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.