Few days ago, I blog about reverse innovation as one of the trends that can have an impact on any-size of business. Reverse innovation is innovation adapted from emerging markets (developing world), first. This company’s products fit that description.
It just so happen that the other week, I had the opportunity to interview Alex Khan, who is the Operations Assistant at Compo Clay, a company that manufacture green raw materials for the homes and building industries.
This company is an example of how you don’t have to be a big business to do a reverse innovation. A small business can do it.
Compo Clay was founded by a guy named Eric Man, who’s the Managing Partner of Compo Clay, 7 years ago. Eric found that there’s a lot of ineffiencies in the market for building products, home decor, architectural designs and a lot of stuff that he said that he wasn’t comfortable with for his family. You either have to give up a lot of quality or you’d be bring in toxic products that are harmful to the environment into your home. So that’s how he set out to do things differently. He wanted to solve all of these problems and come up with a product that would be beautiful, aesthetically pleasing product while also being a good quality and healthy for both for the human and earth.
They have been in R&D (research and development) for 7 years and now ready to bring to market.
Innovation is at the core working with team of engineers, they’re constantly working to improve their products and breaking barriers.
The niche market and its competitive advantage
Their niche are products are environmentally safe. These products consists of 6 ingredients that make up all of their products: 50% mineral composition, sea salt, sand, water, recycle fly ash, reinforcing fibers, which is glass-based fibers. All of these ingredients are sourced from the earth crust so there’s no mining, no deforestation and no chemical use. Alex says that their “products are totally non-hazardous, so there is no there is no lead, formaldehyde, no VOCs (volatile organic compound) and totally non-combustible. So you have no problem associated with fire toxic.”
Sample of some of their products include home decor, building products, mantel pieces, planters, statues, and different things targeted for the residential market.
Strategy: when it comes to selling their supposedly “green” products, they put “green” aspect secondary. What’s important for them is for customers to realize that their products are aesthetically beautiful, light in weight, thus save money on packaging, shipping, etc.
It’s important for any business to have a mission, purpose. This is how they intend to change the world.
1. Green products – provide products that are affordable to many.
2. Green operations – concious of their actions they way they run the company operations through continuous development and implementation of green technology and practices. They use variable energy in the operations and there is no heat is use in the molding process.
3. Green society – to educate consumers and communities on sustainable awareness.
They use grassroots approach. Using a network of specialty stores. Products are sold through Amazon, Ebay, small boutiques throughout the U.S. They have storefront in Alameda, CA with soon to be opened flagship store in San Fransisco. Their long-term view includes helping bigger companies to go green.
Dig deeper. I break the interview into 3 parts: about the company, line of products and distribution channel. It’s something that everyone can learn.
Part 1: the story
Part 2: line of products
Part 3: distribution channel
Related reading: 20 Global Trends that can have an Impact on Your Business