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32: Design Meets Sustainability in Mutebox's Modular Office Revolution

MuteBox is a Danish design company working to optimize the modern day workspace by developing functional meeting rooms and acoustic regulating phone booths. The concept for MuteBox was born in 2019, with inventors and entrepreneurs Thomas Keller and Jonas Kjemtru. After initial design, the product appeared on the Danish equivalent of Dragons Den - "Løvens Hule"- where investor Jesper Buch joined the mission. MuteBox is now established across several countries in Europe, including Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and the UK.

In this episode we are joined by Christian Toft Bach, an early member of the MuteBox team and the current Chief Marketing Officer, and Adil Skeikh, the Managing Director of MuteBox. Together they will discuss the journey that MuteBox has been on since its initial start-up, as well as the future aims to improve sustainability and scale-up.

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How do commercial offices impact global CO2?

As of a 2020 report, over 6% of the global carbon emissions were caused by energy needs in commercial buildings - this includes offices, workplaces, and more.

In addition to this, there is a large impact of emissions caused by the construction and development of workspaces, as well as the production of goods for workspaces. In 2022, the building and construction sector was estimated to produce 37% of process-related CO2 emissions, with a large proportion stemming from commercial development (

The modern workspace is changing, particularly after the implementation of remote work during COVID-19. Old offices need to be rebuilt or updated to this new hybrid model of working, putting additional strain on the environmental costs of commercial development. Having sustainable and flexible solutions for workplace design could help to significantly reduce the burden of carbon emission from commercial buildings.

What is MuteBox and how are they working towards sustainability?

Following the remote work boom of COVID-19, reestablishing the office setting has been a challenge. The open plan office offers little appeal to employees that have become adjusted to the privacy and quiet within their own home. Yet remote work poses barriers in collaboration, communication, and camaraderie. As offices attempt to bring people back to in-person working hours, they need to find a way to appeal to their employees.

MuteBox designs sound-regulating phone booth workspaces which can be easily assembled into current office settings. These phone booths are designed to be a quite and ambient workspace, perfect for focusing or completing calls with remote colleagues. The aim of MuteBox is to design flexible office solutions, which can turn the modern office into a space more fitting of employees needs, without requiring the high CO2 of commercial building renovation or development. The phone booths are made of sustainable materials, with modular components to make them easy to repair or update. Additionally, in collaboration with the Growing Trees Network, MuteBox plants a tree for every unit sold.

In this episode we address the following questions:

  • What brought you into MuteBox? 2:16

  • Who are you and what do you do with MuteBox? 4:20

  • What is the impact of the commercial office on global emissions? 7:14

  • Who are your customers? 11:10

  • What is your preferred office design? 13:26

  • As a company, how do you influence office design? 15:27

  • What office model do you think works well in the current day? 19:30

  • How does MuteBox handle the remote/in-person debate? 20:25

  • What data is available on MuteBox? 23:00

  • What is the cost of a MuteBox and how is it sustainable? 24:10

  • Have you calculated the CO2 footprint of MuteBox? 29:10

  • What does your next 24 months look like? 30:10

  • Aside from sustainability, what sets you apart from your competitors? 32:12

  • What is MuteBox's current business standing? 33:00

  • Looking back, what is the biggest lesson you've learned? 34:20

  • How can people contact you? 36:26

Memorable quotes from the episode:

“Our built environment, ie. our buildings, contribute anywhere from 30-40% of global carbon emissions. 

“One of the ways for us to become a more sustainable world is by being open and willing to adapt” 

“In order to address the issue of those carbon emissions and how we can become a more sustainable world is by being open and willing to adapt and change how we have done things, and I think that is a cultural education piece that will have to take place with architects, with designers, with construction organizations and us as people who visit the buildings.” 

“It's about finding something that's flexible and yet modular, so you you're not locked in on something, because also right now, businesses are changing really fast."

