EP27: A Soft Revolution in the Rug Industry: A Deep Dive with Jozefien Forton – Maison Forton’s Sustainability Journey 

January 3, 2024 By Ellie 

Get ready for a game-changer in the rug industry! Today, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Jozefien Forton, the visionary founder and CEO of Maison Forton. We delve into her innovative approach to sustainability and how Maison Forton is reshaping the rug landscape

In this episode, Jozefien shares insights into the start of Maison Forton’s story and the commitment to sustainability at every level of operation. From meticulous material selection to challenging the standards, Jozefien is realising her dream to build a sustainable rug company, step by step. 

Listen to the full podcast episode:

Behind the Scenes: Sustainability from Master to Micro Level.  

Jozefien opens up about Maison Forton’s journey, emphasizing the core of their operations – sustainability. From the inception of a product idea, they question the materials’ origin, composition, and end-of-life cycle. It’s not just about creating rugs; it’s about creating a lasting impact without compromising on quality. 

Navigating the tricky waters of material selection and waste management, Maison Forton wants to go the extra mile. Even their waste doesn’t go unnoticed; samples and excess materials find purpose in innovative ways,  pushing the boundaries of sustainability in rug production. 

Pioneering as a startup: negotiating while standing firm on company values.  

Jozefien sheds light on the challenges of pioneering as a starting company. Negotiating with producers who may not fully grasp the importance of sustainability, she stands firm on her values. It’s a delicate dance of discussions, pushing for more sustainability in all aspects of the production, always in line with the DNA of the company. Jozefien has made the deliberate decision to not settle for the easy path, on the contrary, Maison Forton stands for timeless collections, both in design and colours, meant to last long, and at an accessible price point. 


Setting Apart from the Pack: Maison Forton’s Distinctive Vision 

In a world where “sustainable” often becomes a buzzword, Jozefien questions what truly defines a sustainable rug company. For her, it’s not just about local production; it’s about envisioning the product’s and company’s entire life cycle. Many claim sustainability while neglecting the bigger picture. Maison Forton, however, strives for impact, not just in products but in the very fabric of their business – caring about both the product and the people behind it. 

Challenges in the Carpet Industry: A Sea of Misconceptions 

The carpet industry, once synonymous for quality, faced a decline in standards. Jozefien reflects on the challenges of competing with low-cost production giants. The key, she suggests, lies in creating value beyond price, and investing accordingly. Maison Forton’s challenge is not just surviving but thriving in Belgium, creating a ripple effect that could reshape the entire industry. 


Startup Realities: Navigating the Seas of Entrepreneurship 

As a startup founder, Jozefien highlights the shift from a focused role in a big company to juggling multiple responsibilities. Startups can adapt faster, she acknowledges, but the journey demands patience. Finding the right partners and building a team is not easy and takes time, but the rewards lie in creating a sustainable impact. 

Looking Beyond the Startup Hurdles: A Recap of Victories 

Jozefien reflects on the hurdles faced – from starting solo to the uncertainties post-COVID. Yet, victories shine through. International fairs, grants, new collections, and projects mark milestones. Celebrating victories, big and small, remains crucial in the entrepreneurial journey. 

The power of a network: sparking collaborations 

Jozefien acknowledges the crucial role of networks in the industry. Ellie.Connect and similar platforms or networks bring together like-minded players, sparking collaborations and innovations.  


Transparency Dilemma: Balancing Transparency and Intellectual Property 

One distinctive trait of Maison Forton is transparency. Jozefien discusses the challenges of balancing transparency with the risk of intellectual property exposure. For her, transparency is essential to showcase the present while continually building for the future. 

Dreaming Beyond Rugs: Maison Forton’s Future Vision 

Maison Forton’s dream extends beyond being a European rug player. Jozefien envisions a shift to a fully circular rug concept and expanding into a broader international ecosystem. The keyword for 2024? Ecosystem – a vision encompassing sustainability, design, and innovation. 


Inspiration and Influences: A Mosaic of Ideas 

Jozefien draws inspiration from various sources – from local sustainability leaders like Ethnicraft to global innovators like Asphalte. The blend of sustainable practices, design trends, and material innovations fuels her creative energy. 


Final Thoughts: A Call for Collective Responsibility 

In closing, Jozefien emphasizes the power of collective responsibility. If each individual and business takes small steps, collectively, they can create a more enjoyable and sustainable industry. Maison Forton’s journey is not just about business; it’s about connecting strengths, having fun, and making a positive impact. 

Connect with Maison Forton

You can connect with Maison Forton on Linkedin and Instagram! For partnerships, reach out via the contact form on their website

Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Ellie.Talks podcast. Subscribe at EllieConnect for more engaging interviews and inspiring stories. Let’s make waves together in 2024!