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Henrik Siepelmeyer - plietsch



Blog post #1


Describe the idea!

With plietsch, we make sustainable grocery shopping simple, affordable and accessible to a broad customer group: We provide a section of package-free, organic, regional products fully integrated into a full-range supermarket. Customers bring their own containers and purchase exactly the amount they need. This way, they can try out package-free shopping during regular shopping trips and step-by-step integrate it into their habits. Our pilot project is implemented in a department store of Germany’s largest full-range food retailer, EDEKA.


Who are you?

We, Henrik and Lisa, both hold a BSc in Environmental and Sustainability Studies. Lisa pursues her MSc Environmental Management and Policy at Lund University’s IIIEE. Previously, she worked in supplier sustainability rating at EcoVadis and is an expert in sustainability management, supply chains and making the business case. Henrik just graduated with an MA Leadership for Sustainability. His expertise is in leveraging nudging and behavior change for sustainability, particularly waste reduction which he gained at – among others – the San Francisco Department of the Environment.


What will you do during these three months? How will you spend the time? 

During the summer, we will examine and amend our business model, review trademark law, and further build contacts to potential clients: After a successful pilot, we see the need to review our business model, particularly regarding pricing and revenue streams, to enable a sound expansion. One aspect of this is reviewing trademark law and licensing options. Additionally, we are going to build our contact network and continue negotiations with potential clients that we had already been in contact with.


What do you expect to achieve during Leapfrogs? 

We expect that by the end of the summer, we are going to have a clear picture of the future of plietsch. That is, we will have signed 2 new clients and mapped potential clients for future outreach, we will have developed a suitable pricing model and – most importantly – we will have decided if we want to and can pursue plietsch full-time after the summer.  


Blog post #2


Tell us what you have done on your project so far during the Leapfrogs time. 

We focused on revising and adapting our business model to better support a sound expansion. Having developed a couple of possible models, we reached out to potential clients and had promising meetings with several store owners who are interested in working together and integrating our shopping solution into their stores. We are now in the process of negotiating the terms for these potential cooperations and keep our fingers crossed that everything will work out!


Has everything gone according to the plan? Has anything unexpected occurred? Has something been easier/harder than expected? 

We are quite happy with the progress we made: Although revising and further developing our business model required a little more time, the interest in our concept was larger than expected and setting up meetings with potential clients was surprisingly easy. The only thing we underestimated was how much planning time the stores would still need before starting a cooperation. Now we will have to see when we can stop negotiating and actually start the cooperations…


What will you focus on during the remaining time? Will you follow your original plan or has anything changed along the way? 

We will continue the negotiations and hopefully be able to get the “go” for new cooperations. At the same time, we will fine-tune our business model and integrate the feedback we received from our client meetings. Another to-do is to continue reviewing trademark law and map future potential clients – so there’s enough work left!

Blog post #3


How did you experience the three months?

The three-month period really helped us refine our business model, service offering and strengthen our brand and vision. Discussing our business and ideas over and over again with like-minded entrepreneurs was exhausting and intense but also very productive. We feel that we’re in a good position now to continue our efforts and increase our impact.

What has been most difficult and what has been most enjoyable?

Preparing for and meeting potential new clients was probably the most stressful, difficult and simultaneously enjoyable part of our work. Turning promising meetings into signed contracts can certainly feel like a rollercoaster ride. Dealing with setbacks and not letting non-success affect your mood too much can sometimes be very difficult – especially when you’re working on a project that you care a lot about personally. I guess surviving and somewhat appreciating this up and down was a difficult but, in the end, enjoyable experience.

Will you continue working on your project in the future? If so, what is your next step?

Definitely. We have signed one new client and will open up a second location in 2020. We are also negotiating the details of yet another location to be opened in 2020. Besides that, we are refining our product offering and customer experience in our pilot store and will look into expansion to the Nordics, more specifically Sweden.


What would you say is the most important lesson learnt while working on your project?

Definitely learning how to deal with setbacks and not taking failure too personally. Also, becoming comfortable at declining cooperation- and other requests who not necessarily bring value (not necessarily financially) to the business.


Do you have any tips to other new entrepreneurs?

Discuss your idea and value proposition with as many others as possible. Even if you don’t get any good feedback or questions, simply talking about your vision, concept and business model over and over again will allow you to identify weaknesses and potential for improvement. Also, realize that your business is only part of you – but should not be the only defining element of your personality. You should be attached to your idea and its cause, but don’t let setbacks and failures lower your self-esteem. Be sad, angry, disappointed, … – and then analyse what went wrong and how you can improve for the next time. And if it turns out that your business idea is not going to work out: that’s ok, too!