Melltoo Manifesto: Vision, Mission, Values

When we first started Melltoo, we started with scratching an itch, solving a pain point that we personally had, the terrible user experience of classifieds. Deep down, classifieds appealed to us on an emotional level because it encompasses several of our personal convictions.

  • We, as the human race, should not waste the precious resources we have been given by our creator. Classifieds is the key to resale and reuse.
  • We believe in community and the need to strengthen its bonds across social, economic, and cultural divides. Classifieds allows participation by all segments of the community.

Along the startup journey, as we busily grew the company from 2 to 25, we lost sight of some of the ideals that guided us in the first place. So over the last several weeks, we did some soul-searching in an effort to define our “raison d’etre” as a company. This is our we’ve come up with.

Our Vision

To change the way we consume things to enable society to strike a balance between consumerism and sustainability. To advocate for responsible consumerism through resale and reuse and to fight the disease of inaction. Great leaps forward begin with small steps.

Our Mission

The preservation of our only planet is the business of all and not the few. The only way to achieve this mission is to get the masses involved and the only way to get the masses involved is to make it easy for them to get involved. Hence, our mission is to make buying and selling preowned goods so easy it becomes an enjoyable and rewarding part of everyday life, enabling everyone to do their part in building a more sustainable society.

Our Values

  1. Individual responsibility = everyone is responsible for their own actions, be it our staff or consumers in general
  2. Social responsibility = It is our responsibility, as part of society, to give back to society
  3. People before technology = As technology becomes a mediator between people, we must not regard technological advancement as superior to human advancement. Technology exists to serve people.
  4. Customers are people just like us, they deserve to be treated the way we would want to be treated
  5. Always ask why = question the status quo, if there isn’t a good reason for something, then change something

Our Product Pillars

  1. Peer2peer = a marketplace for mass participation where buyers are sellers and sellers are buyers.
  2. Trust = the marketplace actively works to establish and protect trust within the community
  3. Innovation = innovate or die
  4. Service = beyond technology, our product is also about service and our responsibilities to our customers

As we look ahead in building the region’s foremost peer2peer marketplace, we will take our vision, mission, and values as guideposts along the way.

Melltoo Commits to Sustainability As Driving Force Behind Its Business

Not so long ago, we published our manifesto to our users, readers and the startup community. It has taken us three years to figure out how to communicate the vision and passion that have been the driving force behind our business and work culture.

Aa a peer2peer classifieds business, we have empowered thousands of individuals in the UAE to sell among one another, reuse, resell, make some money, save some money and conserve our planet’s resources.

Mellsters love a good deal and love to make some money off their old stuff. However, that’s not the only reason they buy and sell secondhand, they do it because they want to conserve our only planet. Every effort in extending the life cycle of a product contributes to extending the life cycle of our planet.

The unheard story of cotton

Sustainability is often an abstract notion for many people, but what is really? It is the notion that we ought to preserve the resources on earth and in our words “strike a balance” between the need or the urge to consume and its consequences on the planet.

Let’s take cotton, a major component in clothing and apparel. Fast fashion trends in recent years have accelerated the consumption of clothing as people continuously add to their wardrobes in an effort to keep up. While consumption is good for the economy, it comes at a cost.

Cotton products exhaust our water resources. Water is long thought of as a renewable resource, but with decades of droughts in different parts of the world, this no longer seems to be true. Add to this the effect of industrial polution and it’s no longer clear how renewable our water really is. Additionally, many security organizations now say that water has become a major security concern. Therefore, water (or lack of thereof) are potential sources of conflicts in the near future (think of the Nile dam tension in Eastern Africa).

Twenty thousand liters are spent to produce 1kg of cotton ergo one t-shirt. If 20,000 displaced refugees had a liter of water every time we produce a new t-shirt, the world would be a better place today. We would be able to save lives instead of producing more t-shirts that will eventually end in garbage bins and landfills.

Questionable labor conditions

Market forces ensure that basic cotton t-shirts do not sell for more than 5 dollars a piece. A major department store would typically pay between 1 to 2 dollars to a factory in Bangladesh for a T-shirt. The 2 dollars would be spread between overhead and labor costs. The Bangladeshi factory worker typically receive cents for their labor.

Mass production and the economics of  t-shirts encourage wage stagnation in manufacturing countries. These laws and regulations are often proctored and protected by the government in many countries. We do not want to be part of the problem.

Waste management

Waste management is a significant financial and environmental problem in many countries. UAE is not an exception. While the UAE recycles only 25% of its waste, we should aim higher.

eWaste

Electronics have become a major source of waste with new editions of different devices released every year. Technology changes rapidly and things become obsolete in a matter of months. In the age of the new normal, people prefer to pay up the price difference for a new device rather than get stuck with an old design. TV’s, mobile devices, PC’s all need to be recycled.

eWaste is an ever-growing problem because electronic products consist many non-renewable resources, the most important being metals. Once extracted from the earth, metal doesn’t grow back. In addition, if not properly handled, eWaste is toxic and pollutes, affecting communities in developing nations such as India and China where waste from developed nations are often exported.

What’s being done?

The UAE is making it easier to recycle e-waste. Thanks to an assisted UN project and an investment of about US$200 million, the UAE plans to install 8 recycling centers for e-waste across the nation. E-waste management is not just a tedious duty to save the environment but rather a profitable economic opportunity since metals can be extracted from discarded electronics, then reused and resold instead of newly mined.

The region is also coming together with a colossal investment in Masdar city and waste management companies such as Ecyclex. Masdar City’s annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week bring world leaders and businesses around sustainability. Splash, one of the region’s major department stores, is leading the initiative and collecting used items for reuse at their stores.

What can you do?

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. These are the 3 R’s of the environment. Let’s add one more, Resell.

Reduce consumption where possible and don’t buy things you don’t need. This will help your pocket as well. Another way to reduce consumption is to buy used or secondhand. If you have to buy something, make the responsible choice and buy secondhand where possible. Certain products like furniture are often discarded before their time. A family that is leaving Dubai generally doesn’t have the luxury of taking their furniture with them and storage is too costly.

Resell and reuse. Reusing something extends a product’s lifecycle and reduces the need to produce a replacement unit, thereby preserving the earth’s resources. Reselling stuff also aids the class of economic participants who cannot to afford to buy certain products new. Giving them access to high quality products at lower prices reduces the production of cheaper alternatives that get trashed far more quickly due to poor quality.

Finally, recycle. Many of the resources we need are trapped in products that are simply buried in landfills because they weren’t recycled. There are recycling bins all over the UAE, do your part.

Join the movement. Anything you do helps. A small group of environmentalists doing everything is not going to make a difference. We need everyone to do just one small thing and THAT will make a huge difference. Going green is not about doing everything, it’s about doing something. Help us make our planet and our economy more durable and more sustainable. Resell and reuse and make an impact on the planet today.