Imagine filling your house with designer furniture to the envy of your friends and family, only what no one realises is that it’s all made out of….cardboard.
Though the scenario is most likely a horrid nightmare for some, at Karton, the retail and online store where recycled cardboard is king, this imaginary dream is fast becoming their reality.
Bookshelves, dressers stools and tables, even a bed base which we are told can withstand rigorous jumping up and down from children and adults alike, are just some of the well-designed items in the range which are all made out of – yep, you guessed it…recycled cardboard.
Karton itself means ‘cardboard’ in many European languages, and so for Karton’s founder, Ralph Wollner, who first stumbled upon the original designs in Germany, the name soon stuck.
For Ralph, who for over 20 years had worked as a lawyer and corporate training among other things, the rise of Karton as a successful business model took him a bit by surprise.
“ I guess you could say I’m one of the older start-ups. I never expected to be starting a business just as many of my friends were about to retire but I just loved the product so much, I believed in it and knew there was a gap in the market for environmentally-friendly, space-conscious products.
“ I love the design, the simplicity and the environmental aspects. These products challenge your thinking about what constitutes good design,” he said.
It’s a movement that’s resonating particularly with Generation Y, with most of Karton’s sales generated from males and females in the 25 – 35 year old age bracket.
Made from a sustainable, recycled cardboard, not only are Karton’s products easily stored which makes them popular with those for whom space is limited, but their eco-friendly design allows them to be efficiently recycled when they reach the end of their lifecycle.
So what’s next for the business which started by accident?
“ World domination” says Ralph with a smile.
It may have been tongue-and-cheek, but judging by the rate of expansion and popularity of the brand, there may be more than a grain of truth in his words.