MŒA One-to-One Interviews
Updated: Nov 19, 2022
Rémy Denecker: engineering applied to eco-packaging becomes an icon of sustainable creativity.
He is passionate about sports and thrills. Pole vault, motorcycle and parachute jumping are among his hobbies. But he is also fond of technology and nature, with a great creative ability. Rémy Denecker has developed technical and management skills through an advanced course of engineering studies by attending the historical École Nationale Supérieure des Mines in Douai and the MT Lille Douai, the largest graduate school and research centre of engineering in Northern France. In particular, he successfully achieved a Master Degree in Optimization and Management of Production.
He had then consistent internship as engineer and professional training with responsibilities at renowned automotive groups (Renault and Nissan), railway manufacturers and in the optimisation & industrial logistics, also participating in humanitarian projects and linguistic and cultural full immersions. In 2017 he founded Wind Maker together with his colleague and friend Arnaud Noiret, conceiving an innovative tiny helical installation able to produce wind energy on large scale if installed along roads, highways or railways. In 2019, they were awarded as the best start developers in the category 'Before Creation' at METHA Europe, the qualifying ‘green’ incubator within EVER Monaco, the most important sustainable mobility and energy efficiency hub in the Principality.
But his entrepreneurial capacity does not stop and in 2018 he co-founded Poly Surprise, vos cadeaux à l’infini (Poly Surprise, your gifts to infinity) with Arnaud Noiret. A revolutionary packaging system that allows you to convert an origami-designed gift box in sustainable other-use decoration objects.
MONACŒCOART® had the pleasure to interview Rémy Denecker (R.D.) and collect some feedbacks about his most recent projects.
TOPICS = ORIGINS OF THE IDEA >> MAIN STRENGTHS >> FUTURE OF ECO-PACKAGING MARKET >> ECO-AWARENESS >> FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
MONACŒCOART®: Rémy Denecker, after a multi-year experience of a clean tech engineer, you decided to apply your knowledge to design, something more creative but not less structural. How did Poly’s idea come about? Have you ever imagined that success?
R.D.: The idea was born while I was driving my car to celebrate the new year (2018). I was on the phone with a friend who wanted to get into entrepreneurship but he could not come up with an idea. I told him I would think about it. As soon as I got off the phone, I looked into the matter and quite rapidly I made a link between the 3D origami, typically reproducing the heads of some animals in 3D origami (it was in fashion at that time), and the huge amount of gift paper that I had recently used to wrap gifts at the foot of my Christmas tree, a week before. I thought that if we could make complex shapes, in 3D origami style, only for decoration then the same technique could be used to make reusable gift boxes as an object to collect.
As often it happens, when you have a new idea, you have the impression that it will succeed immediately but it’s almost never so. In fact, we often do not realise the outcome of the project phase before its creation, but just the moment when it began to be successful.
Our first large-scale sale experience was a failure but we learned a lot. It was on Kickstarter, an American crowdfunding platform. As a result of this experience we corrected our mistakes while preparing a new crowdfunding campaign but this time on the French platform Ulule. We finally found the success we had hoped for and since then it has only grown.
MONACŒCOART®: What are the main strengths of the project and what do you plan to develop?
R.D.: The first is the originality of our packaging. That is what attracts people, as well as its eco-responsible core: local manufacturing, non-polluting and recyclable materials and manufacturing processes for the reuse of packaging. Last but not least, the possibility to transform the packaging into new meaningful objects applying the Do It Yourself (DIY) approach.
In fact, we are being developing original packaging that breaks the codes, for every market sector. We started with the gift boxes of individuals (all products) and we continue with the market of grocery stores, wine shops, chocolatiers, telephony, e-commerce and flowers. In the near future, we will be looking at the prêt-à-porter market, particularly in the newborn sector.
We have also prepared a digital project that will bring a new experience in the act of offering and receiving a gift. We are waiting for the right moment to release this novelty.
Photos >> Poly's gift boxes converted in their second-use iconic objects - © Poly Surprise
MONACŒCOART®: How should the packaging market evolve to encourage a truly sustainable transition?
R.D.: Sustainable packaging must be ‘fun’ to encourage people who are not committed in ecology to buying it despite any additional cost. It must bring a new experience both to the end user and to the intermediaries (logistic specialists, sellers, etc...). In my opinion, the eco-responsibility of a product is obvious: each manufacturer should first seek to do eco-design and then manage to manufacture it at a reasonable cost. Now we are aware of the environmental impact of most consumer packaging stuffs. Thus, we can no longer design objects without worrying about the material that will be used. The customer do not have to worryabout the choice of an eco-friendly product, it should be a duty of the manufacturer to offer the best environmentally friendly products that industrial techniques allow. That is what the AGEC 2022 legislation (French waste-preventing law to push circular economy) is all about, and we realise that everyone is finally adapting to it and that there are good economic opportunities.
MONACŒCOART®: Poly packaging is designed to be at the same time a playful object and a gift idea, do you think this attractive feature can encourage more eco-responsible behaviour in the public? If so, to what extent?
R.D.: This is the basis of Poly’s idea, to encourage an eco-responsible behaviour almost without the user’s knowledge. Many of our customers choose Poly for the original shape of the box and the resulting Wow effect when you make a gift. Then, they choose it also for its ductility capable of converting the box into a lamp or another decorative object.
Photo >> Poly's gift boxes for professionals and private - © Poly Surprise
MONACŒCOART®: How do you see the evolution of the entrepreneurial reality that you have created with your colleague and friend, Arnaud Noiret, over the coming time?
R.D.: With Arnaud we learned to work together. We have different personalities that complement each other. We divided the tasks according to our skills and tastes. We still have a cross-sectional view of each other’s subjects.
We do not aim to work exclusively at Poly until the end of our working life. At some point we will step back and let other people manage. Anyway, we are determined to stay in the world of entrepreneurship either as an investor or more actively by creating new companies. ***
👥 ✒By Maurice Abbati
To know more about Poly by Rémy Denecker and Arnaud Noiret please visit: https://www.poly-surprise.com/ ______________________________________
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