Our Kids Wetsuits Now Grow on Trees 🌱
Sustainability is in the DNA of Fants, and so it should be. What’s the alternative? Unsustainability? Yeah that’s sounds cool… if you’re a psychopath.
There’s a moral imperative to build new businesses that help us move from carbon emitting economies to carbon absorbing economies. Of course we want to be part of that shift along with many other brands. But for us it’s not about being a “green” brand, it’s about being a sane one.
But why start with neoprene? Our plan was always to test the idea of design-led kids wetsuits by using neoprene as our base material for the initial production runs. Neoprene is easy to source in the small quantities we needed to create our first runs so we begrudgingly used it knowing we were playing a long game.
Now we’ve proven there’s a thirst for fun and art-oriented kids wetsuits, we are taking the next step in our sustainability journey by replacing process-heavy and petrochemical-based neoprene with natural rubber kids wetsuits sourced from Forestry Sustainability Council (FSC) approved trees.
But, wow, that wasn’t as simple as it sounds! It has taken us the better part of 2022 to find the right natural rubber supplier. It took a hell of a lot of work to find a natural rubber manufacturer who’d not only work with us at small scale, but could also supply a high quality product that met all the performance and sustainability criteria we had.
Through luck and persistence, we eventually found the perfect supplier through an industry legend who runs a large high-end wetsuit company. He loved that Fants is bringing something unique to the wetsuit market, so he snuck us through the back door of what is an incredibly concentrated and fiercely guarded industry. Once we were in, our small size was less of an issue and exciting opportunities presented themselves.
The natural rubber we now use in our kids wetsuits is industry-leading. A blend of 80% FSC approved natural rubber and 20% synthetic rubber, exactly the same as Patagonia's Yulex. Performance wise, it functions just the same as neoprene. In fact if we hadn’t told you it was natural rubber and not neoprene you’d have never known the difference.
Needless to say we are pumped. But our mission to make Fants a sane company doesn’t end here. In addition to our change to natural rubber kids wetsuits we are doubling down on our wetsuit buyback model as well as working on some cool new ideas that'll help make Fants even more circular. Here's to being a sane company 🌱