Poralu Marine’s Unique Approach to Selling Seabins
Part 2: To Read Part 1 click link below. Cleaning the Oceans is Everyone’s Problem:
Spreading Excitement About New Ways to Combat Pollution
My head spinning from all I had learned about ocean pollution and Seabins from my chat with Pete Ceglinski, I stood on the dock of Cabrillo Isle Marina marveling at the huge impact of the simple, small invention floating in front of me, the first ever Seabin to be installed in the U.S. A smiling man who had been watching the demonstration of the Seabin unfold and assisted Ceglinski when necessary approached me and struck up an engaging conversation about places he has visited in the U.S. and his home country of France. This man’s name was Gautier Peers, and I was excited to learn that he travels the world selling Seabins for the official Seabin manufacturer and distributor, a French company called Poralu Marine. During our exchange, I was able to learn more about Poralu Marine and the why behind their mission to sell Seabins around the globe. Additionally, I discovered the challenges faced in the selling process, including how differing regional attitudes regarding pollution make sales easier or more difficult.
Before I dive into these challenges, I want to provide more information on Poralu Marine, which partnered with the Seabin Project in March 2016 to become the chosen Seabin manufacturer and distributor to serve the globe. Fayçal Rezgui, head of Poralu’s environmental branch, stated in the Seabin 2017 newsletter that this partnership is only the start of a long-term collaboration to co-develop the Seabin system to cater to client needs and continue to come up with eco-friendly, affordable solutions to the predominant problem of plastic pollution. The company was founded in 1982 as a systems integrator for marinas that creates equipment such as pontoons, footbridges, rafts, and catwalks conforming to client needs. In developing these products, Poralu strives to offer customers eco-friendly, flexible, and aesthetic solutions while engaging in extensive research and innovation to achieve these ends. Poralu’s extensive skill and effort in this area have yielded eight thousand references over five continents that have raised the company among leading international corporations in the field of pontoons and harbor facilities. During the 2015-2016 financial year, Poralu generated €22,500,000 in consolidated sales with seventy percent operated internationally. Today, Poralu has factories on two continents and a distribution network covering eighteen countries. 120 employees work toward a common ambition to develop the future of ports while providing customers with complete and autonomous solutions such as marine renewable energy, waste management, independent living platforms, eco-lighter multipurpose work, pumping, and water treatment. It is safe to say that Seabin Project is lucky to have found such a great supplier.
Despite all the great things going for the Seabin Project, there are still some skeptics out there doubting the affordability and/or effectiveness of the Seabin. That’s where Peers comes in. He says that his job is to bring people toward a solution rather than forcibly telling them exactly what they should be doing to prevent pollution, thus potentially turning them away from the Seabin. He starts the process by walking into a marina and simply asking staff where trash accumulates. Employees usually can point out trouble spots quite quickly, opening the door for Peers to explain how the Seabin works and show videos and photos of it in action. This footage allows Peers to illustrate the immediate as well as long-term positive effects of the Seabin.
However, many people may shy away once the five-thousand-dollar cost of the Seabin itself is announced. However, in our conversation Peers pointed out that the Seabin is made from premium, sustainable materials that effectively prevent corrosion and are well worth the five thousand dollars up front. Ceglinksi then joined the conversation for a few moments to add that if funding is an issue, the money can easily be crowdfunded. In fact, Ceglinski continues, the media is currently eating up a story of a twelve-year-old girl in Ireland who is crowdfunding he money for a Seabin, which she will then present to the city. Additionally, Ceglinski said that a trial period in which the potential client can see the Seabin’s immediate benefits for themselves is allowed.
Peers then adds that Poralu has no ulterior motives to sell Seabins, and genuinely just wants to see a less polluted world. Each employee that sells Seabins must make two hundred fifty sales a year for the company to break even, and even though the company does not always reach this goal, their mission to lessen plastic pollution drives them forward. Ultimately, though, Peers’ job reaches beyond just selling Seabins. He aims to spread the word and excitement around Seabins, which the very installation of a Seabin in a touristy or crowded community helps to do. Thus, the Seabin is not just a trash can for the sea, rather, it is a communication platform. When people see it in action, they grow curious and the door to awareness of the bigger issue of worldwide plastic pollution opens. On this point, Peers comments that it is a challenge to sell Seabins in inland or East Coast areas as opposed to Southern California because there are less people strolling by the sea and really seeing the problem. It is easier to sell Seabins in areas like San Diego as many tourists walk, bike, and Segway along the Embarcadero year-round and see the masses of trash that gather by the Star of India or the cruise ships that dump oil into the ocean. While installing a single Seabin in a marina is an excellent first step to solve the problems that one experiences firsthand, Peers adds that it is best if two or more are placed in strategic areas around the marina for the pollution problem to really begin to be solved.
Overall, Poralu’s approach to selling Seabins has both the client and the world in its best interests. I encourage you to take a walk along the Embarcadero, around a lake, or on the banks of a nearby river. What you see may surprise you. But, most importantly, it will inspire you to make a change.
To Read Part 1 click link below.