A big part of Tala is our Ten Trees conservation programme in partnership with the Heart of England Forest. Planting 10 trees for every 200 products we sell wouldn't be possible without the hard labour of Stephen, Head Forester. The whole Tala team visited HoEF last Friday, so it is only timely that we introduce the world to this wonderful tree-planting man!
I am the Head Forester for the Heart of England Forest. I have been involved here for the last ten years and been responsible for planting over one million trees in that time. Some people say that our goal is an impossible dream but I really do believe we can achieve the dream of a 30,000 acre broadleaved forest.
1. What were your first impressions of Tala?
A team full of energy, very enthusiastic and so friendly.... what’s not to like!
2. What's your favourite Tala product?
All products because more product sales = more trees planted.
3. What are your favourite pass-times outside of work?
Blues and trees.
4. What did you have for brekkie this morning?
I don’t eat breakfast but do have two strong coffees.
5. What's your go-to drink?
Coffee with plenty of milk.
6. If you could be an animal for a day what would you be?
A bird, probably a bird of prey soaring on thermals looking at the landscape below.
Keep rockin Stephen! Stay tuned for a full blog post this Friday about Tala Ten Trees and our trip to the woods.
A little change-up this week – as the team expands, so does Blog Squad, and this edition is brought to you by yours truly, Greg, Head of Europe. Enjoy!
This episode will throw some light (oh yes I did) on some learnings from Tala Europe. We’ve been scaling really rapidly in the UK and US markets, and my role since joining Tala in 2016 is to ensure that Europe keeps pace with just how well we’ve been doing everywhere else.
Once a frustrated linguist struggling to apply my skills in the world of UK-based Management Consulting (they don’t speak Spanish in Blackpool), I was delighted when my first task at Tala was essentially a European reconnaissance mission. Not only had I never had the chance to do anything nearly this exciting with work before, I also knew that the success of this trip would directly inform how quickly I got up to speed in a new industry. This voyage of discovery would set the tone for working with a team of young, dynamic and driven people who really are ready to go to the greatest lengths to achieve their dreams. This summer, I packed my car full of lightbulbs and general Tala goodness, and promptly set off for Dover.
Europe is a multi-legged beast where, to state the obvious, no two markets can be treated in the same way. However, when it comes to plugging the gap between traditional perceptions of conservation and beauty as very separate concepts, I’ve discovered that there are certain key commonalities to be observed.
What has really stood out is how much people are buying into our ethos of sustainable, beautiful technology. Despite our prices being a little steeper than the competition, people realise that when they buy Tala, they’re buying much more than just a lighting product. Tala trades in ‘lighting as an experience’, moving away from the commodity ‘a lightbulb is a lightbulb’ school of thought and towards considering lighting as a focal point in people’s everyday lives – something to be proud of, and a talking point built around energy saving properties, conservation, beautiful product design or a combination of the three.
Our display inside Kant Hause, Berlin
The niche these products fall into differs country by country – while one geography yields great success in large hotel and restaurant projects with clients looking to save money beautifully, Tala might find its sweet spot in high-end design stores in another. However, my learnings so far yield one thing that is refreshingly clear – in one flavour or another, European markets are ready for something new, exciting and beautiful that really changes the game in lighting, a stand-out innovation in a crowded marketplace.
The release of our exciting new Voronoi range is destined to set us apart even more by bringing together all the parts of our ethos of which we’re most proud, not just in Europe but across the globe. Thanks for continuing to follow our progress – we’re very pleased to have you along for the journey!
We've just about recovered from a hectic and wonderfully exciting London Design Festival week. Exhibiting at Design Junction marked our first trade show on home turf. Over the past two years we've exhibited at Maison et Objet (Paris), Light and Building (Frankfurt), LFI (San Diego), and ICFF (New York). So having our fifth exhibition in our hometown was a very special occasion and the perfect setting to launch our new Voronoi collection.
London Design Festival is MASSIVE. Comprised of four different shows (100 percent design, Tent, Design Junction, and Clerkenwell Design) and almost every design company doing in house events all over London, it is a huge event.
For those of you who've followed Tala for a while, you probably know by now how important conservation is to us. The Voronoi collection's design is truly inspired by nature, celebrating our ethos of "conservation through beauty". These hand blown bulbs take shape from the naturally occurring mathematical Voronoi pattern. You can recognise the shape from a giraffe's coat, a turtle's shell, and also in the organisation of trees within a canopy. The inner filament design is taken from the Italian mathematician Fibonacci's golden spiral. The spiral of light within the organically shaped Voronoi glass creates a unique reflection of light within the bulb.
Our installation at Design Junction revolved completely around this Voronoi pattern. Set in the iconic Granary Square location home to Central St Martins, with 15m high vaulted ceilings and natural light pouring in, we finally had the perfect setting to realise our ambitious installation designs. The whole Tala team (plus a few extra saviours) poured blood, sweat, and tears (literally) into constructing an 8m high structure representing a forest canopy, from which we hung our new pendants and sparkling bulbs, along with copious amounts of vines.