“We want to sell them to lots of customers, but we want to sell them because they are beautifully designed, they are designed and manufactured using good quality materials and they are manufactured to a high standard, and all of that combined, we believe, is a contributing factor to help incrementally lower the global carbon emissions of the built environment. So we have a clear mandate and ethos about what we're trying to do.” 


Transcript based on AI and beta- status:

Narrator: 0:00

You are listening to Sustain Now. In this podcast, you will learn from successful entrepreneurs and scientists about the newest climate change solutions to address the climate crisis, from food and agri-tech over energy material innovation to circular economy. This non-profit podcast is hosted by Frederica. She is a tech entrepreneur and climate enthusiast. You can find show notes and background information on wwwsustainnowch. Enjoy the show.

Friederike: 0:35

Welcome back to the Sustain Now podcast, where you learn from the newest sustainable innovations from founders and scientists. Today, we are focusing on Mutebox, a company dedicated to redefining workspace design by offering modular phone booths and meeting rooms with a sustainable focus. Joining us are Christian Toffbach, who is leading Mutebox marketing efforts and joined the companies almost from day one as well, joining Adil Shaikh, who is focusing on the design of Mutebox to reduce the carbon footprint. Together they will discuss how Mutebox is addressing the new hybrid working environment, at the same time reducing the environmental impact. Mutebox aims to provide sustainable, flexible solutions, prioritizing employee satisfactions and acoustic optimization. Christian and Adele will share insights on the company's vision and the challenges they face in creating greener and more hybrid workspaces.

Friederike: 1:36

Before we dive in, let's consider the importance of sustainable workspace design in reducing environmental impact. 6% of the global emissions is only contributed by energy consumption of commercial properties. Around 10 to 15% of the global emissions can be linked to office space if you include construction, furniture, energy, etc. So if you're interested in sustainable workspace solution, join us as we explore Mutebox's journey towards a greener future in the office space. Let's get started. Hello, christian and Adil, welcome to Sustain Now podcast. Today we will talk about a place where most adults go every week, but maybe not every weekday anymore. I'm talking about the office. Can you both please give me like a two-minute introduction about yourself, like an elevator pitch to a new potential friend?

Christian : 2:31

Hi, frederike, thank you for the introduction.

Christian : 2:34

My name is Christian Bach.

Christian : 2:36

I am a partner at Mutebox and I've been in the company since the really early days in the beginning of 2020, where we launched the first products, which were a phone booth for open offices, and we were really in the early days of this industry, and we went to the Danish version of Dragon's Den, where we got a seed investment from the really famous investor, jesper Buk, who was actually the founder of Just Eat, and from there on, we got a massive PR exposure, which really led us to become the industry leader in Denmark, at least for a starter, and this has basically been the foundation for the business to grow.

Christian : 3:17

And we still are a Danish company that works out of Denmark. That means that we produce everything in Denmark in our factory, and we have just continued this journey where we have expanded the product line, have got a lot of really cool customers on board and are really trying to push this industry ahead. Personally, I have been working a lot with sales at the beginning of this journey and later on moved more into marketing, specifically generating leads and also pushing content out about the future of this industry, but I have also been a part of just slowly building the business and helping us expanding into new markets. And, yeah, really, really interesting to be in this podcast and I will give the word to Adil from now on.

Adil: 4:05

Thanks, christian. Hi Friederike, thank you for the invitation for us to join your podcast today. My name is Adil Sheikh. I'm the Managing Director here at Mutebox. As Christian mentioned, we are manufacturers of sustainably made modular workplace solutions, which include phone booths and meeting pods. I think a number of people tuning in today would have seen some version iteration of a booth in one of the offices or workspace that they would have been in or out of over the last few years. Personally, I have been living and breathing this product category for the last five years now. I've seen it change so much in the past 12 to 18 months in particular. It's become a very cluttered product category with so many new manufacturers entering the space, and that's in part due to how people are working as you mentioned at the very start, people will be visiting the office, but not necessarily every single day and also how workspaces are being used and how they're being designed now, and I know we'll be discussing this more later in the podcast.

