Zainaab and Shaheed Martin are the mother and son duo behind the eco-concious nuun concept space.
The duo describe nuun as a “delicate conversation through conceptual design and attire that is rooted in our culture.” They create out of necessity in an attempt to improve peoples lives or add value to growing businesses whether it be in terms of aesthetics or otherwise while always being sensitive to the environment.
Sustainability is a crucial element at nuun. In many ways, it challenges the standard they have set for themselves. Shaheed notes that sometimes they have an idea that seems impossible to achieve unless they take a commercial route, he uses their plastic sieve beach bags as an example. For them, it was a very simple idea if they used conventional plastic materials but that would then defeat the purpose of designing a bag that cleans the beach. Instead, they spent months trying to problem solve by collaborating with people they knew would bring their idea to life. They collaborated with people who work with metal and specialists in sustainable 3d printing. Shaheed admits that they were met with many who said it’s impossible until they found a way. “We will not compromise on our beliefs to make an idea come to life, says Shaheed.”
“We come from a culture that places emphasis on the preservation of the natural environment and because of this we are ‘naturally’ inclined to approach everything we do from this perspective. Sustainability is not an afterthought in our practice, it is the driving force. When an idea is born at nuun, we look to nature on how to bring it to life. ”
What drew me to nuun was their water insoluble poly bag, it was something I had never seen or heard of before. The water-soluble poly bag: developed from pvoh/pva and plant-based materials, makes for a non-toxic biodegradable material that dissolves within minutes in water. Shaheed explains that plastic alternatives and water-soluble ’plastic’ is not a new concept yet it is still unheard of by many. In Africa, nuun is at the forefront of the move to soluble ‘plastics’ in this form. This is due to the assumption that it is ‘too expensive’ when compared to a plastic bag that performs the same function.
Shaheed admits that developing something that is 100% recylable was not an easy feat, “after months of research and product development we found that it is in fact possible to introduce a product of this kind to South Africa and Africa as a whole at a price point that any small brand can afford, says Shaheed.
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The reception nuun has received has been mind blowing. “We are blessed to have the response that we have had over the past 6 months since our official launch, in that short period we have gained over 30 million views on our socials and have gained fans worldwide, exclaims Shaheed.
The duo hopes to grow organically from where they are now, and hope to inspire more young brands from South Africa and beyond as they continue to create materials and garments designed to return to nature.
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