Glowpear is excited by simple, beautiful design. In a past life its founders have designed award-winning products, acquired companies, managed supply chains, engineered systems, and set market agendas for companies large and small. Glowpear is the culmination of this experience – the fusion of beautiful design and community into portable, easy-to-use planters for urban environments.
“Glowpear’s smart self-watering planters make growing vegies, herbs, fruit and flowers so easy. They’re perfect for any size space in the urban environment and can be used indoors and out.”NADINE BUSH Creative director
A couple of years ago, Melbourne friends Simon Lockrey, Lloyd Fenn, Joel Anderson and Nathan Pollock had a light-bulb moment. The result? Glowpear self-watering planters.
How did you come up with the idea for Glowpear?
Simon: We’re all mates living in Melbourne’s inner suburbs (apart from Nathan, who’s now moved to Byron Bay) working in design and commercial roles. We were inspired to develop a gardening range after our own attempts to grow produce highlighted the lack of user-friendly options for aspiring gardeners living in medium- to high-density environments. Plus, we wanted to do something together; it just made sense after so many years designing in other contexts.
Lloyd: It’s no secret that Australia is quickly becoming more urbanised and undergoing a boom in apartment living. Urban gardeners are generally challenged for both space and time, so we wanted to create a solution that was compact enough to work within the constraints of any urban space, and simple enough to cater for an increasingly time-poor city lifestyle.
What inspired the brand name?
Lloyd: The name is a play on the literal English translation of the German for ‘light bulb’. We liked the warmth of it and found that it also dovetails nicely into the Glowpear ideas-driven philosophy.
What’s made this range of products so successful here and overseas?
Joel: Our planters were designed to be seen. The contemporary design aesthetic, clean lines and build quality set them well apart from competitors in a market still dominated by tired pots and planters that were designed in a world that predates the modern apartment.
Nathan: In a small space, your garden is constantly on show, so aesthetics were an important consideration in the design process. An iconic, contemporary design and durable construction make our planters perfect for balconies, courtyards, decks and patios, while clever design features ensure they are ready for use on any surface, indoor or out.
Lloyd: Also, our products use less water than traditional planters through capillary-action watering, which reduces evaporation and provides plants with the water they require when they need it. If a family purchases our planters and seedlings as an alternative to buying a bunch of supermarket herbs each week they would pay back the investment well before the first year is out, with the added benefit of growing their own fresh organic produce at home.
How do you approach your design and manufacturing processes and what materials do you use?
Simon: Design is the core of our business, our people having designed for the likes of Dyson, Schiavello, Simple Watch Co and Cyclone. The reality of global supply chains means that we still do a lot of the ‘making’ overseas. However, we work with an Australian to secure our manufacturing capability in Asia. Some things just cannot be beaten by local manufacturing: we’re currently making the bases for our premium product, the Café Planter, here in Melbourne.
Lloyd: Our materials are chosen to be ‘fit for purpose’, so our products last, including UV stabilisation and corrosion resistance where needed. For instance, we select polymers that ensure BPA and food-grade status for culinary applications. This approach, combined with a timeless design ethos. means that Glowpears can be used for a long time, ensuring a material efficiency win. We also use sustainably sourced Accoya timber for our Café Planter bases. Providing low-water-use options for people to grow their own produce also fits within our sustainability principles.
Can products such as Glowpear’s make a difference to large-scale ‘green planning’?
Simon: Australia has reasonably well-progressed Greenstar building rating systems, and green spaces and vegetation do feature in such schemes. There is a lot of research to suggest greening spaces helps to improve liveability, including a tranche of research by NASA about the air-cleaning qualities of plants. Green roofs can also assist in acting as a heat sink and improve the heating/ cooling of a building. Clearly, the healthy-eating angle of our products is also attractive to customers. Hence, we’ve had many opportunities to engage on these types of concepts with residential and commercial clients alike.
Tell us about your involvement with the SecondBite in Victoria.
Nathan: We founded Glowpear because we believe strongly that everybody should have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of healthy, homegrown produce. In line with that philosophy, we’re very proud to partner with SecondBite, who help make a real difference to people’s lives, providing food, support, hope and friendship. SecondBite works with community food programs across Australia to redistribute rescued food to those who need it most. By donating a percentage of our profits, Glowpear helps provide five healthy meals to people in need for every planter sold.
What's the next step for Glowpear? Are there other products on the horizon?
Lloyd: We're currently consolidating our US business, and looking at new opportunities in Asia and Europe. We have lots of new ideas and products on the horizon, so stay tuned as we continue to grow the urban jungle!read less