11th December 2018No Comments

When giving goes beyond just a nice gesture

Giving is the ultimate nice thing to do and it seems everyone feels a bit more generous at this time of year especially. It should really apply all year round, but that's a conversation for another day I think! Whether you're giving a physical item or your time and attention, they still mean something. What if you could go even further and know that your gift does good for more than one person?

Buying from businesses that support communities and groups of people has proven to be possible, through the social enterprise business model and when other brands provide the opportunities for them to have a voice. One of these places are Edge and Company. A newly launched online shop, they're all about giving back in some way which stems from the people who make their products, through to its customers that can buy knowing they're giving back too.

Milly and Steve got in touch after following each other for a little while and they wanted me to experience the products they had on offer, so very very kindly gifted me a selection.  We have similar missions so it was match! There's been no obligation to share in a specific way or what I do with it, but I wanted to share some of the products and the goodness they spread.

All the products are a mix of businesses that I already know as well as some I don't which is exciting, plus they're all perfect additions to the home so is there any other excuse?!

The beauty is in the simplicity when you look closer at how each piece is made. There's no bells and whistles, unnecessary packaging or details that serve no purpose. Just pure, functional quality. Plus the low waste factor is a huge plus point. 

Just in my gift selection, there are already five communities and organisations being supported! You can learn more about some of them here and on the product pages if you're having a browse. 

There will be all the cosy vibes for me this winter; I've lived in my slippers since I've had them, enjoyed a hot cup of tea with my husband and basked in the warm glow of the candles. There's no better feeling knowing that something I have helps another life flourish. Now that's some radical giving.

You can see more at edgeandcompany.com or follow on Facebook and Instagram


All the items seen here were very kindly gifted by Milly and Steve at Edge and Company. All the thoughts shared here are my own and I would never promote a business I don't believe in. 

22nd June 2018No Comments

Buy something you love and support refugees

This post nearly didn't get published... Had a moment of doubt where I was second-guessing my written work, whether I'd gathered enough, is this good enough quality and so on. But later thought that I should share these brands and my work regardless. So without further ado, here are four brands that are all small businesses and support refugees.

Aerende

If minimal, well-made and beautiful homewares are your thing, then you'll love Aerende. From handmade bowls and cups to chopping boards and towels, everything is made by those facing social challenges in the UK. In particular, the linen tea towels, napkins and some cushions are all made by refugee women. Enabling them to gain skills for further employment, these items are lovingly made from home and then become part of yours. When you order, everything is packaged in recycled or biodegradable materials even down to the stickers! So you know you're making an impact in more than one way.

Nemi Teas

Britain loves a good cup of tea doesn't it? Apart from me unfortunately, I'm a hardcore coffee drinker. However, when rarely in the mood I do like Indian Chai. Nemi teas employ refugees to run tea stalls in London. Through selling chai they boost their English, confidence and skills to enter the UK job market. They've popped up at many events, conferences and markets but you can also buy their selection of tea blends and syrups on the website. Complete with biodegradable teabags.

 
Images: from respective websites

Mazí Mas

Describing themselves as a roaming restaurant, Mazí Mas cater to events, food pop-ups and kitchen residencies. Rooted in tradition, food is cooked with soul and inspired by the many cultures found in modern London. They provide training and employment to women, some of which are refugees, in the food industry. The women all come from different countries and with them they bring their own take on how meals are cooked and shared. To experience this at home, you can buy their spice blends on the website.

Help Refugees

As a young charity, Help Refugees have already caused quite a stir. Their pop-up in London last Christmas (2017) was a huge hit. You could go in to buy products like any other shop, but this time you could choose to buy various items that would support refugees at different parts of their journey. For example, I bought a children's jacket, blanket and a pack of meal ingredients. They pledged to donate the exact items you buy and ensure they get to the various check points they work with overseas. I already wrote about it here and the shop lives on online but so does their t-shirt that has been all over the internet. The 'Choose Love' t-shirt is currently stocked on ASOS.


