International Sunglasses Day 2018: Ethical Options

International Sunglasses Day 2018: Ethical Options

As a writer, I get a lot of press releases. A lot. And of varying quality.

Many of these are linked to the various awareness days that pepper the year. You know the sort of thing: Mental Health Awareness Week, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, International Talk Like A Pirate Day.*

Wednesday 27th June 2018 is International Sunglasses Day so I’ve been dutifully waiting for the onslaught of related press releases – to no avail.

As yet, nothing has arrived. Not a single email about sunglasses, whether linked to the day’s actual purpose of promoting the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays or simply hawking a new range.

Most odd. I’m wondering if something is actually wrong with my Inbox.

My Pala sunglassess || International Sunglasses Day 2018: Ethical Options || raeritchie.com
My Pala sunglasses in the sunshine

Beyond Ray-Bans

The world’s most popular sunglasses brand is, unsurprisingly, Ray-Ban. In 2016, they commanded 5 per cent of the global eye wear market while in 2017, parent company Luxottica made an enormous 9.16 million euros in net sales. Having spent a summer seeing them everywhere (including my own face), last September I wrote a reflection on what makes them so popular.

Now I’m wondering if we’ve hit peak Ray-Ban (prayban, maybe?!). Have they reached the point of ubiquity where they lose all their cool? Or has that moment already long past? Maybe I’m alone feeling a bit, well, bored by them.

If you’re looking for an alternative, there are some great ethical brands whose sunglasses not only look good but do good. Here are four options:

Dick Moby

Dick Moby sunglasses || International Sunglasses Day 2018: Ethical Options || raeritchie.com

These Amsterdam-based sunglasses makers use recycled acetate for their black frames and bio based acetate for all the others.

Pala

Pala sunglasses || International Sunglasses Day 2018: Ethical Options || raeritchie.com

Pala support vision projects in Africa. Through their buy a pair, give a pair scheme, they’ve helped to improve the sight of 5,000 people.

Panda

Panda's Wesli Ultralight || International Sunglasses Day 2018: Ethical Options || raeritchie.com
Panda’s Wesli Ultralight

As well as using sustainable bamboo for their frames, for each pair purchased, Panda donate an eye exam and new glasses to someone in need via partners Optometry Giving sight.

W.R.Yuma

W.R.Yuma sunglasses || International Sunglasses Day 2018: Ethical Options || raeritchie.com

W.R.Yuma use recycled car dashboards, drinks bottles and fridges to make the world’s first 3D printed sunglasses created from plastic waste.

* International Talk Like A Pirate Day is 19th September 2018.

 

Three Ethical Christmas Companies

The Recycled Candle Company stall - Three Ethical Christmas Companies || raeritchie.com
Three Ethical Christmas Companies || raeritchie.com

Back in July, I visited the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate.  It’s a huge trade event where producers display their wares to the retailers and buyers looking to add new lines to add to their websites and shops later in the year.  I wrote a series of posts featuring those makers that I met on the exhibition’s ‘Eco Trail’, including some fantastic festive themed firms.

Somehow it’s now December (how?!) and it seems like a great time to draw attention to those companies with a seasonal edge again.  Keep This Cracker, Nauseni and The Recycled Candle Company have great stocking fillers as well as everything you need for your Christmas centrepiece.

 

 

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 🙂

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

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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.

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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.

 

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 201720170717_13183120170717_131842

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?!

All of their candles, votives and firelighters are beautiful but check out their miniature Christmas trees!

From £6.00.

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A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III

A week of second hand style- my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III

When Myton Hospices invited me to undertake a style challenge at their new vintage fashion focused Myton Fargo charity shop (so named because of its location on Far Gosford Street, the new creative quarter in Coventry), I got somewhat carried away in creating outfits from their amazing vintage, retro and second hand stock.

As well as my round up feature the other week, and the insight into my own haul when I returned to the shop recently (okay so I’ve been back several times, but only blogged about one of trip!), I included a week’s worth of second hand style courtesy of their racks on my Instagram.

Aside from putting together a few separates, these outfits required approximately zero styling on my part.

The garments speak for themselves. 

Covering a range of styles and eras, as well as different price points, they highlight the fantastic stock curated by store manager Angela at Myton Fargo.

They also show the huge possibilities that are available if you decide to shop and dress second hand.

To showcase this, I thought I’d bring all these outfits together side by side.

