Earth Day Expert Roundup
In honor of Earth Day being April 22nd, all month long CYL has been celebrating our big, beautiful planet by posting blurbs about how business owner's are practicing sustainability in their businesses. Today I've gathered a few women who make environmental consciousness a big part of their business philosophy! So keep on reading to hear how they make sure to do their part.
The Mint Gardener
I enjoy the process of creating art, and it’s daily place in my life. It can be so difficult to live in a world where everyone wants something from you. But I believe art gives back tenfold to you, and to all of the people you encounter. Creating empowers and ignites a flame to keep seeking the beauty in simplicity. I think this is the key to sustainability in art; paint or create every day in order to feel life more deeply. I believe it is so important to show up every day, even if you’re not working on a masterpiece. Some days you just sit and mix colors, or sketch, or practice brush strokes or new leaf shapes.
The quote by German poet, Goethe, resonates with me: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic behind it.” This is what I swim in when I’m painting. I’m in the process of Creation, and it’s magic. I have to begin, to just jump in, and then the process carries me into new shapes, colors, and sometimes, finished pieces.
Sustainability is a huge factor I consider in how I run my art business - not only because conservation is important to me, but because much of my work focuses on the elements of the natural world that are affected by environmental issues our planet is currently facing. Many of my subjects- flora, fauna, planets, minerals, etc are all coming head-to-head with the environmental impacts we as a human species are unleashing with our use of non-biodegradable products, carbon emissions, and habits leading to climate change. A few ways in which I am dedicated to sustainability within my business (aside from bringing awareness through my work, which I would say is the most effective means of communicating!) by using only recycled products for my printing and packaging. I print all of my work onto recycled paper, and package all of it in recycled/recyclable mailers. One of my favorite little additions of bringing awareness is my stamp I print onto each package which says "please recycle this packaging" just to remind others that they also have the means to do their part in creating a sustainable culture!
I like to do my part for the environment when I can and incorporate sustainability into my day to day practice. We recycle as much as possible in our home/studio and eat and buy groceries locally. I think the biggest thing for me when it comes to business is using local and/or sustainable materials for my products, it's a challenge finding the resources and still a learning curve but I think it's important for industry in general to be conscious of the footprints we humans make on this earth.
There are many environmental and social problems we are facing nowadays. I have always cared about sustainability but until recently I did not believe I could help solve these problems as an individual. After opening my own company, I realized I can have a big impact even as a small business owner. I designed my business to work in unison with the environment. First of all, I use only natural fibers, like flax, cotton or wool. I dye my yarns and fabrics myself, with natural pigments, all coming from local plants. I don’t use any chemicals in my process, I don’t support unethical supply chains and I don’t overproduce. I choose organic fabrics from certified suppliers, who fulfill both environmental and social criteria. There is still much I have to learn and improve in my process, but I’m willing to take this path. I want to be sure my business is meaningful and has an impact.
Mya Kerner Art
In my art practice, I source most of my materials locally. My oil paints are made in a nearby city; however, I feel strongly about a holistic way of living, so I am transitioning into making my own paints. Pigments obtained by harvesting minerals from my surroundings are ground and mixed with oil when needed. This system lessens my footprint, provides me with site specific material for my landscape paintings, and allows me to participate in every step of the making.
While I do have many sustainable practices, the most significant one for me, is that I make things with love. It sounds cliche but It's true. I hope people sense the love that has been put into each piece... and that their adornments truly are made sacred by all of the energy that has gone into them. When we love something we care for it, and because of our love and care, it lasts longer. It's important to reframe what it means to be a materialist- from someone who measures themselves by their possessions to someone who truly values the things they have -and the energy and resources that went into creating it- they buy things they can be proud of things that can be handed down... I hope that the things I make are loved and passed down.
Kira Gulley Art
I do a couple of different things to practice sustainability, and I am always trying to do even more. From minimizing my impact of the raw materials I use to educating others on current issues facing our planet, but the thing I am most excited about is what I have been doing with other makers. This year I started the conversation with other makers on how to minimize their impact with workshops and a newsletter. It brings me so much joy to open up the topic of our impact on our planet with other makers so that we can all work towards protecting our planet with eco-friendly businesses.
Song of a Sparrow
I strive to practice sustainability as a maker and small business owner to protect our natural environment, and our ecological and human health. A few ways I do that is by using 100% recycled and 100% post-consumer waste kraft paper for my labels. Also, after I cut my soap into bars, I use the leftover ends for samples and guest soaps so none is wasted. And I use sustainable palm oil in my soap, which helps to reduce deforestation and poverty in palm-oil producing countries.
There are several different ways that I practice sustainability in my business. The primary way that I do so is through recycled materials. From the tissue paper that I wrap my items up in, to the boxes that I use, to even that of all of the marketing materials (postcards, cards) that I enclose, I always ensure that the materials can be recycled, and that they contain recyclable materials or post-consumer recycled products. Another way that I practice sustainability is a little less obvious. I have spent several years researching suppliers to ensure that all of my raw materials are sourced as locally as possible. Not only does that help my local economy, helping to create new jobs, but it also reduces the carbon footprint that I create as well.
EARTH + ELEMENT
I want to create products that "come from the earth and can go back into the earth." The importance of that statement is on repeat in my mind. Clay ware, being the most ancient and sustainable choice, encourages a natural aesthetic while moving you away from plastics and "convenient" wares. I recently starting making "stir sticks", as I found my sink full of coffee spoons, and when at a cafe, I felt so guilty seeing myself grab and quickly trash those little plastic and wooden sticks. Small and simple improvements in our day to day truly help create conscious awareness.
Nature's My Friend
Sustainability is an important practice in my small business, especially with the brand name Nature's My Friend. The simplest things that we do daily can add up to making a big change in the long run for our planet. I package orders in recycled paper mailers and reuse boxes or bubble wrap from shipments that come to me. I walk to the post office or hand deliver local orders to reduce my carbon footprint with shipping. Many of my products are earth friendly: my card designs are printed on Forest Steward Certified card-stock and are paired with recycled paper envelopes, my tote bags are made with organic cotton to reduce pesticide use, and many products such a magnets, pin-back buttons, coasters and mirrors (that could easily be produced by a less ethical company and shipped to me) are instead made by hand in studio. My city has a great recycling program and therefore my blue bin is used far more often than my garbage. I truly enjoy donating proceeds of my earnings towards causes that help our planet such as Environmental Defense Fund or World Wildlife Federation, and in turn it creates a tax break for my business. Nature is endlessly inspiring to me, and it has been rewarding to see our society and businesses starting to make changes towards giving back and caring for Mother Earth.
Nathalie Bond Organics
Sustainability is at the heart of our business and impacts how we create products. On the whole, the beauty industry perpetuates the idea that you need loads of different products to essentially do the same thing – like you need a separate moisturizer for your hands/face/feet/elbows etc. But that requires the creation of a huge amount of products, and – in turn – the production of a lot of packaging. Instead, we believe in simple skincare that is gentle on skin and good for the planet. We have created a really small range of skincare that is multi-use and handcrafted with entirely natural ingredients. This means instead of filling up your bathroom with tons of different cosmetics and plastic bottles, you can purchase a smaller array of items that work in many ways. For example, my morning routine usually includes one of our soap bars for body, face and hair; a body scrub for exfoliating face and body, and a skin balm for moisturizing.