Friederike: 5:04

Fantastic. Thank you so much. So what made you actually joining that company? What was the initial driver or motivation to join Mutebox?

Adil: 5:14

So I was actually working for a different manufacturer in this space for the last four years and we had seen unprecedented growth. But equally with many startups, as you know, there's always a day when they will either succeed or fail, and we were fortunate. At the last place I was at, they were acquired by a US manufacturer, a much larger organization, who decided that they wanted to focus predominantly on the US market because that is where they were based, so they decided to exit the European market. And then it just happened that Mutebox and I were in contact and it was a partnership that started in December last year and I'm obviously here now to be on this journey with Christian and help him grow our business across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Adil: 6:02

And I think for me what the big draw to Mutebox was was the beauty of the design, the quality of the materials, the quality of the craftsmanship and also the sustainability side of things, and I think for me that's a huge, a huge pull to Mutebox. You know, I think there is a big topic around greenwashing in this day and age and I think, where organizations are trying to project that they are sustainable or produce in a sustainable way, but actually they'll find ways to offset that carbon emissions or energy emissions or whatever it may be but I think for me, mupox are very much about doing things properly, so the sourcing of the materials and how they are produced, and I think that was really the big pull.

Friederike: 6:46

Very interesting and I think that's a great little hint because in the end I think many listeners are going to say, like, what has it to do with your podcast? Because you know, usually my podcast is about reducing emissions, about climate tech solutions. But I think it was very fascinating because when I looked into office, what's the impact of office or commercial buildings for greenhouse emissions? And I was quite shocked that actually 6% of the annual global emissions is only energy usage of commercial buildings. Do you know any more about the impact of office on the world, on the environment or on the global emissions?

Adil: 7:23

Yeah, it's a great point because actually there's a variety of studies on this topic and a broad spectrum of figures quoted. Most of them agree that the built environment, ie buildings, contribute anywhere between 30% to 40% of global carbon emissions. Now, if you take a step back and think about that 30% to 40% of global carbon emissions Now if you take a step back and think about that, 30% to 40% of global carbon emissions are coming from buildings, and that's split between the energy that is used to heat them, cool them, power them. But also the other part of it is the materials and the construction side of things that go into building them. And if you think about the construction industry as a whole, it's one which is very resistant to change because it's a very traditional industry.

Adil: 8:13

Things have been done a certain way for a number of years and they believe that they should be done that way for many more years. But actually, in order to address the issue of those carbon emissions and how we can become a more sustainable world is by being open and willing to adapt and change how we have done things, and I think that is a cultural education piece that will have to take place with architects, with designers, with construction organizations and us as people who visit the buildings, and I think that is really a journey that we're all on, and here at Mutebox what we are trying to do is to educate those people that you can still achieve the outcome of a beautiful office, a beautiful building, a beautiful workspace, but there is a way that modular solutions can coexist with the traditional forms of construction. So that's a sort of a long-winded way of answering your question. I hope.

Friederike: 9:11

So you say kind of making it modular, etc. Is it effectively reducing the amount of commercial properties you need, or is it more actually the hybrid model affecting that? So what are the key drivers of reducing emissions in the office space?

Adil: 9:29

Yeah, I think it will be a combination. There will be the understanding that you don't need to build a boardroom. Maybe you don't need to build 10 boardrooms inside of an office space. Maybe you need one boardroom which is catered to 8, 10, 12 people for board meetings, but the other meetings that take place within the other meeting rooms that are designed for workspaces don't actually need to be as large as they are, Because typically, data suggests that the majority of meetings take place between two to four people up to 80% of meetings that take place between two to four people, up to 80% of meetings that take place between two to four people but what you often find is one or two people sitting inside a meeting room which is designed for six to eight people.

