In the start of our spring semester in 2015 the three of us came together with a common interest in pursuing more sustainable design. Within one of our elective courses, we were assigned a three-week project with a rather open ended prompt: to create some type of modular installation. We were an easy pairing of partners for the project; all somewhat quirky with a love for the outdoors and our local community.
A refined form of the planter came to life as we lasercammed, ironed, and notched our product together. By the end of the assignment, the three of us had created a product that was modular, sustainable, AND aesthetically pleasing.
With positive feedback from our peers, several offers for purchase, and a sincere love for our product, the three of us made a pact to push our studio project further; determined to bring it to market.
In the past several months we have been working hard to bring Vàs to the next level and to get it ready for manufacturing.
We went through a lot of trial and error to find the perfect type of felt for our Vàs planters. It had to have the right blend percentages, moisture properties, density, and thickness. Turns out, the exact type of felt that we were looking for would be nearly impossible to find.
We tried to source through several manufacturers’ clients, made around three dozen phone calls to textile stores, messaged online felt groups, and grew a few premature grey hairs along the way...
We eventually found what we were looking for; sourcing from two different, small New York textile stores, but there was never a moment of time that we were willing to settle for a different quality of felt. We knew what we needed and certainly didn’t rest until we found it.
... Ask our local coffee shop.
The next step, finding a manufacturer, didn’t prove much easier. We knew we wanted it to be local, but because felt is such a unique material, finding the people with the right equipment and experience was tough. Although we’ve made a lot of financial sacrifices, at the end of the day, we feel that there was no better way than to manufacture Vàs locally and sustainably.
When most people think of felt, the first things that usually come to mind are memories of grade school crafts. What most people don’t realize is that felt is actually an extremely rugged and durable material. Felt is traditionally made by beating wool fibers together, so as the fibers tangle further, the felt gets even stronger.
Felt is one of the most sustainable materials, hands down. Traditional felt is made from all-natural sheep’s wool, but modern manufacturing methods have made it possible to blend the wool with fibers produced from recycled plastic. Felt not only supports local farmers, but also gives old plastic bottles a new lease on life.
Felt also has pretty amazing moisture properties. It’s dense but porous, like a ceramic pot, allowing air and moisture to move freely in and out of the soil without anything leaking. Unlike ceramic, however, you’ll never have to worry about cracks, shattering, or sharp pieces.
Felt is pure, soft, and safe.
Don't Worry. It Doesn't Leak.
As mentioned, felt typically handles moisture well, but our original prototype had some drawbacks when pockets were over-watered. We wanted to ensure that water would never muddy up your house, so we did multiple test runs pouring small to very large amounts of water with and without any soil.
No water seeped through the felt itself, but a tiny hole in the bottom of our triangle pockets dripped slowly. We went hard to work, prototyping new notches and inserts to guarantee a leak proof product.
Our inserts are made from recycled painters tarp, and designed to fit perfectly into the Vàs design templates. Not only do they prevent the possibility of dripping, but they make planting a breeze.
If you’re planting indoors, hold the insert over the sink, fill with soil and plants, and place it right into your Vàs planter. No dirt or water spills; a double whammy!
American Sourced. Locally Made.
The Vàs team aims to create all-around eco-friendly products. By ordering our materials and manufacturing within the United States, not only do we decrease our carbon footprint, but we support jobs in our own backyard!
We source our felt products from some of the best suppliers in the business. Mood Fabric, located in New York City, is a popular fabric store for fashion designers and students alike!
Our materials are then shipped straight to our manufacturers in Roanoke, VA, where the parts are cut- only 45 minutes from our design space in Blacksburg, VA!
Our manufacturer, Cardinal Rubber, was founded in 1973 and has become the foremost distributor of custom gaskets, hoses, and extruded rubber products. The employees are beyond wonderful and accommodating to our production needs!
What Makes it Different from other Vertical Gardens?
Most felt wall planters on the market are designed to be hidden by the plants that grow in them. Vàs is designed to be both a decorative wall piece and a vertical planter, balancing the natural beauty of green life with a modern aesthetic.
Vàs also stands out by taking advantage of its modularity. With a vast array of different combinations and arrangements, Vàs is suitable for any size plant in a plethora of different spaces.
Sizing and Color Options
Vàs is available in various sizes and colors!
Now that we've reached our goal of $12,000 we have an exciting stretch goal! We've listened to our backers and added color options! Based on votes, one color will be added at the end of the kickstarter if we raise $15,000. Let's Do it!
Check out the potential color choices below. See one you like?!
Steps for using your Vàs planter and caring for your plants.
If you're growing herbs, cut, store, and cook! Check it out!
Where will you hang your Vàs Planter?
Risks and challenges
The main risk for Vàs is definitely manufacturing. We've been working closely with Cardinal Rubber in Roanoke to get our templates cut. Unfortunately we've already had to consolidate several manufacturing processes to our "in-house production facilities," AKA Mitch's living room. But that's actually the good news! We are so entirely dedicated to delivering this project that we are willing to spend countless hours installing grommets, ironing flaps, and packaging every single product entirely by hand. We’ve already got a music playlist and everything.
Another risk we may face will be material supplies. Because we're buying in bulk we are concerned that we may buy out all of our suppliers' stock! While this certainly wouldn't be the end of the world, it could delay our delivery slightly.
As with any venture in life, there may be unforeseen challenges. Should something arise, rest assured, our backers would be the first to know. We promise that every drop of blood, sweat, and tears will be properly photographed, uploaded, and appropriately hashtagged for your viewing pleasure.
Despite any uncertainty, we are sincerely excited about the journey ahead and we can’t wait for you to join us!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)