Brand Spotlight - Q&A with Evan Lewis of VENT for Change
VENT for Change are a UK based sustainable stationery brand that helps protect the planet and supports children’s education projects worldwide. You can find them inside our sustainable gift hampers on our website. They have a truly unique and impactful story and one we think you will love. So we caught up with their founder, Evan Lewis to tell us more about how he got started, the amazing work VENT for Change do around the world and what’s next for this fast growing brand.
Firstly, we’d love to hear how you got started in the world of social entrepreneurship and how the idea for VENT for Change came about?
I've actually been an environmental entrepreneur since 2005 and run a wholesale business selling all things recycled, biodegradable, fairtrade, sustainable etc. As part of that business in 2014 I bought an old set of machinery to turn recycled plastic into pencils. I wanted to turn my attention to people as well as the planet so I started giving the pencils to education charities around the world, I also set up a Global Education Awareness Day in 2017. By 2019 we had designed a full range of eco stationery that could be sold to help generate essential funds for education projects globally.
You do some incredible work with educational projects around the world, can you tell us more about how your business supports these organisations?
10% of our net turnover goes towards existing projects - getting children back to school or training teachers, building schools or supporting education in the community. We don't give on a profit basis, they are hard to come by these days. We give 10% from the first product sold to the last.
What has been your biggest business highlight so far?
We consider our retailers to be our Ambassadors, hearing the feedback from them as well as lovely comments coming back from those that buy online is a daily highlight. We've had set backs with the pandemic like everyone but we know there are people out there desperate to buy responsibly and put purpose before profit. Being singled out by people keen to support what we stand for is amazing.
We absolutely love the design of your products, how do you go about your design process – do you start with sourcing materials or do you have a particular product in mind first?
We want to design beautiful products with impeccable eco credentials so we have to consider both from the start to the finish. Materials are important and then what aesthetic style can be achieved on those materials. Mixing materials gives us a chance to play with our design, sometimes just to let the material do the talking, other times to allow our creative juices to take the lead.
Hard question but do you have a favourite VENT for Change product?
You're right it is hard but secretly I do. I'm quite straight forward as a person and I love the minimalist, proud and unashamedly recycled A5 Write books with their grey board covers and subtle branding. (These can be selected in the Build Your Own Gift section of Social Stories Club's website.)
And finally, what’s next for VENT for Change? Is there anything you are really excited about for the future?
We feel like we lost a year to the pandemic so we're super excited to be back at the coal-face again, connecting with more people and developing new ranges. We're really excited to get our products out and about in front of as many as possible. The more we can sell the more we can support.
We hope you enjoyed this interview as much as we did! If you would like to learn more about VENT for Change and the amazing work they are doing you can check out their website here! You can also find VENT for Change products as part of our Build Your Own Gift and the Journaling Letterbox Gift in the Social Stories Club shop.
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