Five Unique, Independent Business’ to Fall in Love With and Why Supporting Small Shops is Vital

Lets picture a creative, young entrepreneur, who started up her own business alongside her full time job and wants to eventually turn her side hustle in to her full time job because it is what she’s truly passionate about… lets support her!! This is a simplified version of why we should all support independent business’.

Shopping through small business’ can give you more unique items that often have an interesting story behind both the product and the brand. I have also found that it is easy to make purchases that are ethical and that have minimal environmental impacts when shopping independently. None of the products bought through any of the companies in this post used any plastic or excessive packaging materials, and the ethics of the brands is made exceptionally clear on their websites. I think supporting business’ such as these is particularly important right now where both the pandemic and recession are taking a huge toll on people’s incomes who run small business’.

Sevenoaks Bookshop

I have previously bought a lot of books from Amazon, both new and second hand from their book sellers as they come at very affordable prices. However upon learning more information on the ethics and working conditions at Amazon, I am trying not to use the website anymore. I would rather pay a little bit more money my books and support an independent business. I realise this is unfortunately not a privilege that everyone can exercise.

I came across Sevenoaks Bookshop by simply searching for independent stores delivering books during lockdown. Delivery was second class and arrived within a few days. The books were well packaged in cardboard with no plastic. Their website was easy to navigate and their genre sections were helpful as I was specifically looking for fiction and books on the topic of racism, both of which have designated sections on their site.

 

Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte’s Web are a sustainable jewelry brand who work with small family run business’ and communities in Rajasthan, India to hand make their uniqe jewellery designs. For an ethical brand with such beautiful pieces, I believe their work is very fairly priced compared to other larger jewelry companies. For every purchase in their ‘spinning jewelry’ range (which is a stunning collection), £5 is donated to Donatekart which is a donation platform in India. £5 provides one grocery pack for an impoverished family in India. I would highly recommend checking out their pieces, they would make a fabulous gift.

Art by Lena

Lena’s online shop is filled with vibrant, hand painted watercolor prints, stationary and bookmarks.  I’ve ordered a few of Lena’s prints, a gorgeous bookmark, and also some wooden decorations. All of them are of very high quality and were extremely affordable. The orders are well packaged with ‘fragile’ written on them to prevent them from damage. Lena’s shop is ideal if you are looking for a unique gift, my previous orders have arrived wrapped in colourful tissue paper and a hand painted thank you note. I only paid £1 for postage and for both orders I have placed, and they arrived two days after I placed my order. I would also recommend following Lena on Twitter as she regularly posts shop updates and new work she has painted, her handle is: @lenasnotebook

 

Bubble Trouble

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Bubble Trouble is an exciting new business venture, founded by Lauren, whose blog I have followed for a while now (check it out here). I am hugely on board with the fact that Lauren’s ingredients are ethically sourced, cruelty free, and vegan. The packaging is also biodegradable (which can’t be said for a lot of larger cosmetic brands…) No parabens or harsh ingredients are used in any products from Bubble Trouble, and with the bath bombs being £3.50 each, Lauren’s lovely creations are incredibly affordable for the impressive quality that you receive. Shipping costs £2.95 or is free if you spend £20!

(The photo below is of ‘Under the Sea’)

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Studio Bloom Accessory Designs

Studio Bloom Accessory Designs is an Etsy shop, where Steph makes and sells brilliant, colourful jewelry made of polymer clay. Delivery to the UK is free which made my purchase only £11! The quality of the earrings is superb, they are comfortable and secure to wear and they came beautifully wrapped in matching blue tissue paper with a lovely thank you note.

Please leave below any independent business’ you love, I would love to know of more!

Hope you are having a great day where ever you are in the world,

Mol x

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Easy and Affordable Ways to Create a More Sustainable and Eco Friendly Beauty Routine

Welcome back folks! I’m becoming more and more interested in making sustainable swaps wherever I can. I’ve found that cosmetic products are some of the easiest items to start swapping for more sustainable ones. The fab fact is that this is very cheap and easy to do! A win win. None of these items are expensive or hard to source either. It makes me realise that making the effort to research more sustainable products really is worth it. These small and easy changes can make such an impact. LUSH estimate that selling their shampoo bars alone saves 6 million plastic bottles globally.