Adil: 10:13

Now, if you don't, then create those meeting rooms, which typically are made through drywall construction, and when these buildings are reconfigured, a lot of that material is sent to landfill Instead of doing that, and you're using a modular solution which is a more sustainable way of construction because, for example, at Mutebox, we use either FSC certified wood or PEFC certified wood. In our products, we use recycled foam, we use recycled plastics, so we're constantly looking at ways to create sustainable solutions. So if you can think of a workspace, an office space, which has got a combination of a traditional way of constructing something but also has a variety of products which are modular, you're then reducing the impact on the environment because you're not then sending so much material to landfill sites and you're also integrating modular solutions which are used and manufactured using sustainable measures. So it's just trying to find that right balance, and I think that is the education piece that needs to take place at a design level.

Friederike: 11:20

So are your customers then? Primarily architects or owners of offices. Who are your customers?

Adil: 11:27

We have a mix. We work very much with architects and designers, we work with people who are procuring furniture on behalf of building owners, but we also work directly with the end client. So, whether it's Lego, whether it's Google or Amazon or Facebook, it can be any organization, any organization that has an office space or workspace. They will be looking at ways to create a more fluid, flexible workspace because, ultimately, the hybrid model, as you've referred to, is very much here to stay. It's how employees are proving that they can be just as productive with the hybrid model as they were when they were in the office five days a week, and data suggests that you know that it's going to continue.

Adil: 12:12

So, but employees or employers, I should say are constantly in a battle of trying to create workspaces which are designed, or trying to design workspaces which encourage people to come back to work. How do you encourage somebody who's working from home, who has been used to working from home for a few years because of COVID, to say look, actually we know you can do your job from home, but now come to the office because we can provide you with private spaces to take private phone calls or do meetings with one or two people using these modular solutions and you still have the benefit of collaborating with colleagues, seeing your colleagues catching up on stuff which is not related to work, and I think that balance is what is happening.

Friederike: 12:58

Interesting, I think one of the classic dilemma in the office space. You know, when I started to work I think it was I can't say it's quite a long time ago, I think 20 years ago and I started at IBM and it was one of the first employers who had open space. No one had an assigned desk, everyone was open. We had, like some of these meeting rooms you described, and I remember that this is like it was seen as the model of the future. Now what I've seen and please correct me if I'm wrong is that actually it goes back a little bit more into closed offices. What's your view on that? What is better, open space or closed offices?

Adil: 13:38

What's your view on that? What is better open space or closed offices? We're seeing it's a mix. I don't think one will exist without the other. You're right.

Adil: 13:46

Obviously we've had the open workspace with rows and rows of desks and chairs, but that isn't really fit for purpose anymore because that is an environment which just produces a lot of noise, and data suggests that people spend up to 35% of their working week on work. That is for focus. So it's very difficult for someone to focus when you're sitting in an office space which is just rows and rows of desks and lots of noise. You need somewhere where you can go, whether that's a, a phone booth, a meeting pod. You need the ability to do that work and people are accustomed to that because that's what they've been used to because of COVID and because of the fallout of COVID.

Adil: 14:28

So they've been working from home. They've had that private time. They're used to being able to be productive and getting the work done. But equally they need to be able to come to work, to collaborate with others. There are meetings that need to take place. You can't do everything over a Zoom or a Teams call. So a workspace needs to have a balance of the open planness, the open plan spaces, but also the private spaces, and what we're seeing in workspace design now is actual zones. So you're having collaborative areas, focus areas, shared areas, breakout spaces, and that is the next iteration of what the majority of workspaces will look like you think it's going to stay.

Friederike: 15:19

That has been a lot of discussions, at least here in switzerland, that you know. Go back to office at least 80 because there's no collaboration happening and then when they are in in the office, they all sitting in phone booths. It's like how can, can you as a company influence that and saying like, okay, you know, that's actually what we want to address, to have that more fluent space I can take this one, but christian, I'm also conscious I'm doing a lot of the talking here.

