As a society where everything is so readily available to us, it’s easy to consume lots of ‘things’. We feather our nests and buy gifts for friends or family, we invest in gizmos and gadgets to make our lives easier or more comfortable and it’s very difficult to draw a line in the sand when we believe we have ‘enough’, we’re only human after all.
In light of the global sustainability crisis and the recent Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all taken a closer look at our buying habits and, wherever possible, we’ve been shopping small, independent, local and sustainable and they’re all significant steps in the right direction. By shopping this way, wherever we can, we are gradually changing habits of consumption for the better. It’s unreasonable to expect anyone (ourselves included!) to forgo those little luxuries that make our homes lovely and our friends happy, but it really is possible to continue to enjoy lovely things whilst really minimising our impact.
As a business, we make a really conscious effort to avoid items without purpose, longevity or timelessness. So if it won’t be really useful for a really long time, if it won’t make you really happy for a really long time, and if it’s not really easy to responsibly dispose of after use, we probably won’t sell it. We’re really proud of the fact that we sell lovely things that do lovely things for the communities that they come from and they’ve minimised their ecological footprint along the way. We support lots of smaller, independent, green brands that we really believe are making wonderful products with the intention to last a lifetime, or beyond, and what a lovely thought that perhaps a beautiful shopping bag or hand thrown mug may well make its way into the hands of your children or grandchildren, still going strong so many years down the line just because that item has been built to last.
The phrase ‘buy cheap buy twice’ has been ringing in my ears since I was a child, and I really acknowledge the privilege that I have as a consumer to be able to make that decision. But well-made items, crafted over time by true experts and artisans in their field really do last longer and feel so much more special. You’re never ‘just’ buying a product. You’re supporting a maker, the community they come from and the causes they believe in, our candles included.
With this in mind, we’ve written a quick round-up of some of our favourite items in the shop that are both ‘pretty and practical’…
Organic Cotton Everyday Bags
These bags are the most useful shopping bags I’ve ever used (and I’ve whistled through a few!). 100% organic cotton makes for an incredibly hard wearing, sturdy bag and the super short handles make it really easy to grab in a hurry. It’s easy to fold away to live in a handbag or the back of the car and has a somewhat Tardis-like capacity. Mine, for example, has held picnics at the beach, loose groceries from the Sunday market, spare clothes for weekends away and it’s even served as an emergency carrier for muddy shoes after unexpected downpours. Better still, these cotton bags are washable at 40 degrees so they’ll be fresh as a daisy in no time at all.
Crow Canyon Splatterware Enamel
This utterly charming enamel ware has won all of our hearts. Each piece is flecked and splattered, making each item entirely unique. It makes the perfect garden tableware and a really special upgrade to the popular plastic camping plates and cups! They’re a really savvy addition to any party, where little ones or family pets are racing around and they’re near impossible to break. Wonderfully, our very own Kat bought her husband a set to take on military exercise because they’re so sturdy, practical and nostalgic. While they comfortably survived 6 months in Kenya on army manoeuvre, we’d still suggest you wash them by hand to get the most out of them!
Brushes for home
We stock a beautiful selection of Iris Hantverk Brushes, a real treat for home. Many are handmade by visually impaired artisans in Sweden so you’re not just buying a brush, you’re supporting an independent cooperative which impacts real lives day to day. They’re made the old fashioned way because they’re made to last. The tougher duty brushes have bristles made from Tampico grasses, super sturdy and perfect for muddy veg or stubborn dinnertime remnants. The softer brushes, like the soft glass cleaning brush, have bristles made from the very softest horse hair. Not only do these brushes do a really super job because they’re made to last with top quality components, they also benefit the communities they come from. They’re totally free from any plastic or synthetic fibres which means that when they eventually reach their retirement, you can cut them up and compost them, or dispose of them with natural waste without any further trail of impact on the environment. They also look totally lovely, which is an added bonus.
As a collective staff here at The Botanical Candle Company, we (and I cannot stress this enough) love mugs. We love every single mug that comes in and I can genuinely say that since I joined the business, there has not been a single mug delivery where every item has made it to the shop, they always seem to take a swift detour home with us! There’s something so special about a handmade mug. It’s the undulation of the clay, the small dimples in the glaze or the slight variations in size, colour and weight that make it such a special experience to ‘choose’ the right one for you. Careful consideration for how it fits in your hands, whether it might cradle the morning’s coffee or the evening’s cocoa makes for a very deliberate decision and a partner-in-crime to be by your side every single day. Each mug often takes hours to create from start to finish, so there’s very tangible human craftsmanship in each one. With every hand thrown piece of pottery there’s a person behind it, their passion and story woven into the clay with every turn of the wheel. It’s a special thing and, no, it’s probably not as cheap or accessible as the six identical coffee mugs you might buy from a larger retailer but what a lovely conversation starter with friends as you gather round for a cup of tea on a Sunday when each mug is slightly different, peppered with a different memory from a different time in your life. Perhaps I’m projecting too much nostalgia on kitchen ware, I’m an enthusiast after all, though I fail to see who wouldn’t be enthused by these little works of art, especially considering they’re all dishwasher safe…
These few items are just a small clutch of lovely, sustainable and thoughtful products we’re very proud to stock, there are lots more to browse online. All of which have been carefully curated to match our values as a business, to ensure that they’re well made using small scale, sustainable practices and they’re made to last a lifetime, perhaps even longer.