We put your questions to the co-founders of Bower - and here's what they had to say!
What was your motivation behind founding the business?
Nick: In my previous business we worked with most of the world’s biggest NGOs, like Greenpeace, WWF and the UN. We ran a major global campaign on marine plastic waste which sparked my interest in working towards solving this existential problem. Ever since it has been my main focus and that’s how Marcus and I came together to launch Bower, with a clear mission on the elimination of plastic waste.
Marcus: my passion is for entrepreneurial business that has a purpose beyond just making profit, a mission to tackle an environmental or social problem. I also wanted to do something involving technology and a big market. So when Nick and I got talking about what could be done about the plastic waste crisis we both were very excited about the prospect of using reusable packaging and technology to help provide a solution.
If you weren’t with Bower Collective, what do you think you’d be doing now?
Nick: Good question! If it wasn’t Bower Collective, it would be in the same space - that is, using technology and innovation to problem solve, with a particular focus around waste. It is clear we live on a planet with finite resources and increasing demand, and we need big ideas and solutions for how we manage this tension in the future.
Marcus: running another business! I have been an entrepreneur for sometime now, I previously built and sold a company and then tried to build a software business that didn't work before launching Bower. So I think I would struggle to go back to working for someone else!
Where do you see the company in 10 years?
Nick: Our goal is to become the world’s leading sustainable consumer goods business, it would be fantastic to achieve that within 10 years. Certainly we intend to expand across Europe and make our innovative reusable packaging platform mainstream and accessible to everyone.
Marcus: I would like us to have made a dent on the plastic waste crisis and helped people across Europe to live a more sustainable life, with zero waste, low carbon products free from toxic ingredients. I would also love the business to be helping tackle social issues by then, for instance by employing more people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
What are the top 3 things you think you need to found a business?
- Clear purpose - if you have a distinct vision for what your business purpose is, your “north star”, then everything else cascades from that point
- Appetite for risk - starting any new venture is risky, but you need to embrace that and not let the risk constrain your vision or decision making in the early days
- Great communication - to get up and running you will likely need to attract top talent and investment - you need to be able to communicate your vision clearly and with passion to bring the right people on board
- A problem you are looking to solve for people or the planet
- The creativity to listen to your customers and respond accordingly
- Common sense!
Who do you most admire in business?Nick: He happens to be an old mate of mine whom I’ve always admired a lot, Will Butler-Adams who is CEO of Brompton (folding bikes). He’s created an outstanding, innovative British brand on a global scale with a fantastic values-driven work culture. Also solving a major problem of getting people out of their cars and onto bikes!
Marcus: for me I really admire businesses that are serving a purpose as well as profit. I think of companies like Timpsons that employs lots of ex-offenders or Cloudfactory that employs and empowers people in the developing world from vulnerable backgrounds.
How do you relax after a busy week?
Nick: Most weekends I like to chill out with the kids, either going for long walks or playing sport together. Other than that I spend time in my music studio on the drums, trying to get our band ready for playing a gig at some undefined point in the future!
Marcus: tennis, paddle boarding and lots of walking around the countryside with my family!