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bamboo sunglasses and wooden watches: inside a success story

Bamboo sunglasses and wooden watches for a better world. What drives someone to create revolutionary products that are sustainable through and through?

For today's post we're joined by our brand partner Javier from Livegens, a company that makes plastic-free sunglasses and watches, all handmade in bamboo wood, with a wide range of colours and models, and with UV protection.

But it's not as interesting if we just tell you their story as it is for Javier, Livegens founder, to tell you about it himself!

Ready? Let's get started!

1. What is Livegens and what motivated you to start the project?

Livegens is a sustainable fashion and social impact brand, in which bamboo sunglasses and wooden watches are the star products. It is a family project led by two enterprising brothers in search of a better world, in search of social and environmental sustainability. For some time now we have wanted to start something together, and to do so we decided to combine two of our greatest concerns: green entrepreneurship and environmental care.

2. Why did you decide to go into sustainable fashion? Do you think fashion is changing?

The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry on the planet, and we wanted to provide solutions to promote sustainability and more responsible consumption. Coruña is a cosmopolitan city with a great tradition in the textile sector, a kind of Madrid in the northwest of Spain, ideal for entrepreneurship and innovation in fashion. As we come from the countryside, specifically from the Fornela Valley, we thought it was a good idea to translate the contact with nature that we have always had since we were children into a sustainable fashion brand.

3. Can you tell us about the manufacturing process of your products, and what makes them sustainable?

All our products are handmade, biodegradable and 100% plastic-free, one of the maxims of the project. In our production process we only use FSC certified wood, endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council, which guarantees sustainable forest management. In addition, we are committed to fair trade and our brand is endorsed by the Spanish Sustainable Fashion Association, a prestigious European organization in which I am currently the delegate for Galicia and the northwest of the peninsula.

4. Why bamboo and not other types of wood?

Firstly because of its exponential growth capacity. Bamboo is considered the most sustainable species and regenerates continuously, guaranteeing responsible management of the natural environment. It is also a very light, durable and resistant type of wood, which prolongs the useful life of the products. It is considered the steel of wood and for all its properties, it is the basis of our sustainable complements.

As our slogan says, "Plant the seed of bamboo in your life".

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5. What other actions apart from selling the product do you carry out?

We have read that you carry out social work with university students, beaches, among others.

The project is closely linked to social and environmental sustainability, in which we combine different social and environmental projects: cleaning natural environments (beaches, rivers, mountains, etc.), environmental education actions, the fight against single-use plastics, promoting green and rural tourism... We have also earmarked part of our profits for charitable causes, such as supporting the AECC in the fight against cancer or social projects in Cuba. In recent months, we have received several recognitions and awards for our work in the fields of sustainability and green entrepreneurship, and once we overcome the health crisis we hope to further enhance this social and environmental work, which is one of the hallmarks of the Livegens project.

6. Do you think that consumers are increasingly opting for more conscious and respectful purchasing choices?

Yes, we are progressing more slowly than we would like, but social awareness is growing, although in my opinion it is necessary to promote environmental education from an early age, including a subject in the school curriculum for adolescents and children. In this way we will instil environmental values in the youngest children, so that in adulthood they will take care of the natural environment and opt for more responsible consumption.

7. How has the Covid-19 situation affected you? What have you learned?

The situation has been and continues to be complicated, as we started the project in 2019, just a few months before the pandemic broke into our lives. However, after the initial shock, we decided to work even harder to move the project forward, looking for solutions instead of lamenting or making excuses. Personally, I have learned to reinvent myself, to be stronger and to fight to move forward with this project, which of all the projects I have undertaken is the one that fulfils me the most.

8. Do you have plans to internationalise and sell your products in other countries?

Yes, in fact we are already immersed in an incipient phase of internationalisation, with some sales to Europe and the United States. If we do things right, we are convinced that once the pandemic is over we will become competitive in other international markets. In these difficult months for trade, we are planting the seeds to reinforce the project's international vocation.

9. What has been the biggest sustainability challenge you have faced and how have you overcome it?

Probably the elimination of plastic in all our products, as unfortunately it is a material that is very ingrained in our daily lives. You only have to visit a beach or recycle at home on a small scale to realise that we throw away more plastic waste than organic waste. At Livegens we advocate the elimination of single-use plastics, which is why all our products are made from natural materials (bamboo, wood, cork or organic cotton) and are plastic free.

10. Where do you expect to see Livegens in 2 years?

Consolidated as a sustainable brand in the market, with a more powerful social work to raise awareness and a clear international projection, in which we hope to go hand in hand with Clovereed.

And we see them there, too! Find Livegens products on Clovereed right here!

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