Designed for Life: Graduate Success
Niall Jones, CEO of Benthos Buttons, graduated from Sustainable Product Design in 2020.
What made you want to study Sustainable Product Design?
I'm a natural problem solver and I've always enjoyed art and design generally, so Sustainable Product Design felt like a really good fit. Coming from Wales and being a surfer, I've always had a passion for the ocean. This connection helped me realise what's going on with the environment and drove me to learn more about it and sustainable practices.
What made you choose to study at Falmouth?
I learnt about it from a friend of mine who was studying photography and I really loved the lifestyle. When I visited, I could see the potential it had for me and my life.
What makes studying here so special?
I think that Falmouth helps people see design differently. Interrogating ideas, finding problems and then solving them is a great skill to have. And while you might not be able to change the whole world, you can learn to make a difference. Falmouth helps to change mindsets.
What was the most memorable part of your studies?
I loved our second-year show. It was my first exhibition and I showed the work I'd done with Alder Sportswear to create a special hanger for surfers to dry their wetsuits and accessories. It was a great moment, where everyone on my course could come together and feel proud of their hard work.
How much does Falmouth care about sustainability?
It's got to be the best in the country for sustainable products. Just look at the campus - being in such a sustainably conscious environment increases your creativity.
Would you recommend the course to prospective students?
Yes - any day of the week! You really get to build personal relationships with other students and with the lecturers, which leads to opportunities for jobs and projects, and great practice for working in the real world. You also end up with a well-rounded skillset on the course, which is great for employers and really useful in our industry.
What have you gone on to do since graduating?
I've created my own business called Benthos Buttons, which uses ethically sourced marine nylon from old fishing nets to create sustainable buttons for fashion garments. The business has gained international interest and the buttons are being used by a variety of clients, including Falmouth Fashion Design graduate and clothes designer Ella Griffee.
What are your hopes for Benthos Buttons in the future?
I'd love to grow the business, bring on some bigger brands and have my own 3D printing lab to make the buttons in house in the future. That way, I can see exactly how much energy I'm using and make the whole process as sustainable as possible.