Ethical shopping and charitable giving
So when I started Harriet and Rose, I always had some fairly vague notions about 'giving back' and shopping ethically. Of course, I'm not alone in terms of thinking of the environment and wouldn't ever claim to be.
Candidly, I'd never really been someone who thought much about their impact. I know, I know, there are no excuses. But since moving to Jersey, you can't ignore what washes up on a daily basis. I was recently on holiday, and what should have been a paradise Island was littered with man-made detritus: from lost flip flops, to empty bottles and discarded nets. When we went out on a boat, two plastic vessels which looked to be make-shift buoys (fishing was illegal in the protected Marine Park we were staying in), turned out to be empty chemical containers. And it made me realise that I have to make small changes myself.
Because it's small changes that (really do) add up to big change. If I send out every one of my gift cards naked (that is, with no plastic wrapper as opposed to anything more fruity), then maybe my suppliers will stop offering plastic wrappers as standards. Maybe you'll be more inclined to shop with me, knowing that all my cards are FSC and recyclable (which is why you'll not see any metallic foils or coated paper) because it will make a small difference to you too.
I've purposely sought out brands that are small. This isn't just because I want to offer you something new and unique (though obviously that's a factor), but it's because I want to be able to guarantee ethically made gifts for you to give. I want you to know that my jewellery designers use eco silver, or recycled stainless steel. I want to be able to tell you about the providence of what you buy.
As well as all of this, and my desire to keep a work life balance (she says typing this at 1030pm... that's working out well), I also knew that I wanted Harriet and Rose to give a % of its profits to charity.
This is an easy promise to make for a new business. The truth is, that I won't be turning a profit for a couple of years as I plough profits back into the business. And that's fine. But I don't want to make hollow promises, so how do I ensure I give back to the community?
One of my lines of cards - The Right Lines - writes and creates the most perfect cards for you to send someone who's going through a rough time. Whether it be a bereavement, a difficult personal time, or something else, I'm thrilled to be stocking her cards as they are the sort of cards that I'd want to write (were I as talented as her).
But they aren't cards that you want to be sending, they are cards that you send because you're a good friend and because someone's going through something difficult. I'm going to be updating more on charitable giving (I will have a quota of vouchers that I will give to different charities each year), but for every card from The Right Lines that I sell (even the happy birthday ones!) 50p from each sale will go to our nominated charity, the first of which is the Lola Project.
Created and run by a family now living in Jersey, you can read more about their good work here.
And you know that 50p of every card you buy from The Right Lines will go straight to help bereaved parents.
It's the small things that add up to big changes.