Have you ever thought about where your food comes from? About its journey to the grocery store?
When it comes to food, it's easy to take it for granted. We simply walk into a supermarket or order online. No questions.
But with the shift in sustainability overtaking the consumer behaviour, and an increased interest in natural and organic products, new brands emerge. Brands with a goal to educate along their sales. In this inspiration, we showcase an exciting project of two brothers from France.
With love for the planet and gratitude for the resources we get, they created Ortusia, a brand dedicated to teach people about the environment and bring back the art of gardening.
Brothers partnering up for a common cause
The journey of Ortusia began in Brittany, France, with brothers Michel and Guillaume. Michel is an engineer, while Guillaume is an eco-gardener.
Driven by the desire to put ecology at the centre of a common project, they developed a solution to teach people about the art of organic gardening while having fun.
And so Ortusia came to life.
Ortusia offers complete vegetable gardening kits to start one's own organic vegetable garden. The brothers also developed a mobile app, an extension of the brand value, to guide gardeners step by step in setting up and taking care of their vegetable garden.
The main goal of Guillaume and Michel is to get people back in contact with what the Earth can provide for us and understand why we must start taking care of our ecosystems.
A brand with a bigger purpose
As the two brothers explained,
"Care for the environment has been at the heart of each action we take and is the most important value of our company."
The sustainability aspect was therefore rooted in Ortusia from day one.
"Prior to our idea of Ortusia, we started to observe a change in consumer behaviour when it came to consumption. We realized people had started to realise the impact food sourcing is having on the planet. People wanted to be more responsible about what they eat and how they get what they eat, and we started thinking of ways to help them."
This food awareness isn't an easy message to convey. Especially for a tiny brand, such as Ortusia. However, Guillaume and Michel believe in their vision. When asked about the narrative, they told Packhelp;
"With Ortusia, we want to deliver this message to even bigger audiences. But we want to be smart about it. It’s not about telling people what they are doing wrong, but about engaging them and teaching them a different way to do things, while they have fun."
The confidence of the French founders stems from the quality of their products too.
"In fact, we’re sure that when someone has a taste of their homegrown seasonal tomatoes, they will never go back to store-bought produce. The entire brand and products have been designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible."
An Ortusia Kit for everyone in the family
Ortusia’s main product, The OrtuKits, contain reproductive seeds that come from organic agriculture and coconut fibre pellets.
There are currently 4 OrtuKits:
1. “Ok let’s do this!” kit (“Allez Je me lance!”)
This is the starter kit that’s perfect for agriculture beginners. With the Ortusia App, users can easily follow the steps and get their vegetables growing.
2. Family OrtuKit
This kit is the ideal option for families wanting to start a gardening project together. It includes 9 different varieties of vegetables.
3. Granny’s OrtuKit
In this OrtuKit, people are able to discover or rediscover old school vegetables that were enjoyed by our grandparents. It’s also a great option for beginners and for those looking to grow their knowledge of vegetables. It includes 5 different organic vegetables to grow.
4. Aromatic flavours Kit
This last OrtuKit is meant to spread a scent of freshness in your home. Another option for beginners, this kit allows you to start growing 5 varieties of organic herbs.
Blending ecology with technology
As mentioned earlier, Ortusia is also a mobile app, hosted on a single server for all devices (computers, tablets, phones) and thus be less energy-consuming.
Okay, but what is it about?
"The Ortusia App was made with the goal to teach people in a fun way about organic vegetable gardening. Ortus, your virtual assistant, guides you step by step on how to set up your garden and how to be taking care of it. Plus, he looks super cute."
Ortus assists the gardeners in organizing and planning their vegetable trays.
He also teaches them about seasons, seed combinations, and crop rotations through short and interactive games.
The app is also personal to every user. By logging in the progress of your garden, Ortus can help fight against diseases and pests and helps organize the daily vegetable garden tasks.
The newly-born gardeners aren't left to themselves. Furthermore, that's a way for Guillaume and Michel to engage with the customers once they purchased the product. Since Ortusia seeds isn't necessarily a product bought very often, the software engages the customers and builds loyalty.
The gardener can easily set up notifications on their devices to receive a reminder from Ortus of when something needs to be done at the garden. Ortusia turned gardening into a fun and easy activity that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Packaging in line with sustainability
Ortusia needed packaging that went in line with their environmental values.
“We have applied a zero-waste policy beginning with the design of the OrtuKits' packaging.”
With that in mind, the specifications were simple. In addition, the OrtuKit packaging had to be attractive, reusable and compostable.
To achieve this, Michel and Guillaume chose Custom Cardboard Envelopes from Packhelp. This packaging option is made from recycled cardboard, is biodegradable, compostable and printed with vegetable-based ink.
Get started on your own custom sustainable packaging here
The high quality of the cardboard allows them to become a seedling tray and be given a second life.
They also panned the design very well, so customers would be so attracted to it, they thought twice before throwing it away.
“The OrtuKit's packaging is not a package to carry seeds, it is an integral part of our product!”
The OrtuKit also comes in 2 formats; the "Letterbox" format for postal mailing and a "box format” that holds additional garden products.
When it comes to unboxing the OrtuKit, you’ll discover mini custom envelopes with seeds. These have the same specifications to the regular-sized envelopes, with the same quality and careful design.
“For a small structure like ours, we were very pleased to find a single supplier for all our packaging. Packhelp was our live saver”.
Bringing Ortusia to every neighbourhood
Ortusia business is booming and they have many plans for the future. In the short term, they are looking into ways to diversify OrtuKits so that users can start learning bout and discovering new varieties of vegetable.
They are also constantly working on improving their app to keep improving the gardening experience for users. Miche and Guillaume are also planning to take the educational side of Ortusia to the younger generations.
“In parallel, we are developing an app dedicated to schools, OrtuSchool. This app turns mathematics, french, and other subjects into an educational vegetable garden project to help teachers to teach sustainable development from a very early age”.
In the longer term, Michel and Guillaume are trying to develop Ortusia as a solution for companies. For example, they see their product as an incredible solution to team building and improved working environments.
Another solution they hope to roll out is bringing their Ortukits to retirement homes ad urban shared gardens for the elderly to enjoy.
In one way or another, Michel and Guillaume have managed to create an incredible eco-business out of their love for the environment.
The best part about their product is that it comes to educate people about consumption. Understanding where food comes from and what it takes for it to grow has massive impacts on how people see food, and it sure teaches us to appreciate it.
Get started on your own custom sustainable packaging here
This packaging in a nutshell
Eco Mailer Box and Cardboard Envelope
Recycled corrugated cardboard and water-based ink