To Celebrate Small Business Saturday today here is a special Christmas Gift Guide featuring fellow Small Biz 100 folk!
We recently showcased our products at Latitude Festival in Suffolk, where we had the pleasure of meeting some of the volunteers and staff working for PCF (the Philippine community fund).
PCF a registered charity since 2002 are a non for profit (although not registered) NGO. They have built and run a school made from recycled shipping containers with the capacity to hold 1000 children in Manila. they offer a pathway out of poverty to children and families forced to live and work in dump sites and cemeteries. the program aims to protect children from trafficking, child labor, and exploitation.
Each of the current 550 children being educated receive breakfast and lunch through the charity at a cost of less than £1 per head per day. PCF also support another 300 children in government education.
The children and their families are given access to the charity's health clinic, to help ease the financial pressure that may force them back into dangerous work.
PCF employ its own social workers to offer advise, support, counselling and practical help to the students and their families.
what we find interesting about PCF is their unique and innovative way in which they financially support the students families. parents that are struggling financially are offered work creating beautiful pieces of jewellery and fashion from ring pulls.... that's right! ring pulls!
Each year PCF work with Festival Republic at Latitude and Reading Festival. PCF brings dozens of volunteers to work as green messengers, a keen team of people who have the job of encouraging recycling, educating people on sustainability and enforcing the festivals green initiatives. In exchange PCF get to take home as many ring pulls as they can pull. it might not sound like a fair exchange, but in fact each ring pull is worth 4p to the charity and in the hundreds of thousands can create plenty of work within the impoverished communities they support. you will also find PCF's stall at the events where you can purchase the finished products from previous years of collecting.
check out #onthepull for more infomation
PCF are currently running an emergency campaign for extra support. Its monsoon season in the Philippines. Peoples homes are flooded, and with poor sanitation people are at an even greater risk. The schools are closed during this season but PCF are reaching out for financial support to keep the school open as an emergency shelter. Gentrification is also forcing people out of slum areas into more secure housing. PCF are offering community support in the transition,
If you would like to find out more about PCF, please visit www.p-c-f.org.
There are many ways in which you can help support the great work these guys are doing.
Send in your ringpulls!
PCF, PO Box 294, Hedge End, Southampton SO30 2YD.
Volunteer at the next music festival! Or if your not one for loud music PCF have fundraising and admin opportunities.
PCF also accept donations of school supplies. A full list of items needed can be found here.
The care of each child costs £65 a month.
this covers 7 hours of education a day,
The maintenance and improvements of the library, play areas, sports equipment, and computers.
Extra support for students that fall behind, or have difficulties in studies.
Daily school transport.
School uniforms, shoes, school bag, workbooks and supplies.
Reward system to Encouraging high attendance and academic achievements.
Sponsorship starts at as little as £20 a month.
Whilst on holiday in Slovenia recently we had the pleasure of meeting the lovely ladies from Smetumet, a non-profit organization based in the capital of Ljubljana and focused on slow living, recycling and re-purposing everyday objects into new and exciting things!
Smetumet is an NGO (non government organisation) non profit and soon to be social enterprise. Much like our values, one of their goals is to protest and fight back against our disposable capitalist logic. During our visit with the ladies, they told us about many of their amazing projects, and we left feeling very inspired.
Through workshops and events they encourage people to live consciously, repair old possessions, create from waste and encourage a social shift towards slower consumption. Slow consumption is a term that encourages people to slow down and make conscious decisions about all aspects of what they are purchasing. We were pleased to hear this term, as we thought it was quite a localized concept.
Other projects include interior renovation, corporate gifts, business cards and customized clothing, all made from recycled materials.
Smetumet have a small shop where they sell many of their re-purposed products using waste from both industrial and consumer waste. The profit from these products funds the organisations campaigns. Whilst we were in the shop a lady walked in with an armful of umbrellas, which where destined to be made into bags. The shop is an interesting colorful array of homewares and fashion pieces.
Our favourite product was a messenger bag made from old vinyl banners. There were piles of the stencil cut components of the bag, and you are able to choose the colour of each panel of the bag.
The diagram in the middle shows where all the money goes from the sale of each bag.
Last weekend we visited the Bafts Annual Conference and got to meet lots of inspiring Fairtrade producers, one of which was Laura from Just Trade, a jewellery designer by trade she co-founded the business after volunteering with another company in Peru.
