Planetics: A New Online Marketplace for Fair and Sustainable Sporting Goods
It’s nothing new: The textile industry is one of the world’s dirtiest industries. Something new: With its new platform for sustainable sports gear, the Munich startup Planetics would like to change things at least in the field of sports. More details about their plan are shared by Fabian Hörst, who founded Planetics together with Alexandros Taflanidis and Raphael Breitner, in our interview.
Munich Startup: Fabian, what exactly is Planetics?
Fabian Hörst, Planetics: Planetics is the online marketplace for fair and sustainable sporting goods. In addition to sportswear, we also offer sports equipment and dietary supplements. We select all of the products based on specific criteria, such as a safe production site and fair working conditions, recycled or renewable and biodegradable materials and the smallest possible carbon footprint. We want to make it as easy as possible for our customers to choose sustainable and fair sport alternatives.
Transparency before certification
Munich Startup: Do all of the brands on Planetics need to provide certifications that you specify ahead of time?
Fabian Hörst, Planetics: Certifications can always be helpful when selecting brands, but they aren’t a decisive factor. That’s because these kinds of certifications are quite expensive, so they are simply not feasible for many small brands in particular.
That’s why the main criterion is one hundred percent transparency – all brands give us insight into their supply chains. For us, the principle that applies is “minimal footprint, maximum social impact,” for example through fair working conditions. Based on this information about production, the products themselves also play a role. Here it’s about factors such as quality, functionality and also the materials themselves. In terms of the materials used, it’s important to us that they were either recycled or are made from renewable raw materials that are also readily biodegradable. The innovativeness in these areas, however, is tremendous. That’s why we make decisions individually, because every brand takes its own approach.
Munich Startup: What distinguishes you from existing platforms like avocadostore.de or glore.de, since both also focus on sustainable fashion?
Fabian Hörst, Planetics: Our clear focus on sports. We see two obvious advantages in that: On the one hand, our customers don’t have to sort through leisure and fashion goods to find their sports gear. On the other hand, we can organize our user experience to specifically meet the needs of athletes.
Munich Startup: You haven’t been live with your website for very long – what kind of feedback have you received so far?
Fabian Hörst, Planetics: We absolutely can’t complain so far. We have our first happy customers and a small media response. We’ve surpassed the goals we set for ourselves. But feel free to ask us again in a few months.
Necessary change is driven by small players
Munich Startup: What do you think about big players releasing sustainable sneakers? Is that a step in the right direction or just greenwashing for some good marketing?
Fabian Hörst, Planetics: In principle, it’s a good sign that so-called big players are now also thinking more in this direction. Having said that, we see these isolated initiatives as very small, preliminary steps.
If you take a closer look, you quickly realize that it’s often about a single, limited product that is just made of recycled materials. We haven’t been able to detect any real commitment to socio-ecological transformation. We firmly believe that the necessary change will or will have to be primarily driven by small to medium-sized players.
It’s precisely the ambition and power of small and medium-sized players that we want to unite and mutually promote on Planetics!
Munich Startup: How happy are you with your choice of location?
Fabian Hörst, Planetics: For Planetics in particular, Munich has proven to be an excellent location. First, some of our partner brands are also located nearby. Second, we have the area surrounding Munich as a symbol of why we founded Planetics right on our doorstep.
Then there’s the fact that we’ve been part of the winter batch of the LMU EC Accelerator since November, which on its own links us even more with the Munich startup ecosystem. Planetics and Munich – it’s a match.
Zebra instead of unicorn
Munich Startup: Let’s look to the future – is a quick exit planned?
Fabian Hörst, Planetics: Our clearly defined goal is to build a sustainable business with a healthy growth rate. Be a zebra instead of a unicorn is the motto! We don’t see ourselves simply as a device for maximizing growth or profit, but rather as a service provider for society. We’re banking on sustainability – with our products, and also with how we do business.