According to my research at the weekend (that’s the kind of dedication I’m willing to undertake for you, dear readers #mayhaveboughtadresswhileIwasthere), a few of these pieces are still available.

But rather than focusing on the specifics, however fab they are, I want to emphasise what you can do with second hand clothes – and some of this is definitely second hand, rather than it’s trendier sibling, vintage.

It may take a bit of effort and commitment to dress this way, but the rewards are huge.  Second hand clothes are cheaper, individual and arguably the best way to build an ethical wardrobe.

If you don’t already shop second hand, pop into your local charity shop when you have half an hour to spare and see what takes your fancy.

And please do share with me what you come away with!  I’d love to see the results.

Here’s the best of what I found at Myton Fargo.

#OOTD Number One

 

#OOTD Number 1 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

I fell in love with this blouse as soon as I saw it tucked on the rack. What I wanted to show with this combo is that wearing vintage doesn’t mean impracticality or looking outre – it’s totally possible to mix gorgeous old clothes into a wearable for work look.

At the same time, the unique older pieces stop officewear looking boring. Win win!

The cost?

£4 for the blouse

£9 for the skirt (complete with original tag saying £25 from Next)

£7 for the shoes

Total = £20.00

#OOTD Number Two

#OOTD Number 2 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

Don’t eye roll at me for mentioning Christmas in October!  As I mention in the original post about my Myton adventure, charity shops can be a great place to pick up some festive fashion without fast fashion.

Love this example of Christmas clothing  – check out the detail on the blouse for what makes it perfect for December!

The cost?

£4.00 for the bauble blouse

£7.00 for the skirt

#OOTD Number Three

#OOTD Number 3 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

I labelled ‘Visit to a country pub outfit’ when I was making notes on my choices – sometimes I really do think in fashionese!

Wherever you’d wear this, the two high end items are absolute gems. The Johnstons cape is made of the softest wool; it’s like wearing a blanket. The trousers are an archetypal example of Ralph Lauren – I can’t believe they showed up in the English midlands!

The cost?

£25.00 for the cape

£25.00 for the trousers

Total = £50.00

#OOTD Number Four

#OOTD Number 4 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

Another day, another insight into the fantasy scenarios I create in my head. I named this ensemble the ‘Someret House ice skating outfit’ (although it’s totally okay to switch that to the Rockerfeller Center ice skating outfit if you prefer!).

The presence of actual ice skating boots makes this slightly less strange, I guess – and they epitomise how diverse the @mytonfargoshop stock really is!

The cost?

£20.00 for the dress (brand new with labels)

£12.00 for the Topshop faux fur gilet

£10.00 for the ice skates

Total = £42.00

#OOTD Number Five

#OOTD Number 5 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

This Studio 54 esque look is perfect for injecting some disco glamour into your wardrobe at any time of the year – glitz *and* shiny patent flat shoes to dance the night away in.

This was one of the first dresses I spotted during my Myton Fargo adventure and I knew immediately it had to feature.  The dress ticks the sequins trend, which will be big this season and for SS18.  And of course they are fab for Christmas!

#OOTD Number 5, label details - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com
I always look out for original Next labels such as this (usually without the fraying). A sign of great quality & design!

This outfit also demonstrates what great buys high street vintage can be.  The dress has the original 1980s/90s Next silk label inside.  Anything with this is in a sign of quality. Their clothes were far pricier then than today and signalled a good investment.

This is something I always look out for.

The cost?

£10.00 for the dress

£12.00 for the shoes, which are Marks and Spencer Limited Collection and look barely worn.

Total = £22.00

#OOTD Number Six

#OOTD Number Six - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

Of all the Myton Fargo outfits I’ve featured, this is one of my faves as each of the three elements is so effing awesome!

1) Vintage midi-dress with a winter floral pattern. The attention to detail is fantastic, and it has a concealed zip under a buttoned top section.

2) Levi jean jacket in a classic style. You’ll never wear this baby out!

3) Gorgeous tan boots. No other description needed.

The cost?

£6.00 for the dress

£25.00 for the wear-forever Levi jacket

£8.00 for the boots

Total = £39.00

#OOTD Number Seven

#OOTD Number Seven - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

I love this combo but that’s true about every single item I’ve included!  The coat was amazing quality as well as just all round fabulous.  It ended up going home with a volunteer after her first shift at the store!

The cost?

