Reiss Salustro-Pilson and Nigel Van Wassenhoven talk about their marketplace with a mission to reduce, reusable construction waste.
We came up with the idea... Both of us have worked at various levels within the construction industry, so the idea really came from witnessing firsthand the vast amounts of reusable material that end up in a skip and subsequently go into landfill. Such waste amounts to some 120 million tonnes per year in the UK alone, so with our shared passion for sustainable and environmental-focused construction, we set about developing a solution that would enable the construction industry to reuse surplus and leftover materials. Enviromate was created as a marketplace for tradespeople, builders and DIY enthusiasts to buy and sell surplus and leftover materials, and we also now have a donation arm that enables larger developers to provide their surplus materials to community projects and charities.
The biggest challenge is... One of the biggest challenges for any start-up is gaining awareness in your target market, especially working with limited budgets and experience. However, for launching a marketplace business there is the added challenge of balancing out supply and demand in the early stages. It is a classic chicken and egg situation – it makes it imperative you hit critical mass early on, while making sure the platform can make live adjustments to cope with this growth stage period.
The average day is spent... Nigel and I, the founders, have vowed to run a tight ship ever since we took the leap of faith into entrepreneurship, so we get up at 5am, drive to the office, have a coffee and then it is straight into a daily overview of targets and what we want to achieve on a business level. We both realised early on that the path to success is never a straight line, so we have come to expect that every day poses new challenges that require determination, learning and focus if we’re going to achieve our goals.
The team consists of... The team currently consists of the two co-founders of the company, Reiss Salustro-Pilson and Nigel Van Wassenhoven. We are lucky that we also work with some fantastic external organisations and they have become an extension of the team, sharing in the brand’s mission.
My favourite quote... As co-founders we actually share a favourite quote, which comes from the amazing Robin Sharma whose work has really helped us to believe in our paths and achieve the very most out of our journey:
“Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future.”
It is a driving force behind our work every day, so much so we had it placed on a wall in our office so we can always see it.
We are where we are today because of... A combination of a passion for wanting to make a difference in the world through disruptive and innovative business and a belief that we can achieve what we have set out to do. We take inspiration from philosophies from the likes of Paulo Coelho and Robin Sharma, and this awakened us to understand ‘a force that wants you to realise your personal legends’ and a catalyst for our everyday drive.
We are who we are because of... The separate challenges we have both faced in the past have led us to want to become the very best version of ourselves today and seize the opportunities in front of us. We have overcome past challenges and misdirection with support from our families, and their belief of our mission has given us the continued drive and resilience to continue and see our ventures through to fruition.
The best advice we've been given Quite simply: “If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.”
In five years we'd like to be... We would like to have made a positive impact on the reduction of waste in the built environment, not only in the UK but globally. Our mission is to reduce the reusable materials that are being unnecessarily landfilled and the industry’s reliance on extracting more of the planet’s finite natural resources, and we sincerely hope that we achieve this in less than five years!
We are aiming to develop the brand across the globe and build a reputation as the home of construction material reuse. We want to become the largest vertical marketplace and rival the household names in the market, whilst becoming a resource to educate to industry on the benefits of green and environmentally focused construction practices.
The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business... The depth of knowledge required at every stage of business. It is a huge challenge and requires a level of determination and passion if you want to succeed. Having and running your own venture is not a walk in the park and you switching off at 5pm is not an option. But another thing no one tells you about running your own business is it is extremely fulfilling, and the kind of pride you get from growing a brand from an idea to a fully working business is unattainable from a ‘job’.
The most rewarding experience we've had to date... Being recognised for our environmental efforts. We were nominees for the Observer Ethical Awards Green Briton of the Year in 2015 after just six months in business which was a huge achievement, but it also gave us a massive boost in confidence that people across the country shared our vision of a more sustainable industry. We pride ourselves on the positive feedback we get from users and industry professionals, and the support we get from multinational corporations shows they share in our global mission to change the environmental impact of the construction industry.