Look back at 2020 from upcycling perspective

Deko Eko

December 31, 2020


Another year at Deko Eko is behind us - difficult, because it is marked by a global pandemia, but also a breakthrough due to the launch of the first circular online marketplace in Europe. The new Dekoeko.com, along with functionalities of business accounts, will enable the implementation of a more effective model of client service, and most of all, it will allow us to run upcycling projects 100% online.

First circular marketplace

In 2020, we focused on the intensive development of the B2B marketplace, which resulted in the transition to a hybrid project management model combining the existing transactional service with the SaaS model. We finish 2020 with a refined online platform ready to scale our operations on European markets. We have about 270 designers from 16 European countries registered on our platform, offering over 700 upcycling products.

Deko Eko Business Accounts

We have been working intensively on the development of new marketplace functionalities in the last two quarters of the year. Thanks to the new solutions - primarily new business accounts on the platform - cooperation between global companies with upcycling designers from all over Europe can be held 100% online.
Our circular online marketplace has already attracted the attention of global brands such as Ergo Hestia and Nationale Nederlanden, which have created  on our platform the upcycling challenges for managing their corporate waste.
We are also working on the creation of the first branded shop-in-shop with a collection of upcycling products made of waste materials from Ergo Hestia offices and the company post-accident service.

This past year, we have also carried out many interesting upcycling projects in the traditional model of direct cooperation and consulting services for the most recognizable brands on the Polish market. And so, for the Coca-Cola company we have prepared a unique collection of everyday products made, among others from plastic bottles and caps. The McDonald's brand passed on to us 8 tons of toys that will be used to create benches and other elements of urban architecture. The project for the Żabka food chain, with potential to be continued in the new year, concerned the preparation of cups from coffee grounds.

In time of pandemia

The dynamic development of the marketplace in the SaaS model is our answer to the times of the pandemia, when most of the services moved to the Internet. We have introduced a few radical steps to minimize its negative effects:

  • we cut monthly costs by 40% 
  • we frozen marketing budgets and resigned from unnecessary expenses such as external agencies, office, business trips
  • we focused only on core team and refreshed the whole team putting more focus on Development and Sales Agents on European market
  • we started expansion to a close and impactful German market in order to cooperate with Polish upcyclers with clients from European markets

Our response to the circumstances of the pandemia were also innovative and creative ideas and activities in the online sphere, as well as a wide range of online workshops in the field of upcycling and circular economy, addressed to company employees. For IKEA Retail Poland, we prepared a series of videos promoting good practices in the field of environmental protection - for example how to prepare a homemade composter.

In cooperation with the 10 Team agency, we prepared a debate "Economy in post-apocalyptic times". During the Mazovia Circular Congress on the basis of BNP Paribas case study we explained how to use the marketing potential of corporate waste.

New trends in upcycling

In the past year, we observed with interest the growing trend of plastic upcycling around the world, which accelerated after the announcement of the introduction of a tax on non-recycled plastic waste in the European Union from 01/01/2021 - EUR 0.80 for each 1 kg. However, we did not limit ourselves to the role of an observer. We have built a database of over 90 innovative companies from all over Europe that process a wide spectrum of plastic waste - including those difficult to recycle - into useful and wholesome products. Thanks to our know-how in this field, we have already carried out a number of first projects for, among others, Coca-Cola (a collection of products made of plastic caps and toys) and McDonald's (the  challenge to upcycle 8 tons of toys).

We were happy to share our knowledge during a series of  "Upcycling Meetups", where we talked about the opportunities for companies and organizations regarding plastic upcycling, the latest trends and methods, or how 3D printers can help reduce the amount of plastic waste. We have also prepared a special publication - an e-book, which is a solid dose of knowledge about plastic upcycling. New upcycling designers specializing in preparing products from plastic waste have joined the Deko Eko platform.


Attention is growing 

Like last year, we finish 2020 with a large collection of awards and distinctions. CEO and founder of Deko Eko, Agata Frankiewicz was among the 50 Most Creative in Business, according to the Brief monthly. Our CEO was also nominated in the Start Up category and got to the finals of the Businesswoman of the Year competition, which has been rewarding women's successes in business, science and culture for 11 years.

Agata Frankiewicz was also invited to the GirlsUp mentoring program, where she shared her knowledge and experience with start-up founders and women entrepreneurs.
CEO Deko Eko was also a guest of "Igrzyska Wolności" - an interdisciplinary intellectual and artistic event with the participation of the highly-recognized public authorities.
Deko Eko's ideas for building a circular world attracted media attention. Agata Frankiewicz gave interviews to such titles as Forbes Women or Business Woman & Life.

This year, we also took care of increasing our own competences - we completed the winter edition of the YCombinator Startup School, we also took part in several important events regarding the circular economy and sustainable development. Due to the coronavirus pandemia, most of them this year took place in the online formula. And so, for the CSR Trade Fair, we prepared a virtual stand and took part in networking sessions. We actively participated in the “Circular Week” and Mazovia Circular Congress, preparing several webinars and online meetings on topics related to circularity and upcycling.

We were pitching at prestigious conferences such as Change NOW or Wolves Summit.
At the end of the year, we waited for the results of the Central European Startup Awards, where we were selected to the TOP5 of the most inspiring and best startups, with nomination in the Best Social Impact Startup category.

Plans for 2021? 

At the beginning of 2021, we plan to premiere the PREMIUM business accounts and new PREMIUM designer accounts on our platform. Our goal is to acquire users of these accounts among companies and global corporations in Poland, the Netherlands, Germany and other European countries. The profits from monthly premium account fees will be used to further improve the platform and expand the scope and opportunities for online collaboration between waste holders and upcycling producers from all over the world.

The development of the online marketplace does not mean that we are giving up client service in the agency model. However, we decided to separate the area of ​​the online platform, focused on upcycling production, from support in creating more circular brands. Our new consulting offer will enable the handling of upcycling projects of a much larger scale. We want to use our unique know-how to close and open loops activities in the internal processes of our business partners and to support educational, CSR and marketing projects involving consumers with a much wider range than before. Details soon.

In January, we are also launching a crowdfunding campaign that will be carried out on the Austrian-German Danube Angels platform. In this way, we want to obtain funds for the further development of the platform on other European markets.

We believe that due to the planned changes, as well as the activation of the online platform for business, we have an equally interesting year ahead of us. So let's work!

Best Wishes for 2021!

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