Case Study: Bamboovement with Founder Joshua van den Hurk
Bamboovement’s philosophy is simple: Its mission is to provide the airline and hospitality industry with eco-friendly products that work for both businesses and consumers. Founded four years ago with the aim of finding more sustainable versions of commonly used disposable plastic products, Bamboovement initially launched into personal care, working with certified manufacturers making products such as hair- and toothbrushes out of sustainably-sourced bamboo.
Bamboovement’s founder Joshua van den Hurk says the company’s offer now includes bamboo toothbrushes and cotton buds and more recently an alternative to disposable plastic razors; in fact, all products that can be typically found in airline amenity kits. “The razor looks like a typical plastic razor but is 99% plastic-free — made using a bio composite of waste products produced by the Swedish wood industry,” adds Joshua.
Initially, Bamboovement targeted hotels, building a strong customer base before moving to the more complex job of working with airlines. It began supplying dental kits, comprising of toothpaste tablets and bamboo toothbrushes, for KLM premium economy customers in September last year.
This first airline contract was forged by an intermediary, something Joshua recommends exploring if your business is new to the airline industry. “Intermediaries are definitely open to hearing what you have to say if you have a good solution to a problem the airline industry is facing. That’s what intermediaries are looking for — they’re all competing with each other to create the best kit, or onboard experience…and WTCE is a great place for meeting them.”
Last year was Bamboovement’s first live WTCE event and it exhibited virtually the previous year. “That first year gave us really good insight into the airline industry and we found that six or even 12 months later we really noticed more enquiries coming our way. Last June we had a small booth and that was really successful for us. We spoke to lots of different airlines and there was a great deal of interest in our products; as a result, we are now getting a lot of enquiries.
“It’s one of the best shows to participate in because it’s where all the key decision makers congregate. The amount of attention we got from buyers was actually a lot more than we expected. And we made use of the new networking tool — WTCE Connect — to book around half our meetings some two months before the actual event.”
When it comes to advice for other businesses looking to sell into the airline industry, Joshua says considering what issues they are facing and how your products can offer a solution at the right price, is a good place to start. He uses Bamboovement’s bamboo toothbrush as a good example of a product meeting sustainability requirements but also needing to meet cost requirements. “Our standard toothbrush has a wavy handle, but airlines want both a weight and cost reduction, so we created a small, flat-handle brush just for them with a more competitive production price. We looked to find a balance without losing any of the ESG (Environment and Social Governance) story, such as our use of FSC-certified bamboo.
“Airlines set themselves goals, such as reducing plastic, light-weighting or reducing CO2 emissions. If your product can help them meet those goals then that’s a really good selling point,” he concludes.
Bamboovement will be exhibiting at this year’s WTCE, which is taking place from 6-8 June 2023 at the Hamburg Messe in Germany.