When we opened our everyday goods shop we sought out the finest by UK-based makers and global ethical fairtrade partnerships. Carefully considered items to bring joy to the everyday.
There is a trend to give experiences rather than "things" but we believe that the two exist perfectly when the items are considered and have a purpose.
I had a list of people I had long admired for one reason or another and probably already had something of theirs in my posession or had it on my wish list. Their stories drew me to them and below I share them with you...
(We are not responsible for content on external sites, I'm sure they're all perfectly above board and good but I felt I should mention).
The DO Book Company is an independent publishing house based in Shoreditch, London.
It all started with a simple idea. Clare and David Hieatt set out to bring the DO-ers of the world together - the movers and shakers, the disrupters and the change-makers - and ask them to tell their stories. They would then inspire others to go out into the world and DO, too. In 2008, The DO Lectures was born, somewhere between a festival and a conference.
Their books are written by speakers from the DO Lectures whose ideas have inspired others to go and DO in legendary proportions (rumour has it some companies stopped sending their employees as they kept upping and leaving - so inspired after a DO Lecture!).
Their aim is to recreate that same positive change in book form – be it the mastery of a new skill or craft, a simple mindshift, or a shot of inspiration to help you get started.
Based in Brighton and billed as "A Celebration Of The British China Industry. Creating Nostalgic Jewellery Using Reclaimed China" StayGoldMaryRose is a collection of work by Abigail MaryRose Clark. Creating since 2004 Abigail uses bone china sourced from the UK's biggest China manufacturers as seconds and damaged items.
Abigail believes strongly in preserving, upcycling and reusing beautiful objects that have outlived their previous lives or intended use, an ethos perfectly in line with that of Alfie's Studio.
*Now trading as Tamarisk Jewellery*
Old Faithful Co.
We met Gareth at The Good Life Experience in September 2017 and were inspired by his knowledge and commitment to sourcing the best quality essential oils for his products.
He started Old Faithful Co. whilst suffering from a prolapsed disc. A friend recommended burning essential oils with the result that they helped him to relax and he could sleep better.
He went on to complete an aromatherapy diploma and continued to learn about oils and natural, therapeutic skincare ingredients. Topped off by the fact that not only are his products amazing, he's also one of the nicest guys you could meet.
Flying Eye Books
Flying Eye Books is the children's section of the publishing house Nobrow who create amazingly stunning visual works of art (or 'books'). Established in early 2013, Flying Eye sought to retain the same attention to detail in design and excellence in illustrated content as its parent publisher, but with a focus on the craft of children’s storytelling and non-fiction.
Since then, an array of stunning and innovative titles have populated the list, including the highly acclaimed Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space from Ben Newman and Dr. Dominic Walliman and exquisite picture books and enchanting illustrated biographies from breakaway young talents like Emily Hughes (Wild) and William Grill (Shackleton’s Journey, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2014 and winner of the 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal).
At the core of what they do is a simple pledge: whatever the project, whatever the medium, genre, or format, Flying Eye Books will take your children’s eyes on a journey of wonder!
The name was borrowed from a hut in Zambia and they work with independent businesses, social projects and co-operatives.
Nkuku adhere to the standard globally recognised 10 Principles of Fair Trade, but have their own procedures for the management of their supply base. They work with natural and recycled materials through sustainable methods of production and keep air freight to a minimum.
Like Alfie's Studio, Nkuku believe strongly in the stories behind their products. The relationship between an artisan and a beautiful handmade piece creates a story, which makes each product not a mass market item, but an individually crafted piece. The traditional skills used by suppliers have been handed down from generation to generation.
In the 1930s. Saint-Gobain took over the La-Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin factory, near Orleans, that was formerly owned by a vinegar maker and later by a perfumer that produced their bottles there. A few years later, they made their first attempts at adapting the process to tableware production. In 1945, the Duralex brand was registered.
These are our glass of choice at home and we wouldn't be without them.
During a family meal at a pub one of these was knocked by an over zealous child (okay, our over zealous child) onto a flagstone floor. It bounced. We fell in love. We have a set at home and they've withstood several "bounces" on our hard floor and are still going strong.
Handmade in Edinburgh by Matt and Ish, Ocelot is the most divine chocolate we have ever tasted. We respect their decision to take a leap of faith and leave jobs as chefs to pursue their dream of making the most delicious confectionery, in the purest way possible. They use only the highest grade organic and fair-trade produce, and use ethical business practices in every way they can. The eye catching packaging is also designed by them, which, of course, we love.
I found Tom Harper through the joy of social media. Leather goods crafted and stitched by hand from full grain vegetable tanned leather. Vegetable tanned leather uses only natural minerals and vegetable tanning agents. This method produces a much more eco-friendly leather in comparison to chrome tanned leather. Vegetable tanned leather is renowned to feature more natural animal characteristics and scars.
At the time of writing, Tom is currently travelling the world but still makes and sells his wares from time to time.
Hand dipped beeswax candles made by one of the nicest people we've met, Ted at Moorlands Candles in Cumbria. We looked forward to his little notes in the delivery, explaining how the batch went, what music he was listening to, and his always upbeat view on the main issues of the day.
The first batch we received were Yorkshire wax, which smelt sweet and like fresh honey. Once the season passed, we had Kenyan wax, giving us a earthier, deeper aroma. Moorlands don't sell directly from their website but supply Toast who do.
Earl of East London
Candles made in London by our friends Niko and Paul. Earl of East London was founded in East London in 2014. They started with a small store in a converted shipping container in Netil Market, selling a curated mix of independent brands from around the world, including Alfie's Studio. Their mission is defined in 4 key elements: Curate, Create, Collaborate and Community and their empire growing steadilly to include new retail and workshop spaces as well as their own book!
Founded in 1883 as the Heidelberger Federhalterfabrik (dip pen factory), they were the first to patent the safety fountain pen in 1908.
Despite having to file for bankruptcy in 1929 and suffering a major fire in the factory in 1937, as well as a number of takeovers, it has survived for over 130 years.
The Kaweko Sport model was first introduced in 1912, and the current design dates from 1935 making it over 90 years old and still beautiful to hold and write with.
Falcon was established in the 1920s, with the products made in various factories around the Black Country area near Birmingham. Many countries had their own colour combinations, blue and white being the British national enamelware colours. Despite a few wobbles along the way, they are still going stong and now have a colour range that is drool worthy.
When Tobias George first started everything was made out of recycled and reclaimed materials. Now, they keep the same outlook and continue to use reclaimed and recycled materials, but also found a higher demand for using newer materials to ensure a long lasting product that will stand the test of time. All hand carved pieces are made using responsibly sourced wood from a friendly tree surgeon or bought from trusted and quality timber merchants, ensuring it has been cut and treated in the proper ways.
Et Games was founded by David Harvey in 2009, using redundancy pay from his credit-crunched former employment (wind farm analyst) and a bit of additional support. A friend, Ben Lewis joined that Christmas. Since then they have been on Dragons’ Den, got investment from Streetbank founder Sam Stephens, and launched two new games (at the time of writing this). Ben moved on to a new job in spring 2014, and Dave relocated the business to Hampshire.
We love their games and Bridget frequently travels with us camping or to the pub.
In 2010, Seedball founders Ana and Emily were Conservation Scientists at Aberdeen University where they saw an advert for a training course to help environmental scientists become entrepreneurs. By 2012, they began selling at fairs and festivals and in 2013 Seedball was launched officially.
Conservation is in their heart and soul and they have helped fund the River of Flowers and are working with Project Maya who are starting urban nature reserves across the globe.