Q. Can you tell me about more about your business / Brand?
My current business under brand name of ‘AlgiTect’ is the next great challenge on my innovation journey. This journey to date has been jammed with numerous ups and downs, which can be called dots on the map. Over time I have gathered so many dots on my innovations’ traveler map that I started connecting these dots (to which Steve Jobs urged us in his legendary Stanford University commencement speech).
Generally, Algitect brand is about challenging convention in consumables market (mainly food and textiles) by introducing algae and bamboo to the mainstream. Through my earlier explorations, I found out that algae have potential to provide us with energy (by reintegrating carbon into biomass), food and raw materials such as fiber to make apparel and home textiles. The brainstorming sessions amongst my team members yielded “AlgiTect” as a name for the venture and brand name. This name calls to mind the word ‘Architect’ which derives from the Greek arkhitekton (arkhi-, chief + tekton, builder). Algae corresponds with this definition very well, because it is a main reservoir (although greatly unexploited) of many building blocks such as proteins, hydrocarbons, fats and bioactives. It only depends on us if and how we unlock their potential as Mother Nature intended. Another great resource, which adds sustainability to consumer products, is bamboo.
The unique properties of bamboo and algae fibers find expression in patented health textiles and woven fabrics that I am currently going to the market with. The fabrics I am especially proud are: 100% bamboo cv and another that contains 60% bamboo cv, 30% algae and 10% cotton. This fabric harmoniously combines health properties of algae and bamboo fibers. In general each product of AlgiTect embodies a unique combo of sustainability and health benefits offered by algae and/or bamboo.
In early 2014, I started venturing into the possible application of natural algae in various industries (beyond my initial attachment to algae application as biomass resource and CO2 abatement tool). Somewhere around April 2014 by word-of-mouth from my auntie, who is a textile engineer, I contacted fabric manufacturer that successfully mastered manufacturing of health fabrics made of bamboo fibers and sea-algae fibers. Their accomplishments have been acknowledged as worldwide novelty by two patents. Having learned that, I had a gut feeling that this is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity and I immediately embarked on this adventure with fashion industry and textiles.
But the real driver behind my engagement in the fashion industry is the uniqueness of the algae and bamboo fabrics. They are game-changing for the whole industry. Now I am tapping into opportunites linked to co-creating awesome clothing with fashion designers, and this motivates me incredibly.
Q: What inspired you to start this business?
The inspiration came from observation and my wholehearted belief that great user experience makes a great business. I asked myself: Why not try and unlock the full potential of amazing natural bamboo and algae-based fabrics by starting a new business? The answer was clear to me, because I am passionately pursuing business ideas that are sustainable for the future.
Q: Is this your first business?
No. Before AlgiTect I have been venturing in the renewable energy sector. My first micro-business called Gastrofat was founded 10 years ago when I spotted that collection of waste cooking oil from restaurants in Warsaw, Poland’s capital city was still an unsolved problem. I approached around 150 restaurants and rendered collection services to them. The waste cooking oil was a resource that could be utilized in numerous ways, for example, by making biofuel or lubricants. I had also been running the e-commerce business with products (fuel additives, fuel storage &dispensing equipment) that were complementary to low-carbon fuels that had been entering market in those days. In a more recent time like last year I started distributing fresh algae Spirulina for its use in mainstream foods (i.e. bakery and ice-creams) and cosmetic applications. (www.freshspirulina.eu)
Q. What makes your services stand out from the rest?
Three things: excellent properties, great user experience and compelling marketing message. Properties of bamboo fabrics worth mentioning are: ‘antibacterial’, ‘breathable’, ‘thermo regulating’ and ‘absorbent’, whereas for algae fabrics: ‘skin regenerating’ because sea-algae fibers positively stimulate epidermis due to bio-substances they contain . Besides, our textiles (for example towels and robes) hold brilliant colors longer than cotton ones. As far as the great user experience is concerned, it finds its expression in amazing feel on the skin. It’s feel has been likened to silk and cashmere. Besides bamboo and algae fabrics are great for sensitive skin sufferers. Last but not least, our marketing message is powerful because our products are touching the very essential element of our well-being that is clothing. They are reflecting life values to which majority of us subscribe, namely: health, enjoyment, elegance, comfort and eco-friendliness. We believe that making apparel from algae and bamboo fabrics is the best way we can serve the Environment. To put it simply, our products outperform traditional fabrics and textiles in each category. Therefore they naturally stand out and are increasingly sought after by fashion designers and textile manufacturers.
Since I am a newcomer to the textile and fashion industry, I had to learn fast how to communicate my ideas to fashion industry professionals. Not having a professional atelier to be able to co-create is troublesome, too. But the biggest challenge is to create a brand, then awake and finally raise brand awareness amongst people. It is kind of pain in the ass when you know you have something incredibly valuable to offer the world but nobody in the world knows about it. I just need more people to know about my products and the brand. This challenge is still on.
Q: What are your expectations for the future?
I envision the step-by step development of my business. The brand AlgiTect will continue to diversify into new product categories especially healthy algae-based food and cosmetic ingredients. I expect that Algitect starts many new collaborations with fashion designers and textile manufacturers all over the world. I am also considering a launch of franchise network of monobrand stands&showrooms at top locations. The stands would offer clothes made of bamboo and algae-based foods including smoothies, ice-creams, bakery products as well as skin revitalizing fresh Spirulina for cosmetic uses. By launching the stands, we would increase outreach to consumers worldwide. I think that sooner or later customers will love not just what AlgiTect makes but what it stands for. We are striving every single day to make it a reality.