For the series Good Folk on this blog I have sent interview questions to some really wonderful people who are either making things, running shops, or generally promoting sustainability. I think you will enjoy reading their answers as much as I have, and I hope they inspire us all with the knowledge that there are people doing good in the world!
This interview is with Alice from Oh Sew Honey, making handmade gifts using organic fabrics. I recently discovered her whilst searching for some lovely soft headbands. As well as hair accessories she also makes reusable face wipes, cloth sanitary pads, reusable baby wipes and nursing pads and many more things beside!
Tell me about yourself and the work that you do.
My name is Alice and I started Oh Sew Honey through a love for sewing and gifting, which quickly evolved into exploring sustainable swaps. My best-selling item is my organic cotton headbands available in an array of colours, though I do also make scrunchies, reusable face wipes and cloth sanitary pads, as well as an array of items for new mums and new babies including reusable baby wipes, bibs, comfort blankets, reusable nursing pads and more. All of the materials that I use are carefully chosen for not only their incredible colours and prints, but mostly for their low environmental impact, focussing on Global Organic Textile Standard approved cottons, bamboo fibres and have recently switched to 100% recycled polyester thread.
How or why did you get started?
Oh Sew Honey officially started in June 2020, during a time when all of my usual hobbies and creative outlets had been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but I’ve been making handmade gifts for friends and family for over a decade. I fell in love with textiles during my A-Levels and received my first sewing machine for my 21st birthday. Since then I have been largely self-taught, under the incredible guidance of my Auntie ‘Mau Mau’ who has taken me to many a craft fair over the years and taught me that “there’s no such things as mistakes”!
What is your favourite thing about the work that you do?
My favourite thing about my work is seeing the joy it brings to people, whether they’ve purchased a gift for a friend/family member, or as a treat to themselves.
I’m making it my mission to prove that sustainable swaps and eco-friendly accessories a) don’t have to cost the earth (pun intended!) and b) don’t have to compromise your style or personality.
What are your plans for the future?
My goals for the future are to continue to expand Oh Sew Honey, hopefully attending some local markets in the short term, when permissible. The brand is still less than a year old and so I am still learning, I’d like to continue to grow my customer base, improve on my current skills, learn some new ones and most of all continue to enjoy what I do.
I am currently looking into expanding into organic baby/children’s clothing, so keep your eyes peeled if you, or someone you know is expecting!
How has working sustainably impacted your non-business life?
It has encouraged me to review my own consumption of harmful materials such as single-use plastics and synthetic fibres, and opened my eyes to how so many businesses, particularly large fashion brands, aren’t transparent about the materials that they use, how these are produced, and their potential impact on the environment. For several years now I have purchased second-hand clothes/shoes, to the point where I can count on one hand the number of items I have purchased ‘new’ in the last couple of years. I encourage everyone to consider shopping second-hand and regularly feature some of my favourite pre-loved finds on my headband ‘Lookbooks’ for outfit inspiration
Do you have any advice for people trying to shop or live more ethically?
I think it can be really daunting knowing where to start, so my initial advice would be to start small, make simple changes one thing at a time. Afterall, every change you make WILL have a difference. A good place to start would be introducing meat-free days to your diet, even just once a week! Experiment with vegetable dishes (I love a spiced vegetable soup) or there are some great meat substitutes available (I like to use the Quorn pieces in a ‘chicken’ satay dish, and the Linda McCartney vegetarian quarter-pounder burgers are amazing). The easiest way I have found to reduce plastic consumption is to simply buy loose fruit and vegetables as opposed to plastic-wrapped – you’d be amazed how much plastic you can omit from your weekly shop by doing this alone.
What piece of advice would you give your former self?
Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd or follow a different path. Be unapologetically you!
Where can we find you on the internet, buy your work, or join in?
You can find me on social media (Instagram and Facebook: @ohsewhoney or I have a selection of items available for sale on Etsy, again search for ‘Oh Sew Honey’. Alternatively, I do offer a custom service, so welcome messages on any of the above platforms to discuss bespoke orders.