My latest Supplier Spotlight is with Tom, the Managing Director of Plastic Phobia who are a Sheffield Based wholesalers of a range of eco-friendly products.
Take a read to hear a little bit more about Tom and how Plastic Phobia work.
What was the inspiration behind the business? “While at University in 2018 I started thinking about how many plastic straws are used at parties and I knew there must be a less wasteful alternative out there. So when I came across steel straws I made it my mission to make steel straws more readily available. They were really difficult to find in the UK at the time! The business progressed as I began looking for other alternatives to plastic that we could add to our range. It was very difficult to find suppliers in the UK so I went directly to manufacturers. Originally the plan was to sell to the general public via an online shop however we had multiple shops approach us asking if we could supply them wholesale. Zero waste shops quickly became our target market and today 98% of our sales are wholesale to shops. “
Where do you source your products from?
“Our products are made in China, Vietnam, Germany and Spain. We have a great relationship with our suppliers who share our eco-friendly values. It takes a lot of research to ensure all materials are eco-friendly enough to be used in a Plastic Phobia product. Generally we use a lot of organic bamboo because I’m a big fan of the material in terms of its sustainability credentials.”
What is your favourite product that you sell?
“I think the coconut bowl is a fantastic eco-friendly product. Coconut shells are generally thrown away resulting in a lot of waste. Instead artisans in Vietnam transform the shells into an aesthetic bowl. Using waste products is better for the environment than growing new crops to make a product.”
What is the businesses biggest achievement or impact to date?
“The number of shops we supply grew so quickly, I think that was our biggest achievement. In 2018 a lot of wholesalers selling eco-friendly products were still using plastic for packaging! We helped retailers source products in a very eco-friendly way by working with manufacturers. We supplied our first wholesale customer in August 2018 and within a year we had nearly 200 shops we supplied.” (I was one of these 1st companies and have been stocking Plastic Phobia products since January 2019)