£35.00 for the coat

£6.00 for the Marks and Spencer Autograph dress

£6.00 for the shoes

Total = £47.00

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Second hand clothes, first rate fashion: charity shop shopping at Myton Fargo Part II

Second hand clothes, first rate fashion: charity shop shopping at Myton Fargo Part II
Second hand clothes, first rate fashion: charity shop shopping at Myton Fargo Part II

October seems to be a bumper month for awareness campaigns.  As well as yesterday’s World Mental Health Day, we are mid way through Hospice Care Week.

Hospices provide palliative care to those with life limiting illnesses. This means that patients admitted to hospices do not recover or leave the facility, except perhaps to spend their final few hours at home.

The annual Hospice Care Week is a time of celebration and action intended to raise the profile of hospice care in the UK and change people’s perceptions of them.

My paternal grandmother and aunt were both cared for by a local hospice, as was a friend’s mum.  I know that they provide vital emotional support as well as medical supervision during the darkest time that individuals and families face.

Hospices are staffed by doctors, nurses and volunteers, but unlike NHS hospitals, they only receive around one-third of their funding from the government.

As a result, hospices throughout the country rely heavily on charitable giving.

An easy way to support your local hospice during Hospice Care Week and beyond is to frequent their nearest charity shop.  

I was delighted when The Myton Hospices, a charity operating three hospices in my area, invited to me to undertake a style challenge at their newest store, Myton Fargo, on Far Gosford Street in Coventry.

I was so amazed and overwhelmed by the fantastic stock that the original terms of the challenge went out the window and I spent a happy day creating a week’s worth of outfits from their racks and rails.

Shortly afterwards, I returned to Myton Fargo with a view to shopping for myself.  In honour of Hospice Care Week, I thought I’d share two items from that haul with you.  Both chime with current and emerging trends from the catwalk, demonstrating that second hand doesn’t mean out of date.

You can use second hand clothes to create first rate fashion.

AW17 Trend: The Cardigan

I’m not a slavish follower of fashion trends but I do love to watch what’s happening on the catwalks as they can (can, not always!) be a great source of creative inspiration.

However distinctive our own style, we could all do with a new twist or turn sometimes.  One way to do this is to see what top designers are doing and integrate elements of that into our look.

It’s not about replicating an outfit top-to-toe, even if we could afford to; rather it’s seeing an idea with fresh eyes.

Case in point this season: cardigans.

For the last decade, they’ve been safe in the stylish hands of Michelle Obama while we all donned sweatershirts and jumpers.

Now, as always happens, the fashion tide has turned.  It’s all about cardigans again!

Even as an ethical and minimalist dresser, this lured me in like a siren.  Oo yes, I thought.  A cardigan is just the thing! (Easily influenced?  Me?  Perhaps).

Myton Fargo provided just the thing: a gorgeous red wine coloured number.  It’s chunky knit incorporates interesting detailing, including what I think is moss stitch on the sleeves (I may be wrong on that!).

It’s an easy wardrobe update that’s also warm and comfortable.

Just look at those buttons!

SS17 Trend: Princess Diana

Princess Diana was a huge style icon during her lifetime and twenty years after her death, her influence is having a renaissance.

Echoes of her famous outfits were evident across the recent Paris Fashion Week, notably in Virgil Abloh’s collection for Off-White, which included Naomi Campbell taking to the runaway in white cycling shorts.

A tad more wearable than cycling shorts is this amazing paste choker.  Myton Fargo shared it on their Instagram feed and I actually drove there the following morning especially to buy it.

An over-reaction?  Maybe.  But it all counts as research, especially having written recently about Princess Diana and costume jewellery!

Nothing has stronger associations with Lady Di than large blue sapphires so it’s a simple style reference – a way of nodding to the trend without going full-blown homage.

Unless, of course, you want to wear cycling shorts.  In which case, go right ahead.

If you enjoyed this post or found it useful, please do share it using the social media buttons below!

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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.

For more from me straight to your inbox, sign up for my monthly mailing.  It includes exclusive offers and giveaways! Every single subscription makes a real difference to me and my work.

You can also follow me and my freelancing adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

 

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

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

Fashion Accessories: 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, the first being beauty and skincare 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 🙂

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.

For more from me straight to your inbox, sign up for my monthly mailing.  It includes exclusive offers and giveaways! Every single subscription makes a real difference to me and my work.

You can also follow me and my freelancing adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.