Adil: 15:43

I'm happy for you to yeah, sorry.

Christian : 15:46

So of course, it's like the funny thing about this hybrid work is that it's it's a hard one to tackle. On a lot of the the customers I'm talking with their experience like they are trying a lot of things. No one has like the end solution yet, I would say, because everyone is trying what, what will work for us, and what might work for one company might not work for the next company. So it's about finding something that's flexible and yet modular, so you you're not locked in on something, because also right now, businesses are changing really fast, like everything is going so quick and quicker than ever before, and that also means that the needs of a business also is constantly changing, and that's why it's super important to have some sort of flexibility in your office as well.

Christian : 16:36

More specifically, on the hybrid work, I have heard a lot of companies talk about that. They have said, okay, you need to come in maybe 80% of the week, and then most people will come in Monday to Thursday maybe, and then on Friday the office would be almost empty and then there would be a few people coming in and they would not get the energy from the office that they were like searching for and then you end up with a completely empty office in the Friday. So it's also about finding a balance. Where people come in, they have the right like, the right space. They need both like getting work done but also having the possibility of collaborating, but also getting you know. If you have to get on a call with a colleague, or even like a potential client or someone else you're working with, that you have a space you can go to and take that call.

Christian : 17:28

So I'm also hearing a lot of businesses that are like sort of scaling their office a bit down because it's not. They know that it will never be up to like never like. They will never have all of their employees coming in at one time, so they only need maybe 80 percent of the of the the seating available or something like that. So it's like an ever-changing process and I think like in the future, what you will see is that more of the companies will be more and more data-driven so they can better understand how the employees are using the office. How much are they sitting at the desk, how much are they using the meeting rooms? Are their needs changing? So I think a data perspective in this will be a massive driver in the future.

Adil: 18:16

I think it's a super important point because I think, obviously, what we're seeing now in the world is the emergence of AI, and I think that is a really difficult thing to quantify in terms of what impact that will play within the workspace. And I think the integration of technology into workspaces using AI will help businesses to understand how people utilize their workspace and what they can do to encourage more people to come back to the office but not just come back to the office to sit there, but actually to get the most out of it and I think that is a really a crucial thing that we will need to learn over the coming months.

Friederike: 19:00

Maybe just two points which I find fascinating. Just to dive a little bit deeper and I think this will be the last, like about the open space, but I think many of my listeners who are business owners are super interested in that. You've seen a lot of company concepts now hybrid, open, closed, etc. Do you have, like I don't know for like standard company, let's say, 80 to a hundred people? Have you seen one role model where you say like, hey, this is working really well, let's say, three days in the office, but you need to be Monday, friday, there. Or have you seen like one or two models where you think this is really going well for that size of the company?

Adil: 19:43

So Christian actually mentioned this that there's not one formula that exists for all companies. It's very, very unique and personal to each business. My wife is a HR manager for a prop tech company and she has been. The mandate across their business is to have people in a minimum of three days a week, so they have the option to work any two days remotely at home of their choice, but the other three days they would like them to be in the office and that's something that we're seeing across many, many markets. Typically, in the UK, the majority of people are working remotely on a Monday and a Friday and they are traveling into the office on Tuesdays, wednesdays and Thursdays. So I think but I don't believe it's the same for all businesses. I think it's just depending on who that organization is and what they are trying to achieve and what works for them.

Friederike: 20:33

What is working for you guys at Mutebox? How do you do that? What is working for you guys at Mutebox? How?

Christian : 20:38

do you do that? What's your solution? Have one office in London, but we don't have a lot of people on each location. So we really have to like it's not that much about coming into the office because there's not a lot of people in each office, so we just normally arrange that onto like the local level. You know, just texting each other, like I will be in the office tomorrow, you guys come in as well. That's like really like low practically. But at the biggest office we have, we have like said okay, we really want everyone to come in on a monday, on a wednesday on and on friday as well. So you have two days you can optionally work from home if you want to, but you have three days where you know that there will also be other people at the office.

