Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices

Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices
The Rae Bag

Today sees the launch of Larone Artisans, a company making beautiful bags who are already garnering attention in the world of ethical fashion.  It’s no wonder given the that all the designs, from clutches to carry-alls, combine style with traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials and fair employment practices.

I’ve been following Larone’s development for a while now and was delighted when they named one of their range after me.  Yes, like the Hermes Kelly and Birkin and Mulberry’s Alexa, you can now buy a Rae bag!  I’ve been toting mine (as pictured above) around for a week now and it’s already a firm favourite – and has solicited a lot of compliments!

To celebrate their launch, Larone Artisans have kindly offered an exclusive 30 percent discount on purchases to the lovely readers of my newsletter.  Of course, you can always access this by signing up for the monthly mailing 🙂

Last week, I caught up with one of Larone’s co-founders, Leticia Labre.  She’s based in New York while her partner Jennifer Lo is in Manilla, allowing close contact with the Filipino craftwomen who make the bags.

Rae: Tell us about Larone Artisans.

Leticia: Larone Artisans is a brand of handmade handbags mainly made out of natural plant fibers. Larone bags are handwoven by skilled craftsmen and women using traditional weaving techniques.

Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices
The Enchanted River Oval

Why did you decide to create a bag company?

Jennifer comes from a family with a long legacy in weaving and artisanship. Her grandfather learned to weave wicker furniture as a twelve year old orphan to support himself. Through sheer hard work, he was eventually able to open his own wicker furniture factory. Jennifer’s mother had the idea of making purses handwoven from natural fibers and has worked with artisanal communities for more than thirty years since.

Jennifer now runs the workshop, using some of the same materials and weaving techniques her grandfather did and working with some of the artisans who saw her grow up. Larone Artisans mission is to introduce these beautiful handbags to a wider audience through our retail website.

Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices
The Wind Chaser Wicker Saddle

Have ethical values always been central to your vision?

Growing up with a loving family and being given a good education in a country [the Philippines] where many live beneath the poverty line, we are always conscious of our blessings and thus our responsibility to improve our community.

Larone Artisans’ vision is to give continuous livelihood to our weavers throughout the year and not just seasonally.

How did you connect with the women who produce your bags?

From our travels around the Philippines, we have met with artisan communities who make exquisite handcrafts that are easily translated into fashionable handbags.

Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices
The Serene Waters Wicker

Have you seen a growing interest in ethical fashion?

In a world of fast fashion, Larone stands out because we do not use the traditional model of having a factory, we work with artisans in their communities.

Women are able to work from home while taking care of their families. We produce in small batches, always mindful of the impact to the environment.

People are beginning to be more appreciative of slow fashion. It’s not a rush to get the product to market but rather a thoughtful process of livelihood, product development, intertwined with people and the environment. So yes, there has been a growing interest.

Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices
The Sporty Straw Tote

What are the challenges facing ethical manufacturers?  Are these different to ‘mainstream’ companies?

Slow fashion manufacturers are faced with the pressure of keeping up with fast fashion brands.

With woven handbags, there are no shortcuts because there is no machine to speed up the process.

Just extracting raw materials such as fibers is a tedious process and the challenge is
to keep the process sustainable for seasons to come.

Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices
The Aqua Reef Wicker

Do you have an image of the typical Larone Artisans customer?

The Larone woman has a quirky sense of style and is not afraid to stand out. No boring and safe black leather bag for her! Give her pompoms! Give her color and exotic materials!

She appreciates the handmade details of Larone bags and is attracted to its raw natural character.

Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices
The Peacock Feathers Signature

What are your backgrounds and how did you guys meet?

I grew up in the Philippines but was living in the US/UK for a long time, most recently as a climate change consultant. Five years ago I moved back to the Philippines, but I knew it was just going to be a stopover before moving back West again. I was looking for a project that could move with me and move me. I had heard about Jennifer and Larone through mutual friends and was immediately excited. First, I love purses (what woman doesn’t)! And they preserve culture and are environmentally-friendly too?? It sounded perfect and it was! I reached out to Jen and here we are 🙂

Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices
The Forest Pompom Libby

Which of the bags is the most popular so far?

