Even though here at Bellabeat we are not perfect, and did and will make many mistakes on our path, the responsibility to our environment is as much our core value as our responsibility to our users. We see the health of our environment as a big part of our personal well-being, so when we took up the challenge of helping women improve their well-being, we knew we’re also taking on the challenge of doing better as a brand. This is why we continuously seek to learn and challenge ourselves the way we design, ship & sell our products.
Inspired By Nature
Bellabeat’s design is inspired by nature and the modern way of living.
I still vividly remember working on our first product ever, Leaf Nature, back in 2014 and 2015. It was a process of many hours of brainstorming, sketching, and modeling. I knew I wanted to create something completely different than anything on the market at the time. As one would expect, most consumer tech products at the time were plastic, clunky and visually unappealing. I never thought plastic as a material was particularly ugly. I knew that it had many applications and treatments due to which the material allows creating aesthetically impressive forms and finishes, while also being easy to produce, light and with terrific mechanical properties.
However, I believed that as someone working on launching a product that will be produced and sold in mass quantities I am responsible for evaluating the materials I will choose to use based on their impact on our environment as well. I wanted Bellabeat to at least try and find alternatives that are easy and safe, even if that meant embarking on a very challenging path.
Leaf Nature: wood and stainless steel. Rubber is used as a seal between the wooden housing, and the metal clip and plastic is used as for PCB plate and holder.
Even today, 5 years later, avoiding plastic and using natural, eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes for consumer products, especially in tech is challenging. At the moment, materials that would have similar properties as plastic are still hard to find and work with. In wearable tech, water resistance and longevity are the main problems when it comes to using other materials. After many trials and errors in working with natural wood to develop a wearable, we especially struggled with mechanical design and production challenges. It wasn’t easy to find a factory that didn’t think we were crazy for wanting to embed a PCB into a piece of wood that you’re supposed to wear as jewelry. In the end, we were lucky to have found one that cared more about taking our money than what they thought of our idea. :)
Leaf Urban: wood composite (25% of wooden particles mixed with plastic) and stainless steel. Rubber is used as a seal between the wooden housing, and the metal clip and plastic is used as for PCB plate and holder.
A couple of years later when we launched Leaf Urban, more materials were available on the market already. We chose to replace the wood with a wood composite, a new material that had a specific rustic look. Wood composite is a material that combines wooden particles and dust -- waste material -- and plastic. We decided on this material because it allowed us to improve the mechanical properties of our housing while reducing the amount of plastic needed to make it. Alongside using stainless steel for the clip, we made sure we used as little plastic as necessary to create a wearable that is water resistant and durable.
In With The Old
Leaf Chakra: wood composite (25% of wooden particles mixed with plastic) and stainless steel. Natural Crystal is embedded in the metal clip. Rubber is used as a seal between the wooden housing, and the metal clip and plastic is used as for PCB plate and holder.
When it comes to environment protection, the biggest problem we face are actually not the materials from which our products are made of. Even decomposable materials come at a high cost caused by their sourcing and being turned into products.
The biggest issue we have right now is actually our relationship with the products we buy. It’s our perspective that the majority of things in our daily lives are temporary, disposable. We don’t really pay attention to what we buy because we can return it anyway and we’d much sooner throw something away and replace with something new than invest effort into taking care of, maintaining and repairing what we already have.
When we work on our products, an aspect of design we pay attention to is their modularity. Modularity is not necessary just because it allows the user to accessorize and personalize their product but because it makes it easier to replace parts when needed, without having to discard and replace the whole product.
That’s why when we do use plastic due to its mechanical properties, and in products like Spring hygienical, we feel like we’re using it sensibly and in a smart way. Especially when it’s making them easier to maintain and more durable. The durability of our hardware and making sure to deliver innovation and technical improvements that don’t require a new device is crucial in enabling our users to keep the same product for longer without having to compromise on the experience. We feel that in this way, we’re supporting our users in their efforts to behave responsibly.
Towards A Healthier Future
Spring: glass body with rubber grips, plastic neck, and lid. Rubber is used for seals and to enclose the plastic chamber containing sensor technology. All parts that come in contact with liquid are machine washable.
At Bellabeat we are aware that we still have much room for improvement in the way we produce, package and distribute products and operate as a company. However big the challenges, this is not something we shy away from but take on with a sense of responsibility and duty. That’s why every bit of our brand’s operation, processes, and outputs is continuously examined and improved on.
We hope that our products will help our users improve their wellness while at the same time remind us all that behaving in a responsible way to our environment is also a way of taking care of ourselves.