Behind the scenes at Be For Change with founder Ana
We are so happy to be finally stocking Ana’s gorgeous brand at Frankly. There has been chats, a global pandemic, more chats & finally it’s here! We love the clean simplicity of Ana’s designs & the fact the each piece repurposes waste that would have otherwise ended up in landfill!!
Today we meet Ana to find out what goes on behind the scenes at Be For Change.
Starting at the beginning, please could you tell us a bit about the back story of Be For Change? What was it that first inspired you to launch a brand that makes use of waste materials?
Of course! It all started at the end of 2015 when the UK implemented the 5p charge on disposable plastic bags. I loved the idea of it, I had been using tote bags before but realized how small cotton tote bags were, and that the material wasn’t very hardwearing. So I decided to make my own, and after a couple of tries I had a design I was really happy with. After getting a few enquiries about where I had gotten my bag, I realized that other people were struggling with the same problem! I decided to make a small production run and to do so from fabrics being thrown away, which I knew to be a huge problem in the supply chain, because you can find great quality materials and for free.
A couple of years later I decided to turn this project into an actual company - which is when the real challenge started!
I ADORE your new wonky bucket bag - what would you say makes your products extra special?
Thank you so much! This design in particular is very close to my heart, it feels like it’s been years in the making!
I try to combine a modern aesthetic with traditional craftsmanship, while showcasing the beauty of the materials I work with. I like to think that it’s the respect I have for the materials that others deemed waste that makes my pieces special.
It’s been a challenging year for all of us…. Have you had to adapt Be For Change at all to get through it?
It really has been an incredibly challenging year, I think for all of us at a personal level and for small businesses maybe even more so.
At the start of the year I was at a trade show and was preparing for business to boom, late in February I slowed production down because there was uncertainty and shops were holding back from placing orders, in March everything came to a halt!
I actually decided to go stay with my family for what I expected to be a few weeks, and ended up being a few months.
During that time I started putting my sewing and design skills to use by making masks for my loved ones and then to donate and finally to start selling. Given that my business was losing money, at the end of May I decided to make masks available on the Be For Change website and I was lucky enough to get the support of our community! Without them I’m not sure I’d still be in business at the moment.
What is your favourite part of your job?
Receiving a new package of material to upcycle, starting a new business partnership and hearing from my customers are my favourite parts of this job!
What are your dreams for the future of Be For Change?
I would love to be able to employ a small team someday and train a new generation of makers who understand how to work with materials that are less than perfect, but more soulful because of that!
Another dream is to collaborate with larger companies and create products out of their own waste materials, helping them to achieve circularity within their production chains.
And finally, because at Frankly we are obsessed with food can you share a favourite recipe with us? Or if you really don’t do cooking, a favourite restaurant…..
Ahhh, I love to cook but I’m the worst at following recipes! Combine that with being generally busy and I’ll leave you with a really simple staple in my kitchen: a Warm Salad of Roast Veggies - every bit as simple as it sounds!
Turn on the oven and prepare a tray of seasonal vegetables (currently I’m using sweet potatoes or squash, aubergine, cauliflower and mushrooms). As seasoning I add salt and pepper, smoked paprika and roughly chopped garlic, coat it all with a drizzle of olive oil. I put the harder vegetables in first, and the rest about 15min later, the tray stays in the oven for about 40min at 200ºC, and I always cook enough for several meals.
10min before the baking is finished, I boil plenty of water in a pan, add a swoosh of vinegar to the boiling water and poach a couple of eggs (you can soft boil instead if you prefer).
Finally I grab myself a nice bowl or deep plate, mix my roast vegetables with some fresh spinach or rocket and gently place the eggs on top!
If I’m feeling fancy I add a little bit of dressing (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, a spoon of tahini paste and grainy mustard).
The following days I serve the leftover vegetables with couscous or quinoa, or work them into a tomato sauce to have with pasta (excellent with seeds sprinkled on top!).
When I’m in more of a hurry, I grab a piece of toast, spread with hummus and top with the vegetables. 2 min and lunch is served ;-)
Shop Be For Change here