It’s so hard to say because we’ve received interest and messages on almost every style that we’ve put out on Instagram. At a push I would say maybe the pompom bag for its color, and the wicker saddle bag for its unique shape and material, are slightly more popular.  But there’s definitely a group that’s inspired by abaca, of which The Rae Bag is made.

Introducing Larone Artisans: beautiful bags, traditional artisanship, ecologically sound materials & fair employment practices
The Queen of the Hills Millie

If you could only have one of the bags, which would you choose?

I LOVE my abaca and gold cord tote. It rises to the occasion and carries itself elegantly when I have a dressy occasion to go to. But it’s just as dependable for daily tasks like going to the grocery or the gym! When I’m feeling drab, it’s my preferred pick-my-look-up accessory.  I’ve even used it to secure my personal space against people who don’t seem familiar with the concept!

If you want to know more about Larone Artisans and their beautiful bags, head to their website at www.laroneartisans.com – but don’t forget you can secure a 30 percent discount exclusively through my newsletter!

 

#CharityTuesday: Today’s Second Hand Style Haul

#CharityTuesday: Today's Second Hand Style Haul || raeritchie.com

I’ve recently started appearing on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio’s Brody Swain show.  Every few weeks, I turn up and talk about the day’s more lighthearted news stories with Brody and a couple of other guests.

This is fun in itself, but it also means that I’ve got a great excuse to regularly pop in to a row of my favourite charity shops on the nearby Trinity Street in Coventry city centre.  Together they represent three great causes, including two with local links: Mary Anne Evans Hospice, Cancer Research UK and The Myton Hospices.

The greatest compliment I’ve ever received was linked to a skirt purchased from one of these, as I’ve talked about before.  I say in that post that it was from Scope but I think it was actually the Mary Anne Evans Hospice Shop – which is the store I didn’t have time to go in earlier.

Here’s today’s haul and how I plan to wear each item.  I’ve love to hear what you’ve picked up recently in charity shops and what you’re doing with it!  Comment below or pop over and tell me on Instagram or Twitter.

And if you enjoy this post, please do share it on social media – it really does make a difference!  There are sharing buttons at the bottom of the post.

#CharityTuesday: Today's Second Hand Style Haul || raeritchie.com

Black pleated skirt, £3 (The Myton Hospices)

Knowing how much I wear my navy one, I was chuffed to spot a similar skirt in black.  I’m already imagining it at Christmas with a winter white jumper (yet to be purchased, but I was eyeing up a Finisterre with RNLI one on Pebble Magazine this morning).

I’m thinking of swapping the self-coloured buttons to houndstooth check ones.  Any thoughts?

#CharityTuesday: Today's Second Hand Style Haul || raeritchie.com

Farah men’s vintage fit t-shirt, £3.75 (The Myton Hospices)

Since going to see ‘North: Identity, Photography, Fashion’ at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery back in the spring (soon to be on show at Somerset House), I’ve been aspiring to channel the casuals’ look – largely by wearing my partner’s slim fit Fred Perry t-shirt with my Adidas Gazelles.  I can now branch out to wearing this t-shirt too.

It’s a beautiful jersey cotton that I’m hoping will also contrast nicely with the silk of wide leg pyjama style bottoms!

#CharityTuesday: Today's Second Hand Style Haul

Khaadi long length shirt, £3.00 (Cancer Research UK)

A quick Internet search revealed that Khaadi is a Pakistani clothing brand, which isn’t surprising given the design of this shirt.  I loved its colour, softness and overall look, which is about as near to boho as I ever get.  As Imran Khan, the former Pakistani cricketer turned politican, is one of my style icons, it feels like this was meant to be mine!

For now I’m planning on wearing it with linen trousers and tucking in the front.  I saw the latter on a street style blog and it caught my eye.  Loving the popularity of shirts at the moment as I live in them and I’m getting lots of inspiration on different ways to wear them (see also below for more!).

20170815_170736

Top Lady blouse, £2.00 (Cancer Research UK)

The sight of this on a rack is what pulled me into the store when I thought I was done with my Myton Hospices purchases!  I’ve yet to find anymore information about the brand.  It isn’t one I’ve encountered before.  If the style alone didn’t scream retro then the ‘Made in the UK’ label indicates it has to be of a certain vintage!

