Introducing a brand we love: BEEN London.
BEEN London is an award-winning accessories brand celebrated for creating products made entirely from recycled materials. Founded by an ex-BBC journalist Genia Mineeva, BEEN London is on a mission to change the perception of discarded materials. Prioritising social impact and sustainability, the team behind the brand has since been combining innovation with local skills and heritage to create thoughtful products designed with functionality and durability in mind.
Meet Genia Mineeva, founder of the innovative accessories brand BEEN London and discover more about her journey through business and the importance of sustainability in fashion.
What is your story and what inspired you to create BEEN London?
I’ve always been a big believer in the power of business to create change. In my previous life, I was a news journalist at the BBC and worked for a number of amazing global NGOs, but the idea of a social enterprise, a company built around solving an environmental or a social problem always felt like one of the most efficient ways of achieving change.
After watching a documentary about waste, mentoring lots of inspiring social entrepreneurs and a degree in sustainability later, BEEN London was born. The idea was simple, to rescue materials that would otherwise end up in landfill and turn them into beautiful and practical items that you and I would want to use every day.
What sets us apart is every element of our accessories has a story. The zips used to be plastic bottles, the linings are made from discarded clothes that have been reworked into luxurious Italian recycled cotton. The felt we use in our laptop cases are made from old IKEA and KLM uniforms shredded and remade into stunning soft felt. We’re a tiny all-female team and every piece is made by hand here, in East London.
What does sustainability mean to you and how is this reflected in everything you do at BEEN London?
Sustainability is never black and white. It's a scale. And even though we have received dozens of sustainability awards over the past three years, there’s always room for doing better. We see it as a journey. In fact, we only added the sustainability section to our website a few weeks ago. Not because it was an afterthought or a marketing exercise, but because it was the the core idea behind BEEN London. We are here to help our customers create the change they want to see.
On average all BEEN London's accessories have an 87% lower carbon footprint than anything you see on the high street.
What inspires the designs across all the collections at BEEN London?
British VOGUE once described our aesthetic as ‘scandi meets Greek island chic’ which I thought was quite accurate. I spend quite a bit of time on a small Cycladic island in Greece so this really does influence the design. Our bags are always made with practicality and clean design in mind, plus quite a bit of joy.
Oh and we love colour - I’m very excited about some new colour options coming out this summer. Pine Green, Forget-Me-Not Blue, Oat and a darker, richer shade of our Desert Tan. They’ll be joining our existing Coral Red, Back Onyx, Red Wine, Ripe Mango and everyone’s favourite Rainforest Green.
Are there any innovations or future plans for BEEN London that you’re happy to share?
We’re always thinking of the next big innovation and are currently working on a ground-breaking home compostable leather alternative as well as reworking other companies' discarded materials into new products. We’ve recently launched a collaboration with DHL upcycling their used Formula 1 banners and are collaborating with a number of global brands to help them reimagine their materials.
What is your favorite BEEN London accessory you have designed so far?
I’m a forever fan of our Ridley crossbody. We’re about to launch a Mini Ridley which I’m very lucky to be testing at the moment, and it's a delight!