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Join host Paul Shapiro as he talks with some of the leading start-up entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike using their businesses to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

May 15, 2021

It’s often that we hear about some really cool and promising new technology that’s allegedly going to change the game, but only once that tech is scaled and commercialized. In this episode, however, we’re featuring a start-up that not only has a very cool technology, it’s already commercialized it with hundreds of customers, including some very big names in the fashion world. 

Mélanie Broyé-Engelkes is the CEO of Ananas Anam, makers of Piñatex. For those of you not fluent in Spanish, “piña” means pineapple, which gives you a sense of what Melanie and her team are doing with their B2B materials start-up.

When it comes to leather alternatives, most are made from fossil fuel-derived plastics. Aside from the obvious environmental concerns, there are functionality concerns with such plastic products, too. We often hear about really encouraging new sustainable materials like mushroom leather, cactus leather, and even leather from collagen that was grown in a controlled environment. But as promising as those solutions are, they aren’t yet really commercialized in any meaningful sense yet.

Enter Piñatex. It’s a leather alternative that’s made from the leaves of the pineapple plant, which are typically considered an agricultural waste product. These upcycled leaves are converted into a functional and luxurious-feeling material that can be used for everything from shoes to handbags, and more. 

And indeed, that’s already what’s happening. Today brands like Hugo Boss, H&M, and hundreds of others, are using Piñatex in their designs, setting Ananas Anam apart from many other alt-materials makers.

In this episode, Melanie shares the company’s origin story, telling us where they’ve been and where the pineapple revolution is going.

Discussed in this episode