Turns out I first saw the blouse from the back.  It’s actually a button up with a pussy cat bow, which is nice in itself but I’m determined to try wearing it the other way round as I think it looks amazing that way.  Just need to ensure I get dressed and undressed with my partner around!

Did you know I had a mailing list?  Sign up for my monthly newsletter and stay up to date with all my writing as well as hearing about my freelancing adventures, the makers and creators that I meet and the odd giveaway!

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me || raeritchie.com

Having spent last week sharing about the lovely folks I met on the #EcoTrail at the Home and Gift Buyers’ Festival, I thought I’d share a little about myself too.  Some of you readers I know personally, but many I do not, so hopefully this will provide a light-hearted insight into the woman behind the words and pictures.

The list covers the personal, professional and peculiar.  Which of these is new to you?  What would you put if you created something similar?  Let me know by commenting below or on social media.  I’d love to learn more about you too!

  1. I’m thirty five (and hence my #35at35quest).
  2. I live in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK. I grew up here, vowed to move away as soon as I could – then found myself coming back some years later!
  3. I’m left handed but have mastered being very discreet in swapping my cutlery over in restaurants.
  4. I have a large mole on the bottom of my right foot. This is an unusual place to have a one due to the pigment of the sole.
  5. I’ve represented Great Britain. At talking.  Really!  1999 in the European Youth Parliament.  The photograph at the top shows me with my sixth form teammates; I’m the second in from the right.
  6. I have a PhD in History. You can even read it here if you’re interested.
  7. I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since 28th December 2014. Sometimes I write about this, both on my blog and elsewhere.  Going sober is up there with becoming a freelance writer as one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
  8. I’m a geek. I get obsessed and excited about a wide range of bizarre topics.  I once spent a holiday in Disney World memorising the fifty states of America in alphabetical order.  I even got to make use of my nerdish propensities recently writing an article for teens about keep their brain going over the long summer holidays – I became so enthusiastic that I *almost* wished I was doing GCSEs again!
  9. I have a mailing list. You can sign up to get a monthly letter about my freelancing adventures, what I’ve learnt and the amazing makers & creators that I met.
  10. I don’t like meat flavoured crisps. They remind me of an ex-boyfriend.

 

 

 

The round-up: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival 2017

After a week of posts featuring different categories, here is the final collected round-up.  All of the stalls that I visited on the eco trail at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate on 17th July: seventeen in total, although there were others that I didn’t get to in my one day visit!

I’ve been so glad to share these awesome eco, ethical and sustainable brands with you.

(I’ve previously done a round-up of the eco, ethical & sustainable firms at the Pulse show too).

Beauty & skincare, fashion accessories & jewellery, gifts, greetings cards & stationery, candles, Christmas: they’re all listed below.

I hope that you’ve found some new companies to consciously shop with.  Let me know what purchases you make from them!

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Beauty & skincare

 

Big Green Tree

Big Green Tree is a family owned business that designs and manufacturers its natural skincare products on the edge of the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire.  They offer a broad range of paraben and SLS free products, along with a diffusion line of men’s skincare items such as shaving soap and post-shave balm.  As well as the friendliness and knowledge of owner Helen, what impressed me was that when they do use plastic bottles, they are recyclable.  Good to know for certain!

Starting from around £12.00.

Sorry I didn’t get any pictures from this stall!  

Beauty & Skincare: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

MOA

The Magic Organic Apothecary was established in 2010, creating natural skincare products with close links to old folklore.  Their key ingredient is herb yarrow (Achillea millefolium), commonly found in English hedgerows.  MOA grow their own in Somerset, where they plant seeds by hand!  The products combine yarrow with other herbs and essential oils, such as tea tree and damask rose.  The original multi-purpose balm has now been joined by a cleanser, bath potion and facial oil.

Prices from £4.00.

 

Fashion accessories & jewellery

Earth Squared

Scarves, hats, gloves, bags, purses: Earth Squared offer them all under the slogan ‘fair trade and fabulous’.  They certainly are both!  A member of BAFTS (the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers), they work with fair trade accredited producers.  Among their huge selection of products, there will be something for everyone but my personal favourites were the tweed purses, velvet scarves and knitted bobble hats – although I also have my eye on a navy wool sling bag 🙂

From £5.99.

