back

Meet the three sisters behind GROUNDTRUTH, a new sustainable lifestyle brand

9 November 2020

April French Furnell

New to the market, but years in development and research, GROUNDTRUTH offers high performance products made from recycled plastic bottles. British sisters Sophia, Georgia and Nina Scott founded GROUNDTRUTH to drive positive change and their journey so far has seen them develop their own sustainable materials including a bespoke, recycled premium fabric using plastic waste collected from landfills, waterways and oceans worldwide.

Their debut RIKR range – tested by British explorer and environmentalist Robert Swan - suitable for the extreme Arctic or urban city environments, includes a signature backpack, technical tote, tote bags, laptop carrier, camera bag, travel wallet and card holder. The entire collection is created from 100% premium recycled materials and each RIKR 24L backpack alone reuses 120 discarded plastic bottles.

Citywealth’s April French Furnell spoke to the sisters to find out what it takes to launch a new sustainable product, working successfully as a family and what’s next on the horizon.

Citywealth: Talk us through your journey.

SOPHIA: Our journey really started as filmmakers on the ground filming communities and environments affected by drought, famine, climate change and conflict. We never had the right backpack to carry our camera kit from smart city meetings, onto planes and out into the field in some remote part of the world. We wanted a bag that could transit with us between our different lifestyles. With so much of our work as filmmakers spent filming on rubbish dumps being witness to massive amounts of plastics filtering into the sea, we wanted to try and clean some of this up. We hope to prove that it’s possible to build and run a super sustainable company that does not add pollution to our planet. 

GEORGIA: We founded GROUNDTRUTH with a commitment to protect our natural environment and at the same time to protect the people who make the products. We wanted to actively play a part in changing the fashion industry from within - to innovate new eco friendly materials created from waste and to build a new and more sustainable way of working. I am sure we have a lot to learn yet - but to us it is vital to establish strong and responsible foundations. GROUNDTRUTH was born out on the road in terms of our design philosophy but also our deep rooted desire to create positive change for people and our planet. Over the years as documentary filmmakers we developed strong investigative skills and have applied these skills to the creation of GROUNDTRUTH. We still spend lengthy periods of time out in the field on the ground as we did as filmmakers but now it is building transparent supply chains or innovating and testing new design features or textiles. 

NINA: Collaboration and working together to find sustainable solutions is where my passion lies. Back in 2017 when Georgia and Sophia first approached me to join them on this journey in creating GROUNDTRUTH I jumped at the opportunity. Bringing together our diverse set of skills, including my knowledge and experience from my previous work in the textile world, has been central in building the foundations of GROUNDTRUTH. 

 

Citywealth: What was the most difficult challenge you faced whilst bringing your products to market?

NINA: One of our biggest challenges was to get all elements on the bag to be made from 100% recycled material while maintaining high durability and performance. It took us nearly two years to source and test the selected range of textiles and to also develop our own bespoke high performance textile, the GT-RK-001. 

GEORGIA: The entire development stage from design to the creation of our bespoke material has been far more costly than we anticipated. At every turn our costs were higher doing it the sustainable way - but the more companies adopt the same principles the more the costs can come down for recycled materials. It’s also about changing the consumer's mindset, that we all have to pay a little more for a product to ensure it does not have a damaging environmental footprint or harmful to the people who are actually making the product.  

Citywealth: What’s your advice for working together successfully as a family?

SOPHIA: We have total trust, respect and love for each other. By really wanting the best for each other, it takes away any unhealthy competition and makes working together a real collaborative process. We believe that this will help drive the company forward with an organic and sustainable growth curve. We are very democratic and have always felt that having open dialogue is key to a successful team, family or partnership - and have applied this throughout our supply chain and workflow. 

NINA: It’s also really important to have fun whilst working and to know when to switch off from work talk! I think at times the line between work and personal life is blurred and there perhaps needs to be a boundary - we are still working on that. 

 

Citywealth: What should your advisers understand about your family dynamic?

GEORGIA: From a young age we have been on the move, travelling with our parents who worked within the theatre world in Berlin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and more.  So from a young age we learnt to adapt to unknown situations, whether it was a new city, country, language or culture. I think this has been a central part in the way we work now and how we have built GROUNDTRUTH to date. We have always been each others best friend so never just sisters, this has laid the foundations for a team who move together and strive for the best for each other. 

Citywealth: What’s next for the company?

SOPHIA: We are currently designing our second range scheduled to be released in Autumn 2021, it will be the ultimate waterproof range. We are working on some very innovative materials, so this bag will be advanced in terms of textile innovation but also design functionality. The environmental story attached to this range is all about deforestation and the need to protect the forests and wildlife, these bags will be tried and tested in Borneo highlighting important work of local conservationists. This story will resonate especially now with COVID-19 and knowing that the encroachment of human activities into the delicate ecosystem gives rise to infectious diseases. 

NINA: One of our key objectives is that our GROUNDTRUTH products never end up in landfill. We use all of the offcuts from our manufacturing to create our smaller items such as the RIKR card holder. We are in the process of setting up regional projects where old backpacks are donated to community projects for disadvantaged school children to use.  I am excited when I look at our path ahead - from pushing the boundaries within the world of material innovation to our technical design philosophy that we are continuing to build.

GEORGIA: In every aspect of business we strive to be truly climate positive - for us this is a long-term objective and a journey that continues to evolve. Our aim is for GROUNDTRUTH to become known as a global sustainable brand and a trusted company that is at the forefront of materials innovation.

 

View the full range at the website.

LinkedIn