In our 'Meet the Maker' section, we talk to the innovative founders, creative designers and genius brains behind the most popular brands in our range! This week we put the much loved brand Bitten in the spotlight. With their funky gift range full of colorful home accessories, this cheerful brand puts a smile on every face! But which creative person is hiding behind this brand?
Hi Bitten, can you introduce yourself?
"Hi! I'm Diana, Bitten's Creative Lead. After studying Journalism at the Hogeschool Utrecht and Styling at the Artemis Academy, I got my first job as Product Manager at Present Time. I learned a lot there and got a first insight I learned how to get from an idea to a product. I had a great time but still wanted something more of myself. And that's how I started Bitten together with my partner and a former colleague!"
What does Bitten stand for?
"Bitten stands for Bitten by the design bug. We want to make things that put a smile on your face, make you feel happy and that you don't just want to give to someone else as a gift, but especially to yourself. Spoil yourself more! "
How and when was Bitten founded?
"Bitten was founded in Hong Kong in 2008. After all three of us took the wild step of quitting our jobs, we headed to Hong Kong to design and produce the best gifts for wholesalers around the world. Within six months we had a small collection and we had our first stand at the Hong Kong Gift Fair!
In 2014 it started to gnaw again and we wanted to start selling our products under our own names. While we were still designing products for other companies, we also started our own wholesale business in Europe."
What was the very first Bitten design?
"One of our first products was the Huggable Corduroy Bear. A Huggable is a beanbag filled with wheat and lavender and once warmed up it relaxes your muscles, reduces your stomachache and gives you a warm hug in cold days. The idea arose when I received a cherry seed bag from my mother-in-law, and then I thought: 'nice product, but this could be much nicer, and better!' :-).
What is very nice is that the Huggable line has expanded over the years with many animals that now also have little brothers in the form of Pocket Pals .
And our trusty Huggable Corduroy Bear will retire in September 2023!"
What did you hope to achieve when you started Bitten?
"Become the nicest gift company where we all work hard, have a lot of freedom, visit nice places, meet nice people, stay curious and inspired. Work hard, play harder, isn't the saying?"
That's how it is! And would you say that you have achieved this goal?
"In part yes, the foundation has been laid, but there is still so much more that can be done! The battery and the plans are far from empty!"
What are you most proud of?
"That we always manage to create nice collections! There are always obstacles, things that seem easy often turn out to be difficult.."
How is your company committed to environmental friendliness?
"This is of course a diabolical dilemma for us, because as a company we produce new products and every new product has an impact on our planet. This awareness is growing more and more with us. We are therefore aware that we have to do more.
We have been using recycled cardboard for a long time for our cardboard packaging. For our Huggable collection we have said goodbye to plastic packaging and from now on everything is also packaged in recycled cardboard boxes. Of course there is still a transitional period in which we still have stock of plastic packaging. If possible, from mid-2023 all our plastic products will be made from recycled plastic, from which we will hopefully be able to trace where this plastic comes from. I say 'if possible' because some products such as baby products may only be made from pure, new materials in order to pass all safety tests.
We strive to make products of the highest possible quality so that everyone can enjoy them for years to come! The longer we as consumers use a product, the better it is for the planet. Buy only what you love and when you fall out of love, give it to someone else.
In Utrecht we increasingly see a 'mini library' where you can put books that you have already read, so that someone else can enjoy them. Maybe we can also think of this for homeware, so that nice things get a second life!"
Of all your designs, which one is your favourite?
"This is a difficult question! All my products are my children, almost every product is a labor of love . But if I have to name one thing, it is the mustache teat . I invented this when I was pregnant with my daughter. That this Turning a sketch into a product is a huge honor for our entire team! We have all learned so much during the development of this product."
How nice! Our store is full of Bits, do you also have a lot of Bits at home? :-)
"Of course, the first samples often end up in our house where they are extensively tested. For example, we have been using the very first Pisa Tower pepper mill for almost two years now. Huggables are also used non-stop in the winter. I am a real chill and the bean bag ensures that that the heating can be lowered a bit, which is also good for the environment! Sometimes items also move to friends or family because space needs to be made for new samples.
And a special thanks to Lotte and Zoë who thoroughly test our Huggable and Pocket Pal collection!" :-)
Is there anything fun planned? If so, can we have a little sneak peak?
"Our Huggable characters are now being launched as Keyfriends! These cannot be warmed up, but you always have a nice hug at hand. We are also working on a new collection of DIY animals for children, inspired by an old product from us."
Thank you Diane! Is there anything else you would like to pass on to the readers?
"Fill your home with things that make you happy. Follow your heart and not the trends!"