EnviroTrend

EnviroTrend sell a variety of bags that are designed to eliminate the use of plastic bags.  They are all lightweight yet strong, and the SAKitToMe™ shopping bags fold up into a size that you can attach to your key-ring – so you never caught out at the checkout without a reusable bag again!

They have also created the INside OUT Umbrella™.  This looks like a regular umbrella and opens the same, but will stand up on its own when down.  It also turns inside out as it is closed, so that the water drains on the inside, meaning no more soaking the side of your leg when walking round with a used brolly!

RRP from £6.00 for the bags; the umbrella £25.00.

Mowgs

Mowgs founder Michal stumbled upon villagers making beautiful baskets while travelling around Myanmar.  Locals produce them when the rainy season prevents farming, using generations old weaving techniques but plastic strapping recycled from used materials around them – meaning each one is unique.  Michal now works closely with the same villagers, bringing a limited number to the retail market.  Unsurprisingly they sell out fast!

RRP from £19.99 to £45.99.

Accessories & Jewellery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Old Willow

Scottish jewellery firm Two Skies source old pieces of the iconic blue-and-white willow pattern china and porcelain then upcycle the pottery into hand crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces.  This includes rings, earrings and necklaces that feature either a bird, a bridge or another part of the classic scene.

Their publicity even tells the ancient love story behind the pattern:

Accessories & Jewellery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

‘A peasant boy and a princess were in love but her father, the king, would not let them marry.  He built a large fence around the palace and arranged a suitable marriage with a duke.  Arriving by boat, the Duke found that the couple had already escaped to an island where the gods had taken pity on them and transformed them into immortal doves’.

Starting at £24.50.

 

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery

 

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Claire Vaughan Designs

Claire’s free-hand artwork is inspired by the garden, the countryside and coast.  These designs then appear cards, coasters, stationery, prints, bottles, homeware and ceramics.  The vast majority of goods are handmade or hand-finished and come from the finest independent UK sources.  I was immediately drawn to the mugs as I’d never seen such beautiful examples; I was unsurprised to learn that these are from The Potteries, Stoke.

From £1.95.

 

Hannah Longmuir

Hannah is a countryside artist whose mainly pencilled drawings record the beauty of hedgerows, woodlands and fields.  These images become cards and stationery that really are works of art.  I don’t need to describe them; the images speak for themselves.

From £2.00.

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Seasonal Soul

Inspired by owner Rhianydd’s own quest for more connection and wellbeing, Seasonal Soul offers small homeware products, stationery and greetings cards designed to help users to relish the season and rekindle their soul.  Designed and made in the UK, the prints, colours and slogans reflect different times of the year, from the ‘For Someone Who’s Just Blooming Fabulous’ summertime card in hot pink to the seasonal journal kit in autumnal greens and oranges.

From £2.00.

Totes Adore

The Adore-A-Bottle range showcases stylish upcycling by recrafting empty alcohol bottles into beautiful new products.  There are chopping boards, lights, candles, nibble bowls and drizzle bottles.  The bottle lights would look great on an outdoor table or nestled on a cocktail bar, while the bespoke option means that you can sentimental bottles (such as champagne from your wedding) converted into a candle with a matching scent.

From £15.00.

Wraptious

Wraptious regularly run competitions to find new artists to contribute to their animal and nature inspired lines of products.  They offer a broad range of designs on items such as greetings cards, notebooks, coasters, placemats, clocks, mugs, cushions and prints.  All are made in the UK.

Retail prices from £2.50.

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

YooJoo Cards

YooJoo’s Monster Cards have a second life as a bookmark: you simply tear the perforations when you’ve finished displaying it.  If that weren’t ingenious enough, owner and illustrator Julie has now added the Plectrum range.  She collects used store cards from shops then makes plectrums from the plastic, adding them to her drawings of acoustic and electric guitars.  Again these can be kept when the card is recycled.