Exhibiting in the entrance/registration area was a great opportunity for us to engage with members of the public - our end consumers with whom we normally only engage through our retailers. A highlight for families was our interactive "touch my bulb" display where our lightbulbs became a soundscape of nature sounds, demonstrating the "touchability" of our zero-heat bulbs.
A local trade show also meant that we could throw a big launch party to celebrate our success with friends and families. In collaboration with our German pals at Sygns and hosted by our old home at the Collective Temperance, we all got the chance to let down our hair to some groovy tunes.
A big thanks to everyone that made the week so memorable, we met some amazing people and we're feeling very proud to call ourselves a British design company!
The Tala Team
Hi there beautiful,
Last Thursday, amidst the madness of London Design Week, Pedals Delivery organised a Meetup through the Sustainable London Community. The speakers included Alex Fletcher from Cru Kafe, Woon Tan from If You Want To, and myself representing Tala. We were asked to speak about our business and our approach to creating sustainable products and services.
So what is our approach? In a nutshell, every product we bring to market has to check three boxes:
1. Beautiful & durable design
2. Innovative technology
Our product design is what drives our business. We are obsessed with bringing beauty into the world, and we won't compromise, not even on the packaging detail! The ethos of Tala is to design beautiful, low carbon hardware. That means products of everyday use that look great and have a positive environmental impact when in use.
Right now (as you probably realised) we are focused on LED lighting. LED is well known now as a low-energy light source, it is also pretty infamous for delivering industrial, harsh, white light. The classic Edison bulb on the other hand is very popular these days, but very energy draining (in fact incandescent lightbulbs have now been classified as heaters in Germany because they are better at giving off heat than producing light!).
That's where we come in. We've achieved the exact same look as the Edison bulb, with the same warm light, using innovative LED technology. So you can be trendy without the carbon foot print. Our design team is always busy coming up with new designs, like our Voronoi range which we launched last week at Design Junction.
Our products in themselves are sustainable because they are so energy efficient (A++) and long lasting (7-25 years). We have worked hard to build trust in our brand so that consumers can be assured investing in our bulbs means they are contributing towards a more sustainable world. What's also really important to us is conserving the planet for future generations, which is why we started the Tala Ten Trees programme, planting 10 indigenous trees for every 200 products sold.
We want to see a world where high-quality, durable, sustainable products with a slightly higher price point are the norm. Imaging beautifully curated spaces with well-designed, functional "things". Less clutter. Less stuff. Less is better, don't you think?
The lighting market has certainly been going through a rapid transformation in the last few years. LED as a key enabling technology for changes across the industry has been fascinating. As a young lighting brand, our mission is to showcase the intersect between sustainability, technology and design.
The systemic shifts in available materials/components (repetition of technology), new manufacturing techniques and speed to market with innovative design has definitely created disruption and opportunity.
At Tala, we’re pretty evenly split between being on shelf at the retail level with our LED designs and specified on the contract market. I think at the consumer level its more about education and engagement with the benefits of new LED technology. The typical payback period on a Tala LED is around 9 months, so communicating energy savings alongside product design and experience has been key. Also consumer trust in the brands supply chain and performance is an important aspect in a world of choice and online buying. For instance, to account for our supply chain we plant 10 trees here in the UK for every 200 units sold.
Modern LED has evolved drastically, from the classic incandescent designs to Halogen to CFL through to early stage LED. Each iteration has had issues with quality, user experience and environmental impacts. I think we’re now at a really interesting juncture where the underlying technology is at a level where the very best bits of the original incandescent can be blended with the long life performance and design benefits of LED. This means that people like our Design Director Joe Armitage can really push the boundaries when it comes to product development. The new Voronoi LED collection we’re launching at this years London Design Festival is testament to what is now achievable with new LED technology.
At the core of it, most consumers, contract and public, want a light that is built well, turns on instantly, can dim properly with no flicker and emits a warm inviting light. Sadly LED’s of the past have failed to achieve this. I think this is because incumbent brands focused so much on energy and lumens per watt, the very functional aspects of lighting and failed to put the user experience and emotional side of lighting first. This popular drive towards industrial incandescent is in some way a reaction to these failings in ugly energy saving designs.
Everything is about balance though and we feel the phenomenon of LED has to be packaged with a certain harmony. For example, choosing the right Kelvin (warmth of light) alongside the very technical dimming capabilities whilst also balancing the glass form and tint finish. All of these variables become increasingly important when the consumer is now expecting to buy into what is essentially a functional sculpture that will last 10 years in your home.
The phenomenon of LED lighting over the past 10 years, good or bad has certainly sparked a lot of interest and awareness all round. Fine tuning your work and home environment is an accessible and mainstream activity now. I think consumer are generally more sensitive to aspects of their space like lighting now and how it can affect your mood, performance or feeling of 'Hygge’. - was going to add an explanation here but probably better without.
Technology wise we feel like the energy savings aspect is almost covered now, so new materials and light sources coming through are more catalysts for design than anything else. The future of the industry is looking towards the Internet of Things, devices connected to the internet to make people's lives more efficient. Tala has some really exciting technology and designs to bring to market over the coming years so watch this space!
(Article by co-founder Josh Ward, featured on http://www.mixinteriors.com/ask-the-expert-8/)