VONK & ptthee
The latest edition of VONK featured ptthee, a Dutch start-up on a mission to have a positive impact on biodiversity, whilst creating high-quality tea. Daan van Diepen and Matthijs Westerwoudt work together with Dutch organic farmers. They grow their herbal mixtures on the unused edges of the fields and meadows of the farmers. Creating space for, for example, bees and butterflies. This way, together with farmers, ptthee contributes to restoring biodiversity in the Netherlands.
UPDATE 10th August 2020: Listen to the podcast recently produced by npo radio together with Daan and Matthijs here (in Dutch).
During VONK we give the stage to a sustainable start-up. Together with the audience we brainstorm about a concrete challenge this start-up is facing. This way students, young-professionals and experts meet at VONK and can create valuable input for the start-up together.
The name ptthee comes from the former Dutch mail boxes that stated: PTT post. When ordering tea from ptthee, you will receive this via mail. The tea via mail service it not only for individuals, ptthee sends their product as well to offices and hospitality companies. This leads to the question: How can ptthee share their story and reach their target market in an innovative and cost-effective way? On the 26th of February experts, farmers, curious students and enthusiastic tea-lovers came together at DeBalie to brainstorm and contribute to ptthee’s success. Because the lovely thing is: the more ptthee grows, the better it is for the environment as it means an increase in biodiversity.
After brainstorming together in small groups and creating valuable input for the social enterprise, the participants reconvened and were asked to present their strategy and findings to everyone, including Daan and Mathijs, the co-founders of ptthee.
Make the Consumer the Hero
Giving the consumer the chance to become “the hero” can help create a strong connection between the consumer and the brand. The VONK-attendees identified different possibilities to engage the consumer: when sending out the tea packages, ptthee could add seeds that consumers can sow on their balcony, in their garden or somewhere in nature. Thereby, they contribute to an enhancement of biodiversity in the Netherlands and get to experience biodiversity at first hand. Some also suggested to give away tea packages on conferences etc. and always add a second one with the note “sharing is caring”, which could help spread the word about ptthee but also raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity.
Farmers and Consumers unite: Save our Nature!
Ptthee shared with us that they currently have a waiting list of farmers who would like to offer their (unused) meadows to the young start-up. However, this requires an equal increase in demand of tea, which is (at least at the moment) not there yet. Therefore, several groups suggested creating opportunities for farmers to raise awareness among potential consumers which in turn helps ptthee. For instance, selected farms could invite to consumers to learn about biodiversity in general and in detail about the importance of bees and insects for our ecosystems. Taking it a step further, TRG offered to help ptthee organise an event during the international day of biodiversity where consumers will be asked to join Daan and Matthijs and together harvest the herbs.
“You smoke Dutch weed – why not drink Dutch weed?”
One group shared a fact they were very surprised about: currently, ptthee is the only sustainable enterprise that grows Dutch tea – there is no other company that does that! Taking this as a starting point, the group suggested to approach different Dutch NGOs or companies that are in some way connected to sustainability or nature conservation and make them aware of the fact that it is in their very best interest to support ptthee and offer their tea to employees, conference-attendees etc. Trying to include all parties, the idea was also to connect with tourists by offering ptthee in Dutch coffee shops with the slogan “You smoke Dutch weed – why not drink Dutch weed?”. By minimising the distance to transport the tea, ptthee could offer Dutch coffee shops a good deal which might allow the shop owners to sell their tea at a lower price but at the same time engage tourists in the conservation of Dutch nature.
Overall, the atmosphere was very good which was also thanks to the co-founders Daan and Matthijs who were very enthusiastic and engaged in various debates with the VONK-attendees and were visibly happy about the input they got from all the groups. We thank everyone who attended the event and are looking forward to welcome all curious thinkers out there to our next edition of VONK, approximately taking place this summer. In case you are interested in joining and would like to be updated about the exact date etc. please let us know or follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to stay up to date.
You are a sustainable start-up facing similar or completely different challenges and would like to speak on stage, share your issues and see where the brainstorming takes your company? Get in touch with us now!