Christian : 21:38

But like one of the most important things in this is also making sure that everyone just want to go back to the office. So it's you know you really have to put the right things in place for them. So it's very different. If you are, like in the sales department, you need something else than if you're, for example, an engineer, where, as an engineer, maybe you have to get, you know, have something, a place where there's really quiet and you really can focus and there's no distractions. But as a salesperson you might.

Christian : 22:09

You know a lot of salespersons. They like to go around, like walk around when they're talking the phone and they like need this energy to be there. They need like a lot of other people to be there to like really boost them. So it's also about putting like the right facilities around the right group of people so they want to go in, because I know a lot of engineers they don't want to go back to their office because they all say, oh no, it's like open space and we don't have like enough private rooms. So we all just sit on these long desks and you know everyone is jumping on and off, zoom calls and they get distracted all day long. So it's all about finding the right mix and also sort of not that you have to divide the company, but you still like have to acknowledge that people need different things for their workday.

Friederike: 23:00

Nice, nice summary. You talked about data before. Are you actually collecting that data at Mutebox, like how many people are using it per day and how long?

Christian : 23:11

Currently we're actually not collecting that data, but we have like looked into a lot of the data behind, like generally speaking, about how many persons are in a meeting, and that's also one of the points that Dil had earlier on that you know, often back in the time you needed like these bigger meeting rooms and you needed a lot of them, whereas it has changed now. So a lot more of the meetings are only between like two to four persons, like actually more of the meetings are only between like two to four persons, like actually most of the meetings are today. So we have more dived into like the general perspective of how people are holding meetings and how many they are participating in these meetings. But obviously it's something that's going to drive this industry ahead in the future is to understand how many people are using the facilities and how often do they use it, and so on, so you can constantly improve it with so many other things in business, right.

Friederike: 24:07

Coming now to the actual product, to the Mutebox, to the phone booth. How do you like thinking about sustainability? I think it costs around about 5,000, like I think it starts from 5,000 euros or something like that. Is that correct? Like a phone booth?

Christian : 24:24

Yeah, it's around that price level. I think sustainability is a lot of things and it's, as we discussed earlier, also about like there's a lot of greenwashing going on these days, but we try to be really like low, practical, practical and how we do it. But I think one of the most important things with our products is that they are built to last, and I really mean that they. They are built and they are crafted in denmark by, and the quality of the products are so high, so we also see that they you know our products will last way longer than some of our competitors. We don't have any data on that yet, but I can just see that we really have an edge there, and I think that's a really big part of it that you don't just build something that will only last for two years.

Christian : 25:11

No, no, we build things that will last for many years to come. Then we have a lot of the parts in our products. If they should get damaged or something like that, it's fairly easy to swap them out and we can basically, you know, continuously sustain the lifetime of the products. Another thing that's quite essential is that if you, as a business, have bought one of our products and then you for some reason have to move location. You can actually take our products with you and it's super simple to disassemble and then transport and then assemble them in the new location again. So that will mean that you have a really high quality product that will last for long, but it's also built for you as a business to take it with you wherever you go and also move it around.

Friederike: 25:57

So it's really talking into this modular and flexible future can you do it yourself, or can someone of you guys need to come and dismantle it actually we.

Christian : 26:10

You can do it yourself. It's if you're it's. It's actually fairly simple to do, I would say. But we of course offer this to our customers and often they will help us, because businesses focus on yeah, what are we really good at? That's maybe not moving mute boxes around so often they select us to do it, but you can easily do it yourself and we have customers that does that. And another part of sustainability for us is also the materials we choose.

Christian : 26:39

Adil mentioned earlier about us being really conscious about the wood we select.

Christian : 26:43

Most of the material in the box is actually wood.

Christian : 26:46

Then we of course have the foam, which I think is like really cool on the inside, which gives like first of all, a really good acoustics inside the booth but also gives sound insulation.

