If there have been any positives to lockdown, one must surely be the spotlight it has shone on the impact of us humans on the planet. Since lockdown started, pollution has plummeted and Venice’s canals have cleared up with sightings of swans and dolphins.
Thankfully, there are plenty of businesses who are serious about reducing and even eliminating their impact on the environment. Many of them are independent, small businesses driven by values, passion and the desire to do good, while making a living at the same time. As individuals, we can buy into their values-driven economy and together, make the world a better place.
One of the best examples of this is one that’s come directly out of lockdown. A start-up that has embraced a sustainable business approach, has a great backstory and is driven by an immediate purpose: FFSB are makers of up-cycled face masks and champions of the #masks4all movement.
Personally, as someone who has been talking about making facemasks for the family from some old clothes and dusting off my sewing machine from the under stairs’ cupboard for some weeks now, I take my hat off to them. I haven’t managed it, but they have. And they've done it with style. So, when I read about them in a Father’s Day gift guide on blogger Lianne Freeman’s anklebitersadventures, I immediately bought into their story and their funky face masks. And here’s why.
FFSB are Frank, Finn Sebastian and Bela, 4 London teenagers, who found themselves twiddling their thumbs after their GCSE’s had been cancelled and their sports sessions were paused. But the thumb twiddling didn’t last long as they realised a chance to make a difference and join the fight against COVID-19 by making face masks that (in their own words) don’t make you look like a dentist!
Friends since they were four years old, these guys, like so many of us, know the benefits of Zoom as they’ve been working remotely together from 4 different locations. They’ve also been mentored by the awesome fashion company House of Baukjen, so that has definitely helped!
Not only have they made masks but they’ve designed an uber cool, utilitarian logo (which they stencil spray in pink on your envelope), set up a website, collaborated with a family-run factory in Portugal and chose their first batch of fabrics for their masks. They’ve also named the masks after cities echoing Instagram’s story filters – I chose Helsinki and Rio.
I’m a sucker for a good story and this one reeled me right in. Then I found out that the masks have been ethically and sustainably made and they look good too (- just how I imagine my own handmade versions might have looked!!!). They’re up-cycled, made using 100% soft cotton leftover fabrics and cut-offs. Handmade in a double layered, pleated design and they can be worn again and again and again. Finally, I spotted the banner at the top of the website announcing that 10% of all profits go to the Young Minds Charity (they also make black masks in support of #blacklivesmatter,
which are sold out as I write), well, they had me hook, line and sinker!
So, in the space of five minutes or so, I’d ordered a mask for all the family (they do kids sizes too) from their easy-to-use website and hey presto, the masks arrived in less than 24 hours tied together with a paper tag politely asking me to share their brand #FFSB and #Masks4all.
This is exactly how values-driven business and consumers can come together, make the difference and feel good.
Don’t you just love it when great PR, marketing and customer service come together - nice one lads!
www.ffsbshop.co.uk @ ffsb.ldn
Clare Pope, always has her head in a book - current read After the End by Clare Mackintosh