An Interview With Sustainable Design Company: Moorbi

 

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When it comes to moving forward with the times and following their business know-how and acumen in the design and fashion industry, not a lot of companies are representing this notion like Moorbi. Moorbi is an online business which bills itself as “the affordable upcycle marketplace” dealing in sustainability and design. Upcycling (for the uninitiated) is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

Moorbi is the first Social-Commerce focused on turning Sustainable Design Industry into an online and democratic Industry. We started with launching our online e-commerce less than 2 months ago, collecting sustainable designers and their products from Design Weeks of all over the world. Their products range from homewares including furniture and decoration to fashion including garments, accessories and textiles. These goods combine sustainability and design for all, allowing the customer to enjoy timeless pieces famous for their simplicity and originality.

I talked to Moorbi Co-Founder, Martina Basile in more detail about the unique aspects of Moorbi, their future plans and their views on e-commerce and technology in business and the direction that these fields are heading in.

Tell us more about Moorbi and how the name came about?
We’ve been into design, sustainability and the online world for ages. Moorbi.com is the desired baby of all our passions. Design has always been in our lives, like a work of art sometimes without a price tag, making rooms and houses like magazine covers, unique in the world.
We see a future where people will be able to get unique items and products, and looking forward – we decided to provide people with strictly sustainable designs and creative and unseen products, to give a valid and sustainable alternative that doesn’t exist yet.
We are a team of people passionate about design, sustainability and revolution.
Moorbi was the name of a toy I made out of waste and old cloth when I was a child. It was quite ugly but screamingly funny – I remember it was quite crooked, unfinished but uniquely mine.

What gave you the idea to start up such a dynamic design business?
As Victor Papanek – the godfather of sustainable design – said in 1972 “There are professions more harmful than design, but only a few”.
I did not pick up this idea, it would be more correct to say that it has always been on my mind.
We know that 80% of the environmental impacts of products and services are determined in the early stages of design, the one that is also dictating trends for bulk produced copies for mass market.
So, we imagine a world where designers will help to build a sustainable future, where the sustainability movement can get more out of design being less hippie and more appealing to consumers’ desires, and where the community will know that sustainability is normal as the ultimate design brief.

The world is starting to see a growth in sustainable resourceful companies in terms of eco-friendly clothing ranges and designers. What makes your company unique in terms of how it’s embracing this change?
1. Moorbi is not focused neither on sustainability or design/fashion only, but is aiming to democratize a niche market “sustainably”, making people enjoy unique, green and unseen designer items.
2. We aim to extend our portfolio and give online exposure to thousands more designers around the world. Thus, making people smile and getting not only mass produced items, but one offs and limited editions at reasonable prices (until now sold in galleries for prices up to 70% more than on Moorbi).
3. We don’t only focus on “more sustainable materials or marketing campaigns” like the majority of brands and big companies are doing right now, but we are confident we can refresh the system itself looking more at a cradle-to-cradle system for any everyday product.
4. We are young, cool and online. Something that in the “too traditional” Design and Fashion Industry has gone since many years ago.

How do you feel that technology and e-commerce are helping to bridge the gap of being knowledgeable about sustainable design, online shopping and product quality?
Technology is definitely helping to bridge the gap of awareness. In my opinion, mainly because it’s very democratic and open source. Everyone can be online, no matter whether they are big multinationals or small shops. Everyone can have a say about things and let people know about the dark shadows of a certain society, company or person. Technology helps people to get more power in front of big chains and corporates, which also explain the increase of interest in sustainability they had consequently with the increase of consumer awareness. Technology will drive the change in all fields and industries, this is what’s happening.

What would say is the main difference and selling point of sustainable design?
Sustainable Design is built-to-last and has a cradle-to-cradle approach on production process. This means that looking forward, it will establish an eco-conscious attention to the entire life-cycle. From a selling point of view, sustainable design is something that gives you both what you need (function), what you want (desire of something unique in the world), and what is necessary (lowering environmental impact and waste for a healthier future).

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What do you think the future holds for this ever-evolving and rapidly increasing industry?
I think there will be more and more space for creative and green designers, instead of designers focused only on “aesthetic” products. And what I can say is that Moorbi wants to drive this attitude through the youngest generation of designers, inspiring them to a more “intelligent” and sustainable way to work, design and make.

Does anything inspire your creativity?
I love reading. Mainly, books have been inspiring me. One of the latest I read and gave me more than what I was expecting, has been William McDonough‘s book, Cradle to Cradle.
In this book, McDonough and Braungart argue that the conflict between industry and the environment is not an indictment of commerce but an outgrowth of purely opportunistic design. The design of products and manufacturing systems growing out of the Industrial Revolution reflected the spirit of the day – and yielded a host of unintended yet tragic consequences. Sustainability is a revolution basically, it should not be simply a trend.

What eclectic direction are you looking to take your company? What’s the next step/ambition?
Moorbi wants to establish a local-production mentality globally over the next five years, we see a globalisation in reverse.
We are 100% focused on building a sustainable future and to better the whole world through design. Everyone’s a tastemaker and an artist and would love to own something special and unique in the world. Bad design always gets under our skins.

Who would you love to collaborate with company/designer-wise?
We love collaborating, I believe collaboration is the only way to build a good future. So, why should I have preferences? Big or small companies, known or unknown organisations are all more than welcome at Moorbi’s.

Any other creative projects lined up?
I can say that we have the next steps lined up and it will be amazing, but my mouth is zipped for now – we want this project to grow with people and adapt to Moorbiers’ needs.

What advice would you give to budding companies in the sustainable business field?
To not be scared to group all together and collaborate for a more sustainable and richer life.

 

You can keep up to date with Moorbi and its environmentally-friendly sustainable products via their website.

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