Innovation studio

The Big Beanbag Company (ATI1)

“It all started with a love of beanbags and a dislike for what goes into them”, says David Crawford, one of the three founding Directors at The Big Beanbag Company. From running a marketing company, David had always wanted to set up a company selling a product and whilst sat at home on a Styrofoam filled beanbag, the idea came to him – to make a high-quality bean bag as eco-friendly as possible.

What’s the innovation?

The Big Beanbag Company have redesigned the traditional bean bag for comfort, style and for those with an environmentally conscious mind. Filled with BioFoam® beads, a compostable biopolymer made from plants, their bean bags are a world first! They’re using materials that have been carefully chosen to have minimal impact on the environment, such as a 100% cotton weave outer fabric, an inner lining made from calico and by using threads manufactured from recycled plastic bottles.

Why are they doing it

Keen to reduce plastics, waste and their impact on the environment, the directors of The Big Beanbag Company “searched far and wide for an eco-alternative that wouldn’t compromise the quality and comfort of the bean bag”. Their search proved futile; it didn’t exist. Therefore,they decided to take matters into their own hands and fill a gap in the beanbag market. Their company has a strong eco-friendly ethos, one which encourages its customers to refill, reuse, reinvent and recycle its beanbags. All of which is possible now that it has a BioFoam® filling and interchangeable covers.

What have they achieved so far?

When the founders of The Big Beanbag Company first got into contact with ATI, they came to us with an idea. They have come a long way since then, having researched and perfected their product; to launching their sales website. Now based out of premises in Callington, The Big Beanbag Company has successfully set up their first production line and are manufacturing their eco-friendly bean bag ready for distribution. One of their recent successes saw the sale of their bean bag to Olympic and world rowing champion, Helen Glover, who loves their sustainable ethos – fantastic news!

What business support have they received?

After surveying the business support available to them via the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Growth & Skills Hub, The Big Beanbag Company got into contact with ATI seeking research and innovation expertise to help identify the best materials to back up their eco-friendly credentials. Working closely with their Business Innovation Advisor and Innovation Champion, they were able to review all the viable options for their bean bag. With access to world-class research and resources at the University of Plymouth, ATI were quickly able to highlight the BioFoam® filling as a potential solution for their beanbag – a material which completely changed the final outcome of their product.