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Pilot Project: Developing Mona's Ceramic Cups

During Covid-19, Mona Næss reached out to us about developing ceramic cups for her local brand store at Nesodden in Norway, where she also sells our in-house brand, Indo Naturals' products. Mona is an experienced ceramics artist with a Masters in Ceramics. However, after hurting her hand, sitting for hours on the ceramic wheel was no longer possible. Yet, with her love for ceramics, natural and earthly quality products and sustainability she was interested in a pilot product development project with Source For Future.

"I am so pleased with the collaboration I have with Indo Naturals / Source For Future. Their expertise in sustainable entrepreneurship is unique and I would never have been able to carry this out without their hands-on presence in India together with the craftsmen. With my background as a designer and with a Masters degree in ceramics, I was well prepared for the whole process, which is both time-consuming and requires accuracy in terms of everything from typography and layout on labels and packaging to the fine details in the mug itself. Both the packaging and the cup itself were almost better than I had expected and all in all, I am very satisfied. I was also very impressed by the 100% sustainable packaging with recycled custom-made solutions! Full transparency during production and a sustainability report at the end of the project was also very important to me. The goal was not "just to design another cup", but to make a product with the overall goal: - sustainable and earth-friendly all the way." - Mona Næss

Project Initiation

When we started working with Mona on this project we did not already have a ceramic production partner, however, Fredrik was travelling around India to coordinate the Indo Naturals product production and to find new partners. After doing a pre-assessment of a few ceramic studios in southern India, he found the perfect partner that has a focus on using earth-friendly materials and providing employment and training to the youth of the country. Read the story of the ceramic unit here. Mona had been working with many young workers for many years and is passionate about empowering the youth, especially through arts and handicrafts. It was therefore, a perfect fit.

Design Process

In mid-2021 Mona started working on the design of the ceramic cups. She was inspired by the oceans and rough coastal landscape and wanted the cups to have a clear handmade feel and expression. Thus, the stretched handle and the finger-marks running along the cup's body.

Mona also wanted the cups to clearly and easily demonstrate where they were made. The storytelling behind the cups was an important aspect of the product. We, therefore, landed on having Mona a common name in India, marked in Hindi on the lower part of the cup followed by the letter M. This directly ties the cup to India, and gives an indication that the cup has come to life through a collaboration between Mona in Norway, and the artisans in southern India. It entails the user to question this symbol, and thus find out more about the cup's origin and how it was created.

After providing us with the product tech-pack and design description we started making the first samples.

Sampling & Testing

After a round of sampling and a few adjustments to the samples, the final samples were made and the cups were sent to food contact testing as per EU regulations. All the Food Contact Material documentations (including Declaration of Compliance, and other documents) were completed by Source For Future team without additional costs, and the testing was conducted by TUV in India.

Production and Packaging

After the sampling and testing, the cups went into production. Alongside the cups, we also developed customized packaging and paper tags. Mona provided us with the designs and we send the packaging materials and labels to the manufacturing location so they could be directly packed. A challenge with packaging the ceramic cups was to avoid plastic wrap. The ceramic unit had always used plastic wrap to minimize breakage. However, they were interested in working on new, plastic-free, packaging solutions and after we found sturdy boxes, shredded office paper and a paper bubble wrap alternative, they securely packaged the cups with these instead. This proved to be a very successful experiment as none of the cups broke through transportation.

Order Delivery

The order arrived in 2022 and was delivered alongside the Sustainability Report (see under). With its sturdy quality and handmade feel, Mona as well as the team at SourceForFuture were very pleased with the end result.

Product Development & Customization

If you are interested in developing new products with us you can easily book a non-binding product development meeting with us here. Next to our product development solutions, several of our already developed products are customizable and most of them are white labelled/can be privately labelled. See all our products and filter on your category of interest here.


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