The Ethical Home (Ad)
I frequently happen across online articles discussing ethical beauty products or clothing brands, but its very rare that anyone discusses ethics when talking about homeware. I'm known for spending money on all three of the above - so why is it that I've only just begun to question where my homeware comes from when I tend to be cautious around purchasing clothing and skincare?
I like to know the story behind something that I buy. Most of the time, if a product has a story that the brand are willing to share with their customers, it is a consciously produced item. Skincare brands wax lyrical about their natural ingredients and the fact that they don't test their products on animals, clothing brands go out of their way to let you know that their garments are all made in the UK and stray clear of synthetic materials. Up until now, I've not heard that much detail from any homeware brands.
I recently came across Aerende through an Instagram labyrinth that took me leaping from profile to profile until something made me pause. The brand sells a curated selection of beautiful, useful and timeless products for your home - and is also a social enterprise. Every single one of their beautifully crafted products are made by people in the UK facing social challenges, and when you receive your lovingly wrapped order, hand-written tags tell you exactly who has crafted your new purchases.
It's easy to get carried away when purchasing items for your home, buying something from a high street chain store because it 'looks nice', whether you need it or not. Many of us (myself included) fill our homes with decorative objects that hold no immediate purpose and are completely unnecessary. Nevertheless, unless embracing a minimalist attitude, there is no reason why you shouldn't fill your home with beautiful objects - after all, William Morris did say 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'.
Aerende offer the perfect compromise for those who wish to have beautiful objects in their homes, but want to have a minimal footprint on the wider world. If you want to lower your carbon footprint while supporting people facing social challenges, you've come to the right place.
Made from sustainably sourced Scottish elm, my wooden chopping board was crafted by Maria at Fruitful Woods. Located in Leith, in Edinburgh, this social enterprise allows people who have experienced mental-ill health to realise their potential by participating in local forestry work and using the surplus wood to create a range of homeware products.
My stylish linen tea towel (I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to use this to dry pots, it's so beautiful) was made by Souhaila at the Refuge Council. The towels are crafted from Lithuanian linen by refugee women who have been rehoused in the UK and are receiving support from the Refugee Council.
The final item pictured is this lovingly crafted ceramic beaker, made by individuals living at The Grange, a centre for adults with learning difficulties which is part of the Camphill Village Trust, a national charity that supports people with special needs. Each cup is unique, and can be used to sip water or could also be utilised as a tealight holder or for storage.