Christian : 26:58

So we have a foam that's made from two different layers. So we have a foam that's made from two different layers, so the thickest layer is actually made from lift and like a big foam production where they have to cut some corners for some of their other customers and then they take those leftover materials and they slice them up and then they put them together again for the foam we are using in our booth. Also we have on the outside, we have these wood slats and they are put on an acoustic field that will also enhance the acoustics in the workspace where the products are placed, and that acoustic field is actually mostly made up from recycled PET, so basically, basically plastic bottles and other sorts of plastic that have been used that will be upcycled and we will reuse in our booths. So that's just some of the choices we have made and we are constantly trying to push this and trying to look into new materials that will make the booth even more sustainable.

Friederike: 28:00

Okay, have you thought about mycelium for the insulation, like the mushroom, mycelium for the insulation? Like the mushroom mycelium.

Christian : 28:06

Actually not.

Friederike: 28:10

That would be maybe interesting to look at it. I had a podcast about that. They're actually using mycelium for doing exactly that foam for leather. Maybe that would be an interesting way of doing that as well.

Christian : 28:24

That's really interesting. We'll have to look into that, but I know we have actually like. A funny thing is that we have at some point we looked, we have been looking into I think it's wheat plants that you can use as well. So we we have explored a lot hemp, yeah, sorry. And another thing we have, of course, we have chosen from the early days, is that our products only need to be plugged into a normal power outlet and then the only power it uses is actually for the ventilations, our fans they require so little power and the same for the lightning inside the booth. It's all LED spots and everything is motion sensor controlled, so it will only be running while you're using it, and while you're using it it's using so little power. So that's also a small thing we have optimized.

Friederike: 29:17

Super interesting. Thank you so much, but have you calculated the CO2 footprint of your product as well?

Christian : 29:26

Yeah, that's a tricky question, to be honest. So our manufacturer has they, they track, like they know they. Actually they know the exact co2 footprint of the product currently, but we still have to calculate in like the, our business, just like operations CO2 footprint as well. So we are a work in progress with that. But our initial indications is that we I think we are performing quite well compared to the other competitors in this industry, but we don't have any like official number that we are confident enough with yet that we want to go out and say it out loud. But we are really working on that because we think it's a really important part of understanding our business and also improving our business for, basically, the future of the world.

Friederike: 30:13

And you just mentioned this is one differentiator to your competitors. Maybe, adil, you can add on that. What else do you see as a differentiator from your competitors?

Adil: 30:24

As I mentioned earlier on, the product category within modular products has really seen a number of people join the space, and I think other people have found that there's an opportunity here to produce a company which sells similar products very quickly and sell as many as they can as cheaply as they can to as cheaply as they can, to as many people as they can, and obviously maximize revenue. I think what we are trying to do is do things a little bit differently. The business has been trading for five years now in Denmark. We have sustainability at the core of what we're trying to do and I think that is really where we see ourselves it's about, you know, yes, of course, we want to sell a lot of our products. We want to sell them to lots of customers, but we want to sell them because they are beautifully designed, they are designed and manufactured using good quality materials and they are manufactured to a high standard, and all of that combined, we believe, is a contributing factor to help incrementally lower the global carbon emissions of the built environment. So we have a clear mandate and ethos about what we're trying to do.

Adil: 31:35

This is not just a commercial exercise, and I think that is really where we hope, over the course of the coming years, our brand, our product will stand the test of time because I think maybe you know, in the time I've been in this product category I've seen some companies already come and go. There are a few others who are seeing success right now, but I think what they are based on and the quality of their product I don't think is at the same level as ours is at. And I think, again coming back to what I said, I think the differentiator for us in the market will be the quality of our product, the quality of our materials and the quality of our design, and I hope that will really come to the forefront over the coming months and years.

Friederike: 32:21

Like how does your next 24 months look like?

