HOW DID IT ALL START?
Hevea began when our founder, Terese Hoffeldt, was travelling in Southern Europe with her husband and 6 month old daughter Augusta.
THE POISONED CELEBRITY
“Until I had my first child, I didn’t pay that much attention to my lifestyle,” she confesses. “I was vaguely aware of issues but I don't think I had read an ingredients listing - whether it was on the back of a food packet, or a moisturiser. But, then that is no different to many teenagers.”
When Terese was pregnant with Augusta Greenpeace ran a publicity campaign testing various celebrities in Denmark for the level of toxins in their blood. The then-pregnant Danish radio and TV presenter Andrea Rudolph was found to have 18 out of 44 toxins in her blood/body.
“This really scared me and was my eureka moment - my own pregnancy, the Greenpeace campaign, the arrival of Augusta and the loss of my own mother, which came 10 days after Augusta’s birth... These were life-changing events all in such a short space of time. My whole attitude was altered for ever...”
THE ITALIAN PEASANTS TEACH US A LESSON
“We saw so many babies using pacifiers and in particular natural rubber pacifiers,” Terese explains. “We bought a few different ones for Augusta and I fell in love with the material.”
Terese got talking to graphic designer Ida Aalstrup , another recent mother, and hired her to make some mock ups. Other parents and grandparents (the older the wiser they say!) pitched in with ideas and suggested neat features, like distinct designs for boys and girls.
A SURPRISING FIND IN THE JUNGLES OF ASIA
The next step was to finding a manufacturer with the imagination to create these designs in a sustainable way - from sourcing to packaging.
This lead her to Malaysia where the Malaysian Rubber Board oversees the industry, ensuring best practice and paying for research into new sustainable initiatives.
“My husband looked after Augusta while I travelled around Malaysia visiting the various manufactures and find the right people to work with,” Terese explains. “We went through hours of prototypes, tests and meetings until we finally ready to launch at the start January 2009 - just as I was about to give birth to our son Alfred.”
SLOW DEATH BY RUBBER DUCK
A deadly bath toy provided Terese with her next inspiration.
“Reading the excellent “Slow death rubber duck” book, I got so scared realizing that we put our naked children into toxic bathwater every time…” she explains. “The book explains how the friendly rubber duck in most homes isn’t rubber, it’s plastic - and highly toxic due to a chemical called BPA.
BPA is released when plastic is immersed in water - and in particular warm water. Terese learned how it could damage Augusta’s development and even cause cancer.
Like any mother would, she worried - then realised she already had the solution! Which is how Alfie, Hevea’s rubber duck, was born.
THE ONLY DUCK YOU'LL FIND IN A TREE
On a visit to Hevea’s Malaysian factory and plantation Terese noticed some beautiful white ducks.
“The farmer’s son had been friends with one of the ducks since he was a baby and now, both 7 years old, they played together,” she remembers. “The duck even went to school with him.”
The name Kawan, meaning ‘friend’ in Malay, is a nod to the farmers son and his web-footed schoolfriend.
Kawan’s natural rubber is soft, malleable and easy for tiny hands to grasp. The patterned texture on Kawan’s beak and feet is ideal for soothing and massaging irritated gums and the elasticity of the rubber is perfect for chewing on. Thanks to the one-piece design there are no cracks or joints for bacteria to hide in. A very hygienic duck.
HAPPY EVER AFTER?
Three years after launch, Hevea offers teethers, bath toys, pacifiers and accessories.
All are made with passion - for design, for the environment, for people and planet.
Every employee strives to make positive contribution to reduce, reuse and recycle.
We truly want to be sustainable and strive to do our best to be a responsible company right through all of our business practices.
We face many challenges, not least the fact that almost all of us are parents as well! But you only change the world one step at a time.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
- We believe in sustainability, and that we all have to take positive actions toward living an eco friendly lifestyle wherever possible.
- We believe in good design – Scandinavian simplicity, innovation & nature. Less is more.
- We believe in quality, functionality and fun – quality products last longer, save money and reduce waste. Multifunction toys have a longer lifespan as a child grows and changes.
- We believe in building our business so it meets parent needs through a people and planet friendly supply chain.
- We believe that, as a business, we must take positive action to minimise our carbon footprint, reduce waste and conserve our energy use. (see more on What do we do!)
- We believe everyone should be able to have the time – and the energy – to play with their children. We believe all employers should arrange the workplace to support that.
- We believe that it is our duty to give our children and the next generations the chance to see all the fauna and animals of the world - in the wild. (That’s why we support WWF in their campaign for a living planet.)
- We believe business has a crucial role to play in building a positive future. On a personal level, we believe eating organic food, reducing our meat intake, buying locally, shopping responsibly, reusing and recycling and reducing waste of all kinds help live a more positive life.
- We believe you can make the difference.