How it all started?
ECO EM’S BLOG
HOW ITS ALL STARTED
This is a question I often ask myself, as we fast forward to today and I’m sat drinking a tea in Eco Em’s HQ and pondering over the whirlwind of the last 4 years.
Let me take you back to the beginning, 4 years ago on 21st June 2018 my dad, an absolute rock of my life passed away. Although he had been poorly and undergone a heart bypass, I never thought I would be without him. I had the privilege of being bought up by two incredible human beings who have always supported me. And although at the time I was 32 I can assure you, that I felt about 10. Our lives were tipped on their heads and as we began to figure out what the hell to do next, the months that followed his death were a blur. My relationship with my boyfriend ended, I had no interest in my job and my mental health hit an all-time low.
LET ME TAKE YOU BACK TO THE BEGINNING
4 years ago on 21st June 2018 my dad, an absolute rock of my life passed away. Although he had been poorly and undergone a heart bypass, I never thought I would be without him. I had the privilege of being bought up by two incredible human beings who have always supported me. And although at the time I was 32 I can assure you, that I felt about 10. Our lives were tipped on their heads and as we began to figure out what the hell to do next, the months that followed his death were a blur. My relationship with my boyfriend ended, I had no interest in my job and my mental health hit an all-time low.
I found myself in bed and at one with the mattress, getting dressed was possibly the hardest thing I had to do every day, let alone everything else and I just had to stop. Having time off work allowed me to grieve and with the help of counselling, anti-depressants, and a fantastic support network I started to feel the weight lift. But the never-ending guilt and thoughts that went through my mind would not stop. One day I decided that some fresh air and a walk around the block would do me good.
THIS IS THE DAY THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING!
I went for a walk and about 2 minutes in I noticed a bottle on the pavement, then a can in the gutter, then sweet wrappers outside the shop, I saw lolly pop sticks and banana skins. There was rubbish everywhere and I counted it as I walked. The counting stopped the thoughts, and my focus went elsewhere. But I was disgusted at how bad it was, in less than a mile there were nearly 100 items.
The next day I vowed to pick up everything I had seen the day before and within 20 minutes I had my first bag of litter picking complete. The day after I collected 2 bags and it started me thinking where is all this coming from? A quick search and I was fully invested in recycling rates in the UK, which by the way are around 44% on average, this is all household collections not one waste stream.
I THEN STARTED TO LOOK AT POLLUTION AND PLASTIC WASTE
I then started to look at pollution and plastic waste pollution in particular learning that every piece of plastic ever made still exists in some form and will do for at least 500 years. Watching ocean pollution and the thousands of items that wash up on shore because they’ve been dropped down a drain or thrown in a river by someone along the way. I realised it’s our responsibility to think about a much bigger picture. I joined a fantastic group of inspiring individuals called the Leicestershire Litter Wombles, who organise group litter picks and encourage solo litter picks to improve the countryside.
I was hooked, this in turn helped me in many ways, being able to channel my negative emotions into positive was a start of something amazing. I wanted to share everything I was learning and all the swaps I was making with people. I launched my Instagram page everyday.eco.friendly. I started with a simple bin audit, which basically means I wrote everything down that I threw away in a fortnight. This made me realise the kitchen and the bathroom were the main rooms I had waste, I decided that when the items ran out, I was going to swap them for plastic free, zero waste alternatives.
At this point I had a bamboo toothbrush and a shampoo bar. Then came the milkman, the soap bars, beeswax wraps and a love for upcycling. I bought a composter and named her Courtney, I diverted as much food waste as possible and began to learn about composting. I bought toothpaste tablets started visiting a zero-waste shop, buying in bulk and recycling candles. I was constantly learning new ways to make positive impactful changes and soon got rid of all my bins inside the house.
THEN CAME COVID
Then came Covid and a realisation that I could turn my passion into a hobby. I’ve always been creative and the additional time at home allowed me to revisit these passions. I started knitting, then I took a few classes in macrame and found the knots to be meditative. When I was feeling stressed or bored, I went to macrame or knitting to relax. Throughout the summer I knitted scarves, learnt how to make hats and a variety of plant hangers to. I had so many I didn’t know what to do with them, at that point I jumped on Facebook marketplace to sell them. I was shocked at how quickly they sold. People loved them and I thought to myself, maybe I could do more.
As Christmas was fast approaching, I created a variety of gift boxes, with all the bathroom essentials I had swapped. As well as secret Santa gifts I made up gift boxes with reusable mugs, make up pads and mini macrame . They were all sourced online or handmade by me and I started sharing my passion for eco swaps for a more conscious Christmas. I made a Facebook business page and Eco Em’s Gifts was born!
Since that first Christmas I have launched an Etsy shop, worked with 4 stockists, established a fantastic network of suppliers, attended craft fairs, grew a following of waste warriors and recently launched my website. I am forever grateful to the people who believed in me, who have followed my journey and who have supported me with each order.
ECO EM’S IS STILL A BABY IN SO MANY WAYS, I AM WORKING ON MY BUSINESS CONSTANTLY…
- I want to help people gift greener, by buying consciously curated gift sets.
- I hope to inspire people to make changes and become more eco-friendly.
- I want to educate people on the power of their £1, to encourage as many people as possible to shop local and support other small businesses.
- I want to show everyone the benefits of all-natural skincare and most importantly make a positive impact on the planet.
Yes, I want to achieve a lot with Eco Ems but if we dream big, we can achieve so much. There will always be a holistic approach to Eco Ems because it’s so personal to me, well it is me! I will always have a huge emphasis on mental health and my crafternoons are a fantastic way to manage the highs and lows of life. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about how I got started and I look forward to hearing from you.
If you haven’t already, please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok. Throughout July I will be sharing my top swaps as it’s Plastic Free July, and don’t forget you can subscribe to the newsletter on the website, for my monthly blog, discounts and new products launching.
See you soon Waste Warriors xx
Eco Em xx