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Consol Solar Jars Manufactured


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Consol Solar Jar™
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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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This March marks two years since the first export crate of Consol Solar Jars journeyed to our partners, Sonnenglas, in Europe. Our South African handmade product embarked on an epic travel adventure. From snowy Berlin to the sunny beaches of Mallorca, the Consol Solar Jar has lit multiple experiences with renewable energy: birthdays, camping trips, barbeques and weddings.

We’re glad our solar light has pride of place with customers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Croatia and Greece. Wow! That’s an accomplished expedition for a tiny three-year-old product from the southern tip of Africa.

The Consol Solar Jar has won many European friends and fans and is truly well travelled considering it has also climbed Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, dived 20m deep at Sodwana Bay and partied across Jozi.

With a clink of our glasses and a huge cheer, the Suntoy and Sonnenglas teams celebrate its two-year travel-versary! Here’s to bottled South African sunshine! Bottles Up!

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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South Africa is currently celebrating summer, sunny skies, beaches and braais. Yet, our distributors in Europe, Sonnenglas, are shivering in the winter ice and snow.

In Berlin, Germany, evening markets are festive season highlights. Temperatures plummet to approximately 30 degrees less than our South African norm. No matter how cold, everyone is flocking to the Sonnenglas stall to purchase Consol Solar Jars. Our Consol Solar Jar is an eco-friendly, handmade Christmas gift of bottled warm South African sunshine. What more can a winter in Europe ask for?

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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At the heart of Switzerland's largest organic festival, Bio Marché, is a market for organic and fair trade products. With 40,000 visitors in 2,5 days, Bio Marché was the perfect stage to introduce our Consol Solar Jar to the Swiss.

Being the only South African made product included in the festival, our Consol Solar Jar elicited much intrigue. Sonnenglas, the European distributor of the Consol Solar Jar, collaborated with Bio Marché by placing our solar lights in the catering area. Many visitors discovered it there while eating dinner and then went to the Sonnenglas booth to purchase one. 

Summer in Zofingen offers evenings with late sunsets and by 9pm, when the market closed, the sun was still shining. In order to adequately demonstrate the abundant light of the Consol Solar Jar, the Sonnenglas booth had a darkbox that simulated nighttime. Customers could lift a curtain to see how the Consol Solar Jar shines.

We’re enjoying spreading our bottled South African sunshine across Europe!

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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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This story commences a year ago when two inquisitive German guys, on holiday in Cape Town, spotted the Consol Solar Jar and fell head-over-heals in love with it. Curious about the source of this South African made product, these two intrepid detectives did some investigating, hopped on a flight to Jozi and walked into the Suntoy factory in Selby, Johannesburg. Stefan Neubig, a young start-up entrepreneur and photographer, and Heiner Klaus, a music publisher and editor, glanced around and excitedly stated that they were keen to export the Consol Solar Jar to Germany. And just like that - with passion, trust and wholehearted conviction - Sonnenglas was born.

Introductory chats turned into long-distance meetings as exports increased from pallets to containers. With the consent of Consol, a successful entrepreneurial partnership has been solidified between Suntoy and Sonnenglas. Now, on their second visit to the Suntoy abode, Sonnenglas has been appointed the European distributor of the Consol Solar Jar.

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“For us, it is important to visit and meet the people who are manufacturing the Consol Solar Jar. We discovered that Suntoy is more of a welcoming and collaborative family than a regular factory. In Europe, the aspect of fair trade is very important.” ~ Heiner Klaus, Sonnenglas

“It’s rare to find an object or product which is so beautiful, simple and functional. We’re really proud to be part of the team and will do our best to make this South African success story a global one.” ~ Stefan Neubig, Sonnenglas

How many sunshiners can we fit into a selfie - just like Ellen's famous Oscar self-portrait? Good question! The more the sunnier… and we know how to spread that sunshine!

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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Sodwana Bay is an unspoiled environmental jewel on the east coast of South Africa along the KwaZulu-Natal shoreline. It is the perfect setting to take the Consol Solar Jar for a scuba dive to discover the rich natural bio diversity on the Indian Ocean’s floor.

