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Almost everyone knows them from their childhood; the plastic lunch boxes they used to take to school. ​​In them, you have stored a few things to eat during your lunch break, and more often than not, this ready-made lunch pack was lovingly prepared by your parents. However, such plastic boxes have some obvious disadvantages. Especially if you keep fruit in a plastic box, you taste or smell a hint of plastic. Moreover, plastic is harmful to our environment and pollutes our planet to a great extent. Not without reason, more and more regulations are being introduced to reduce the use of plastic.

Viswatez Repakula, born and raised in India, who is living in Germany today, recognized this problem and together with his wife, Ramya, wanted to look for environmentally friendly alternatives for their children. The couple has been almost 100% plastic-free in their own household for the last several years. They quickly realized that there was no attractive alternative besides the well-known, heavy, and rather dangerous glass boxes for children.

Stainless steel lunch boxes as a sustainable solution for packaged lunch

Viswatez remembered his childhood in India, where stainless steel boxes are common and used in many places – and from his point of view, this is the perfect solution to the problem. 

In 2017, the founder of Sattvii decided to use his entrepreneurial drive to start his own business together with his wife and bring stainless steel boxes to Germany. He contacted the largest manufacturers in India and South Korea to develop customized boxes that are adapted to the needs of Europe. Among other things, the company sells so-called D-Lock boxes, which have special soft-clip closures and are thus optimally suited for small children.


Starting the e-commerce business with the help of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

Viswatez, who works full-time as a project manager, knew he had limited resources and capacity to start his business. This quickly made it clear that the choice would fall on Amazon FBA to keep the workload relatively low and benefit from existing traffic.

As a starting e-commerce entrepreneur, it makes sense to start on Amazon as you can benefit from existing traffic and a strong, trusted brand – especially if you are a pioneer in a category, which was the case for us.

By being one of the first stainless steel box sellers on Amazon in Germany, Sattvii was able to benefit from little competition and grow quickly. Over the next months and years, the order volume climbed to several hundred shipments a month. The high popularity also ensured that there were more competing products on the market. But then came a competitor that no one had expected: COVID-19. 

Sustainable e-commerce supply chain e-book

Turning away from Amazon FBA for more freedom

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 led to schools closing and home office and distance learning caused Sattvii’s sales to plummet. But instead of waiting, the company used the time to strategically reposition itself. The goal was clear: reduce dependence on Amazon in order to be successful in the long term.  Although Amazon can be helpful at the beginning of growth, there are also several disadvantages that have a negative impact on the business from the founder’s point of view: 

  • The package comes with Amazon branding
  • Orders are sometimes sent in 2 packages, which is not sustainable
  • No customer data and thus no possibility to build a customer relationship
  • The returns process is cumbersome for its customers and affects the customer experience
  • Restrictions in logistics: no power of say and little flexibility

This is how Viswatez launched the stand-alone webshop to build its direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand: Due to the strong Shopify community, the technical advantages as well as the app marketplace, the choice fell to Shopify. In the course of this, a suitable fulfillment service provider was also sought. In various Shopify groups, the following logistics provider came up again and again: byrd. After a short research, Viswatez got in touch with byrd.


Customized Shopify fulfillment with byrd

Impressed with the communication and attentiveness of the people at byrd, Viswatez says: “The sales staff was always available and responded quickly to my concerns.” In addition, he was convinced by the smooth integration with his Shopify store as well as the returns portal, which would make the returns process smooth for his customers in the future. 

Another advantage of byrd logistics is the flexibility it gives you compared to Amazon FBA. On the one hand, in terms of packaging, but also regarding the delivery and storage of products, which is not subject to any restrictions. 

Of course, with byrd I may pay more for storage costs due to my own mistakes. But at least I have the freedom to do this and that is then my fault. Nobody tells me what to do and I finally have freedom again.

When it comes to shipping, the brand relies on DHL Go Green to enable climate-neutral parcel delivery. In addition, orders are sent bundled in one package so as not to burden the environment unnecessarily.

In addition, online shoppers can now also finally reach Sattvii directly more easily should problems arise. With the returns portal, they can also easily initiate returns without paying a cent, optimizing the customer experience. 

Sattvii’s plans for the future

After schools were able to reopen in 2021, business is finally picking up the pace again with the company’s own webshop. In the coming months and years, the D2C brand will be further expanded. The company will bolster its focus on sustainable projects in order to become climate-neutral as a company and at the same time expand its product portfolio. With the launch of new products and the further development of existing boxes, even more convenience and better storage options for food are to be created. In addition, the customer acquisition for the company’s own webshop is to be accelerated in order to be able to put the Amazon FBA business on hold completely. With byrd, Sattvii has found a good logistics partner to put in motion his plans and vision. Viswatez is convinced:

byrd has welcomed me with open arms from the beginning, and allows the flexibility I need for the next steps.

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