Our instagram discovery this week is WEARTH – we got chatting with Ed, the co-owner of Wearth to find out more about this new online store – you’ll be so impressed, and I know you’ll love the collection of curated eco loveliness!
The Conscious Online Department Store ? Where Values Meet Quality & Style ✨?? Shop Independent Sustainable & Ethical Brands ?
Ali: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Wearth?
Ed: The idea for Wearth came around a year ago. Imogen, our other co-founder, had already lived a more conscious lifestyle for a few years. Then we started to learn together more and more about the impact the retail industry was having on the environment. Once you become aware of the issues you notice how widespread the problem is. For example walking in any supermarket you are surrounded by plastic which will be used once and then most likely end up in landfill or worse into nature. As young people we felt that we needed to do something to try and do our part by making it easier to shop in a more conscious way.
So we started to do some research to independent UK brands which make their products in a fair and environmentally friendly way. What we found is that there are some amazing brands out there but there was a lack of retailing opportunities which aligned with their own values.
This was really the inspiration around Wearth, to create an online department store which brought these brands together, making it easier for consumers to find brands that care whilst creating a platform for these small companies to reach a larger audience and grow.
How often do you introduce new brands to the store?
We launched Wearth with 20 brands at the end of October and now we have over 30 brands. We want to introduce new brands slowly but are always on the lookout for companies who align with our values and there seems to be lots of new brands launching which is exciting to see!
And where do you find them!
Lots of research! In the early stages we first identified our criteria for all of our departments then searched through Google and social media to find the brands which aligned with what we were looking for. Now it is great to see brands reaching out to us and we look forward to seeing finding out what else is out there!
Ed – you have a background in real estate? Is this where you love of home furnishings has come from?
Yes, I studied a masters in real estate but this was very numbers driven, lots of spreadsheets! For our homewares and furniture what we’re really passionate about is supporting British makers. There are some amazing crafts people making high quality contemporary products in an eco-friendly and ethical way. We want to make it easier for people to connect with these brands and furnish their homes with individual pieces which have been made with skill and heart.
Who do you take inspiration from in the business world, and also the world of sustainability? Are they one and the same person?
There are some business people doing great things and making strives towards making a better world. Elon Musk is probably the most influential of these, he has dedicated the past decade to transforming the electric car industry and his battery technology could revolutionise how we get electricity. There are also a few people on social media who are very inspiring, providing lots of information about living in a more sustainable way. These include Sustainably Vegan, Madeleine Olivia, Blue Ollis and Lauren Singer to name a few!
Are you and Imogen both vegans yourselves Ed? And if so – was it a gradual process for you, or an immediate decision.
Imogen has been vegan for over two years and I have been vegetarian for a year. For Immy it was really quite immediate. Now I’ve been vegetarian for a year, I tried going vegan on our most recent holiday to the Philippines and think I will make the change soon (Imogen will be happy to read!).
With Earth Day just around the corner – can you share with us your top five eco gift ideas from your website?
We have some nice gifts which are suitable for celebrating Earth Day:
1. Picnics or school lunches, our classic ever-practical lunch box made from high quality 304 grade stainless steel for lunch on the go. The perfect accessory for a zero waste lifestyle. one-green-bottle-stainless-steel-lunchbox
2. Family Tree Pot – This pot is a unique gift for any family member, it is handmade in England.
3. Hammered Silver Necklace – This elegant necklace is handmade in the UK with recycled sterling silver.
4. These gorgeous soy wax candles (180ml) are hand poured in the UK with premium natural fragrance oils which freshen up any room in your home with a naturally beautiful aroma. Perfect for Earth Hour on the 24th March!
Link – handmade-candle-co-soy-wax-candle
5 – Shunk Chopping Board – No more plastic chopping boards – This rustic chopping board is handmade in Bristol using leftover wood from the furniture studio it is made in.
Link – konk-shunk-chopping-board
As your brands deliver directly to the customer, how do you guarantee that they all follow your zero-waste packaging policy?
When we first start talking with our brands we have a handbook which provides all the details about selling on Wearth and this includes packaging guidelines. The brand then lets us know exactly what packaging they use both for the product and delivery and our customers can see this on our pages. Here transparency is key and we also have a plastic-free value tag on all the relevant products so people can easily see what products are plastic-free. In terms of guaranteeing it, we have to trust our brands and this is why we work closely with all of them, so far we have had no complaints about packaging.
With more plastic-free grocery stores opening across the country, do you any have plans to open a bricks and mortar department store yourselves?
This is something we would definitely consider in future if we can do it in a sustainable way. It does depend on how the retail sector is doing generally, having a store is a big financial commitment. That said, if we are able to reach more people and it is feasible for us to launch a physical store, then this would be an exciting development for us.
What are your own tips for buying sustainably Ed?
There are lots of things you can to buy sustainably. Firstly buying more locally is a good way, for example many local groceries and bakeries don’t have plastic packaging and are more likely to have sourced their products locally. Another important thing is really looking at the detail about the product and trying to understand where it has come from. This can be difficult, especially as most stores are not very transparent but nothing wrong with asking questions be it in store or online. If companies start to get questions about the provenance and sustainability of their products then they should hopefully start to become more conscious of this.
Would you consider stocking men’s and women’s fashion and if so who are your go-to brands for undies, shoes, and knitwear Ed?
Yes we would like to sell clothes, Imogen is a fashion and marketing finalist at Manchester and we think it is a growing market with lots of opportunities. At the moment we want to focus on our other departments but it is good to see sustainable and ethical companies making waves in the industry, for example Po-Zu and Oceanzen.
Pilates or Yoga Ed?
Imogen likes doing Yoga, I am a bit of a water baby and love swimming!
Are there any books or films you’d recommend to inspire others to turn to a more sustainable way of life?
It is great to see lots of attention being put on environment and the retail industry. Blue Planet II is well worth a watch as it highlights the direct impact plastic is having on our oceans. Lauren Singer’s Ted Talk is a good introduction to zero waste living. Imogen and I also saw a good documentary about minimal living called Minimalism. I have also been recommended Slave to Fashion by Safia Minney and the movie, The True Cost so need to check those out!
Make sure to follow Wearth on instagram here