Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Kind Sponsor: 9 Amazing Ethical UncommonGoods

In a world of fast factory fashion and cookie cutter design it's a relief that there's still a craving for the singular, the extraordinary and the outstanding. In short, goods that are in fact uncommon. I'm delighted to introduce you to this month's Kind Sponsor - UncommonGoods - a refreshingly unique online marketplace established in 1999 with its headquarters based in New York City.

When I first came across UncommonGoods I was immediately impressed by their passion for showcasing original designs and handcrafted gifts that were deliberately created in harmony with animals, people and planet. Here's a quick snapshot of how this commitment to kindness is being incorporated into everything thing they do:
  • People: Their lowest-paid seasonal worker earns 50% above minimum wage and employees are offered health, wellness, and counseling services as well as onsite childcare
  • Animals: None of their products contain leather or fur
  • Planet: They highlight items that are made from recycled or upcycled materials and they give to charities that are protecting vital ecosystems such as forests
At the core of this business is the belief that creativity and the expression of individuality represent two great human treasures. 

Here are my 9 (an uncommon number) favourite handmade and recycled picks from their current selection:

1. Typewriter Key Necklace - What a great gift idea! Each necklace is handmade in the USA and Mexico from authentic typewriter keys from the 1920s to 1940s. This super fun upcycled piece is from UncommonGood's exclusive range of personalized jewellery, click here for more options.

2. Succulent Living Wall Planter Kit - Surely nature is the most beautiful artist of all? I'm loving this stunning reclaimed wood display by Heather Auchter, which can be placed both horizontally or vertically depending on your aesthetic needs.

3. Upcycled Solar Watch - Wear the watch of the! Made in Japan from recycled PET fabric, this solar-powered watch can last up to 3 months between charges. What a great daily reminder that the time to be sustainable is always now :)

4. Kantha Patchwork Belt - Tired of boring belts? Then these beauties might be just what you're looking for! Handmade by fair trade artisans in India, each belt is made of five different recycled quilts sewn together using traditional Kantha stitching.

5. Baseball Bat Bottle Openers - Last year I visited the U.S. for the first time and this included taking in a Red Sox game in Boston. I had an absolute ball (see what I did there?). These funky bottle openers are handmade from genuine Major League game-day bats and each one comes with a story detailing its unique history!

6. Fern Frond Earrings - Inspired by the laurel wreaths strewn throughout Greek imagery, artist Katie Lime has captured the essence of both nature's beauty and humanity's skill with metal in her handmade earrings. You can find more stunning handmade gifts for women here.

7. Fantastic Anti-Plastic Beach Toys - Playtime at the seaside is simply more fun with eco-friendly toys like this bucket and shovel set made from a special biodegradable material. 

8. Spiro Stemless Wine Glass Set - Artist duo Carrie and Patrick Frost create gorgeous and distinctive pieces handcrafted using recycled materials. I think these glasses are so lovely and it's brilliant that each of your guests will have their own pattern to enjoy :)

9. Personalized Family Art - This is such an adorable idea! Talented mother and daughter team Mary and Shelly Klein create special family portraits using sustainable materials such as hemp, organic stretched flax and cotton. 
You can find even more
surprising personalized gift options here!
Want to connect with UncommonGoods? You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

When Kindness is Needed Most - A Personal Journey

Hi lovely readers! 

This is quite different from my usual posts but I hope you'll bear with me as I share something very personal with you. You may (or may not!) have been wondering why I've been very quiet over the past couple of months and I finally feel like I'm able to 'talk' about this. 

Firstly though, I want to emphasise that my commitment to bringing you inspiring stories and insights into the world of ethical fashion and design has not diminished in the least. In fact, I feel it growing stronger :) So while I will continue to focus on kindness in the world of design here - right now I want to talk about kindness in life.

So here's where my focus has been this year: in late January my dear Dad was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which is a type of cancerous brain tumour. As you can imagine, this has been devastating for my entire family and a very difficult journey (to say the very least) both physically and emotionally for my Dad. 

In response to this and in consultation with Dad's specialists, my fiancé and I decided to move our wedding forward. This has meant squeezing 18 months worth of planning and coordination into around 5 weeks. Despite the stress and logistical craziness this has created, I don't regret this decision in any way, as the most important thing to me is to have my family together. 

Extended family, friends and colleagues have shown me and my folks amazing kindness and I am so grateful for this! My incredible fiancé Ryan has even signed up for a fun run to raise money for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation

The ones we love are everything in this world. Hug more. Say I love you, don't just think it. Appreciate the quirky things that make your family and friends who they are. Be kind to each other and forgive each other when you drift away from kindness. Create bright happy memories :)

Love + kindness to you all xo