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Brisbane start-up aims to add some energy to solar products

Christin Marshall’s start-up sol + sonder has moved called for expressions of interest in a first stage $200,000 fund raising through Microwd to further develop a solar wallet, a product initially aimed at helping women get out of trouble.

 

Sep 14, 2022, updated Sep 14, 2022
The solar wallet was the first product for sol + sonder

The solar wallet was the first product for sol + sonder

Marshall has big plans for the company and her travel products that she said would compete in the lifestyle market and potentially become the next July and Bellroy.

Marshall said she discovered through her own experiences what happened when a phone battery ran flat late at night while travelling and she had to scramble to get back to her accommodation.

It led to the idea of a fashionable wallet that contained a power bank that could be charged at a normal power outlet, but it also had small, detachable solar panels for travelling.

The battery has the capacity to provide a full phone charge.

It took 18 months to come up with a prototype with help from West End company Designworks. Now she has influencers on board for an education campaign for a product was just one of several she had been formulating.

“I’m trying to take a product that has been around a long time and give it a new reputation and put a bit of style and elegance to something that is such a valuable resource while we are travelling,’’ Marshall said.

She said that while power banks and solar products were available they all appeared to be made for camping.

“It’s masculine and chunky and got fluoro all over it. I thought women would have a real need for this,’’ she said.

“Doing this for women is my passion because they don’t have anything like this made for them.’’

“The next step is to get the inventory and get the first order and tool my own custom power bank because I want something that will fit with the product and not just purchase something on Amazon,’’ she said.

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“You don’t have to take the solar panels with you if you go out for the night. I tried to make sure it was really flexible,” she said.

“This is not the only product I want to do. I have other things in the pipeline.’’

She said she had anticipated that China could copy her solar wallet, but she said her brand was the tool to combat that.

She also wanted to move fast and establish an identity and become the leader of fashionable renewables.

“We have got a minimum raise of $200,000 which is going to support inventory plus initial marketing,’’ she said. 

“If we raise the $200,000 we would have to go into the next round of fund raising soon after.’’

There was already encouraging support from investors. Microwd said the expressions of interest had hit 40 per cent of goal.

 

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