Be The Change Awards

I am amazed and delighted to announce that I’ve been shortlisted for the 2019 Be The Change Awards!

The Be The Change Awards are an up and coming new initiative for the social impact sector, recognising ethical & sustainable brands with a powerful impact story to tell.

Around the world independent, ethical & sustainable brands are having a positive impact on communities, people and the planet. The awards will recognise, celebrate and raise the profile of those brands who are working towards sustainable development goals and creating positive impact in inspiring and world-changing ways.


There are 12 different categories each judged by experts in their field. Love HeartWood is one of 5 finalists in the Babies and Children category. This category is being judged by Holly Daffurn Editor of Natural Mumma Magazine. It’s a wonderful magazine that Love Heartwood was featured in last year so I’m really hoping I get to meet her.
My submission had to be a 3 minute video telling my story. Speaking to the camera was daunting but distilling my story, motivation and goals was a really helpful exercise in clarity.
The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in London on Friday 26th April at the Museum of Brands.

All the Finalists have been put through to the People’s Choice Awards.
This is an opportunity for you to find out about all the finalists and vote for your favourite (hopefully me!) There is a Be The Change Awards YouTube channel containing all the Finalist’s entry videos. The votes will be based on how many likes a video gets, so please go and have a watch and vote for your favourite (links below). This event is all about raising the profile of some of the most inspiring, impact driven brands so please share the videos with your friends. Voting will close at 12 pm GMT on the 12th April.

Unfortunately YouTube have currently suspended the Be The Change Awards channel. While the appeal is in progress you cannot view the videos. The Awards organisers, who haven’t been informed why the channel is suspended, are working to remove the suspension as soon as possible. Follow the Be The Change Awards Facebook page for the latest info.

Babies and Children Category Video Submissions:

Nurture Collective – https://youtu.be/uTm4BL9ubBU

Love HeartWood – https://youtu.be/U_8xcnEcJMk

Suffolk Babies – https://youtu.be/fzAUqOFo9Gw

Plastic Free Party Bags – https://youtu.be/-cHVRvxNWSg

Happy Pineapple – https://youtu.be/0Om2N7v06Fs

Be The Change Awards Categories:

  • Fashion (Sponsored by Dress Ecode)
  • Accessories
  • Beauty
  • Food & Drink (Sponsored by Adnams)
  • Travel (Sponsored by Green Tourism)
  • Babies & Children
  • Home & Gift
  • Business Services (Sponsored by From Scratch)
  • Changemaker of the Year
  • Tech For Change (Sponsored by CoGo)
  • Community Organisations & Campaigns
  • Brands That Give Back (Sponsored by Ethical Brand Marketing)
  • People’s Choice Award (open to public vote, all shortlisted entrants will automatically be put forward)


For further information visit: http://bethechangeawards.org/

https://www.facebook.com/bethechangeawards

#MarchMeettheMaker

I hadn’t been posting on Instagram for long when I stumbled upon the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge. I wished I was taking part. So here I am, a year on and here comes the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge again. This time I’m ready. I downloaded the prompts sheets and planned my 31 posts, one for each day of the month. I’ve tried to make them as visually pleasing and interesting as possible and I hope you enjoy following them. If you don’t know what I’m talking about though here’s a bit of an explanation.

#MarchMeetTheMaker is a 31 day Instagram Challenge, set by Joanne Hawker (and solely Joanne!) that runs throughout March every year. But it’s more than just a challenge, it’s a creative community that comes together to show people what they can do. It’s about building each other up, making new connections, telling your small business story, growing your confidence (and Instagram following) and most importantly, it’s about putting yourself out there.

The challenge was created in 2016 by Joanne herself. At the time, she was in bit of a creative rut with Instagram and couldn’t find a way to pull herself out of it. Feeling determined, she went in search of challenge aimed at small creative businesses but couldn’t find one. Feeling inspired, she went ahead and created a 31 day challenge which aims to show the different aspects of her business and asked her creative, small business friends to take part. And that’s how #MarchMeetTheMaker was born. Little did she know that it would take off and gain 25,000 posts in 2016, a further 80,000 posts in 2017 and 165,000 posts in 2018!

The text above was taken directly from the MarchMeetTheMaker website.

Click the icon below to follow along on Instagram and find out my responses to the prompts each day. Follow the hashtag #MarchMeetTheMaker to discover loads more amazing makers too.

If you’d like to know more about the challenge or Joanne visit the MarchMeetTheMaker website.

Enjoy!

The New Blue Sky Toy Collection is here!


My aim when designing and making the Blue Sky Toy Collection was to create beautiful, functional toys that are safe, healthy and as eco friendly and ethical as possible. I am happy to announce that the collection is:


– Sustainably Produced
Blue Sky Toys are made from locally sourced Beech and Ash wood. The wood is Beautiful, durable, safe & sustainable.

-Natural                                                                                                                            It seems a shame to make a beautiful wooden toy and coat it with conventional paint and  varnish since these are essentially plastic.
The paint and oil used on Blue Sky Toys is plant based and organic.
That means zero VOCs, zero solvent and zero heavy metals !
No Fumes, No Smell and No Toxins. The toys are safe for everyone including babies and those with Asthma, Allergies, CFS, MCS.

