Aug 15, 2023
One day, while walking through the park and looking at all the leaves on the ground, Mira Nameth had a thought: what could she make with all these leaves?
Little did she know that her momentary thought experiment would lead her down an entirely new path in life.
The lifelong vegetarian had a keen interest in design and materials, and she wanted to do something good for the world. Already aware of how much environmental and animal welfare harm the leather industry creates, Mira began working to bring a new kind of leather into the world; leather she calls Treekind.
After getting a grant from the UK government, Mira’s new company Biophilica was born. Converting leaves and even agricultural byproducts into a plastic-free alt-leather, Biophilica’s material creation process uses less than 1 percent of the water needed to make cow-based leather, all while being both animal-free and petrochemical free, too.
Founded in 2019, her company’s gone on to raise seven figures, hire more than a dozen people, and start selling Treekind in the high-end watch market, where you can now own a wristband that looks like leather, but was really made from leaves.
It’s a fascinating and inspirational story that will “leaf” you wanting to know more!
Discussed in this episode
Biophilica got its start at an accelerator called Central Research Laboratory
Their first grant came from Innovate UK
They also went through the Fashion for Good accelerator, which became an investor of Biophilica’s
Biophillica’s first commercialized product is an alt-leather watch from ID Genève
Biophillica’s first patent was granted in 2023
Mira’s father Ronald Nameth made a short documentary called Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable
Our past episodes on bioplastics, such as what TIPA is doing in Israel
More about Mira Nameth
Mira Nameth worked as an art and creative director at digital agencies in New York and London for 15 years. In 2013, she had her daughter Nora, which changed her perspective and focus. Becoming acutely aware of the need for action against climate change, waste problems, and usage of concerning chemicals in materials, Mira started developing what was to become Treekind at the Design Master's Programme at the Royal College of Art and subsequently founded Biophilica.