In a world where we want everything now and in times where money is tight, it's very tempting to go for the cheapest, quickest, easiest option. Whether it's getting that last minute present delivered next day or buying five tops instead of one, we are all susceptible to ease over effort. But do you ever ask yourself where the products you buy come from?
I admit that I don't always ask myself these questions, particularly when things can be so accessible.
It was only during the last lockdown where I found myself buying (almost daily) from different jewellery and fashion brands purely so I could get that buyers 'hit'. But as the endless deliveries arrived I started to ask myself, where are these products from and could I do it better (and more economically) myself? This was how Blue & Green Jewellery was born. Originally it was just a creative outlet to stop me spending all of my spare cash on accessories. It was also a way of stopping me from stabbing myself in the eye with a paw patrol figure just to get out of playing yet another role play game with my children (I love my children but there is only so much Peppa Pig a woman can take whilst isolated in a house all day!).
I've always been wary of throwing around the term 'sustainable jewellery' in relation to my business (sometimes I don't give myself enough credit) as it can become a stick for people to beat you with. "You say you're sustainable but you don't do X, Y and Z". However, I read a good quote the other day that said "We don't need a handful of people doing sustainable living perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly." and that's exactly the ethos I employ with B&G. I'm doing more that some but definitely less than others and this is something I will always try to improve as it underpins the core values of my business.
And so in answer to the question "What makes our jewellery sustainable?" here are just some of the things that I am doing and some more that I hope to do as the business grows and develops.
Fully recyclable packaging and not 'over packaging' our products - This seems like an easy one and one that most businesses should be doing but ours goes further than simply using a cardboard box for delivery. Everything down to the branded stickers we use and the tape we seal the boxes with is recyclable or made from recycled materials (the only item that is not recyclable is the inserts in our gift boxes). This took a lot of time and research but packaging was a big priority for me. In particular, not 'over packaging' products so that it reduces what has to be recycled in the first place.
Trying to prioritise suppliers who have ethical policies in line with my own.
Creating products that support key charities. So far we have the 'Thank you NHS' necklace and later this year we will be releasing a new piece which raises money for a mental health charity. Going forward I would like this to become a more established part of B&G with regular charity donations and supporting environmental issues.
Constantly re-evaluating the materials we use. We have chosen aluminium for our personalised products (aluminium is a more sustainable metal) and going forward I hope to introduce recycled silver for all of our silver chains.
I'm sure some people will be getting their sticks out on reading this, ready to tell me where I'm going wrong but that's ok. I am doing my best and I am doing it imperfectly and surely that's better than not doing it at all?