First up in our ‘Celebrating Success’ Interview series for Cornwall Business Week is our client, The Big Beanbag Company.

We wanted to solve a problem. Bean bags have been popular since the 1970s and to this day the majority of bean bag manufacturers use polystyrene, which never fully breaks down. We wanted to do it differently and in 2018 we started researching and creating the world’s first eco-friendly bean bag. – David Crawford, Founder
Based in Cornwall, The Big Beanbag Company is the first in the world to use a compostable filling to replace polystyrene. They use thread manufactured from recycled plastic bottles and hand-make all their products in a local factory. They were recently awarded number one bean bag in Indy Best Buy in The Independent and successfully secured 100% of their target in a crowdfunding campaign.

It’s been an incredibly exciting first twelve months for founder David, and we caught up with him to find out what the past year has taught him and what inspired him to start the business.

What motivated you to start the company?

We wanted to solve a problem. Bean bags have been popular since the 1970s and to this day the majority of bean bag manufacturers use polystyrene, which never fully breaks down. We wanted to do it differently and in 2018 we started researching and creating the world’s first eco-friendly bean bag.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

My background is quite varied. I left school at 16 and started working in the leisure industry. I moved from Edinburgh to London to pursue a career in music, which is where I learned about marketing. In 2015, I moved to Cornwall and started a freelance marketing consultancy before moving into the creation of The Big Beanbag Company with my partner.

The Big Bean Bag Company started last year, can you talk us through these past twelve months and share any tips or lessons learnt that you think have helped you on during this start up period?

If you think it’s going to be easy, think again! We’ve had some major issues, especially in manufacturing. We intended to outsource our manufacturing until it quickly became apparent that this would not work. We invested heavily in building a sewing room and buying machines to bring our manufacturing in house, where we have full control over quality.

As consumers in the age of climate change, do you help people to be more conscious about the products that they buy?

We’re quite lucky that we’ve created this product at the right time. Plastic consumption is at the forefront of people’s minds and documentaries from the amazing Sir David Attenborough helps our argument. But our advice is to try and make little changes in your own life.

Do you have any role models who have been successful (in your eyes) that you take inspiration from?

We love Beth at Plastic Freedom. A fantastic business who have been helpful, friendly and supportive towards us since our inception.

What is great about running a business in Cornwall?

For me business isn’t about becoming a millionaire, it’s about creating a flexible work-life balance for me and my family in the future. What better place to spend your working life? I’m glad I didn’t wait until retirement age to come to the south west. I can now help create jobs in the local area as our business grows and that is something that we are hugely proud of.

 



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