From £2.75

Candles

 

 

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Light Me Bio-oil Candle

Did you know that 4.3 million people die every year from indoor air pollution?  It was this statistic which inspired the creators of the Light Me Bio-Oil Candle to create their product.  Their alternative maintains the ambience of regular candles but are clean burning, without the soot and melted wax.  They also self-extinguish if knocked over.

From £10.99.

 

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Melt

For almost twenty years, Melt have been making hand-poured candles with scents that differ from the usual perfumed options.  From Angel and Aubergine to Verbena and Clary Sage, Violet and Black Pepper, there are many distinctive perfumes available in two jar sizes and three freestanding options.  Furthermore, more than 94% of their ingredients come from the county of Lancashire, where they are based – supporting local business while keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum.

From £8.95.

The Recycled Candle Company

You know how there’s wax leftover whenever you’ve finished burning a candle?  Well the clever chaps at The Recycled Candle Company go round collecting this seeming waste product from London churches, pubs and hotels then they recycle all the bits into beautiful new ones.  Isn’t this the greatest recycling story that you’ve ever heard?!

From £6.00.

Christmas

Keep this cracker

Upon realising the amount of waste generated each Christmas by single use crackers, Bea Thackeray came up with her own solution: reusable ones!  After some experimentation, she perfected her model.  You fill the gift box centre with whatever your choose, thread the snap through and pull as normal – except the whole thing slides apart rather than rips, so you can use them again!  All you have to replace are the snaps, which she also sells.  Genius!

There are also options for wedding favours and other occasions.

From £3.10 for the crackers; £1.10 for six replacement snaps.

20170717_131140

Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Nauseni

Founded in response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Nauseni (now-se-ni) strives to empower Nepalese women by offering skill development and income generating opportunities.  The firm works closely with teams of women artisans who they have trained to produce needle felted ornaments that reflect the centuries of wool making crafts in the Himalayas.

Prices unavailable at present.

 

 

Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival 2017

Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Last week, I attended the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate.  It’s a huge event, made up of many producers and even more retailers looking to add new lines to their sites, stores and stalls in the autumn.

As with previous events trade events I’ve attended, my goal was to seek out those makers with an eco, ethical or sustainable tale to tell.  I thus set off on the organised ‘Eco Trail’ but I was defeated by the size of the show, covering only around two-thirds of it.

Even so, I met some awesome brands that I’m excited to tell you about!  

Having realised how mammoth my earlier ethical round-up was, I decided to break this summary up somewhat. There are five parts: beauty & skincare on Monday, accessories & jewellery on Tuesday, gifts, greetings cards & stationery on Wednesday and candles last night  There will also be a collated post on Saturday.  Phew!

I hope that you find some new companies to consciously shop with.  Let me know what purchases you make!

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

 

Keep this cracker

Upon realising the amount of waste generated each Christmas by single use crackers, Bea Thackeray came up with her own solution: reusable ones!  After some experimentation, she perfected her model.  You fill the gift box centre with whatever your choose, thread the snap through and pull as normal – except the whole thing slides apart rather than rips, so you can use them again!  All you have to replace are the snaps, which she also sells.  Genius!

There are also options for wedding favours and other occasions.

From £3.10 for the crackers; £1.10 for six replacement snaps.

20170717_131140

Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Nauseni

Founded in response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Nauseni (now-se-ni) strives to empower Nepalese women by offering skill development and income generating opportunities.  The firm works closely with teams of women artisans who they have trained to produce needle felted ornaments that reflect the centuries of wool making crafts in the Himalayas.

Prices unavailable at present.

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival 2017

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Last week, I attended the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate.  It’s a huge event, made up of many producers and even more retailers looking to add new lines to their sites, stores and stalls in the autumn.

As with previous events trade events I’ve attended, my goal was to seek out those makers with an eco, ethical or sustainable tale to tell.  I thus set off on the organised ‘Eco Trail’ but I was defeated by the size of the show, covering only around two-thirds of it.

Even so, I met some awesome brands that I’m excited to tell you about!  

Having realised how mammoth my earlier ethical round-up was, I decided to break this summary up somewhat.  There are five parts: beauty & skincare on Monday, accessories & jewellery on Tuesday, and gifts, greetings cards & stationery last night.  There will also be a collated post on Saturday.  Phew!

