Iris Braun is one of the founders of Share, a social consumer goods brand based on the 1+1 concept: For every share product sold, a person in need receives an equivalent product. Iris, a Berlin-based social entrepreneur, and changemaker was a speaker at AsiaBerlin Summit 2020 and has been deeply inspired by her work across emerging economies.
“I have had two interests for a very long time in my life. One is working on topics that concern developing countries or developing economies- so I studied development economics for my bachelor’s and my master’s degree. I worked in Rwanda, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and India on topics particular to emerging economies. The other topic that interested me was entrepreneurship. As you can see, Share is a combination of the two.”
Our Head of Marketing Communication, Diksha Dutta chats with Iris Braun on the podcast Dare Do Speak. She speaks about the Share business model, pricing strategies, acquiring customers, funding, and internationalization plans. Here are edited excerpts of the podcast interview :
Please explain the business model of Share.
You can share the product you’re buying for yourself with somebody else who’s not as fortunate as you are. That means if you buy a food product with the name “Share,” then a meal gets donated. If you buy a hygiene product, a hygiene product gets donated. If you buy stationery, Share donates a school lesson. It creates clarity, transparency, and an emotional connection to what you’re consuming. I think sharing is something that most of us can relate to. If you’re sharing out of good spirit and voluntarily, it often makes you happier, giving you a warm glow, having done the right thing and doing something good. And this is what we want to do with all of our share products. And maybe just to illuminate a little bit further. It’s not that we don’t need the exact same product, but an equivalent. So we won’t use the same snack bar and send it to someplace in Africa. To speak in simple terms, we will make sure that we use food and meals that are locally sourced, and often they are medical food for specific purposes and specific occasions.
What is your strategy for diversifying different products? Every time we go to the supermarket, we see a new product…
I would like to say there’s been a grand plan behind everything. But it’s a flexible strategy– especially in the first couple of years, we had to be quite opportunistic. Now, we’re trying to be a little more self-determined in the way in which we want to steer the business. I think that is quite normal. For us, it was the social impact idea standing at the center of it. So we decided, for example, on our product portfolio in rough lines around what products to donate that create impact. So we started at the same time, with food, drink, and hygiene products. Because these are fundamental needs that, if not fulfilled, the way it turned out, in the end, was that the retailers took all of our products to see which one would perform. So we got a chance to start with a diversified portfolio. This is very unusual, and I would not recommend you to try this. It, of course, comes with a lot of challenges to have a product portfolio that is so diversified in complexity, and the costs are higher because you have less volume on each product. There are various things, but for us, it was really important to stand for each individual product and the concept. The concept becomes clearer, the more you understand that other products are also donated. And not just, we don’t want to be just a company that sells snack bars or a company that sells water. We want to be the company that gives you the chance to impact your everyday life. And this is why we started with a diversified portfolio.
Here are the other things discussed during the podcast:
- Tell us some lessons you learned while pricing your products and what are the few things that you kept in mind while deciding the price of your products?
- Germany is your main or the only market where you sell share products. Do you have any internationalization plans?
- Will share will be available in other markets? And is it within Europe that you are reaching out?
- How difficult is it to get funding when you are a social impact startup? How was your experience raising capital?
- What are the future plans of Share?
About Dare Do Speak
Dare Do speak is a Podcast that brings to you entrepreneurial lessons by global founders. Host Diksha Dutta dives into how new technologies and entrepreneurship is changing the world. Mostly you will find conversations with startup founders and founders turned investors about how they built their companies, products, and the burning questions of the industry they work in. You can listen to the podcast on Spotify, Apple, Google, and your choice of app.