Shopping from your sofa without generating waste while supporting local producers: this is the approach of Kilogram, a Luxembourg-based e-commerce platform launched last April.
“Switching to bulk is a difficult change for many consumers, but I would like to make it easier with Kilogram,” explains its founder, Stéphanie Lamberty.
She has invested €20,000 in the creation of her start-up, which is based in Steinfort. One of the biggest expenses was the purchase of 5,600 returnable jars that she stamped with her company’s logo. “It wasn’t easy to find local jars, as most of them come from China, but I managed to find a supplier in Cologne,” says the entrepreneur.
As for the suppliers, they are also playing the zero-waste game by using large reusable containers. Of the 300 references currently available in sweet, savoury and non-food products, more than a third come from a radius of less than 50km around the workshop.
“I’d like to be a gateway to these local producers and promote them,” says Lamberty. 98% of the products in the range are also organic, which is a plus, but “not an absolute must.”
Two collection points and a delivery service
The new grocer takes care of the preparation of orders and offers customers the possibility to collect them either in Steinfort or at the Subtile gallery, located in Luxembourg City. “Other collection points are being considered, notably in the north, south and east of Luxembourg.”
A delivery service is also provided in the grand duchy, as well as in the communes of Arlon and Attert on the Belgian side.
Ouni’s former customers are looking for solutions.
“There is demand and volumes are increasing,” says the entrepreneur, who adds that “the former customers of Ouni--now bankrupt--are looking for solutions and there is hardly any other shop specialising in bulk solutions in Luxembourg.”
If bulk food has been introduced in some supermarkets such as Auchan or some Cactus shops, for example, it has also sometimes been discontinued, such as at Cora Concorde, where the bulk food corner operated by Day by day has ceased its activities.
However, the demand for bulk products has not disappeared, between consumers wanting to reduce their energy footprint, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, companies keen on bulk products in the context of the rise of CSR strategies.
From the financial centre to the retail sector
Mindful of waste reduction, Lamberty switched to bulk about five years ago. The first lockdown was the opportunity for the former Ouni collaborator to germinate the idea of a platform combining the aspects of the web known for its “drive” and those of bulk.
With the help of the support programme Impuls de nyuko and a Fit 4 Digital package from Luxinnovation, the banking project manager finally turned her back on the financial centre to devote herself to her entrepreneurial challenge.
This endeavour targets more than just bulk consumers, as the emphasis is also on local and responsible consumption. Kilogram also promises a “fair price” calculated on the basis of measurements taken on the references offered. “The philosophy is to make bulk, organic and local products simply accessible,” summarises Lamberty. Eventually, she aims to increase her range from 800 to 1,000 references.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.