Passionate about protecting the planet and providing kinder alternatives to today’s fast furniture, The Big Beanbag Company was founded in 2018 in Cornwall by eco power couple, David and Lucy. Here’s how it all started…
Tired of his rock ‘n roll lifestyle as a musician – touring the UK and recording at the esteemed Rockfield Studio in Wales – the start of David’s journey really began when he sprung into a marketing role for the world’s leading music equipment manufacturer. Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit and need to be near the coast, he moved to Cornwall in 2015 to launch his own marketing business.
In 2016, he met Lucy, who at the time was the lead designer for the UK’s biggest dancewear manufacturer. Boasting a degree in Costume Design from Arts University Bournemouth, Lucy has a standout creative flair. Having grown up in the South West, Lucy has a real love for nature and the environment, something she shared with David. In fact, it’s fair to say Lucy was a great influence, opening David’s eyes to being more conscious about the environment!
David said: “We both share a strong admiration for the environment, we love nothing better than taking time out to enjoy the awesome nature that’s right on our doorstep here in Cornwall. Not only are we lucky enough to be able to share this with each other, but it’s also sparked this amazing opportunity for us to help other people show some compassion to the planet too – all via these fun products that add something special to the home.”
How it happened
Seated upon a rather sombre looking beanbag back in 2017, in desperate need of refilling, David hesitated while placing yet another order for the polystyrene refill. Turning to Lucy for her design expertise, he challenged her to create a new sustainable model. Little did they know, this was the beginning of what would be the world’s first truly eco-friendly beanbag.
Lucy said: “I’d worked for businesses that would use endless amounts of mass produced plastics and polyester, so I’d seen first-hand the negative impact on the environment. Yet, all my research led me back to shapeless and unsupportive blobs made from unsustainable fabrics, filled to the brim with polystyrene – a material that can exist for years, often harming nature and wildlife in the process – I knew that these were two things I certainly didn’t want our beanbags to be. So, we made it our mission to create high-quality bean chairs structured for comfort, that wouldn’t come at a cost to nature’s wellbeing.”
Armed with an idea and designs, the two set off on holiday to Thailand but of course, they couldn’t relax. Amidst taking in the scenery, they didn’t stop talking about their idea throughout the trip. So much so, that on the flight home, the couple wrote out their plan for a business that would sell ‘eco-friendly beanbags’ on the back of a napkin – eureka they’ve got it!
Yet, they found that one problem kept arising – where could they find an environmentally friendly, polystyrene substitute that wouldn’t degrade or crumble, or impact on the comfort of their beanbags. Enter, the University of Plymouth’s Acceleration Through Innovation (ATI) programme, who through their research discovered the ‘magic beans’. Plant-based, fully compostable, CO2 neutral, non-toxic, and durable yet still comfortable, BioFoam was just the filling they’d been dreaming of – and with that, the world’s first truly eco-friendly beanbag was created.
Though of course, these initial stages didn’t come without its hiccups… The viability of shipping BioFoam from the Netherlands to Cornwall, put David and Lucy’s dreams in doubt. Yet, driven to change beanbags for the better, David solved the problem by renting a van and driving to collect it himself – now that’s dedication for you!
By 2019, the business had grown dramatically, and a wider distribution network was being built. As a result, their BioFoam orders were big enough to warrant delivery – hurrah, no more ferry trips for David! Not the only win to be had that year, 2019 also saw The Big Beanbag Company awarded #1 beanbag by the Independent. What’s more, by 2020 it became the preferred supplier of BioFoam in the UK – an opportunity for David and Lucy to help other likeminded businesses change their products for the sake of the planet.
Fast forwarding to today, 2021, and business has seen beanbag sales reach incredible new heights, despite a global pandemic. They now even supply BioFoam to the UK’s leading arts and crafts retailer, HobbyCraft, as a plastic-free alternative that can be used for an array of crafting projects. Continuing its success, The Big Beanbag Company has also launched export to North America, so that even more people can enjoy the unparalleled conscious comfort that only its products can offer.
David, said: “We can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next!”
Going for Gold Green
To make our truly eco-friendly beanbags available to everyone.
To become the world’s leading eco-friendly beanbag manufacturer.
To be advocates and leaders in sustainable business and manufacturing – helping and supporting like-minded business where we can.
To displace Polystyrene in the market, to help protect nature and the environment.
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