Image: Help Refugees website

So there you have a few brands you can buy practical, everyday items from, whilst knowing your making an impact on the lives of others. I'm certain there's more businesses supporting refugees like this, so do let me know if you come across them. In the meantime, happy conscious shopping!

(Banner image: Own content)

18th April 2018No Comments

How to make change from your kitchen

Do you like to know the origin of the products you buy? Is how they’re made just as important as if they’ll work? This applies especially to the objects you use at home in your daily life. Now you can be sure you’re buying well AND have something beautiful with Aerende.

After discovering the brand on Instagram (where else?), I found their first popup in London and hotfooted it down there. Speaking with the founder Emily she described it perfectly — ‘A department store for impactful homewares’. It brings together brands and projects that all have a social mission. Total genius idea to be honest and so glad it exists.

Coming from the old English word meaning ‘care’ or ‘message’, Aerende is a social enterprise that sources pieces for the home, all lovingly handmade by makers across the UK facing social challenges.

Not only this, Aerende supports ethical business practice, sustainability and combined with support for smaller makers, each item has an impact well beyond your dining table.

I’ve built up a little collection now and absolutely love that each piece tells a story, has helped someone and is made to last. Just through my bowl, cups, chopping board and tea towel, there’s three communities being strengthened.

Ceramics — The Camphill Village trust provides employment for those with learning disabilities and other special needs to enable them to live meaningful lives. The cups and bowl were designed and made by them, with each piece having its own imperfectly perfect details.

Chopping board — Fruitful Woods is a social enterprise giving support to those with mental health issues through local forestry work and managing woodlands, but also transform surplus wood into functional items like my chopping board.

Tea Towel — The Refugee council support female refugees and those seeking asylum, providing advice and opportunities to gain life and practical skills in the UK. They do this through various projects like making tea towels and napkins for Aerende. They’re made at home whilst learning a new skill and giving them a better chance of getting a job.

If that doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzy and drive to buy mindfully, I don’t know what will! There’s so many businesses that both meet consumer demand AND give back to others without compromising their quality or integrity.

So next time you’re window shopping whether physically or digitally, take a closer look at brands and their values to see if they align with yours. Take the time to find out more, you’ll be surprised.

14th March 2018No Comments

Gifts that keep on giving – Help Refugees

We all know or are aware of the huge refugee crisis happening right now so you don’t need me to tell you about it again. It’s horrific and needs to stop and hopefully you feel the same? Thankfully there’s also lots of people that want to help in whatever way possible, not just the big charities. I found this particular organisation on Facebook by chance — doesn’t happen often!

Leveraging the power of Popups, the time of year and location, Help Refugees UK have just opened their (temporary) doors to the public. Instead of trawling through well-designed shirts and artisanal candles, you can choose to buy various aid items such as meal ingredients or a child’s coat.

‘Choose Love’ is the first of it’s kind to bring this mainstream into the retail arena by offering real items that refugees would need at various stages in their journey. Everything is simply laid out and clearly labelled with a price attached to the item itself. The friendly team are on hand to help, advise and give you more info.

Help Refugees UK London popup

Three simple steps to shop with heart

Help Refugees UK London popup

Clear statistics to show how resources help

Alongside the items of aid, you can purchase a ‘Choose Love’ sweatshirt to take away with you if you still want a piece of something and show your support.

The season of giving is upon us so why not give to those who really need help to get them through what could be, a fatal journey. Conveniently located in Soho, it’s in prime position for the Christmas hoards (and you maybe?). You might not leave with a thing, but at least you leave with a warm fuzzy feeling that no other retail therapy can bring!

They opened on Black Friday (24th November) until Christmas Eve (24th December) at 18 Broadwick Street, Soho, London W1F 8HS.

They continue to sell online so you can still support!

Follow Help Refugees on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Help Refugees UK London Popup

Some of the items on sale

Help Refugees UK London Popup

Sweatshirts for sale