– 100% Safe
All toys sold within the EU must conform to the Toy Safety Directives and be CE marked. Sadly most handmade toys are not. The Blue Sky Toy Collection has been designed to be safe and proved so by thorough testing. The collection conforms to Toy Safety Standards and is CE marked to show this.
We know that children do not play with the toys that are designated theirs. Siblings of different ages often play together and share toys. That’s why all Blue Sky Toys are safety tested for ages 0+.

– Plastic free, Recyclable & Ethical
I reuse postal boxes, or if that’s not possible, the new ones used are made of 78% recycled fibres sealed with paper tape. Inside the box is recycled tissue paper, invoice paper and stickers.
The postcard that comes with some toys is digitally printed by an eco friendly print service on 100% recycled board using eco friendly inks..
The gift/storage bags which come with some toys are also handmade ethically from ‘khadi’ organic cotton in a farm co-operative in India.

I hope you enjoy the Blue Sky Toy Collection!

Sustainability: What, How and Why

Sustainability: What, How and Why

I describe my products as sustainable. But what does that mean and why does it matter?

Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.1

In 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development met to discuss and develop a set of goals to work towards; they grew out of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that claimed success in reducing global poverty while acknowledging there was still much more to do. The SDG eventually came up with a list of 17 items which included amongst other things:

  • The end of poverty and hunger
  • Better standards of education and healthcare – particularly as it pertains to water quality and better sanitation
  • To achieve gender equality
  • Sustainable economic growth while promoting jobs and stronger economies
  • All of the above and more while tackling the effects of climate change, pollution and other environmental factors that can harm and do harm people’s health, livelihoods and lives.
  • Sustainability to include health of the land, air and sea.

Finally, it acknowledged the concept of nature having certain rights – that people have stewardship of the world and the importance of putting people at the forefront of solving the above global issues through management of the environment and of consumption (for example, reducing packaging and discouraging food waste as well as promoting the use of recyclable materials).2

Clearly sustainability is a complex issue which touches almost every aspect of human life not just the environment. Sustainable development is carried out on a global, national and local level.

So how does Love HeartWood tackle sustainability?

As I developed my hobby into a business I’ve had to make many decisions. Deciding what type of wood to turn? Where I would get it from? What sort of finishes I would use? What sort of presentation boxes I should order and who from? How would I package items? Through the process of making these decisions it became clear that I was subconsciously making sustainable choices.

Sustainable Wood

To me it just makes sense to choose that which is most beneficial to myself, my home and the wider world. In consequence I have chosen to turn local wood from tree surgeons or recycled wood. This is for the following reasons:

– I hate waste. If I didn’t use the wood it would be thrown in the chipper or burnt. By using it, it can become useful.

– I could use exotic timbers such as Iroko, Ebony, Rosewood and Mango wood, bought from a wood blank supplier. However I would have no way of knowing if that timber had been harvested in a sustainable way. Sourcing close to home means I know where my wood comes from and the supply chain it’s been through.

– Why ship timber half way round the world creating a large carbon footprint when I have perfectly good wood on my doorstep?

– From a health point of view it is safer for me to turn native wood. Exotic timber is often more hazardous to the turner’s health. Although I have to wear protective clothes and guard against dust inhalation to turn any type of wood. Exotic woods have more risk of skin and eye irritation, sensitization, and poisoning.

Sustainable Finishes

Many waxes and oils currently used for sealing wood are usually labelled hazardous. I have spent a fair amount of time finding healthy alternatives. I do not want to be compromising my health or anyone else’s. This has meant going back to more traditional, natural finishes which do not have modern chemicals added to them. These chemicals are added to speed up drying and curing times. I take this extra time into account in my production schedule because I believe the benefits outweigh the saving in time.

Eco-friendly Packaging

Once I realised I was making sustainable choices I continued this ethos throughout the whole business. For example, I reuse shipping boxes and packing material but when I have to use a new one it is 100% recyclable. I also use paper tape, not plastic, to seal boxes. When selecting a packaging supplier I chose one whose cardboard boxes contain a minimum of 75% recycled contents.

This is just a few of the ways Love HeartWood attempts to reduce, reuse and recycle to ensure it operates in a sustainable way.

Love HeartWood’s Sustainable Future

The more I research about running a sustainable business the more opportunities I find.

For example, I am planning to switch my website hosting to a server powered by 100% clean wind energy from UK wind farms. You might wonder what impact this change can have. But the powering of data centres and cloud computing run on fossil fuels is coming close to rivalling the aviation industry as a major contributor to global carbon emissions.3

There is also the possibility of switching to a green, ethical insurer.

I hope after reading this piece you understand why sustainability is so crucial to us and the planet. It matters because sustainable solutions help us manage the balance between the environment and consumption. In conclusion, the issues might seem global and out of our reach but I believe the simple choices we make, day in and day out, can have an effect. The choices we make collectively have a huge impact. Moreover, from a personal standpoint I am happier knowing that what I do had a positive effect on the world, not a negative one.

 

Resources

  1. https://www.epa.gov/sustainability/learn-about-sustainability#what
  2. https://www.environmentalscience.org/sustainability
  3. https://www.green-hosting.co.uk/
  4. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/4538pressowg13.pdf