Businesses need to be at the forefront of efforts to be sustainable. One business that has had sustainability at the forefront of its production is Kabloom. Founded in the year 2010 in Glasgow, the company focuses on the production of products with “ecology at the core,” such as the Seedbom. Seedboms are biodegradable “gardening grenades,” that are composed of wildflower seeds alongside compost (that helps flowers grow) packaged inside of a shell that biodegrades upon contact with water and can be used by anyone regardless of gardening experience. These “bombs” aid in the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDG's), which aim to promote life on land as well as sustainable communities and production.
University of Strathclyde
Darren Wilson, the CEO of Kabloom, was the sole creator of the Seedbom, as well as the company, and explained that he has “personally steered it to its place on the market after over eleven years and 3 iterations”. He believes that it is vital to design products that are biodegradable and subsequently would not end up in landfills. He achieved this by making Seedbom shells recyclable, compostable and biodegradable meaning that they would deteriorate without leaving any traces behind. Moreover, the design of the product needed to be entertaining, affordable, and divisive. During the design process, Wilson disclosed that his primary focus was “the material itself i.e., the paper pulp (the 1st two versions of Seedboms on the market were made from paper pulp, the current version being a starch and natural fibre-based material)”.
In the future, Wilson’s plans for the company are to “grow with a larger team and to release 2-3 new products over the coming years,” he added that he, “would like to engage further with young people, and schools, as well as charities, and nature conservation organizations”. Overall, he stated that he saw Kabloom not only as a business but as a methodology and a basis for engaging with people through design and ideas.
Wilson elaborated that he was inspired to create Seedboms during his time at university when he became aware of the environmental crisis. He elaborated that he “couldn’t bring himself to design anything without purpose" as well as environmentally conscientious aspects of design which resulted in him bringing his attention to eco-design during his final year at university.
Seedboms are biodegradable seed grenades that were inspired by guerrilla gardening. Guerrilla gardening is a practice that originated in New York in the 1970s and involves gardening on land that does not legally belong to farmers, usually on abandoned sites with the aim of protecting the environment and improving the surrounding ecosystem.
While creating them, Wilson focused on making products that had “a ‘growing’ element” (the product would have a component that contained a flower bulb or seeds so that it could be planted after being was used). His idea for Seedboms came through experimentation with paper pulp and flower bulbs, which he developed for his final degree show product range.
The grenade aspect came to Wilson while flicking through a journal that featured a grenade. He explained during the interview, “shortly after I bought a plastic toy grenade and began my work taking casts and making molds to experiment with the design process and ultimately develop the first Seedbom”. Additionally, he elaborated that he focused on using a “recognisable shape with negative connotations that subverted expectations,” he also elaborated that he wanted to “encourage people to think while engaging with the environment”. He was also inspired by designers that “took cues from nature and worked with nature instead of separated from it”. Wilson also specified that he “found a lot of inspiration from Dutch designers as well as sculptors and artists who integrated nature into their work”.
Wilson's innovation's “ultimate goal is to promote dwindling bee populations as well as the promotion of rewilding and engagement with nature”. While Seedboms may seem like a simple product, they represent a greater mission, as they relate to how we, as consumers, interact with our products “in relation to nature and the built environment,” Wilson stated. “We need to rethink how we consume and what we can do as individuals,” Wilson further explained and added that he believes Seedboms can be used to help achieve those goals.
Furthermore, Wilson stated that the short-term effects of using Seedboms “are the fun and interactive elements, as well as the engagement with the outdoors and nature”. In the long-term Seedboms would increase the amount of wildflower growth “meaning a long-term ‘legacy’ of the product from one form to a completely different one” he elaborated.
Overall, Seedboms are able to contribute to solving the SDG's. They assist in maintaining wildflower populations while attracting pollinators which may lead to an overall increase in their numbers. These effects contribute to the solution and maintenance of goal 15- life on land. Additionally, Seedboms are beneficial in promoting responsible consumption due to their biodegradable packaging, which enables users to reduce the negative environmental impacts of the products that they use (goal 12). Finally, Wilson's innovation promotes tighter-knit communities through gardening, which is one of the main focuses of goal 11- sustainable cities and communities.
Due to his innovative invention, Wilson was able to found Kabloom and create a new product that encourages environmentally friendly consumption, which is becoming increasingly necessary due to the environmental crisis we are facing, all while being able to make revenue in order to continue to expand his business.
Additionally, his innovation has allowed for the creation of a business that created new jobs in the market (currently up to 10 as Kabloom is a small business) and opened doors to a previously untapped market of gardening accessible to everyday people. Finally, Wilson's innovation enabled the business to participate in and be one of the finalists of the Glasgow Business Awards in 2017.
Wilson's innovation has the potential to inspire other businesses to design products that have the environment at the core of their values and provides an example of how to design environmentally conscious products that people want to buy.
Seedboms have a positive influence on the environment as they are made with seeds such as Cornflower, Red Clover, and Yarrow which help attract pollinators (e.g., bees, moths, and butterflies), who are vital to the maintenance and development of biodiversity.
Furthermore, using Seedboms yields some of the benefits of gardening. Such as, helping prevent climate change by increasing the number of plants, which absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which helps keep global temperatures stable. According to Wilson, Seedboms also benefit the environment as they “leave nothing behind except wildflowers,” and “are fun by their very nature and that is very much intentional,” as they help consumers engage with the product, which leads to greater respect for nature and the environment. Overall, these benefits relate to SDG goals 12 and 15 as Seedboms ensure sustainable consumption as well as protect and help restore the land by introducing pollinators to the ecosystem.
Darren Wilson, CEO
Keep this story going! Share below!
Business Website: https://kabloom.co.uk/shop/
Year Founded: 2010
Number of Employees: 2 to 10