Create Gift Love is a sustainable small business. We have always put the environment first since we began making personalised gifts back in 2012, but now in 2021 (writing this post in the midst of a heatwave!), ensuring that our business is environmentally sustainable is more important than ever. Simply put, sustainability shouldn’t be optional anymore.
As we’re a product based business, producing handmade personalised gifts and accessories, we know that our work will inevitably have an impact on the environment and it’s our responsibility to keep that impact to a minimum. We make sure to be mindful of the environment and our commitment to sustainability in every decision we make in the business, from the materials we use, to the way our products are packaged and how we run our workshop. But as they say, actions speak louder than words, so here are some examples of the kinds of things we do to make sure our small business is as sustainable as possible.
Sustainably Sourced Natural Materials
All our products are made, in part or in full, using sustainably sourced natural materials, predominantly wood and leather. There are so many reasons we love using natural materials (the way they look, their unique character, the way they complement one another) and the fact they are biodegradable makes them all the better.
Our solid wood is sourced from an FSC certified supplier, meaning that the materials come from responsibly managed forests which protect the wellbeing of the workers, environment and local communities. The leather we use is vegetable tanned here in the UK – this means it is prepared using traditional slow production methods, using natural materials like roots, bark and leaves to tan the leather hides rather than chemical treatments. Veg tanned leather is the most environmentally friendly leather available, and it’s also a bi-product of the food and drink industry.
We do use some other materials to make our products but we try to keep these minimal and always source the best alternative options where natural materials are not possible – for example, instead of hard plastics we use solid brass hardware on all our keyrings. Brass is one of the most recycled metals in the world, made using scraps from other metal production. All our materials are sourced from local suppliers within the UK, minimising our carbon emissions and supporting other British businesses.
Our product packaging is entirely plastic-free: no bubble wrap, cellophane or polybags in sight! Each order is packaged in a recyclable paper padded envelope or card sleeve and we offer reusable hessian gift packaging as an upgrade on all our small accessories. We’re really proud to have completely plastic-free packaging, so proud in fact that we wrote a whole blog post about it. You can read more information about our plastic free packaging here.
No Waste Production
Unlike most gift shops, all our items are handmade to order. Instead of shelves full of out of season stock, our storeroom only holds our raw materials: sheets of solid wood and rolls of leather hides. This means that we only make what is actually needed, giving us control of product quantities and keeping waste to a minimum. We always make the most out of our materials and repurpose scraps and off-cuts to make smaller items, like our personalised leather gift tags. We’re big on recycling in the office too, and we’re currently working towards going completely paperless.
Made in the UK
As we mentioned, all our products are made to order and everything is produced in-house, in our little workshop here in Ringwood, near the New Forest. Making everything ourselves means that we are responsible and have complete control over our production methods and know every step of the production line inside out: who made it, how they made it, the conditions they made it in. Our workshop is powered by 100% renewable energy, saving over 5000 tonnes of CO2 on average every year, and we also plant trees in partnership with the Woodland Trust to offset our carbon emissions.