• Behind the scenes: What’s in a business card?

    Behind the scenes: What’s in a business card?

    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.

  • The Aerende pop-up

    The Aerende pop-up

    We’re thrilled to announce that Aerende will be popping up in London. Our very first physical store will be open at 7 Park Street, near Borough Market (about a 5-minute walk from London Bridge), from 24th October to 5th November. The shop will be open Tuesday - Sunday 10 - 6 with later hours for the events below. 

    The shop is the result of a very special competition, run by Appear Here, to identify, support and showcase retail concepts of the future by giving them a lovely space to tell their stories and showcase their work. To my great delight, Aerende was picked as the winner by a panel of amazing judges to whom I'll always be grateful for seeing the potential in our business. 

    We're hoping to make the shop a physical representation of the website - elegant and considered but not showy, a place where people can come, talk, think, shop and feel welcome. Of course, the people who create our products are vital to this experience.  

    To help bring the Aerende vision to life, our maker organisations will be running a series of events to showcase and pass on their skills. We have also organised some informal panel discussions to discuss some of the issues that we think underpin our business. You can see the full schedule below.

    Do drop in for a coffee, come and look at our lovely sustainable goods and see how our ethical interiors can be incorporated into your home. We love talking about our makers and exploring new ideas with customers so we hope to see you there.

    THIS WEEK (w/c 30th October)

    Wednesday 1st November – WORKSHOPS
    Bring your social impact idea to life
    Kennedy Woods will be offering individual one-hour design clinics for people have a business idea that can make a difference.
    Time: 10am-4pm
    Price: FREE
    Details: Email with details of your idea to book

    Thursday 2nd November – TALK
    Ethical interiors – Why homes matter and how to make them count
    An informal panel discussion and Q&A about what ethical interiors are, issues to be aware of and how we can integrate them into our homes. In conversation with:

    • Kate Watson-Smyth, writer and blogger – Mad About The House
    • Nina Woodcroft, interiors designer – Dean Street Café, Luminary Bakery
    • Christine Chang Hanway, architect and writer/editor – Remodelista
    • Rhys Pritchard, manager - Restoration Station

    Time: 7.15pm (or earlier if you’d like to shop)
    Price: FREE (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included)
    Details: To find out more and book your space, click here

    Friday 3rd November – WORKSHOP
    Make your own pair of espadrille slipper/slides
    Using reclaimed leather and jute soles our makers at Juta Shoes will be leading this workshop to make your very own pair of unique slides. Juta is a social enterprise that offers well-paid and flexible employment through the medium of shoe making to deprived and under-waged women in Tower Hamlets.
    Time:10am - 12pm
    Price: £40 (including all materials, coffee and Rise Bakery brownies)
    Details: To find out more and book, click here

    Saturday 4th November – WORKSHOP
    Make your own paper origami fairy light string
    Using natural hand-made papers, you will learn how to make pretty paper covers for a string of fairy lights to take home in time for the festive season. Run by our makers Creatively Mindful, who work with a range of marginalised craftspeople and help them deal with daily stress and anxiety through creative activities.
    Time: 4pm - 5.30pm
    Price: £20 (including all materials, coffee and Rise Bakery brownies)
    Details: To find out more and book, click here


    Wednesday 25th October – WORKSHOPS
    Bring your social impact idea to life
    Kennedy Woods, the design team behind the Aerende pop-up will be offering individual one-hour design clinics for people who have a business idea that can make a difference.
    Time: 10am-4pm
    Price: FREE
    Details: Email with details of your idea to book

    Thursday 26th October – TALK 
    Sustainable restaurants – beyond the ingredients
    An informal panel discussion and Q&A about emerging areas in restaurant sustainability; including interior design, social impact and tableware. In conversation with:

    • Meg Doherty and Emmanuel Bejedi, founder & chef – Fat Macy’s
    • Robin Honhold, operations manager – Cub & Mr Lyan
    • Lara Boglione, MD, and Bianca Martinelli, creative director – Petersham Nurseries
    • Lizzie Rivera, journalist and founder – Bicbim, Evening Standard & The Independent

    Time: 7.15pm (or earlier if you’d like to shop)
    Price: FREE (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included)
    Details: To find out more and book your space, click here

    Friday 27th October – WORKSHOP
    Make your own pinch pot
    Experience the therapeutic value of clay and learn to make your own pinch pots. This session will be led by Studio 306 which supports people recovering from mental health illnesses through creativity. You will make at least one and up to three pots to take away.
    Time: 11am-12.30pm
    Price: £15 (including materials, coffee and Rise Bakery brownies)
    Details: To find out more and book your space, click here



  • Thoughts on eco packaging

    Thoughts on eco packaging
    When it comes to shopping, we know that the best thing you can do for the world is to buy as little as possible.

    The next best thing you can do is shop with places that consider their impact at every level, from the people and materials behind the products, to the service providers behind the operations and, of course, the packaging.

    We take great pleasure in wrapping every order individually, using jute twine, unbleached tissue paper, recycled card, biodegradable stickers and flowers from the garden. It's really important to us that our packaging does no harm but also reflects the very special nature of the products inside the parcel. Look lovely, be good - that's our philosophy. We hope you love it too.
  • In partnership with Petersham Nurseries

    In partnership with Petersham Nurseries

    For those of you who have been following the rather sporadic nature of this blog, one of my new-term resolutions is to post more regularly and more frequently. So we're kicking off September with some lovely news about our basketmakers at Delrow, a beautiful residential community near Watford for adults with learning disabilities. 

    We've always loved the range of baskets but it's been tricky creating them in consistent colours and volumes to keep in stock (sorry, we're working on it). So we were delighted when a restaurant got in touch to say "we want them and we don't mind if they are all different". And this wasn't just any restaurant, it was Petersham Nurseries, the delightful garden centre and dining room in Richmond that has long been one of our favourites.

    Petersham has a reputation for its ethical food ethos but not a lot of people know that they apply a careful and sustainable approach to all the other areas of their business too. Refreshingly, they recognised the time and effort that goes into each basket, and saw the value in their individuality so were a delight to work with. No bargaining, no complications, just a valuable mutual appreciation.

    The baskets are now being used for lovely storage displays in the new Covent Garden delicatessan. We'd never thought of filling them with cheeses and fruit but love the idea and get such a thrill from knowing so many people will see them as they work past the window. The makers should be rightly proud and, if you're ever in the area, we recommend dropping in for some edible titbits. There's a restaurant coming next door too, but more on that later...