Sustainery: Venture & Brand Design

In a world where plastic packaging is convenient, cheap and ubiquitous, increasingly harming both our planet and our health, the eco-minded urban consumer has few convenient alternatives to goods packaged with single-use plastic, especially in the grocery store…. 

How Might We…

Reimagine the grocery shopping experience to reduce packaging waste and the environmental impact of pantry & household goods?

What: Thesis MBA project, Venture Design
Team: Alyssa Burtt, Suz Okie, Joyce Pedersen, Judith Basler, Jared Helton
Timeline: 4 months (Jan – May 2019)
Process: Using design thinking methods, we took the concept through an incubation process to pre-launch, creating a thoroughly researched business plan vetted for feasibility, viability and desirability.
Customer Segment: Urban eco-warriors and house-proud cooks
Outcome: The project culminated with a pitch in front of industry leaders and a venture show open to the public, and was received with great interest and acclaim, offers of support to bring it to launch.

Design Research

We started the process off with a thorough industry and competitive analysis, and undertook an in-depth qualitative research process (with 126 survey respondents, shopper observation, social listening, and over 21 in-depth interviews with people in our target customer segments as well as industry experts).

The key insights we pulled from our research:

  • eco-conscious consumers found it very challenging to do their grocery shop without single-use packaging;
  • they didn’t want to sacrifice quality or variety;
  • and there was a notable moment of delight for those who unloaded their bulk goods into glass jars — a moment we identified as “Pantry Pride”

Business Model Innovation

We conducted a process of business model ideation, prototyping, testing and iteration, where we explored different solutions from a physical store, a delivery service, a portable location, a bicycle fleet, CSRs, Farmer’s Markets, subscription models, and more. We compared them by considering factors from customer convenience, to financial viability, to market innovation.

The Solution

In the end, we decided on a business model that would offer pantry staples and household goods via:

  • a digital ordering and subscription service
  • delivery to pick-up locations in local urban neighbourhoods
  • sustainable use & return containers
  • a “Pantry Makeover” service, whereby a customer can order a set of glass jars filled with their base order of products, and get tips to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle
  • Our initial market launch would be in San Francisco, with plans to expand to other major American cities with single-use plastic ban policies.

The Brand

Meet The Sustainery, a convenient package-free grocery alternative enabling you to beautify, organize, and restock your pantry without harming the planet.

It’s a challenging industry with low margins and complex operations, but we addressed these hurdles and came up with a profitable, scalable business plan that will ultimately allow us to achieve our aim of reducing the environmental impact of grocery shopping.

For our final business plan, pitch, and Venture Show deliverables, we also created an in-depth:

  • operations plan
  • financial model & forecast
  • go-to-market & sales strategy
  • brand strategy & visual identity system
  • funding & milestones launch plan
  • pitch deck & presentation
  • physical installation for the DMBA Venture Show

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