I hope that you find some new companies to consciously shop with.  Let me know what purchases you make!

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Light Me Bio-oil Candle

Did you know that 4.3 million people die every year from indoor air pollution?  It was this statistic which inspired the creators of the Light Me Bio-Oil Candle to create their product.  Their alternative maintains the ambience of regular candles but are clean burning, without the soot and melted wax.  They also self-extinguish if knocked over.

From £10.99.

 

 

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Melt

For almost twenty years, Melt have been making hand-poured candles with scents that differ from the usual perfumed options.  From Angel and Aubergine to Verbena and Clary Sage, Violet and Black Pepper, there are many distinctive perfumes available in two jar sizes and three freestanding options.  Furthermore, more than 94% of their ingredients come from the county of Lancashire, where they are based – supporting local business while keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum.

From £8.95.

 

The Recycled Candle Company

You know how there’s wax leftover whenever you’ve finished burning a candle?  Well the clever chaps at The Recycled Candle Company go round collecting this seeming waste product from London churches, pubs and hotels then they recycle all the bits into beautiful new ones.  Isn’t this the greatest recycling story that you’ve ever heard?!

From £6.00.

 

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival 2017

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017
Artist Hannah Longmuir at work during the show

Last week, I attended the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate.  It’s a huge event, made up of many producers and even more retailers looking to add new lines to their sites, stores and stalls in the autumn.

As with previous events trade events I’ve attended, my goal was to seek out those makers with an eco, ethical or sustainable tale to tell.  I thus set off on the organised ‘Eco Trail’ but I was defeated by the size of the show, covering only around two-thirds of it.

Even so, I met some awesome brands that I’m excited to tell you about!  

Having realised how mammoth my earlier ethical round-up was, I decided to break this summary up somewhat.  There are five parts, beginning with beauty & skincare on Monday and accessories & jewellery last night, plus a collated post on Saturday.

I hope that you find some new companies to consciously shop with.  Let me know what purchases you make!

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Claire Vaughan Designs

Claire’s free-hand artwork is inspired by the garden, the countryside and coast.  These designs then appear cards, coasters, stationery, prints, bottles, homeware and ceramics.  The vast majority of goods are handmade or hand-finished and come from the finest independent UK sources.  I was immediately drawn to the mugs as I’d never seen such beautiful examples; I was unsurprised to learn that these are from The Potteries, Stoke.

From £1.95.

 

Hannah Longmuir

Hannah is a countryside artist whose mainly pencilled drawings record the beauty of hedgerows, woodlands and fields.  These images become cards and stationery that really are works of art.  I don’t need to describe them; the images speak for themselves.

From £2.00.

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Seasonal Soul

Inspired by owner Rhianydd’s own quest for more connection and wellbeing, Seasonal Soul offers small homeware products, stationery and greetings cards designed to help users to relish the season and rekindle their soul.  Designed and made in the UK, the prints, colours and slogans reflect different times of the year, from the ‘For Someone Who’s Just Blooming Fabulous’ summertime card in hot pink to the seasonal journal kit in autumnal greens and oranges.

From £2.00.

Totes Adore

The Adore-A-Bottle range showcases stylish upcycling by recrafting empty alcohol bottles into beautiful new products.  There are chopping boards, lights, candles, nibble bowls and drizzle bottles.  The bottle lights would look great on an outdoor table or nestled on a cocktail bar, while the bespoke option means that you can sentimental bottles (such as champagne from your wedding) converted into a candle with a matching scent.

From £15.00.

Wraptious

Wraptious regularly run competitions to find new artists to contribute to their animal and nature inspired lines of products.  They offer a broad range of designs on items such as greetings cards, notebooks, coasters, placemats, clocks, mugs, cushions and prints.  All are made in the UK.

Retail prices from £2.50.

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

YooJoo Cards

YooJoo’s Monster Cards have a second life as a bookmark: you simply tear the perforations when you’ve finished displaying it.  If that weren’t ingenious enough, owner and illustrator Julie has now added the Plectrum range.  She collects used store cards from shops then makes plectrums from the plastic, adding them to her drawings of acoustic and electric guitars.  Again these can be kept when the card is recycled.

From £2.75