In the spirit of new year, new endeavours, I (that’s Emily, the founder) thought it might be nice to share a little more about some of the decision making that goes on here at Aerende. We try to offer full transparency about our products and makers on the site (and are always working to provide even more information) but we know that many people are interested in other elements of the business and how our caring philosophy is applied to other areas of the company, too. And because of a growing desire for transparency in business and so I’m launching this monthly series about some of the things that go on Behind The Scenes of running an ethical interiors business.
Based on the response to a post about our business stationary on Facebook and Instagram last week, I’m going to start with business cards. Now, this might not be a big-hitting issue but we’ve realised that there’s a lot about a business card that can sum up a company’s ethos and the way it wants to operate.
Like many elements of Aerende, ours is no ordinary business card. This card needed to be a physical reflection of the business, so it had to be hand-made (in the UK of course), tactile and not too polished but elegant enough for people who pay attention to know how much time and thought have gone into it.
After hours of research into the environmental impact of printing, the negative effect of dyes and the rather faceless, corporate image of many printers in the UK, we decided to go with a letter pressing technique. Letter pressing is not just low impact (in contrast to the huge, energy-guzzling machines used by conventional printers) but is a true craft with every letter being set by hand. Ideally there would have been a lovely local studio to commission so that all of the transportation could have been done by bicycle. Alas, I couldn't find one in Hertfordshire (though if you know of one please get in touch) so I had to look further afield. I eventually settled on The Letterpress Collective after reading about its founder Nick’s attempts to build a letterpress on a cargo bike. There was something inspiring about their vision and how they valued heritage skills and creativity (plus it's a non-profit like Aerende so there were professional synergies too). It was important to me to choose a company that had good practices woven through the entirety of its business not one that just happened to have one eco-friendly or 'ethical' product.
Like our website, the cards feature Times New Roman, a font I like because it’s beautiful but often under-appreciated (don’t you think?), functional but not fiercely utilitarian and somehow calm and reassuring. Each one is made from ultra eco-friendly, chlorine-free waste card (mainly from old shoeboxes) from a brilliant company called Paperbark (that really won brownie points for its informative Q&A about the pros and cons of recycling) and brings joy every time I whip one out. These days, some people might say all you need is a phone app or an email for introductions. But, thanks to feedback from our social media followers, I’ve realised that personal interactions are something we all still love. And the old-fashioned practice of sharing business cards is a perfect way to forge relationships and show intentions at the same time. We’d love to know what you think. Do you still share them? Do you have recommendations for other social impact or environmentally friendly printers? And what other topics would you like to see featured in this series? This blog is for you so I’d love to hear your feedback.