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  1. My 6Rs - based on zero waste guru Bea Johnston's 5Rs but including REVIEW and REPAIR

     

    Fellow Brightonian interior designer Angela Cheung and I have decided to have regular conversations following the feedback we had from our one last month.   We have lots to talk about and to compare notes and most importantly to us - we share our learnings on sustainability and wellbeing in interior design with anyone watching!  We have different specialisms and enjoy discussing the overlaps together.

     

    This week we are talking about LIVING WITH LESS.  Watch to find out more about minimalism, decluttering, Chloe's involuntary decluttering,  Angela's voluntary decluttering,  the health & wellbeing benefits for us both, design for longevity and buying better. 


     

    This month marks my 15th year in business and it’s really making me reflect!  This conversation is very real for me because in my first week in business I had a house fire and lost most of my belongings.  I very quickly learnt to Live With Less!  It sounds so shocking doesn’t it - but it was the most important lesson to me about possessions.  Of course it was a shock and upsetting but I was hugely lucky.  No-one was hurt and I was properly insured (you just don’t know for sure until you have to claim).  You realise how many possessions you acquire along the way.  Much of it you rarely use or even look at.  You move from place to place taking it with you and paying for the extra space it needs to be kept in.  Reducing your possessions - severely for me - and it turns out for Angela as well - was a positive and freeing experience for us both.  As Angela observes “it leaves space for other things” which for her meant she’s made time in her life to do a Masters degree in Architecture at the age  of 50!!  I recognise it is not for everyone at all.  But to surround yourself with items that remind you of your loved ones and positive experiences you’ve had has such a huge wellness benefit. for us  I’ve learnt to not save things for best and to use and to wear and use them.  As Angela points out - live your one life now!

     

    We know we are some of the highest consumers on the planet in the UK and the US.  David Attenborough showed us this in his recent, alarming documentary 'Extinction'.  We are over consuming and not appreciating the huge amount of resources used to keep us in our mindless, one-click buying habits of gathering STUFF.

     

    In our conversation we talk about how we encourage our clients to REVIEW and SLOW DOWN when buying for a new space.  Buy things you LOVE and find ways to buy those better quality and longer lasting things including PRELOVED.  Appreciate too that those things will also have a resale value should you want to sell them on too!  REFLECT on the reasons you buy things - are they good reasons?  Last of all - buy things that are DURABLE and made to last.



    Book recommendation: The Minimalist Way - Erica Laine

    Must watch: Bea Johnson's Ted Talk

     

  2. Working with my ethical business

    I want to write about being an ethical business and what that means to me. I've been very fortunate to experience the inner workings of a successful ethical business in action during my 10 years for The Body Shop International’s head office - so it's natural for me to carry these values on into my own business.   

    This month I celebrate my 15th year in business and I'd like to use that milestone to review what I am doing and to make improvements.  Wow 15 years though.  It’s been a great experience but it’s not been the simplest path - from a housefire in my first week in business (I’ll tell you about this another time!) - to a financial crisis, Brexit uncertainty and now a pandemic!  Who’d have thought it would be so dramatic.  

     

    TREE PLANTING is really important to me and my clients love having trees planted in their name as a thank you when I've worked with them.   It is a positive although inaccurate contribution to offset the carbon used on the materials used in their projects. I’m aware it’s not in any way exact.  

    The exciting news is that there are pioneering furniture suppliers are able to give a CO2 calculation with their products.  It’s a hugely useful piece of information and I can’t wait for it to become the norm in my industry.  Clients can consider that as part of their decision process.  

     

    I want to review and increase my commitment to planting trees...

    🌳Up to now I've been planting 10 trees at the beginning and end of a full project.  This will now be 25 at the beginning and end.  

    🌳 I've also decided to plant 10 trees for each one-off consultation as I've been doing lots more of these recently - especially online.

    🌳 As a THANK YOU for anyone recommending my services I have 10 trees planted in the name of the referee for each positive CLIENT REFERRAL lead  I receive. 

    🌳 I’m planning to stay on the ground for travel for a while - but if I do fly I will I’ll follow Natalie Fee’s advice in her book ‘How To Save The World For Free’ She tells us “...if the aviation sector was a country - it would be the 7th biggest polluter in the world.” Obviously this is a pre-pandemic fact.  But it’s an alarming one.  Natalie recommends 

    • Atmos Fair - the flight is calculated and you pay to offset.  Offsetting takes the form of numerous climate protection projects such as energy efficiency, wind energy, hydro and solar power.  

    • Mossy Earth - your flight is calculated by the hour or road trip by distance and you pay for native trees to be planted and/or support their rewilding projects.

     

    Today I'm up to 433 trees planted and I'm just about to plant more for a client. 

    The project I'm supporting at the moment is PETA founder Jane Goodall's Institute initiative with OneTreePlanted - who need our help to plant 3 million trees as part of the Wildlife Habitat & Corridor Restoration Project. The Albertine Rift landscape is a diverse ecosystem which is crucial to many species and is a prominent habitat for endangered chimpanzees. It also houses over 50% of birds, 39% of mammals, 19% of amphibians, and 14% of reptiles and plants of mainland Africa. By pooling resources and combining efforts, One Tree Planted and the Jane Goodall Institute are aiming to restore and manage these incredible forests.⠀And it's not just about biodiversity, working with local communities will also include promoting agroforestry for sustainability, improving forest monitoring, and establishing community-managed enterprises and microlending programs in order to create a holistic long-term benefit.⠀⠀

     



  3. DESIGN FOR DIVERSITY

    What Design For Diversity?

    It is an initiative and community devised by interior designer Rukmini Patel and journalist Kate Watson-Smyth.  Listen to Kate’s podcast with Sophie Robinson for shocking and saddening insights into racism in the interior design industry - including one from my friend Jecks Stone, founder of Persona Abode

     

    Kate says: “We do not claim it as a solution. But we offer it as the start of a conversation.  A sign that the door is open…… It’s our sincere hope that the presence of this sticker on a design website or social channel will give those who see it the confidence to take a step forward, while offering reassurance that their interest will be received with positivity and fairness.”

     

    What is the Pledge?

    It is a three-point Pledge covering  Visibility,  Opportunity and Accessibility to help the design industry to become diverse. It is a first step to working towards a diverse design industry and giving brands, businesses and bloggers a guideline on areas they can work on to encourage.

     

    To pledge support designers and suppliers should post the badge so all can see it and make a relevant pledge. 

     

    I have signed up to the Design for Diversity pledge.  

    You don’t have to be an employer to be involved.  

    Things even a micro-business like mine can do….

    • I’m always seeking out products to use (especially sustainable!) and I would especially like to support BAME businesses who produce them.  

    • I would be really happy to mentor a student or designer from a BAME background too.  If you are interested in what I do and think mentoring from me would help you, please contact me by the end of November if you are interested. 

     

    Many designers and suppliers are now part of this initiative.  View here.

    Designers and suppliers can sign up here.

     

    Please help to support and encourage this important initiative to encourage a diverse design industry.