a month or so after we launched presented lots of challenges, to everybody not just Bower. The biggest challenge for us has been the volatility in supply chains, which has had some impact for us but we have managed to keep on top of it.
Marcus: Struggling to get stock during the early part of lockdown was the biggest challenge which thankfully we have come through. Starting a business from scratch is never easy but we have managed to enjoy it!
Which Bower product is your favourite and why?
Nick: My favourite is my reusable kitchen dispenser and Bower washing up liquid. Mainly because we are currently at home a lot more, cooking a lot more and therefore washing up a lot more! It is a great product and I get a kick from knowing how many single-use plastic washing up bottles I am no longer chucking out to end up in landfill or incineration.
Marcus: I love Bower’s ‘YourNature’ deodorants’ The fragrances are amazing - they are a lovely natural product to put on your skin and its 100% cardboard packaging that's easy to recycle at home. Boom!
Great photos – Very Proud to see and to read this.
Going to place my next Bower order this weekend. xx