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  1. Sustainabilty diagram

     

    Sustainability is the place where People, Planet and Profit meet.  Being sustainable interior designer means awareness of the impact on nature as well as being equitable and having awareness for people in the industry & the supply chains we use - it’s not only about planet.  

     

    I’m extremely fortunate in that Sustainability has been a part of how I work since early in my career in the mid nineties.  I was lucky to be a designer in the retail design team at The Body Shop International’s head office.  The company’s retail spaces had to match up to the values and ethics of the brand & it’s products. And so began a wonderful learning experience for me in sustainable and ethical design.  We worked closely with the company’s Business Ethics team who vetted the suppliers and materials we used.  As well, the company set up Trade Not Aid (now Community Fair Trade) to ensure people in the supply chain were fairly treated too.

     

    My industry is slowly realising it’s huge impact on nature and the part we play in the use of materials and manufactured goods.  The word Sustainability is used more and more and I am really happy there is now so much more awareness.  But my concern is that the people factor within Sustainability is not front of mind.  




    How can I help you to be more sustainable?  

    • I won’t pretend it’s easy - there is not an abundance of choice.  There is not a wealth of Fair Trade products for interiors to choose from - but there are some so seek them out.  Even if an item or two could be swapped in. 

     

    • There’s lots of small producers that directories like Blue Patch can direct you to (UK and Irish makers).  

     

    • Labels are another useful way to navigate through,  I use Cradle to Cradle, Good Weave and Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) for reassurance of the people element of sustainablity.

     

    • Being a Living Wage employer is being adopted more and more - so look out for suppliers displaying this logo.

    I’m very happy to share with you this guide on the labels and directories I use.  You can download it here.




    I know the whole area feels daunting and sometimes a moving target as there is an element of greenwashing going on.  But I feel we need to increase our knowledge and awareness and reward the more conscious suppliers who look after more than bottom line profit. 

    Let’s use sustainable products and materials that have been ethically sourced.  As I am often saying - we all need to ask more questions of suppliers.  That action alone on mass will push demand and encourage better.

     

     

    As always - I am here to help if needed.  I have built a large product libray and have over 26 years experience,

    Book a free Discovery Call here.

     

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  2.  

    So this is our family story I touched on recently.  My mum had discovered the newly opened Body Shop in Brighton’s North Laine.  My Grandparents and Uncle lived miles away in Nottingham.  

    These were the early days when the labels for products were handwritten.

    My lovely Uncle Rob (who is just about to be 80 by the way!) had visited us for a holiday and my Mum sent some Body Shop goodies back with him for Gran to try,  One of the goodies was a pot of Carrot Cream. 

    Rob couldn’t understand why Gran had left the black pot of cream on the hall table for him to take home. She thought it said Car Rot Cream!   Rob is massively into doing up cars. She saw it was from the Body Shop and thought it was a car body repair place. The handwriting was a bit wobbly.  

    And that’s the name we call it still!

     

     

  3. Anita Roddick, Brighton's The Argus The Body Shop International

    I love this photo of Anita Roddick.  Growing up in Brighton in the 1970s, me and my friends knew The Body Shop so well - it’s was where got your ears pierced.  Or not - if you like me you weren’t allowed!  For me it was where I choose the next colourful sticker for my collection from a reel on the cash desk, while my Mum bought 'car-rot' cream for my Gran (family joke!) or had a potion refilled.  

    I would spend my pocket money there.  I bought soap for my soap collection (will tell you about that another day!).  Then had gift baskets made up there as I got older ....and I started to engage with the company’s values - especially Against Animal Testing. 

    When I returned to Brighton after university - it was the recession of the early 90s.  I had a bumpy start and was made redundant from my first ‘proper’ job.  So in desperation, I hand wrote a letter to Anita.  I remember it well.  I asked if they might need the help of a 3D designer in their head office (just along the coast in Littlehampton).  At that time Brighton was not the place to get furniture or interior design work.  Then it was all about finance, insurance and tourism.   Well I got a reply! ...and I promptly headed up to their London office in Great Titchfied Street to beginning helping designer Daisy Cresswell with some small merchandising projects.  

    That lucky break lead to a wonderful 10 years of working on projects in lots of countries - and working with MANY other inspiring Anita fans.  I even worked for their Australia and New Zealand head office for the best part of a year.  It was fantastic!

    I’m telling you this because ethics and business have been what I have grown up with and I had my sustainable design grounding in - all learnt while working for this pioneering company.  It is very much in the DNA of my own company now and I am very proud to continue Anita's way of being a business into my own. 

    You can read more about my ethical business in this recent article I wrote.

    I'm keen to share what I've been fortunate to learn from Anita Roddick and her wonderful, ethical company.  I love helping people with Anita’s entrepreneurial spirit to help their visions become a reality.  Being a designer with commercial experience means you are working on more than an interior aesthetic.  It requires areas of theatre, a customer journey,  branding, robust and long lasting finishes... lots of challenges.   It influences how I work on all projects - including homes.   

    If you'd like help with an interior design specification that is compassionate and low impact - then book a free Discovery Call here.  

     

     

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