Being Sustainable, as a Small Business

Being sustainable can mean a lot of things, so I just wanted to cover what it means for us at Soulsong Avalon, as it is a fundamental part of our philosophy:

Conscious living is to look after what we have.  We have one body/ mind/ spirit/ planet – and it merits our Care, Love and Appreciation.”

And for us, at Soulsong Avalon being sustainable means: Making sure all decisions made have a positive impact on the earth, community, customers and self, by using;

  • Recycled labels, brochures, paper
  • Glass jars/ bottles which is better for the products, and can be reused or recycled
  • Quality Organic to local ingredients
  • Smaller local suppliers

Being Financially sustainable, providing;

  • Prices are affordable for customers
  • Prices that are sustainable for us as a small business

So these are what we keep it in mind with all the everyday decisions we make.

Recently I had to choose whether to go with vinyl labels for my oils as they are more durable, and yet we went for the paper – as it’s more biodegradable. Such small decisions, and yet each decision big or small can have a lasting impact.

All of us make these decisions everyday, and they help and do have an impact, we have the choice to cut down on plastic, packaging, organic food, recycling and so much more.  The more we can support our values with the choices we make, the more we can support a larger overall change in the way things are done, for ourselves, the community and the world we live in.

CocoPureAnd on that note would also like to introduce two new local suppliers, with top quality products:

Cocopure for the delicious Coconut oil, which can be found in Bedouin’s Charm: Body Oil.
Made in Hemp, for the rich Organic Hemp Oil, found in our soon to be released Eternal Serenity.

Why buy handmade… lots of reasons really

There are endless reasons really, yet I am constantly struck at by people or even at myself who can at times baulk at the price of braceletshandmade in comparison to an nice neat off the shelf number for a fiver from a larger retailer. Here are my top 5 reasons: 

  1. It’s ethical; Sure we’d all love to pay $5 for something, yet the thought of where it comes from who made it, and for what price rarely comes into the equation. In our continually striving for lower costs, so we can just buy more things we don’t need, we often forget somewhere at sometime there is a cost to someone, maybe not to you, or the company you are buying it from – however the person/child having to press out thousands of the product a day in appalling labour conditions might beg to differ, somewhere somehow someone is paying for it.
  2. You are buying a story, and a product made with Love I’m really quite new to crafting, making, creating things and yet I see that there is the opportunity when buying handmade to connect to the seller, here the story of how it came about, why it’s being made, from what materials and thoughts, ideas, passions and joys came from this one or many items. You see most of us don’t create from boredom, or lack of things to do – we do it because it makes us happy, it means something to us and we get a kick out of it. And we get an even bigger kick out of finding a good home for our creations.  They are a part of us, and what we send out into the world, and we are wanting to share that with you, so that it also makes you happy :)  Aww so now everyone is happy!
  3. Supporting small local creative businesses I know it’s great you’ve given a 10 year old somewhere in Asia the opportunity to earn a few cents a day, there are also many creative souls right on your doorstep struggling, creating, hoping to one day that their creations and passion will be their main source of income. Many working across all sorts of industries and creating in their spare time, with joy.  The products are often recycled, with a story; hours that also have value are filled with work. The product for the most part hasn’t left any carbon footprint, not been flown across the world, made by machine or pressed off in the thousands, no this little product has been thought up and handmade by an individual here, near you and there is simply nothing like supporting local initiatives, creativity, arts and culture – in brings you closer to your role in the larger scheme of things.
  4. It’s completely unique, imperfections and all You won’t be going into any store and finding thousands of them, the chance that someone at work will be wearing the same thing is minimized, its unique in it’s style, essence and mostly it’s one of a kind – maybe one day it’ll even be a collectors item of a bygone era, when they’ll talk about how once upon a time people made things, and it made them and everyone around them happy…
  5. Quality For the most part (of course on many of these points there can always be the odd exception), the quality it handmade far exceeds the factory made store bought equivalent. I always use the highest quality pure wool, it’s often been hand-dyed and it put it together with great care. It will survive being washed, and as with the handmade products that I have for myself these unique pieces often last years when all else has fallen apart or been given away, they stay in good form, colour and style.

Just some insights, of course you needn’t buy handmade,  I do though encourage people to try making something themselves, get down and get creative. I started creating as I could never find any skirts or bags in the style I wanted, then I discovered crochet and found it was relaxing and was akin to a moving meditation – and I could use the soft, colourful, beautifully, luxurious wool that I liked, and it all went from here. I also make my own ointments, it’s satisfying to have made something, something you like, you’d wear/ use, and it’s even more satisfying when someone else likes it too. And there is a deep satisfaction using something you’ve made yourself, even if it’s falling apart at the seems as my skirts often are. So talk to the creators when your at the market, get to know them – you’re supporting more than just a creation, product or lifestyle, you see you are connecting and buying something from someone, a person just like you, who has a name, a life a whole story of which this product probably plays an interesting part – listen, learn, engage.  If it resonates and you buy it, it becomes part of your story and you life, and for you to enjoy.
P.s. I’ll be at the Flinders St. Market again on the 31st August, this coming Sunday – drop by say hi!

Here is a very inspiring ‘Story of a bag’, that brings to life all of the above, by the lovely creative Juanita Tortilla: Check out her blog: