I had loved fashion ever since I was 16 years old. Through my education fashion seemed very glamorous, with all the catwalks and exquisite couture, I draped every single piece of my collection with my own hands and it was always my dream to start my own brand.
After I graduated and had worked in the industry for high street sector around the world, I saw retailers were increasingly lowering their prices and margins due to the competition of attaining market share. Many were manufacturing in developing countries and barely paying minimum wages to the impoverished workers.
The first time I visited Bangladesh 8 years ago, I was shocked to discover that the factory workers were receiving only 100 USD per month as their full-time wage. During my visit around Dhaka, I saw young children in the rubbish dump next to the factory, reminiscent of the Slum Dog Millionaire movie, when they should be in school studying, playing in a clean and safe environment and drinking clean water. And yet, you could still see their joy just discovering curious objects and joking around with their friends. It really breaks your heart to see it in person.
(photo from pbs.org. Visit here to read full article)
A small positive from these visits was that I really appreciated how lucky many of us are and how we take what we have for granted. I feel very grateful to wake up every day with a roof above my head, clean clothes and clean water.
Another current issue I’ve experienced is ‘green washing’.
Although more and more fast fashion retailers want to be more conscious of being sustainable and environmentally friendly, the amount of wastage and excess packaging produced during manufacturing and selling is humongous. Garments are being produced soullessly and to be replaced frequently due to the nature of fast fashion. Organic Cotton is widely used as a ‘gold medal’ for sustainability but in actual fact it uses even more water to produce than regular cotton and other fibres, like linen and hemp.
Last year when COVID-19 hit, it really changed my perspective of what is important and I felt that I had enough of working in that sector. So I decided to make a change and I want to actively make a difference.
I found my new passion in interior design and my love for making a home into a sanctuary. A place where you want to stay, relax and entertain family and friends, especially while we can’t travel.
First, I started upgrading my own home, replacing my mass-produced Ikea style furniture to more tasteful and special pieces from independent boutique store. I also began helping my friends introduce new looks to their home too.
I started to have a new vision of myself, working to transform houses into homes, creating a unique space to relax, calming and blissful, just like when I used to travel in Bali. Whenever I visited, it was almost like there was something in the air, it made me feel at ease and I had a sense of inner peace. Everything is happening at a much slower pace and you start to notice your surroundings so much better and clearer. When you allow yourself to get into that frame of mind, you become much more appreciative of nature, others and, most importantly, yourself.
Basically Bali, and the island living lifestyle, is where Conceptu all started.
Understanding this was my calling, I started finding independent artisans in Bali, to support their local communities and economy, especially while the tourism sector was basically non-existent. I love how they make use of their local resources, everything is 100% natural. The products have a completely different aesthetic and feel so different to mass-produced products.
When I received the very first shipment of samples from Bali, I was over the moon as I could smell the aromas of Bali from the raffia placemats and wooden products. It instantly took me back and made me really happy. I know I am doing the right thing.
Packaging is the next thing on my mind.
Last November, my good friend Caroline invited me to do a beach clean organised by TEDxTinHauWomen on Lamma Island. There were around 20 people working on a small beach and we spent a few hours clearing as much rubbish as we could. What we saw the most was plastic packaging and broken bits of Styrofoam; the tiny plastic balls were just impossible to pick up. It takes at least 500 years for Styrofoam to decompose, so it was really disheartening to learn how much is being left on the shore in our oceans.
From this moment, I decided I will offer 100% plastic-free products and packaging, not even plastic sellotape on any of my parcels. I want to be able to sleep soundly at night, not thinking about my packaging floating around somewhere in the ocean and impacting marine animals and the environment.
I also refuse to use recycled polyester in my product range, as I feel that even though they are recycled, if the end product isn’t recycled again it would still never decompose or go back to the earth or ocean.
Adding all these points together is how Conceptu Home started!
To me, Conceptu Home is not just a business. It’s a place where I can raise awareness of important issues and make a difference, while still living with and enjoying beautiful items that anyone would be proud to own. I want to create a lifestyle, a movement, where we all take life at a slower pace, to appreciating our surroundings and think about what we own.
I am a strong believer in giving back. I want to give back what we had taken from nature and also give to different communities. Conceptu Home will donate 1% of all sales to Onetreeplanted.org, a non-profit charity planting trees all around the world, wherever they are most needed. They don’t only plant trees to benefit our planet, they plant trees to support communities, so they can make a living by harvesting fruit trees, for example.
I also aim to support other local charities by participating in charity events and fundraisers. By supporting our business, you are also helping us to give back to communities and our planet.
I want to use this journal to spread thoughts, share what we are passionate in, let’s build a community. We want know what you are passionate about too!
Together we will make a difference.
Ever since I read your blog it’s inspired me to use less plastic and realise how lucky I am. All your products are amazing! Hope it inspires everyone else too.Good luck with your business❤️-Matilda
Fabulous products….everything is super unique. Hope your business is a great success😁😁! -Poppy age 10
I think this is a wonderful enterprise and wish you all the luck in the world. Your blog is amazing,honest and from deep in your heart. I agree with everything you have said wholeheartedly. God bless you.😍
Sounds a fabulous venture and so great to hear responsible business ideas. This can’t fail
Inspiring story and commenable new venture.
Beautiful tasteful products. I wish you every success.
Well done Jess,
Passion, a great word & even greater when combined with action & thoughtful creation as your site expresses. Uniqueness & individuality in creation is risky, yet always stands the test of time, so well worth the risks. Keep risking I say.
Congratulations on getting such a worthwhile enterprise off the ground. I can see lots of benefits for many people around the world, with not too many downsides. This business deserves to suceed and I am sure that the moral values set out will benefit the business alongside the management, and the communities concerned.
Sounds really exciting and interesting. Great background knowledge so I’m sure you’ll do well.
Sounds absolutely fabulous and hope your new business is a great success
Very interesting and inspiring story Jess…wishing you Every success with your new venture …the products look fabulous
And I am sure you will go from strength to strength can’t wait to try my Candles ….let’s all be mindful and support small artisans …..To quote Vince Lombardi LUCK OCCURS WHEN PREPARATION MEETS OPPURTUNITY Well done Jess
Unique home decor, contemporary designs, with eco credentials., fabulous . Lovely additions to any home.
Admirable mission. Stay true to your values and you’ll do well. Great products as well!
This is a great post and I hope your business is a great success! 🙏🏼🙏🏼
So beautiful to hear your story, and the roots of this company! Very excited to go and explore these treasures you have found, and to give back to the communities that are sharing their craft with us! <3
Am so glad there are conscious designers and retailers now, so we can vote with our dollars and live in a more mindful way that doesn’t harm our earth further!
Congratulations on your launch, with much loving support!