Jed and Will, co-founders of Rise & Fall, have built their business with transparency at its core. Making a point to understand the supply chain from end to end, they are creating luxury products with a focus on ethical practices. This Christmas, they will be using gifting for good to help Centerpoint in the battle against homelessness. Here is an insight into the inner workings of the brand…
What inspired you to launch Rise & Fall?
Our own experience searching for bedding. I wanted something super comfortable and I wanted to know both where and how it had been made. It was such a difficult process. I didn’t understand the jargon, prices seemed extortionate and no one could tell me which sheets would actually help me sleep better.
What are your sustainable priorities for the business?
We want to create the new standard for normal within our industry, proving that you can create premium products in a sustainable way and deliver them at a reasonable price. In terms of sustainability, that manifests itself through the reduction of carbon emissions. That’s why we have chosen to partner with a manufacturer who runs entirely on green energy, recycling and reusing 99% of the water used in production. We are also currently working on a project to start tracking our water and power usage so that we can set real targets for continual improvement.
How challenging has it been to maintain your eco principles?
It hasn’t been too difficult so far. We made the decision from the outset that we wanted to create our products in a way that we can be proud of. Our eco credentials form a huge part of our brand. We’ve found that putting stakes like these in the ground actually makes decision-making easier.
What have been your biggest milestones and triumphs until now?
Creating a better night’s sleep has been our highest priority since day one. So, when customers reach out to share how much they love the products and say that they are sleeping better as a result, that is the ultimate triumph for us.
What have been the main prohibitors to your progress in building a sustainable business?
Finding the right makers. Although the industry is certainly moving in the right direction, it was very difficult finding a manufacturer with not only aligned beliefs to ours but also one with the experience and expertise to deliver the final products to the highest standard. This mix also brings with it higher costs.
Do you feel pressure from your customers to be more environmentally friendly?
Not really to be honest. We’re pleased to say that our customers are very happy with our sustainable and ethical credentials.
What advice would you give to anyone hoping to launch a sustainable business?
It’s not about being perfect from day one. Focus on a few things that are important to you and execute on those first, then optimise. That is what we are all trying to do – be better than we were the day before.
Which other sustainable businesses have inspired you?
Allbirds. For us, they are a huge inspiration. The work that they are doing to develop renewable and responsible materials is amazing. Not to mention the fact they are planning on being carbon neutral by the end of the year. A great example for all.
Can you tell us about your Christmas promotion and how people can get involved?
Our Christmas gifting promotion this year is an extension of our ongoing support of Centrepoint – the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity. We always donate £3 from every set of sheets we sell. From December 3rd – 20th 2019, we will be donating all profits made from sales to Centrepoint. It is really easy for people to get involved – they simply need to make any purchase from the Rise & Fall range. With the addition of a monogramming service and three new colours in our Crisp & Cool Organic range, there are some great gifting options and we also offer ‘giftwrapping’ in the form of a card and string that you put around the Rise & Fall packaging. The card explains that the gift has helped young people who are living and sleeping rough through their donation.
Why did you decide to partner with Kate Waston-Smyth?
From the launch of Rise & Fall, Kate has been a supporter. She has been great for and to us, and included us in her Mad About The House blog early on. She has helped us along the way by advising on everything from trends to charitable approaches. She is also a great supporter of Centrepoint herself, outside of our dealings.
Do you think businesses/brands should include social partnerships within their plan? If so, how can they go about doing it?
Our ethics and sustainability credentials form a big part of the Rise & Fall brand. We want people to understand that bedding can be sourced and produced in a manner that not only minimises negative impact (99% of the water in the production of our textiles is recycled), but we can actively have a positive impact in the way we make our products – the workforce in our production facilities are encouraged to further their education whilst in employment, for example. So, yes! We think that every business should do their utmost. In terms of how to go about doing it, they need to approach it as a natural part of product or business development. When looking at implementing sustainability aspects, it should be seen as an investment, that can be recouped through sales. This makes it an easier sell internally and for shareholders who may otherwise opt for cheaper methods.
What are you hoping to achieve and do you think you will do more in the future?
Our relationship with, and support of Centrepoint is a long-term commitment that will continue next year in accordance to our agreement. In terms of what we are looking to accomplish, we are hoping to raise awareness of the severity of the homelessness situation many young people face in the UK today. We want to demonstrate that even small start-ups like ours, can, and should make a difference. We may be new to the market, and are still working our way to establishing ourselves, but we have a roof over our heads and this is our opportunity to give back a little. Obviously, we believe that this is something that resonates with our customers too.
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