Creating order out of the chaos of our homes is a kind of national pastime. Adorable baskets, plastic bins you can hide away and other types of containers hide all of the messiness we would rather not see. However what pleases our eye isn’t as pleasant for our greater human environment.
Most storage bins are manufactured fully formed and, when you buy them, each bin takes a similarly sized shopping bag or shipping box to get to your home. Much of the space in those bags or boxes is just air, and to storage savant and entrepreneur Ben Spivack, that seemed to be a lot of waste. As someone literally born into the storage industry, he knew there had to be a better way.
“My great-great grandpa opened up a factory that made wicker baskets in Williamsburg in the early 1900s,” Spivack says. “Four generations later, that business is what is now called RGI Home.” He cut his teeth on the family business and then saw a way to make his own mark on the industry and the environment.
“I saw a big opportunity in this market to create a curated assortment of equally beautiful, functional and sustainable storage solutions,” Spivack says. That spark led to Folden Lane, a Manhattan-based company he created in 2020 with sustainability in mind. “When I set out to start this business, I set out to solve a fundamental problem in our market, related to the way products are designed and produced.” His vision was to create a thoughtfully designed, flat-pack storage solution that could save 55 percent on packaging waste and 85 percent on CO2 emissions on every delivery.
Modular Customizable Offerings
This vision led to Folden Lane’s origami storage system. The vegan leather storage boxes come in four colors and five different sizes in a variety of rectangular and square shapes. Folden Lane also offers a range of accessories to create a cohesive storage system, he says, with modular and removable dividers, customizable handles and labeling toolkits.
The leather, which Spivack says has been tested for moisture and stain resistance, is made from partially recyclable materials, just a step in the journey that his company is preparing to take. “Our goal is to make our products with 100 percent recycled and renewable materials by the beginning of 2023,” Spivack says.
Lofty goals, some might say, but Spivack has the drive and the ingrained belief system to make it a reality. “I really learned everything about entrepreneurship and this category from my dad,” he says. “My dad was one of the pioneers who introduced natural fiber [to basket-making], which was one of the only renewable materials in our space. I learned the value and the importance of sustainability from him.”
Expanding Products and Renewable Materials
So what’s next for Folden Lane? A lot, as it turns out. “We have a five-year product innovation roadmap that features new and more intentional storage collections designed for each area of the home,” Spivack says. He is planning to use materials such as sustainable silicone, recycled glass and vegan leathers that are produced from “truly renewable plants and fruits, like cacti and pineapple.”
The company will also expand into other types of storage “beyond bins, baskets and containers,” Spivack says. He plans to introduce a line of accessories, modular storage, shelving and hanging storage. For right now, Folden Lane will be putting out a range of bamboo lids in the next six months or so, turning the current origami product into a fully stackable and modular system.
Spivack doesn’t just stick with storage when he pushes his passion project. His company bends toward good stewardship of the Earth’s resources, but it also values the importance of the people living on the planet as well.
“Every decision we make is guided by a set of core values,” he says. “Practicing radical inclusion and doing good in what we do.” He believes business has a social responsibility and not just a focus on the bottom financial line.
“Having an empathetic outlook ties to our commitment to customer services,” he says. “We understand that everyone has different needs and requirements. We treat our customers and business partners with empathy.”
Spivack has big plans for Folden Lane, but he doesn’t let that move him from his core beliefs, the same value system instilled in him by his family and one that he believes is the key to living in harmony not only with the planet but also with those you meet. “Always stay humble. You can learn something new every single day from everybody. Knowing that nobody is perfect, you are in a better position to learn more, to better yourself and to improve every single day.”