As a NZ small business it's important to me that Arias Design Co doesn't leave a huge dent on the environment when making polymer clay earrings. I'm transparent with you about how polymer clay is a plastic and so while it can't be said to be an eco friendly material itself, there are aspects of our Auckland made earrings that are much more environmentally friendly than their fast fashion equivalent.
I do feel that I have a responsibility as a business owner to make sure that Arias Design Co operates as sustainably as possible as a whole. I want to bring you beautiful earrings that have been made locally, but while doing so I want to minimise waste, reduce energy use and avoid a large carbon footprint. It's frustrating that a lot of larger corporations don't share this ethos but hey, we have to start somewhere right! I spoke to Sarah at Very Well Mind about the impacts of climate change on our collective mental health - particularly when it comes to climate anxiety - which you can read here.
There's a lot more to running a business than just making the earrings, so I've looked at every single area of Arias Design Co and done my best to keep things as green as possible. At present I'm still looking for affordable packaging for wholesale orders, but I'm happy with how the retail side of things is shaping up!
I've tried to make my packaging and wrapping as eco friendly as possible while keeping it practical, protective and pleasing to the eye. While its not 100% perfect, I think it's on the right track! There was a bit of a spike in online sales of over the level 4 lockdown - which is hugely appreciated as pretty much all of our markets that we had booked for this year have been cancelled, and that's the main way we make sales - so I've put that straight back into Arias Design Co and bought a label printer and some compostable label roll. It might not sound that exciting but it means that the external layer of packaging you receive your online orders in is completely compostable! Both the bag and the shipping label. How cool?
Then inside the bag, nearly everything that isn't earrings can be recycled. I say nearly everything because the sticker I use to secure the earrings in their individual tissue paper sleeves has glue on them that I'm not sure can be recycled. But everything else can!
I don't believe in clay waste. There should be no such thing. The beauty of polymer clay is that its so versatile to work with, and when it's unbaked you can manipulate and remanipulate it until your hearts content! I can't think of a single justification for throwing away raw clay. And anyway, who wants to throw away money on unused materials for no good reason?
Slow made, small batch jewellery is always better in my humble opinion. Personally, it's something I look for when I'm shopping as there's a lot of power to be found in the choices we make as consumers. So now I'm on the other side of the gate, I want to be sure that you always have an option for New Zealand made jewellery that doesn't hurt our beautiful home!