Cinderella Eco Group AS is a Norwegian company with over 25 years of experience developing, producing and selling incineration toilets. Incineration toilets are a modern and environmentally friendly solution in places where regular sewage systems are not available. As these toilets are waterless and don’t release any harmful substances into their eco system, the company believes this technology can be very helpful to solve some of the challenges that the current society is facing. That is very inspiring and is a driving force within the company to constantly improve and explore new customer areas and opportunities.
Interview with Erik Öhman, Head of Sales Mobile Units at Cinderella Eco Group AS.
Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?
Erik Öhman: Historically these types of toilets have been used in the cottage and country housing sector throughout Scandinavia and the Nordic countries. Also, toilet models designed for mobile environments like recreational vehicles and caravans are today part of our product range. Some years ago, we began to expand our sales networks into region such as Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand as well as far-east Asia.
The technology is very flexible and the installation can be made in various locations making these products a real option in many situations. Often, we are approached by customers that need a solution and it is very seldom we can’t give them a viable suggestion.
E.E: What’s the news about new products?
E.Ö: An exciting development is our new Cinderella Professional toilet developed and certified for the railway industry. This is an industry with high demands regarding certification and selection of parts. With our new model coming out end of this year we have the possibility to serve the locomotive sector. This is still an area where drivers and personnel generally lack a toilet onboard and thus need to find solutions in daily work situations. With a Cinderella Professional installed employee comfort but also productivity and safety will increase in this sector.
To meet demands from the RV industry we are in the process to develop a diesel-powered model on the same Cinderella Travel platform as the current propane gas version. This is also an exciting developing opening the prospects of serving an increasing population of RV owners that travel long distances visiting exotic places outside the traditional camping ground holiday. With a convenient and environmentally friendly toilet solution daily life on the road becomes so much easier.
In the house and cottage segment we last year introduced our new electric powered premium model that is very stylish and fits well into new or refurbished bathrooms. With soft close, big operational display and a rounded shape it gives a modern functionality and sophisticated appearance.
E.E: What are the ranges of products?
E.Ö: Our current assortment is made up of a range of different toilets powered by electricity or propane/LPG
Electric models, 220 – 240 Volt AC
Cinderella Professional (Railway, Offshore and other heavy duty applications)
Cinderella Travel (designed for RVs and Caravans)
Cinderella Urinal, a unisex waterless urinal that can be combined with an incineration toilet
Then we also offer a range of practical installation kits, accessories and consumables that the customer can use to create a neat installation and overall usage of the system.
E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?
E.Ö: Here we have to differentiate between different markets and customer segments. The Scandinavian cottage market which is a very big market is somewhat mature where we today have an extensive network of both resellers of our toilets but also service partners that can support customers with product maintenance and other aftermarket activities. As these toilets are small machines eventually some years down the road a service is necessary to keep the toilet at an optimal operating condition. So, in this market most potential new customers have heard about incineration toilets either from friends, neighbours or have encountered them in various sales points and show rooms.
In continental Europe the technology is less known and so far less spread. This we are working to change and step by step we are becoming more known, especially in the RV sector. But generally speaking, this is still a green field that I am sure will develop. Also, in Europe we have remote housing and cottages but customers need to discover the possibilities we can offer. A good example we can find in the Swiss mountains where off-grid cottages that are up for renovation, perhaps because of new owners or a generation shift, often choose to include one of our toilets.
In North America Cinderella started some five years ago by first entering into Canada and then also into USA. Here we work with local partners that support the development of a dealer network. The technology is somewhat known through a few US producers of incineration toilets. But Cinderella brings a very high quality and high-performance product to this is region and we are on a good way to establish our brand as the leading provider also in this part of the world. Historically I believe it was the US army that actually began using a type of incinerator box in WWII or that time span. Through private actors like Cinderella Eco Group this has then evolved into a toilet possible to install in regular bathrooms.
But on a more global scale the technology is, I would say, less known and here we today together with our different local partners work to make the Cinderella brand and technology more known to people and companies in various sectors. This is hard work but very rewarding for everyone involved as we see that it really solves important problems wherever a toilet is installed.
E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?
E.Ö: Tiny houses is a strong trend in many parts of the world. For example, in both Australia and New Zealand there are dedicated exhibitions towards this sector drawing the attention of many people wanting a new Tiny house. Similar interest we also see in Europe and North America. The driving forces for this are manifold, you have for example the customers that want a new leisure home and like the compact form with ‘everything’ included that a tiny house offer. Then in New Zealand with their increasing lack of housing and apartments, Tiny houses offers a affordable alternative for all-year-round living. But common for every Tiny house is that the toilet is a challenge that need to be solved and often the choice turns to a Cinderella.
Another interesting trend is Glamping (Glamorous Camping). These are usually well-equipped tents or cottage units located outside in nature. Glamping sites offer their customers to swap their daily city life for a week of living in a natural habitat. But they still offer an excellent comfort and a sort of luxury that can compete with a more regular hotel holiday. This appeals to more and more people that seek something different for their holiday or extended weekend, a healthy change of rhythm for a while. Also, here good sanitation is crucial and Cinderella can offer the Glamping site the necessary comfort for the visitor and equally important a system that the operator of the site can maintain in a practical way during the season.
Looking more at trends in the industry we also contribute to the growing number of offshore windfarm fields. These fields usually are equipped with a service platform to support the people doing regular maintenance and other service activities. With a location far out on the sea it is not practical for the personnel to travel back to shore after each work pass. Instead, they live on the service platform during the week and here the Cinderella toilets are indeed practical to use. No pollution into the sea and no need to send special service vessels to empty black water holding tanks.
E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?
E.Ö: Tricky question since the technology as such and all products are very innovative. I believe we will see future developments within urine treatment that can be exciting to follow and open up new prospects for the use of incinerator toilets.
Then I really like the opportunities our new railway model will give this industry to improve the work conditions for many employees within this sector. Jumping off a freight locomotive during winter to go and do your business is not what I call a modern workplace. But this is exactly the situation many people in our modern society are still facing. Here we have a chance to change all that, a change of paradigm in a way, and I believe this will propel a trend that will benefit the use of our products in many different sectors and industries in the future.
E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2023?
E.Ö: This year is soon coming to an end and it has due to many factors been a challenging year. Mainly because of increasing interest rates and households steadily facing more expensive living costs, for example rising energy prices. The effect on us and other product producers is a slowing trend in many markets and sectors. These are factors we have to cope with but at the same time we see a continued need for our products and during the next years we expect a growing trend again.
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