Do you know a social, sustainable and women led start-up? If not, now you will. Learn about Spoontainable and our edible spoon and how it can improve your life as well..
Who is Spoontainable and what are edible spoons?
Amelie: Spoontainable is a start-up, founded in Stuttgart, Germany. Our focus is on producing sustainable plastic alternatives. Therefore, we use residual materials from the food industry, such as fibers from cocoa or oat shells.
Our first product is an edible ice cream spoon, which has been on the market since April 2019 and turned out to be extremely successful. We want to banish single-use plastic and change the mindset of consumer behavior. Using plastic alternatives like our edible spoon might be one option.
The independent design of our company motivates us to face the multiple challenges surfacing every day. Our tasks are multi-layered, exciting (and of course always pure fun). With a lot of creativity and passion, we can build Spoontainable according to our values and pursue our vision.
How did we get here with our food start-up?
Amelie: Through mentors, business angels and various start-up events, we have been able to reach our milestones from the very beginning and master the daily problems that come with owning and managing a company.
We have acquired a lot of knowledge in the food industry on our own, successfully participated in several competitions and sought the help we needed. Our solid education in management and entrepreneurial studies is helpful in regard to financial topics, such as pricing, financial planning, and accounting.
However, according to my opinion, the real basics of doing business and the many challenges that a start-up brings with it cannot be learned in the classroom. You have to inform yourself, jump in at the deep end or (often desperately) look for support.
Studying and being an entrepreneur at the same time – even possible?
Amelie: My parents are both entrepreneurs. This has allowed me to experience how exciting, successful and also risky entrepreneurship can be ever since I can remember.
My parents would always be there for me when I needed them, but they also had to work on weekends and holidays. This way of life inspired me early on and I quickly realized that I would like to emulate it and also create something of my own, something meaningful for my fellow human beings.
Since I took this step with my business partner, things have gone up and down several times. We have been able to gather an incredible number of great experiences, receive support, solve problems I didn’t know about, but at the same time, we have also experienced many moments in which I would have loved just to hide in bed and pull the sheets over my head.
Do you like examples? Well, imagine investors cancel talks on short notice, customers are dissatisfied or suddenly there is simply just no money to meet the requests. But thanks to a lot of team effort and motivation to make a bit of difference in this complicated world, I look forward to new challenges and opportunities every day.
Managing my life between studying, part-time jobs, leisure time and start-up is not always easy, but our product, the edible spoons, and the message that everyone can do something small to make a big difference motivates me every day.
Can you succeed as a female founder or in social and sustainable entrepreneurship?
Amelie: As a pure team of women founders, we are of course also concerned with gender topics every day. I’ll never forget how a female journalist asked us, whether we as young women really think we’ll manage this start-up?? Even she was biased. In our opinion, the path of founding a company is not harder for women than for men. On the contrary.
Basically, both sexes have the opportunity to found their own company and to be self-employed. It is a question of the business model and self-marketing. The business plan should make sense, the product or service should solve a problem.
In our case, we generate a sustainable value chain. We developed a plastic alternative from waste materials from the food industry, which is a food innovation for the gastronomical sector. Of course, some industries are dominated by one gender or shaped by stereotypes.
But a good business model is gender independent. With an extroverted character and a pronounced self-confidence, you can get by everywhere. It is more a question of timing, motivation, and stamina.
Another topic that is very relevant for us is social entrepreneurship. We are a sustainable startup but do not call ourselves a social startup. I think every company should have a social mission. But social entrepreneurship doesn’t mean that we don’t act economically. It is the combination of both that can make a startup successful. After all, every company has to be sustainable in order to grow and have an impact.
There are also many advantages if you focus more on a sustainable rail. On the one hand, we focus 100% on our idea and know it is something good for the environment and our future. On the other hand, many people support you and identify with your ideas. There are many competitions or VCs that only focus on sustainable startups because we have to change something in our world.
What can we say after two years of start-up experience?
Amelie: For us, time management during our studies and foundation was one of the biggest challenges. Our private life had to take a lot, we had many sleepless nights and difficult decisions to make – and we still do. Especially the first funding we received through our crowdfunding campaign was a daily up and down.
Now we are in investor negotiations to convince potential investors of our business. This also requires a lot of preparation and intensive discussions. But with a great team or the perfect partner, you can master all this. We are often told that we have to set priorities, but honestly: that is impossible. Your life suddenly turns into an exciting journey with thousands of tasks, experiences, and problems.
Often I don’t even know where to start and then suddenly a phone call comes up, which is a huge opportunity and everything is fine. 2 minutes later everything goes down the drain again… So just get ready for a great, nerve-racking trip and make sure you have enough time to come down.
Be it just a beer in the evening after a business trip. Find a balance to the stress, be it sports, friends or another hobby. The start-up will be your whole purpose in life but never forget: It is only a part of your life, don’t throw all friendships and relationships overboard. Set goals, communicate openly and maybe your private life has to take a break for a while. But stay focused!