My name is Genia. I’m a former journalist, a mother of two little girls, and the founder of BEEN London, and never in my life could I have imagined I’d be running an accessories brand!
I spent most of my working life in the BBC newsroom and then went on to run campaigns for brilliant organisations including the UN, Change.org and Natalia Vodianova’s Naked Heart Foundation. Until one day I watched a really striking documentary about how much waste we’re all creating. This changed everything.
As a former journalist, I called dozens of waste processing facilities to understand why such enormous amounts of valuable materials don't get recycled. Every time, I heard the same thing: the recyclers need someone to buy processed materials off them for it to make business sense. So with no experience in product manufacturing or any background in recycling I decided to do just that.
The idea was simple: to turn materials that would otherwise end up in landfill into beautiful things that I would buy myself.
Waste was, and still is, my starting point. I went on to spend a year studying Sustainable Value Chains at Cambridge University (at night, after work and when the kids were sleeping) and Accessories Design at London College of Fashion.
In June 2018 BEEN London launched on Kickstarter. And the success of our campaign was a validation that, like me, people wanted their life choices to contribute to solving the problems they cared about. You can check out our video (LINK) and see my two little girls and our studio in there too! Amazingly, we raised the full amount in just 26 hours and were even selected as Projects We Love by the Kickstarter team.
So here we are! I finally quit my job as Director of Communications at Change.org in December 2018 to focus on BEEN London full time. And it’s been pure joy searching for the most sustainable recycled materials and turning them into accessories for you. And it feels like the very beginning.
Hope you like what we make.
I’m on firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever need to get in touch.