She now works all over South America as well as in India with people (mostly women) who would not otherwise have the opportunity to make money to do things such as send their kids to school or pay medical bills.
Below are some of my favourite pieces from their website and you should definitely check it out! Excellent gifts for people with an ethical conscious.
Reindeer necklace made from Tagua Nut or Vegetable ivory.
Handmade Brass earrings
Handmade silver ring
Crocheted carrot brooch
2 companies from the Netherlands are giving back to the Environment with their forward thinking fashion. Mud Jeans are fairly traded, made from organic cotton and use a filtration method that uses 85% less water than traditional denim making. But the best part is that when your jeans eventually become worn out and unwearable they can be returned to Mud and they will give you a new pair for free and recycle your old pair into something new and beautiful.
Jumper made from 80% recycled denim from jeans
Oaties baby shoes
Two amazing brands that are giving back to the Earth rather than taking from it!
So I was lucky enough recently to win Braintrees competition for some of their lovely bamboo socks!
Made from sustainable bamboo and organic cotton, the "lover" socks come in 4 lovely shades from pastel pink to indigo. Not only is the bamboo in the socks sustainable but it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties keeping your feet healthy as well as looking cute.
They are so soft and comfy, and they look so nice! So nice that I showed my mum and she instantly stole a pair.
We were invited to the Green Orange Fashion Fair at the Kromhouthal Building in Amsterdam, its a fair showcasing eco fashion and accessories from ethical fashion brands in Europe. We met lots of lovely other companies from 3D printed Jewellery to organic cotton childrens clothes there were lots of inspirational companies there. Below I have picked out my top 5.
Lemonfish sell bags made from upcycled army surplus and traditionally woven braiding.
Founded by designers Alexandra Dittrich and Bettina Burchard, the bags are made by women in prison who are taught the skills needed to make the bag so that they can be employed by Lemonfish when they leave prison as part of the rehabilition process.
The materials are salvaged from tents, bags and army packs that have been discarded by the Bundeswehr (the unified armed forces of Germany) all of the eyelets and hardware comes from them as well. The bags are then decorated with scraps of recycled leather and vintage traditional German braiding.
The two combined make for a pleasing aesthetic of tough meets pretty in classic designs like the messenger or tote bags.
Made from recycled paper, cement bags and jute the Township Smile range covers messenger bags, duffle bags and laptop and IPad covers.
Produced in South Africa by women who work from home, get paid fair wages and own their own machines. The company promotes an ethic of shared industry and teamwork is an essential element of the business.
Marcia De Carvalho
Made in France by local artisans "Chaussettes Orphelines" takes "orphaned socks" and old socks and recycles them into 100% recycled yarn which is then turned back into new socks, gloves, scarves and hats. They also aim to contribute to the recovery of traditional spinning and knitting sectors in Northern France.
I love this idea as everyone has those socks with holes in and the odd sock box with the "orphans" whose pair you have been looking for for years!
Bags and accessories made from recycled inner tyres they aim to 'reduce peoples carbon footprint and protect nature'.
Not only are the products stylish, sustainable, strong and waterproof but the use of the rubber from the tyres saves them from being burned which releases poisonous gases into the environment.
Run and Fell
Taking their name from the 'run and fell' stitch used to make heavy duty industrial workwear these organic cotton men's tshirts are ethically made in Manchester, England using local suppliers and manufacturers they are strong believers in Slow Fashion.
Not only do they look good and feel great but they can make you feel great about whats in your wardrobe too!
Entitled 'Granny Takes A Trip' the Katie Jones SS15 collection is an abundance of 70s disco pastels, drinking tea with gin in it on Brighton Pier and carousel rides.
Everyone knows here at 'What Daisy Did' we love recycling and with the whole collection made from surplus wool from English factories and recycled Sonia Rykiel dresses, and with the most extravagant knitting i've ever made being a chunky winter cowl my eyes turn green with envy.
A Central St Martins Graduate, an Estethica emerging talent and with all the clothes being 90-95% handmade by her and her mum this collection is a force to be reckoned with, rather than following any trends or fads it is the epitome of crocheted luxury, timeless and yet so fresh! Whether you're in the Blackpool arcades or on a Cruise ship sailing the Atlantic you can appreciate the skill that goes into these beautiful pieces.
My personal favourites from the collection is a battle between the pavilion bell dress and the scallop crop top and carousel skirt combo pictured below, so Katie if you are reading this....pretty please make them for me? ;) And I can't wait to see whats next!