Bridgitte Alomes, our founder and CEO, had the opportunity to share more about the impact Natural Pod is committed to making in the world, with the support of local partnerships. ~ Article by Rebecca Keillor, published by the Vancouver Sun, BC, Canada.
When Bridgitte Alomes’ son was small, he had an allergic reaction to the toxic chemicals found in one of his toys. It sent Alomes on a path she would never have expected. Wondering how many other children and their families were experiencing the same thing, she did a lot of research and found that there wasn’t much available in the way of sustainable, consciously-sourced options for children’s furniture and classroom furniture in general.
Alomes founded Natural Pod 10 years ago — of which she is CEO — intending to produce products made from sustainable (non-toxic) materials as an alternative to fast furniture.
According to Alomes, what appeals to people most about Natural Pod furniture is that it doesn’t necessarily cost you more to buy sustainably-made products that are good for the environment and your health. “You’d be very surprised,” she says.
Many of Natural Pod’s clients are early learning centres, schools, libraries and other public spaces. Many local classrooms, daycares, preschools and neighbourhood houses, including the Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES), have its products.
Natural Pod saw a surge in interest in its conscious furniture, which is made from natural, non-toxic wood. It partnered with like-minded B.C. brands Unbuilders, Halfmoon and ChopValue for this collection. (Photo credit: Mellissa Martin Photography)
The health pandemic has created a surge of interest in its furniture, which Alomes suspects is because they see the products as reflective of nature (made from natural, non-toxic wood) and celebrating sustainably and locally made, she says. “Ultimately, for me, I want children to be outdoors,” she states. So any way to connect kids to the outdoors (even through materials you use indoors) is a win.
Alomes compares the growing interest in conscious furniture as being akin to the organics movement.
“People are asking, if not now, when?” she says.
Natural Pod has now made furniture for thousands of learning environments across Canada and the United States, and as far afield as Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Bahrain, India and Dubai. Ten years after her son’s incident, Alomes says she partners with like-minded people who have similar values and are interested in having natural elements and a sense of connectivity in learning environments.
Natural Pod products are “heirloom quality,” meaning they last for generations, and can ultimately be put back in the earth without damaging it, says Alomes.
Natural Pod has recently formed a coalition with some other B.C. brands that prioritize sustainability and have a good global impact in an industry (furniture production) not known for its environmentalism. These brands include ChopValue (who recycle chopsticks), Unbuilders (who deconstruct buildings and reuse the materials) and Halfmoon (yoga and meditation goods) and are creating furniture and accessories collections together.
“The question that comes about is, what is possible when you rely on values that matter and what happens when you put children at the centre?” says Alomes.
Children learn a lot through storytelling, she says. So when you create learning environments that feature interesting furniture made from interesting materials, you create an opportunity to talk to them about the importance of where we get our materials and the impact on our health and the environment, she says.
“A student will enquire, where did this Unbuilders’ table come from, and then the story begins,”