BreakHarbor is a UK web store committed to eliminating single-use plastic through the sale of sustainable, stainless steel water bottles. It’s quite common in BreakHarbor’s market to bet heavily on expanding on mobile, but the founders took it a step further by skipping native apps and app stores and implementing a Progressive Web App from day one.  

Our mission is to save our planet by providing stainless steel alternatives to single-use plastic. We aim to do this by developing products which are beautifully designed, sustainable, high quality, and free from toxins.

BreakHarbor.com

BreakHarbor’s mission statement makes it clear that it is a passion project—and the origins of the business leave no doubt.

The burning need to take action against the overuse of plastic was born when the later founders of BreakHarbor visited Bali Beach. What was supposed to be an iconic slice of paradise known from Leonardo DiCaprio's movie but was instead littered with the trash of our fast, “single-use” lifestyle.  

The idea of promoting sustainable goods can derive from passion and a noble vision, but it still has to have a solid business foundation. To this end, going mobile was a no-brainer.

We realized that our marketing should be oriented around social media, and so—given that most Instagram users never part with their smartphones—we were determined to find a solution that represented a mobile-friendly approach.

Tanya Hassan at BreakHarbor

"The mobile-friendliness" included not only intuitive UX on mobile devices but also faster page loading times. Both of these issues are crucial in boosting engagement on mobile channels and, since this was the exact goal of BreakHarbor’s founders, they were key success factors for the store. Although they never considered building native apps, because they considered it to be a costly and time-consuming direction, PWA and Vue Storefront was also not their first-to-go option.

In the beginning, Tanya Hassan, one of the founders of BreakHarbor, who is responsible for technology, chose to go with Wix.com. The platform looked easy to work with and provided quite a lot of possibilities for UX improvements. However, it soon became clear that the combined forces of a Magento 2.0 backend and PWA front-end based on Vue Storefront would be a better option, particularly in terms of performance.

BreakHarbor was launched at the beginning of 2020 and it was safe to say after only a few months that it fulfilled the promises of better speed and performance. Does this translate to increased revenues? Even though the COVID-19 situation has damaged sales of non-essential goods, BreakHarbor.com saw steady growth in daily users and finalized transactions throughout February 2020, which is a positive sign that the site and the product are sustainable and built for the future.

Due to the current world situation, it will be hard to say. Even though the COVID-19 will accelerate the growth of eCommerce, there is no denying that it will not apply to non-essential goods and services. Yet, as - at the end of February - both the number of daily users and finalized transactions in BreakHarbor.com grew steadily, it is a good harbinger for the future in which - hopefully - sustainability will become essential.