Stefan Neubig of Sonnenglas went on a mini-vacation to this beautiful spot. He put a 1kg weight inside a Consol Solar Jar (CSJ) so that it would sink easily. He added an absorbent sachet to prevent moisture within the jar because of the temperature difference on land and at sea (32 degrees on land vs. 26 degrees at 20m under the sea). No modifications were made to the Consol Solar Jar at all.

Stefan and his CSJ took a shallow dip in the pool at the diving school and reached a depth of 5m. Then the duo embarked on their deep-sea adventure. They reached a depth of 19.8m and our amazing solar light shone on the ocean bed. After both adventures, the CSJ returned to the surface without a drop of water inside its glass jar, working perfectly on dry land. Its electronics, including all the marine life, were unharmed. Waterproof proven!

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Harald Schulz, Suntoy Technical and Managing Director, explains: “What makes it watertight is that the inside of the Consol Solar Jar is sealed via a rubber ring from the outside. We employ a magnetic switch so there is no pathway for air or water to enter. The jar is thus water and airtight. Stefan’s photographs confirm that very nicely. It is not a technical marvel, as any jar filled with jam will do the same. It is an excellent demonstration of the build quality of the Consol Solar Jar.

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Beautifully captured, Stefan! These images are worthy of a huge wow!

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar

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The Consol Solar Jar is now offered for purchase on amazon in Germany amazon.deUnited Kingdom amazon.co.uk and France amazon.fr. Harald Schulz evaluates its impact:

The Consol Solar Jar is known as the Sonnenglas in Germany and is shining on European markets. The important thing to note on the amazon.de page is the customer reviews. It has the most customer reviews - or should we say customer applause - than any competitor product. Currently, out of 74 reviews, 72 give it five stars.

The recurring themes in the customer reviews are (translated from German):

  • Easy to use/operate
  • Light not too bright, not too dim, romantic/beautiful
  • Practical, versatile, good runtime, good quality, waterproof
  • Easy to decorate (seasons, weddings, birthdays etc), decorative object
  • Great gift
  • Never fails to delight, best idea in a long time
  • Used indoors/outdoors
  • More expensive than others though money well spent
  • “Made in South Africa!” 

The only two non-five star reviews were:

  • A German tourist who experienced the jar in Namibia (at Namib Desert Lodge) but battled to find it in Germany and eventually bought one on amazon via Sonnenglas. He gave it four stars and was awaiting delivery.
  • One consumer complained that no automatic on/off or day/night switch was integrated. 

“We could not wish for better! On behalf of the Suntoy team, thanks to all involved. You make us proud!” – Harald Schulz, Suntoy Technical and Managing Director, Johannesburg 

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Posted by on in Consol Solar Jar
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Intent on crossing land and sea, our first freight container - packed with 5 940 Consol Solar Jars - has commenced its long-distance journey. Sonnenglas and European resellers in Germany, Spain and France await. Our solar lights have also reached Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
 
Our team has spent the last year ensuring all factors pertaining to international trade and worldwide distribution are in place. Export packaging was tested; labelling, documentation and insurance finalised; an international freight forwarder was appointed and a network of global resellers established. Additional factory staff were hired and trained to meet the upscaling need.
 
As the exporter, Suntoy is excitedly tracking this shipment. We're proud to design and manufacture a South African solar product that's lighting up the world. A significant milestone for our team and worthy cause for celebration.
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Posted by on in Suntoy Team

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Just three years since the birth of Suntoy, we’re excited to be growing our small business globally. We’ve carefully planned our entry into new international markets and export logistics are in place. With our reinforced packaging for the Consol Solar Jar, Suntoy is ready to tap into the European buyers market.

We extend a warm welcome to our new partner in Germany, Sonnenglas. We’re happy to be working with a company that knows their market firsthand. To place an order in Europe, check out the Sonnenglas website: http://sonnenglas.net/

We’re keen to cultivate relationships with other international business partners as we identify potential overseas target markets. Cheers to growing our business!

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