WHAT IS TOPUP TRUCK?
TOPUP TRUCK is a mobile zero-waste shop launched in lockdown 2020 operating around Hackney and Tottenham reducing reliance on plastic and supermarkets. Our mission is to make refill shopping more convenient and more prevalent by getting between the customer and the supermarket.
IN A NUTSHELL...
We are trying to get to a proof of concept to an alternative way of consumption which would allow the expansion of package-free and circular solutions. This requires a lot of work alongside running a small business. We are also challenging big corporates who could have the logistical power to build these models at scale, but who have chosen to continue to do business as usual.
Almost all supermarkets offer deliveries but within their offer, but refill is still not a main feature. We are David fighting Goliath (aka the big supermarkets) and we are challenging the current system of consumption. Supporting our Crowdfunder means we can build evidence on the possibilities of alternative consumption patterns away from the big players.
Current Challenge: We're witnessing more and more closures of many beloved refill businesses due to rising costs and lack of support, the latter is the reason TOPUP TRUCK was set up - to make refill convenient. It is a tough time for all refill stores, we aren’t exempt from this problem and have faced our own additional hurdles, from batteries failing, loss of trade to staffing challenges, all affecting our cash flow.
Why we need your help: We have a bold vision of increasing access to refill shopping in multiple neighbourhoods around the country. This whole time, we have been running a local business in a tough climate whilst also beavering away at making this vision a reality without heaps of investment.
We have been granted funding by Innovate UK to run a 12-month research and development project focusing on enhancing TOPUP TRUCK's accessibility and financial sustainability. By the end of this project, we plan to have a model that we can scale equitably, through social franchising - But we need your support to get to the end of the project!
The grant is paid in arrears at a rate of 70%. Which means if we spend £10k, we have to wait a month to get £7k back - so the budget has been really tight since the get-go, but now is dangerously so. After multiple financial setbacks, we have run into some cash flow challenges.
Because of these challenges, TOPUP TRUCK is in danger in spite of how much hope we have. If we came to an end, we would still publish our research findings for others to build upon, but our dreams and everything we have worked towards would be shattered.
With a cash boost - we will make it through to the new year, relaunch TOPUP TRUCK with these amazing upgrades, with no compromises, or having to forgo any of the grant funding - and we can start the process of growing.
A bit more about the research project:
We have been working with leading researchers in circular design and behaviour science within the circular economy to make the new and improved service model, which we hope will form the blueprint of something we can roll out. We have been applying human-centered design methods to investigate what prevents people from using a service like this and what encourages them to do so. This research will enhance the body of knowledge around plastic reduction as well as make TOPUP TRUCK as good as it can be.
We are now using this insight to make improvements to the model across the digital experience, communications, truck design and product range.
If we can pull this off, the impact will be huge. one TOPUP TRUCK operating at capacity could eliminate the need for over 175k pieces of plastic per year or 5.25 tonnes.
As well as eliminating plastic waste - TOPUP TRUCK also improves access to nutritious food and brings neighbours together - adding fun and liveliness to the streets.
Impact of Your Support:
The research we are conducting will be published and will benefit many refills projects in the UK and overseas. We want to come out of this with the financial support to implement the changes needed to upgrade our service to mirror everything the research has told us: These include:
Truck Revamp: Modifying our truck for easier product access and self-service.
Digital Experience: Upgrading our website for a seamless user experience.
Product Selection: Expanding our range to include more affordable and local products.
Brand Identity: Rebranding to better reflect our values and mission.
The Road Ahead:
Succeeding in these upgrades means we can expand TOPUP TRUCK's reach, furthering our impact in reducing plastic use. Should we face setbacks, we pledge to share our learnings to inspire and guide other eco-entrepreneurs.
Your support at this juncture is not just about keeping a business afloat; it's about growing a movement where environmental consciousness and community well-being are at the forefront.
Join us in this crucial phase of our journey. Your contribution makes a world of difference.
TOPUP PRIZE - 10% OF THE FUNDS RAISED IN TOPUP TRUCK CREDIT
Win 10% of the funds raised in this Crowdfunder as a credit to spend with TOPUP TRUCK. Alternatively, donate this amount to the Hackney or Tottenham Food Bank.
3 COURSE MEAL
1 runner up will receive a 3 course zero waste veg or a vegan meal cooked by Ella (Priceless)
5 runners up will receive a TOPUP TRUCK starter kit worth £22
MULL COMB AND SOAP DISH SET
3 runners up will receive a Mull comb and soap dish worth £28
TOAST BEER SELECTION
1 Runner-up will win a 12 pack of Toast Ale brewed from leftover bread.
POLLY NOR GIFT CARD
1 Runner-up will win a £30 gift card to spend in the Polly Nor Store
ARE YOU MAD COASTERS
1 runner up will receive a set of 4 coasters made from recycled plastic worth £45
DABBADROP DINE IN FOR TWO
1 Runner-up will win a delicious zero waste takeaway from our pals at DABBADROP
THE FERM KIMCHI SET
1 Runner-up will win a delicious zero waste probiotic kimchi set from THE FERM
KANKAN STARTER SET
1 Runner-up will win a KANKAN starter set worth £25
WASHED UP CARDS BUNDLE
1 runner up will win a bundle of adorable cards made from plastic found on beach cleans.
Everyone's a winner!
WORKSHOPS FOR ALL!
Everyone who enters will receive a ticket to a 1hr online workshop hosted by Ella with special guests on how to live sustainably on a budget. A chance to meet other like-minded individuals and learn some tips on eco-living without breaking the bank! It will be recorded and shared if you can’t make the time.
Donors contributing over £30 will get access to an introductory small business fundraising workshop and meet-up, perfect for those who want to think about taking an idea further or those wanting to start fundraising - you can also get to know some other small business owners. Again this will be recorded if you cannot attend or you can send a friend if this isn't for you :)
How You Can Help:
Enter the prize draw: You can win a year's worth of refills or one of our runner-up prizes OR you can donate all or some of this prize to Hackney and Tottenham Food bank.
Spread the Word: Drop it in the neighbourly whatsapp group, post it on Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor, in your Residents Association newsletter - and please tell your rich friends and/ or press contacts if you have any!
Keeping the dream of a better future alive - big big love - team TOPUP TRUCK! xx