It was the words of author Anna Lappé, who said: “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want,” that inspired Don Garvan to start furniture brand Totem Road.
Committed to minimising the impact of our modern throwaway culture, Don began creating a range of timeless timber pieces that not only looked amazing but also made a difference socially, environmentally and ecologically. “If you want to encourage more conscious consumerism you have to create products and a community that people love and connect with,” explains Don. “There’s a lot of talk about sustainability at the moment but for us it goes beyond materials and environment. It extends to the communities and everyone that is involved in every part of the Totem Road process, it’s about giving and taking in equal measure.”
[contextly_sidebar id=”KuNyKFMb6XctsNKzESwbQTdMFQFEIfh4″]From initial idea to final product, careful consideration is taken at every step. On a tangible level it starts at the timber, which comes from sustainable sources with a fully traceable chain of custody, and ends at the packaging, which is made from recycled paper materials. However, for Don, sustainability goes far beyond that. “What really makes Totem Road environmentally friendly is creating pieces that are made to last a life time… or three! Classic simple designs made from high quality and solid sustainable natural materials are more likely to survive those style makeovers and less likely to end up in land fill. That’s really what it means to Totem Road to be environmentally friendly.”
Offering furniture for the bedroom, dining room and living room, the furniture is designed in Sydney and crafted in Vietnam, by a small team of furniture makers whom Don first worked with over 20 years ago! With a definite mid-century, Scandinavian influence, Totem Road use all solid natural materials, creating a connection with nature. “We focus on simple designs that are carefully considered, allowing the materials to speak for themselves and inform the overall construction. Our intention from the start is to create pieces that will enable you to evolve your own personal style and lay the foundation to a space.”
As a business that favours the beautiful and sustainable you would think it couldn’t get any better, but it does. With Totem Road donating 5% of all sales (that’s sales not profit) to a registered charity of your choice. “The charities we are involved with cover all the things that are important to us: people, community and environment. It’s a big part of who we are and part of a commitment to taking and giving back in equal measure. The plan is to eventually set up our own foundation that gives back to the communities involved in the making of our products.”