• Manon Raath

7 steps to ethical pieces in your home.

With more and more information coming out about sweat-shops, factories where workers are working in horrible conditions and the inhumane treatment of factory workers, the movement towards ethically made pieces is becoming more popular.

These pieces are made with integrity, tell a story, and are generally unique. Although artisanal works and distinct pieces can sometimes be costly, you don’t always have to break the bank to buy with a clear conscience.

Here are some tips to fill your home with ethically made pieces.

· Research where pieces are made.

Always do your research to find out where pieces are made. You will be surprised at how many shops have artisanal collections or work with local makers.

· Local markets

Shopping locally is one of the best ways you can support your own economy and keep shops in your area open. A lot of the times you can find some amazing and affordable pieces at a local market, since the maker only had to pay for a market stall, and not a whole shop front (all of these things get calculated into the price when you buy something, that is why online shopping is usually cheaper than shopping at an actual store).

· 2nd hand stores

Second hand stores and garage sales can have some remarkable treasures without the crazy price tag. Make sure you are not in a rush and are able to take your time to go through everything. We often miss things hidden in plain sight because we are too hasty.

· Handmade

One of my favourite online stores to look for handmade items is Etsy. Think about a high quality market, but online. Apart from Etsy most of your small, local shops will have handmade items. Or if you know someone that does pottery, or something creative as a hobby, why not commission them to make you something? (I need to add that I mean ‘pay them’ when I say ‘commission them’, they are still spending time and resources making whatever it is you are asking them to make, so it’s only fair and polite to pay them for it).

· Re-use/ up-cycle

If you are a bit of a DIY-er, recycle some of your older pieces or something you found at a yard sale. There are tonnes of tutorials on how to make a new vase or lampshade from things you already have. Pinterest is one of my preferred go-to’s for anything DIY, although TickTock and Instagram Reels have some great tutorials too. Let your creativity run free.

· Travel

I know it’s a bit hard to travel at the moment with Covid restrictions, but once borders open again and you are fortunate enough to travel, spend some time in markets and with people in other countries. I have found some of my favourite and memorable pieces in the most unexpected places. A lot of the times you are supporting the artisan directly when you buy from them at markets (that counts for local and international markets).

· Quality over quantity

You have heard me say it over-and-over again, but quality over quantity. Would you rather have a few very special pieces in your home that will last forever, or have a bunch of junk in your home that breaks quickly and end up gathering dust?

Look after the pieces you have. We have become so used to cheap items that we don’t look after it so well because we know we can just go and buy a new one once it breaks.

You will take better care of something when you give it more meaning.

I hope these tips helped and gave you some new ideas.

Do you have any special pieces in your home?

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