The Conscious Sewist
The Conscious Sewist is our little haven for eco-reusables. If you need an alternative to disposable household wipes, cloths, hankies and bags, then our Charlie can stitch up a beautiful linen alternative, ruling out a huge chunk of waste.
The artist-formally-known-as The Crafty Baker; 2020 has seen a rebrand and new direction for The Conscious Sewist, here's the story so far....
How it all began.
An obsession with beautiful fabrics, a lifetime sewing, and a passion for reducing our environmental impact on the planet has formed a natural business alliance for Charlie. She loves nothing better than to create something from scratch, sewing IS her happy place.
As an expectant mum back in 2013, Charlie couldn't get her head around the level of disposable waste involved with babycare, and was acutely aware of the intense chemical use in cotton production. So she started to create some reusable burp cloths when pregnant with her first child, to minimise those chemicals being in contact with her own baby's skin.
Working for Refill Revolution at the indoor Market in 2018 saw this creativity and passion for sustainable products evolve into a business. Customers wanted reusable sandwich & bento bags; Charlie knew she could create them easily from her stockpiled fabric stash. (Even if it was a little difficult to part with at times!).
Where the magic happens.
Charlie's husband has his beautiful designated man-cave at the bottom of their garden that he works from, his own space to zone out from a busy family home and work peacefully.
Inch by inch, Charlie has edged into this space and is gradually taking over with her noisy sewing machine and huge fabric stockpile. Her husband has now built a diving wall within said man-cave. This isn't even a joke.
The importance of good fabrics.
Charlie is super passionate about the creation of fabrics, and the importance of a low impact process as possible.
Over time, Charlie has moved away from repurposed fabrics, preferring to buy deadstock from the garment industry instead. Saving this commercial waste from going to landfill, but re-purposing it into products with longevity, makes far more sense to Charlie.
Increasingly, she is also moving away from cotton, even organic, in favour of linen and hemp instead.
Not only are they far more stain-resistant (quite handy for cloths and wipes!) but their production processes involve far less water and pesticides too. Hemp, for example, produces much greater quantities of fibre than the equivalent growing space for cotton plants.
Why the Eco Village?
In her very own words - "Because it's ace!" Need we go on?
Well, we will anyway. Working for Refill Revolution both as a member of staff, and then as a stockist, Charlie was involved from the start.
The Beths valued her input, and she has been hugely involved with the planning & processes for the Village, even from those early stages. The whole place might crumble to the ground without her management of our till system!
Not content with behind-the-scenes involvement, and with The Conscious Sewist, but she also started a second business two weeks before opening to fill a very enthusiastic gap! Read more about that here.
Sustainability factors for The Conscious Sewist.
Sustainability is a continuous improvement process for The Conscious Sewist. The movement towards ever more sustainable fabrics is one Charlie cares deeply about.
Now using organic cotton thread (as this is compostable), all her fabrics and packaging are biodegradable, even down to the smallest detail. Waste is at the forefront of her mind, and she sends online orders with the bare amount of packaging needed. Purpose and longevity, over 'beautiful' packaging, is key.
The very nature of the product type itself lends itself to a sustainability ethos. We throw away a truly frightening 11 billion disposable wipes per year here in the UK, most of which clog up our sewer works, pollute our rivers and seas, or end up in landfill.
Creating reusable makeup pads, hankies, unpaper towels, and multi-purpose household wipes, from biodegradable fabrics is, by its very definition, sustainability for a modern lifestyle.
Future goals for The Conscious Sewist.
Staff! The ultimate goal for Charlie would be some help! As a busy mum of two, juggling family life with running two businesses, we're not entirely sure how Charlie manages everything! So some support would be a game-changer, for sure!
Charlie would love to have a dedicated workshop (in turn allowing her husband to reclaim his man-cave!), with a couple of people on-site to help create products and package orders.
The ultimate goal would be to create a dedicated collective workspace for artists and makers. A thriving hub for creative entrepreneurs to share office space and equipment.
We'd love that too.
Things you probably didn't know about Charlie...
- She has 3 tattoos - including a secret one. Not even Charlie knows what or where it is. Maybe it's invisible.
- She has no middle name. Which makes her a spy, or something.
- She loves cake. More than her children some days. Allegedly.
- Charlie used to be a merchandiser for a footwear company, overseeing the order production for big high street chains.
- She met her husband in a field in Wales. We're hoping some other people were there too, or that would have been a bit weird.
- After a night out in Nottingham at uni, Charlie once ended up in London on the Kings of Leon tour bus. It was the roadies bus, but cool all the same.
- She loves singing Moana songs. We're not sure if they're in tune or not, we'll go with not.
Discover more about The Conscious Sewist.
The Conscious Sewist can be found in the Main Room here at the Eco Village, straight after the milk machine, and just before the ever-expanding Stationery Cupboard corner.