We’re proud to introduce Rebecca Monserat and Alice Ruby Ross, co-founders of Forivor, as part of our new Champions of Change series celebrating entrepreneurs making a positive impact.
Friends in life and partners in business, the duo is sparking children’s imagination with illustrated quilts and helping to shape the next generation of eco-aware citizens. Based between Wales and Ramsgate, Forivor is named after Rebecca’s father and launched in 2016 as an ode to nature and kids’ story books. Rebecca brings her uncompromising approach to planet-friendly production while Alice’s illustrations weave imaginative storytelling into keep-forever bedding, and together, they have built a model for the future. "We want Forivor to tell the positive story of humankind and nature,” they say. “We feel hopeful about changes that can take place with responsible production and a lot of imagination."
Why did you decide to start Forivor?
When Rebecca came up with the concept of Forivor it was because she saw there was a real lack of children organic bedding but also one that could take that simple concept from day to night and really get children passionate and excited about wildlife. So I think when we started it was to offer children something completely unique but also start business the right way and do something where we felt we could be as ethical and sustainable as possible.
How is Forivor contributing to a more sustainable future?
There are a couple of different ways. Primarily, our concept and founding idea for the product and the brand is a belief that children who are passionate about nature, who will have that instilled in their childhood will carry that with them into their adulthood so will want to protect the planet when they’re older and when they are the people who are taking important decisions. At the same time, we also believe that creativity is an important part of solving some of the problems our planet faces. We need creative solutions to many of the things we are trying to overcome. Creativity is something that is developed really strongly when you’re a child. On the daytime side of our bedding, they learn everything about wildlife, whether it’s a forest scene or legends of the sea and the underwater world, or in the space above the ground, looking upwards at insects, air quality, migration. Either in cards or in books, we give storytelling cues to the kids so they can make up their own stories about what they find on that side as well as being given short stories. We believe that that will hopefully foster their creative minds.
As well as the concept of the product, manufacturing and our supply chain is a fundamental part of us contributing to a more sustainable future. We only use organic, primarily rain-fed cotton in our bedding and the manufacturing process is primarily from a wind-powered production unit. It’s all GOTS certified digital printing system so no nasties going into the water system. They make sure that when they’re cutting and printing the fabrics for production they’re really minimising their waste. We also use any print defects that might happen from production to make the pouches that our cards come in or use them for other products like journals. We also make sure that that production waste is used for something else. Another key area for us is also the durability and versatility of our products. They’re really meant to be used every day by a child for hopefully all their childhood along with the stories that are being told.
We would love to reach a much bigger audience around the world but also find ways to do that in the greenest way possible. We already ship our products around the world to customers and we want that to grow but we really want to think about the most sustainable ways that we could do that. We really want to look at our supply chain to make it as green as possible. There are still aspects of our production at the moment that we want to improve. For example, using recycling polyester in our quilts, that’s very high up on our to-do list, it’s better than using virgin polyester but it’s not ideal because of microplastics when you wash them. On a much bigger scale, we are really wanting to find out about regenerative agriculture and eventually have that as part of our supply chain because we feel that that’s a way we can really lower any negative impact of production but we really want to work towards leaving a positive trace.
What does success look like to you?
At the moment success is whenever we hear from a child in particular who uses our bedding and they tell us how much they love it. And that’s just so amazing for us after all the work that we’ve put in. We put so much work into each of our designs, there’s a lot of research into the wildlife and obviously Alice spends a lot of time doing all the illustrations.We love doing it but it’s so amazing to get that feedback from children in particular.
In the future what success would look like would be children who had our beddings as kids and are now adults are doing something that protects our planet. That would be the ultimate success: knowing that they had hopefully been inspired by the bedding they had when they were children and that that carried through with them to adulthood and they did something.
There are two things; one is clear out your email inbox. A lot of people don’t know this but that all using up energy so a really easy way to lower your carbon footprint is to sit there and delete any emails that you’re not using. We’re beginning to realise that digital storage and emails do actually use up a lot of energy and we all have that guilt about our full inbox so to me that’s a double win because you’ll be clearing up your inbox at the same time. The second one I would say is wash your clothes less often which again is a win-win situation. I think we tend to throw things in the washing machine when they’ve just got a little mark on them so just trying to sponge them out with some soap and really remember we don’t need to wash everything all the time. That will save water and also microplastics going into the water system through synthetic materials.
Can you recommend a book, podcast or brand that has changed the way you think about business?
It has to come back to the Environmental Justice Foundation – the charity I worked for before we started Forivor. They really instilled in me that link between the products we buy and consume and environments and people that depend on these environments in other places in the world. The Environmental Justice Foundation isn’t a brand but they’ve been the most influential. Also working for Katharine Hamnett, she’s such an amazing pioneer of standing up for what is right in terms of your production and your supply chain and she also really stays with me in terms of that conviction and the need to stay strong to make the right decisions and not be afraid to make them. There’s a ton of amazing brands out there and I’m in awe of brands like the beauty brand Haeckels and all the incredible things that they’re doing by raising awareness on issues within the marine environment but also innovative ways in which they’re helping to battle those problems.
To find out more about organic children beddings, go to Forivor.