Wearth London: the one stop eco shop

Wearth London: the one stop eco shop

Twentysomethings Imogen Minoli and Edward Davies have launched Wearth London, an online lifestyle store for the eco-friendly, ethical, vegan-minded, sustainability-mad, plastic-avoiding and of course super stylish consumer. So that's you and me.

By Abby Trow
Wearth co founders Imogen Minoli and Edward Davies

Wearth London is definitely the place to shop if you want to escape plastic packaging because Imogen and Edward really don't like the stuff. The couple have spent the past year researching small independent brands and start-ups that share their eco values and invited them to come aboard what's set to be the go-to platform for ethical and sustainable furniture, homewares, decorative accessories, babywear, beauty products and jewellery.

When they were looking for things for their home, Imogen Minoli and Edward Davies were struck by how untransparent the labelling on goods was, so they didn't really know how eco-friendly or sustainable something was. And they were incredulous at the amount of plastic packaging that comes with so many purchases.

Which got them thinking: wouldn't it be nice to have a shop to go to where they could be sure everything in it was genuinely sustainable, made predominantly in the UK and not smothered in plastic. And as they always say, if it doesn't exist, set it up yourself - so welcome to Wearth London.

Though still students, the pair spent the past year researching small companies and designer-makers, mainly British ones, that met their pretty straightforward sustainability criteria and so far 30 have come on board. Wearth London opened its online doors in October and from sales so far it's clear the couple aren't alone in their commitment to eco-friendly shopping. So if you're looking for recycled silver jewllery, organic cotton babygrows, plant-based skincare that really is free of chemicals or quality British upcycled furniture, well, you know where to come. 

Wearth London products are predominantly UK made
Linen cushions in neutral tones by Liverpool's Linen & Stripes
Beauty products are super natural.. though not supernatural ...
Keweko cleanser - this brand uses no formaldehyde, parabens, petroleum or phthalates
Modern shelving made from recycled wood
Mat for yoga from CorkYogis, £65. See the Lifestyle section www.wearthlondon.com

Imogen and Edward, like many millennials, are fed up with governments around the world paying lipservice to the need to protect the environment but not really taking on big industry and compelling it to take action that will at least slow down climate change - not surprisingly, because their generation is going to be around a lot longer than Donald Trump.

'We're not trying to change people and convert them into eco warriors,' says Edward, 'but we do want to do our bit and change perceptions about what it means to buy sustainably.' So by raising awareness of the provenance and 'ingredients' of a product, so more of us will get used to scrutinising labels a bit more closely, asking a few more questions about a product and slowly wean ourselves off our addiction to cheap mass-produced products which are often made on the other side of the world in polluting factory by workers paid subsistence wages. 

Shop by values

One of the best features of the Wearth London website is that you can shop by values that matter most to you. This means you can choose to be shown products that are plastic free, biodegradable, made with all natural ingredients, vegan-friendly, made by companies that give a percentage of profits to good causes, come in recyclable packaging, are made in the UK, made from sustainable ingredients, are made from recycled materials or handmade. And every product page that opens has a visual tag so you know at a glance its particular eco merits too.

'We want to make it easy for you to shop according to issues that are important you, so you're shopping in a conscious way and making informed decisions,' says Edward. If this sounds very worthy, well, it isn't, it's just being sensible. Because we all need to address the issues of environmental damage caused by consumption of raw materials, and choosing to buy products that aren't made from finite resources is a win-win for everyone. 'We're not out to fight capitalism but the environment doesn't really figure prominently enough in our current economic system,' says Edward.

Small is sustainable

Imogen and Edward want to promote small niche makers and start-up companies because these types of businesses tend to be very eco-conscious. 'They make in small batches, they can't afford to be wasteful, they value being ethical, they charge fairly for their work,' says Edward. 'Online shopping has made it much easier for people to find small independent makers and Wearth London is a platform that connects shoppers with the most environmentally-friendly businesses.' And another great feature of the website is that you get the brand story, so you feel you know who you're buying from.

 

Linen & Stripes linen cushion, handmade in Liverpool, £34.45, 12x20 in
Free hugs - ceramic plant pot by {IM}Perfect, £13, made in the UK.
Klip European oak oval wooden chopping board by Bristol's Konk Furniture at Wearth London, £39
Soap Daze pure and natural Devon-made soaps
Reclaimed wine crate bookcase, £215, by Bristol-based Made Anew. H60xD40xW33. wearthlondon.com
Double length wine crate ottoman, with padded upholstered seat, £275, by Made Anew

Made in Britain

Not all products sold by Wearth London are made in Britain but around 80 per cent are, says Edward. 'We support British manufacturing because we're British and are selling mainly in the UK. But if we think a product is good and it's made outside the UK we will consider it. For example we love the cork yoga mats by CorkYogis - they're based in London but the mats are presently made in China, though manufacturing is moving to Portugal to be close to the raw material. We think that makes sense, to make your product where the material for it grows,' says Edward. (This brand also contributes money to Destiny Foundation, a charity in India which offers education and training to girls who have been victims of human trafficking.)

Pricing

Always a tricky one for small businesses... Wearth London products are selected for their eco merits and quality and Edward and Imogen say they won't be involved in a pricing race to the bottom because they don't believe quality products can be ultra low cost.

'I do think we're very used to low prices in this country but I would go back to our ethos which is to change perceptions about buying sustinably,' says Edward. 'Our products are made to last, they're excellent quality and we don't believe in poverty wages. People still have a tendency to think that if something is made from, say, recycled wood, then it should cost virtually nothing. But that's ridiculous because so much work has to go into restoring that wood to make it suitable for re-use.' And Wearth London has lots of great products that are terrific value such such as ceramic plant pots from £13, recycled silver rings from £25 and large bars of natural handmade soap from £5.95.

Wearth London is a business that taps into virtuous added value. That's because spending money that goes to a person who's working hard to make quality products with minimal environmental impact feels much more positive than giving your dosh to a multinational. 'We're very confident about the business because we see that young people definitely - and probably older generations too - are looking for social value and environmental value,' says Edward, who adds that an early sign they were onto a good thing was that their friends didn't glaze over at the words 'sustainable shopping'.

www.wearthlondon.com

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