BEEN London launched on Kickstarter in 2018, but our story began long before…
Founder Genia Mineeva started off as a political journalist, spending years working in the BBC newsroom. Her inquisitive nature took her into the world of campaigning, where she ran campaigns for the UN, Change.org and Natalia Vodianova’s Naked Heart Foundation amongst others.
But one story really got under her skin: coffee cup waste. How could these recyclable objects be wasted—simply because there was no market for the recycled material?
Determined to act, but unsure of how, Genia did what she does best—she talked to people. She talked to local and international recycling plants, she talked to innovative material manufacturers, she talked to lecturers and craftspeople and designers and sustainability experts. And each meeting led her to the same conclusion—there was so much potential in ‘waste’ that wasn’t being realised.
Genia dug deeper, studying Sustainable Value Chains at Cambridge University and discovering the untapped potential of innovative recycled materials rescued from landfill.
There wasn’t much of a ‘market’ yet for these recycled materials, especially premium, recycled leather.
So she created one. And BEEN London was born.
Drawn to handcrafted, quality items made by real artists with generations of experience, her aim was to combine innovation with local skills and heritage. And after studying Accessories Design at London College of Fashion, and finding one of the last bag-makers in East London, the first BEEN London bag launched on Kickstarter.
A story of collaboration from start to finish, BEEN London is the result of so many peer conversations about design and development, of hundreds of people’s financial pledges—from Kickstarter to SEEDRS in 2020—and of customer feedback along the way.
We are now an all-female team based in London Fields, and take enormous pride in naming every bag we make after our favourite places around the area.
Everyone involved has the same intention: to help BEEN London have a real, measurable impact on the fashion industry by proving that waste can become beautiful, inside and out.
That includes you… we wouldn’t be here without your incredible support, so thank you!