Q+A: BioLite

If you've walked through our DUMBO Farmer's Market on a Wednesday evening, you will have noticed we've added some BioLite lighting! We sat down with Hayley Samuelson, Content & Community Manager of BioLite, for an update on the company and their generous donation to the farmers market here in DUMBO.

BioLite was kind enough to donate these lights for us to use at the Farmers Market. Can you tell those who may not be familiar with BioLite what it is that you do, what you focus on, and what this product is that you donated?

BioLite creates personal scale energy products that help off-grid communities around the world cook, charge, and light their lives. Our flagship product for outdoor recreationalists is the CampStove, a smokeless burning stove that turns fire into electricity.

Today, we worked with the BID to get the local famers market the light they need for fall hours. Our PowerLight provides vendors a bright, ambient light to work around as well as a place to recharge their devices. We’re able to light up multiple booths thanks to SiteLights, which can daisy chain up to 10 feet from the PowerLight. This set up is perfect for lighting a farmers market, a campsite, or even to have with you during a power outage.

We’ve set out to bring reliable, affordable energy to homes that need it.

Hayley Samuelson, Content & Community Manager of BioLite

Beyond bringing energy to the DUMBO farmers market, you are extending energy access to families around the world. Can you provide some insight as to how your products are helping families in emerging markets?

Right now there are 3 billion people who cook over smoky open fires in their home. These smoky fires pollute the air more than all of the cars in the world combined and are a huge public health risk. 4 million people die each year from premature smoke inhalation. At the same time, billions of people across the world have unreliable or no access to electricity.

We’ve set out to bring reliable, affordable energy to homes that need it. The BioLite HomeStove (the stove that we sell in emerging markets) requires 50% less fuel than a traditional open cooking fire, reduces 90% of smoke, and generates usable electricity. HomeStove owners can use that electricity to charge phones or light up their home.

The PowerLight Bundle that we are hanging at the Farmers market today was actually the first product that we launched in both the outdoor recreation and emerging markets. The idea for the SiteLights was actually inspired by one of our designer’s visit to India. He was meeting with a HomeStove customer who lit two of the rooms in their home by drilling a hole through the wall and sticking a tube light through the hole. We designed the SiteLights to daisy chain far away from their power source (the PowerLight) so that families could light up multiple rooms in their homes and campers could light up their entire site!

Can you tell us more about your work in emerging markets? What are your goals for the future? Are you going to keep growing there or are there other markets that you have your eye on as well?

We are currently operating in India, Uganda, and, as of this year, Kenya. Our team is focused on expanding our reach in the countries that we currently operate in so that we can bring energy to families living in the most rural and more remote villages.

If you’re interested in learning more about our work in emerging markets you should check out ‘The Road to Impact.” It’s a series that we’ve been working on through 2016 that gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at how we’ve built our emerging markets operations. It talks about how we designed our stove, the technology behind our products, and how we figured out how to even build a sales approach in an emerging market. You should check it out!

Are there any new products that we should be on the lookout for, whether it’s in the New Year or the end of this year? What can we expect?

I’m most excited for the BaseLantern to hit shelves this fall. We launched it on Kickstarter this May, and I can’t wait for our community to get the chance to test them out!

Any new initiatives coming up? Such as Travel By Fire?

Stay tuned. We’ve always got fun things up our sleeve. I’d look out for an announcement sometime in the spring about what our summer plans will be.

What's your favorite spot in DUMBO?

We’ve had some great times under the archway. The happy hours and live music are always a fun way to get together with our team and friends from other business who work around DUMBO.

Mentioned in this article

The Archway