STARTING A SUSTAINABLE LIVING MOVEMENT - THE TOTEM ROAD STORY
You know the brand, but do you know the story? Read on if you’re ready to discover how a passion for authenticity, sustainability and simplicity became a brand committed to changing the way we think about furniture.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Totem Road’s founder, Don Garvan’s earliest vision was to create a range of purposefully designed furniture that honoured the natural environment. Growing up on a farm on the South Island of New Zealand is where Don grew a deep connection to nature and natural materials which is at the heart of the Totem Road ethos.
His appreciation for simplicity and authenticity would eventually be woven into a signature collection that embraced timeless design and sustainable living. Since the mid 1990’s Don had worked in close collaboration with a family-run furniture manufacturer in Vietnam and he saw an opportunity to create an authentic collection that was 100% committed to purposeful design and sustainability.
A SUSTAINABLE DIFFERENCE
In early 2014, Don started translating his passion for design and authenticity into a brand that would become synonymous with the sustainable living movement. Having previously worked in property marketing, Don realised there was a need for timeless furniture that stepped away from mass-consumerism and set out to create a brand committed to sustainability in all aspects of its business operations. After 12 months of hard work, Don finally created a supply chain that met the highest environmental requirements. From sourcing materials from forests that support biodiversity and regeneration to designing 100% recyclable and biodegradable packaging and developing a manufacturing process with one of the lowest wastage percentages in the industry. Don also ensured that he provided a positive and safe working environment for all of his employees across the globe. Then in 2015, Totem Road was finally launched.
TIMELESS DESIGN THAT REDUCES LANDFILL
With his sustainable supply chain in place, Don started working on the designs that would form the very essence of Totem Road. Working in close collaboration with his design team, the very first collection was brought to life featuring a simple yet luxurious aesthetic that could be appreciated across the globe. Taking inspiration from Scandinavian and mid-century design, Totem Road made a commitment to pieces that would transcend the trends and become a cherished part of the home for years to come. This approach to design reinforced Don's commitment to sustainability, by creating pieces that are crafted to last for generations to come as opposed to fast furniture items that end up in landfill.
A COMMITMENT TO PURPOSE
As Totem Road grew exponentially, there was greater pressure for Don to keep his business aligned with its bigger purpose. One that would see a minimisation of our environmental footprint and a shift away from a culture of mass-consumption. Don has ensured that all collaborations and connections forged through Totem Road are aimed at educating and inspiring individuals to rethink their approach to purchasing furniture. He has also ensured that every piece of Totem Road furniture comes with a transparent chain of custody from the forest to your home and regularly visits his manufacturing teams to ensure all aspects of the Totem Roads production process remain true to the brand philosophy. This has gained Totem Road recognition as a brand that has stayed true to its values from the beginning and will continue to do so into the future.
Discover more about our commitment to treading lightly and reducing our environmental footprint online here.
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