Original Duckhead Eco Umbrellas – Sustainable umbrellas. Built to last.
Launched in 2012 by Founder Morgan Cros, Original Duckhead was conceptualised out of a core desire to encourage everyone to embrace the great outdoors, without having to sacrifice style or sustainability.
Original Duckhead sustainable umbrellas are handmade using age-old techniques adapted to modern-day usage and built to last season after season.
Besides protecting you from the elements, they will make you smile, stand out from the crowd, and add a pop of colour wherever you go.
Women Talking had the opportunity to talk to Morgan about her creative design and fashion company.
What was your inspiration behind launching Original Duckhead?
Paris-born Morgan moved to London and, perplexed by how much it rains in the UK, began Original Duckhead as a passion project in 2012.
Whilst researching the market she discovered that over 1 billion umbrellas are discarded globally every single year. Morgan’s brand mission is to build a recognised rainwear brand that redefines the category by encouraging thoughtful consumerism, championing sustainable values, and changing an industry that needs shaking up.
In an increasingly digital world, where IRL (in real life) experiences are becoming more fragmented, it is vital for our health to get outside and reconnect with nature whatever the weather!
Is there a process when creating new styles and colours for your range?
“We are a small London-based team and take a lot of influence from our customers and their requests for new colours and prints. We also work closely with local artists to design our new prints. Our latest collaboration was with Willemien Bardawil who has created three exclusive designs for Original Duckhead umbrellas and bags, as a celebration of Spring, new beginnings, and abundance of life. Willemsen’s energetic style draws on the figures of classical art – a celebration of the Divine Feminine at its most blissful, translated to a modern context through expressive lines and a playful way with colour.
As a female-owned and run business, we aspire to inspire, and are constantly investing in opportunities to lift other independent sustainable brands”.
Who are your biggest customers?
“Our biggest customers are retailers. We have over 1000 global stockists including The Conran Store, La Samaritaine, MoMA, and Waterstones”.
What have been your highs and lows when running your own business?
“The biggest high is bringing each of my team members. I hired my first sales team manager in the summer of 2021 and since then we’ve grown to a team of 6. Prior to that I built all my retailer relationships and managed logistics as a one-woman team from 2012 so I am immensely proud of the team I’ve built.
Not necessarily a low, but I don’t think I appreciated how lengthy the process would be to find the right manufacturer for our umbrellas. I knew I had to partner with a factory with the highest ethical practices and quality assurance, so I personally visited multiple suppliers.
We have been working closely with a family-run business in China since we began in 2012, they are our sole supplier which is optimum for the transparency of our supply chain”.
How important is sustainability to your company ethos?
“Sustainability is the core ethos of every decision we make. We are currently in the process of becoming a B Corporation. Since launching our umbrellas, made of 9 recycled plastic bottles (r.PET material) for each and every design, we also began creating reusable bags from surplus material from the umbrella canopies. We have had such a demand for reusable bags that they are now part of our core product offering. We have currently recycled over 3 million plastic bottles in the process. By diverting plastic bottles from waste streams and giving them a new life as a reusable umbrella, we minimise our environmental impact”.
When you see your products being used in public, how does it make you feel?
“It is still exhilarating to see our umbrellas in the wild. We intentionally design them to be as bright and bold as possible, so they’re not hard to spot! We definitely plan to do more collaborative partnerships in the future to expand our horizons and build the Original Duckhead brand”.
As the brand continues to grow, sustainability and helping its customers enjoy their daily lives remain at the forefront of everything they do. For more information and to buy online visit their website here.