Glasgow flowerpot men aim to go global with world’s most sustainable pot plant

THEY were unique self-watering plants which were a sell out soon after they launched.

Just months before lockdown Glasgow-based POTR Pots sold out of their origami flatpack plants, but supply problems stemming from a combination of the pandemic and Brexit forced them into a rethink on how to take their business forward.

For founders Andrew Flynn and Martin Keane it was a case of going back to the drawing board and looking closer to home to solve their supply problems with what is described as the world’s most sustainable pot plant.

HeraldScotland: Andrew Flynn and partner Eilidh Cunningham with self-watering plantsAndrew Flynn and partner Eilidh Cunningham with self-watering plants

It also gave them the chance to come up with a plant design which is 100 times more efficient than a traditional plant pot and they are also looking for a Glasgow-based manufacturer.

After a successful crowdfunding campaign, POTR Pots launched its range of self-watering, flat-packed origami plant pots in 2019, and quickly sold out of its first manufacturing run of 6,000 units.

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Despite huge demand, the company hasn’t been able to fill any orders since last October as a result of its manufacturing partner shutting down due to the twin challenges of covid and Brexit.

But with a new design by the company’s founders Mr Flynn and Mr Keane, and a new manufacturing partner, the company is now able to supply more than 100,000 orders per month.

The pair of product designers have gone back to the drawing board by making the manufacturing process even more efficient, and even less energy intensive.

HeraldScotland: POTR pot plants can even be dropped through the letterboxPOTR pot plants can even be dropped through the letterbox

The makers have also redesigned its retail packaging to ensure the absolute minimum of single use packaging.

Mr Flynn said: “As a designer, there’s nothing better than making something people want. But then there’s nothing worse than not being able to give it to them.

“Our mission is to ensure every house plant gets a greener home. Now we are able to do that.

“The previous design required us to manually fold and assemble each pot by hand – which was exhausting and created a bottle neck – so we’ve gone back to the drawing board.

“As product designers we feel we have a real responsibility to ensure that the products we are creating are not having a negative impact on the environment.”

“Throughout the redevelopment process we’ve worked hand in hand with our manufacturing partners to ensure we could exceed our sustainability goals.”

Mr Flynn’s fiance Eilidh – who helped hand-pack the pots during the initial run – is so convinced by her partner’s passion and the product’s promise that she’s left her position as a marketing manager at Dyson to join the company on its journey.

And with the eyes of the world on Glasgow ahead of COP26, the pair have decided that Glasgow’s the perfect place to grow their product, which has already sold to shoppers in 49 different countries.

HeraldScotland: Flatpack design for POTR plants. Photo by Kirsty Anderson.Flatpack design for POTR plants. Photo by Kirsty Anderson.

The brand’s new range of origami plant pots maintain the unique flat pack design which means the product can be posted like a letter. That, together with the fact it’s made of recycled polypropylene which would otherwise end up in landfill, means it’s more than 100 times more carbon efficient than a traditional plant pot.

Mr Flynn added: “Our ethos is to do more with less. We always try to use as little material as possible through our entire process.

“Sustainability starts with design – the vast majority of an object’s carbon footprint is decided at the design stage.

“Thanks to the culture and to places like Glasgow School of Art, the city has such an incredible design community, and with COP26 coming up, this is the perfect place to grow a sustainable design business.”

The range was exhibited at Milan Design week after being spotted by world-renowned Italian designer Rossana Orlandi and POTR has been invited to exhibit at the London Design Festival in September. The business is currently looking for retail opportunities in Glasgow and beyond, investors and a Glasgow-based manufacturer.

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992