Bottle Craft – tiny businesses

Bottle Craft, a Cape Town-based company founded in 2004, is popularising the concept of making drinking glasses and other glass items from discarded bottles on a small-business scale.

Green GlassĀ  which originated the concept commercially in South Africa, now has most of its production overseas in industrial plants.

Bottle Craft is offering a miniaturised version of Green Glass’s traditional technology in various ”business packages” for small, home-based entrepreneurs to cut bottles and create glasses, salad bowls and lightholders. It also has packages for other crafts, including beading. One of its mottos is “Turning trash into cash”.

Bottle Craft’s originator, Jo Kerney, says that his “Business-in-a-Box” kit starts at $70 for a bottle-cutting tool which creates a score-line, and instructions. Currently the maximum package which he offers goes to a few hundred dollars, with training; in future, more elaborate franchise and training packages will cost up to about $5,500.

Kerney says he has sold about 1,000 kits in the past year. However, of all kits sold, perhaps only 20% are ever used and only 10% are regularly used, he says.

With a basic kit, a person can produce 50 glasses a day. Kerney is looking to provide people with and income of $40/month.

A variety of glass products can be produced with a Bottle Craft kit, including goblets.

Kerney says Bottle Craft is backed by Bohle of Germany, a specialist in glass adhesives, and its products are strong and sustainable. A problem with glasses made from cutting bottles has been that if the right glue is not used, the stems often break off.

Kerney says his customers sign an agreement that they will buy supplies from his company. He cannot enforce this, but a high flow of supplies’ reordering indicates compliance, he says.

Kearney: Tel +27-21-853-3449 or +27-11-82-4606937; jo@bottlecraft.co.za