Adil: 32:24

Good question, I think. I would like to think that in terms of a business we would have really established. The Mewbox brand is very well known across the Nordics, in particular in Denmark. We're still an unknown quantity in the UK and major continental Europe in terms of Germany, france, etc. The dark region, I think. In 24 months time I would like to think that we would be one of the top three or four manufacturers in this product category across those markets. But even beyond that, I would like to think that we would be in a position to scale our operations beyond Europe and you know, the team would have at least doubled in size and, yeah, we will become a brand that is synonymous with workspace design.

Friederike: 33:10

Can you share some numbers where you're standing right now?

Adil: 33:13

We probably don't have it. Are you asking for revenue numbers?

Friederike: 33:18

Yeah, like whatever you can share, like amount of people just to know, like, how big you are, guys already christian, you'd probably be in a better position to say the number of people.

Christian : 33:26

I'm not too sure exactly how many we have I think we're around 14 to 15 full-time employees right now. Then we, besides of that, we have, of course, like the production that's another thing and then you have, like the in denmark we have our own assembly team of four people and then we have, you know, some student workers and so on. That that helps out in the business as well.

Friederike: 33:52

So yeah, yourself. Are you really from the raw materials? You put it together by yourself sorry.

Christian : 33:58

Yeah, so actually we one. Our majority owner is the manufacturing company and they are located in Denmark, so that's the company that's producing almost everything. Of course, there are some things they are sourcing from other Danish subcontractors, but most of it is done on-site in Denmark.

Friederike: 34:26

Looking back, now that we looked forward for the next two for 24 months now, looking back, what has been, what has been your biggest learning and why?

Christian : 34:32

maybe we start with christian yeah, that's a that's a good question. So I think some of the the things I have learned most about is how important it is to build the right relationships and really trying to help the customers and help this industry moving forward and really understand their needs and what challenges they are standing in. And also, just I can see how much we have leveraged in, especially in Denmark, that we are an established brand in especially in denmark, that we are an established brand, we we always deliver like a really high level of quality and that's like from all the touch points the customers have with us. So that's both the products, that's the assembly team, that's the sales persons and so on, so that like building the relationship and really just really be a quality manufacturer of this is some of the most important things for us.

Adil: 35:27

Yeah, I think as well from my side. I think it's. There are a couple of things, but I think ensuring that we can replicate the quality that we have across all markets as we enter new markets is definitely something we are still learning today. So I don't think it's something we have learned. I think it's something that will just be an organic process that we will have to continually look to learn as our services develop in new markets, because, ultimately, we will have to rely on bringing in extra resource, and extra resource will mean people have to be trained and people have to then try to replicate the service level that we have established and become synonymous with in Denmark and, obviously, making sure we can uphold that quality across multiple markets.

Friederike: 36:16

Fantastic, great. Now I learned a lot about actually how you can innovate as well in the office space and thinking about climate tech in that sense that how you actually design furniture. I think that's super interesting. I would have not thought about it, so I think. Thank you so much for joining my podcast. One last question how can people contact you?

Adil: 36:39

I'll leave that to Adil. They can reach us through multiple channels, but I think if they go to our website either muteboxdk, if they're in Denmark, or muteboxuk if they're in the UK, or one of the European sites they can visit one of those and choose to select the right country. They'll have a choice of telephone number or completing their details on our website and we can send them an email etc. So there's plenty of choices of what they prefer and also they yeah sorry.

Christian : 37:06

They're also more than welcome to connect with both adil and I on linkedin. We would love to hear what people think.

Friederike: 37:12

Thank, you so much for joining my podcast today and I wish you all the best for this product and to expand it as wide as possible. So hopefully in my next office I I'm going to see you as well standing.

Christian : 37:25

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Friederike: 37:30

Thank you for joining today's episode. You can find the show notes, background materials and contact details of our guests on our website, sustainnowch. Follow and share our podcast on any platform available. Do you have a comment or interesting solution to take a deep dive? Please don't hesitate to go to our website, sustainnowch, and write us an email.



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