Reusable Cotton Pads

Reusable cotton pads not only save a huge amount of disposable cotton pads but also the plastic packaging they come in. Here is the link on Amazon to the ones that I purchased and love using. They come in a laundry bag which you can wash them in. This also means that they do not come in any plastic packaging, it’s a win win! The pads are made of bamboo and are very soft and gentle to use, they are also a decent enough size, about the same as a large cotton pad. They come out of the washing machine completely clean which I was very impressed by, even if I’ve used them to remove a lot of mascara. Considering I use cotton pads every day, it’s a very simple solution that prevents a large amount of waste.

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Muslin cloths are another great product to use for removing cleansers and face masks etc. as they are another re-usable product that you could use instead of cotton pads.

Makeup Remover Cloths

If you also aware of the single use plastic that makeup remover bottles is using, then you may also want to try out a makeup remover cloth, this saves both cotton pads and plastic bottles, a win win. If you are looking for a cheap one, you can pick them up in Primark for about £1.50. You can also buy them in packs which is great value and means you are fully stocked up in case one is in the wash when you need it.

Non-plastic Cotton Buds

I make sure I buy cotton buds that do not have a plastic stem. Brands such as Johnson’s, Superdrug and Boots all stock paper stemmed cotton buds, just make sure to check the box if you aren’t sure if they are paper or plastic. They are no more expensive than plastic cotton buds which is brilliant. Amazon also stocks a lot of bamboo cotton buds if this is something you are interested in. I use cotton buds a lot in my skincare and makeup routine so again it’s another easy change to make that saves a lot single use plastic.

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Bamboo Toothbrushes

There are many brands and types of non plastic toothbrushes out there, but Bamboogaloo are certainly the game changing brand in the industry. The bamboo used to make the brushes is sustainably sourced as it is Moso bamboo, meaning that it is not the type that pandas rely on to eat! The company are also certified by FSC and ensure fair wages are paid to employees. The charcoal infused bristles are very soft. I also think it’s incredibly innovative that the the packaging is made from recycled cardboard and the brushes are wrapped in ‘bio-wrapper’. The wrappers look like plastic but are actually composed of plant cellulose, meaning they are biodegradable and plant based! They are the only company to be doing this so I think it’s important to support this funky and waste saving design. The toothbrushes also come with 100 free bamboo cotton buds which is a fab deal.

Here is the link to the Bamboogaloo toothbrushes I use, they are £7.49 for a pack of five and the cotton buds which is a brilliant deal considering the sustainability of the brand.

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LUSH shampoo and conditioner bars

One shampoo bar can give you around 100+ washes, and is the equivelant to around three plastic shampoo bottles. Therefore not only can they save you money but also a large amount of plastic. The Montalbano shampoo bar is my top pick, it’s bright yellow and is made with lemon juice, green olives and rosemary so it has a gorgeous citrus scent. Also it takes me months to get through just one of these, so for £7.50 you are getting a hell of a lot of uses for your money. I also purchased the LUSH ‘Round Tin’, which is a little metal tin that you can keep your shampoo bar in. It makes it so easy to travel with it, and stops it getting too damp in the shower between uses. My fave conditioner bar is the scent ‘BIG’ from LUSH, which has a beautiful coconut scent and contains extra virgin coconut oil, organic lemon juice, seaweed and vetivert oil. I have long, thick curly hair and I find this product detangles my curls but also hydrates my hair so my curls fall nicely.

Buy from Brands Utilising Recycled Packaging

Using brands such as LUSH who are doing their best to use recycled packaging is another great way to purchase cosmetics more sustainably. LUSH also take back their pots in store and even the black plastic ones are sent to a green hub where they are washed and used for future packaging. Soaper Duper are also using a large amount of semi-skimmed milk bottles to create their handwash and bodywash bottles. Their products in tubes are 55% PCR and their bodywash is 50% PCR (post-consumer recycled). They have saved around 22 tonnes of plastic since they launched which is remarkable. Ecotools are also using recycled aluminium in their brush handles and the brushes are made from bamboo.

There are so many other swaps that I am still yet to make, I don’t want to recommend products that I have not tried myself. But here are a few more things I would like to start using in the near future:

Metal razor- This means you simply replace the razor heads and the actual razor is long lasting and none of the product is made of plastic.

Menstrual cup- The amount of sanitary product waste from one woman alone is a large amount, but by using a re-usable menstrual cup you can limit this.

Even if you make one sustainable swap, it is a fab start! If you start making changes very slowly it will be far easier and more of an enjoyable process. If you have tried any of thes swaps or have any recommendations for other sustainable brands or products then please let me know!

Hope you are having a great day where ever you are in the world,

Mol x

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