The Clean Kilo

Clean Kilo Twitter Logo

Founder(s): Tom Pell and Jeanette Wong
Started: September 2017
Degree/University: Secondary Education (Birmingham City University, 2017)
Sector: Sustainability
Highlights So Far: Won ‘Best Ethical Food Project’ in the Observer Monthly Food Awards 2019.

The UK’s largest zero waste supermarket #zerowastebrum

The Clean Kilo is the largest zero-waste supermarket in the UK. Their ethos is to sell plastic-free products, source as local as possible and reduce food waste.

Founders Tom and Jeanette set up the business with the goal of revolutionising the food system and its over packaged supply chain, by sourcing in bulk and selling without packaging. Since opening, they saved nearly 130,000 pieces of plastic from entering the environment in just one year.

Tom had recently returned from completing his PhD in chemistry in Australia and enrolled at Birmingham City University (BCU) to certify his teaching qualifications. However it was the opportunities in entrepreneurship offered through the BSEEN programme that caught his interest and paved the way for an exciting journey in starting up.

“I had always pondered about how great it would be to have this in the UK, however, with no previous business background it seemed a ridiculous thought to embark on such a project. Luckily with Jeanette’s encouragement and help, together with the expert support from BSEEN, this gave me the confidence to make The Clean Kilo become a reality in Birmingham.”

Jeanette’s story began with a degree in fashion design and working for 5 years in a small independent menswear design company in Birmingham. She had been instrumental in all areas from daily business running to marketing alongside her bosses – these transferable skills were vital towards the success of The Clean Kilo. Her passion moved away from creating more clothes; it was nothing compared to what The Clean Kilo could achieve by helping with a catastrophic environmental problem.

With their first premises in their sights, the couple ran a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised over £20,000 – and were able to open the Digbeth hub.

At the Clean Kilo, customers dispense products into containers they bring with them, use the containers sold in-store or use the free paper bags provided. Containers are weighed before filling, then scanned & reweighed and then only the contents are paid for.

Clean Kilo Process

The Clean Kilo has now opened a second store in Bournville, in November 2019, funded partially by a £20,000 FedEx Small Business Grant; only 18 months after opening their first shop in Digbeth.

When I was first starting out I didn’t understand the need for a good brand image which continues throughout everything that you do. For us this can be seen in all of our social media, the shop design and other marketing. A great brand image and continuity will make your business appear professional and desirable – good marketing (especially social media) is then key to deliver the message to potential customers.

The Clean Kilo Founders
Clean Kilo Bournville
Clean Kilo Timeline
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