How to curate a visual style

Whether you are just launching a new business or developing an existing one, your visual identity is a hugely important element of getting your brand noticed. Interior stylist Nancy Straughan (@nancy_straughan) shares her experience and advice on how to find your own visual style.

Designing a cohesive visual theme for your brand and business can often feel like a daunting task if it’s not something that comes naturally. First of all, figuring out your personal style can be a minefield in itself, and then actually establishing that look across various platforms can feel like a mammoth undertaking. We all want to have a recognisable style, and know that it is essential to building a brand and growing a business, but what are the steps to actually creating one that you love and that others will love too?  

Whether you’re a maker, designer, service provider or influencer, having a recognisable style is so important for gaining a following and customer base. When I decided that I wanted to rebrand my homeware business to become an interior and prop stylist, I knew that I needed to focus on finding my style. What I discovered is that you can’t develop your visual identity through research alone, you have to get out there and practice.

Curating a visual style for instagram

First Steps

When I began designing my new logo, blog and website I jotted down words that spoke to me. For example, terms such as ‘hearth’, ‘forest’, ‘home’, ‘nurture’ - these may sound totally random but they were the key to finding my visual style. All my words had a warm and homely feeling to them and all tied together with elements of nature. When I look around my home that’s exactly what I see. A cosy space filled with treasures, dried flowers and a calming colour palette of muted peach, olive and navy blue.

Mood board for curating your style

Once I’d established these describing words for my style it became so much easier for me to think about the sort of visual style I wanted my brand to have. Your style should be a reflection of your life simply because it will represent you so much better. I want someone to look at my work - be that something I’ve designed or a photo I’ve taken - and think “yes, that is so Nancy”.

So, think about what it is you really love? What style makes you feel happy or inspired? Start flipping through design books and magazines, write down the emotions you want people to feel when looking at your work, as well as those random words that you feel drawn to. Make a vision board of images that speak to you (either on Pinterest or on a large piece of card)  and before long you’ll start to see patterns emerge.

Nancy Straughan Living Room - curating your visual style

Share your lifestyle 

When it comes to Instagram, even if you are trying to promote products, people love to have an insight into your life. So I believe it is worthwhile to show people the beautiful things that surround you. That might be your home, your fashion, your work studio or places you visit around the world. Before long you’ll have a strong portfolio of images that represent you as well as your brand. Remember, it is all about editing and curation, so if you are a glamorous fashion blogger, showing photos of you hungover on the sofa with a pizza box is probably not how you want to represent you and your work! Likewise, for me, photos of designer high heels wouldn’t fit with my feed as my focus is my home and interior styling work - but what doesn’t work for one, can certainly work for another.

how to curate your instagram

Filters and captions

To keep a level of coherency, make sure you stick with one photo editing process or filter so that your images complement each other. I edit my photos to have a warm peachy vibe, but you may want to go for high contrast or desaturated images, depending on your preferred look. While we are mainly talking about visual style here, do bear in mind the words that you accompany your images with. I happen to share quite a lot on Instagram about my life, but it really is up to you to establish your tone of voice. Generally I would suggest giving some meaning to your image, while drawing people in with a question or conversation starter. Try out a few things and see what feels right for you.

Taking inspiration

 I spoke to three inspirational ladies from different creative fields to find out how their discovered their visual style and why it’s so important.

Curating a visual identity for Instagram
creating a visual identity for your brand
creating a visual style

Lucy Nicholls AKA @shinythoughts

Nancy: When I look at your blog and Instagram page the main thing that jumps out at me is all the colour and fun! How do you ensure that your style shines through when there are so many other Instagram accounts based around colour as a theme?

Lucy: Even though there are lots of colour-themed accounts out there, I tend to follow fashion influencers and sadly it’s rare that they will incorporate as much colour as I’d like! Maybe it’s the need to put out in the world what I feel is lacking in my life, that helps inspire me. I think there’s something to be said by not looking directly at images that you want to emulate, or else other negative factors such as comparison and copying tend come into play. Communicating optimism is very important to me so I won’t just consider the background and outfit I’m wearing but also my pose and facial expression to ensure that I’m lifting someone’s mood rather than making them feel bad about themselves. My ultimate aim is to make my followers smile with each post!

how to curate a visual identity for Instagram
curating a visual style for online presence
creating an Instagram identity

Vaani AKA @sugarplumbakeskingston

Nancy: As a cake designer you have to work very closely with your clients, how do you strike the balance between creating something that represents your style whilst also making sure your couples are happy with the design?

Vaani: Eating cake is about the senses to me: it's about the flavour, the smell and it's got to look like a feast for the eyes. With these senses in mind, my designs are led by my instinct to create buttercream cakes that are sensual, that capture beauty and romance. Over time I feel I've developed a strong portfolio and signature style, so that when clients commission me, I think they have a good idea of the kind of cakes that I make. Collaborating with my clients is really important to me though. I really value their input as this is what helps to create a cake that's unique to them. As I've taken most of the photos for my portfolio and my Instagram gallery, I think there is a consistency in the visuals. I love to create imagery that is sensual, atmospheric and sometimes a little moody which I think is what helps to unify my style, convey the essence of my designs and make it distinctive.

how to make your instagram coherant
creating a visual identity online
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Teri AKA @thelovelydrawer

Nancy: As well as managing a beautiful Instagram account and blog you also design and sell prints as well as teach brush lettering courses, how do you make sure that all these elements work together visually? 

Teri: As there are many different aspects to my business I’ve spent a lot of time considering how to make sure all of them are visually in keeping. I’ve always focused on creating a consistent style that runs through my blog and Instagram account, which comes down to the way I shoot photos, always using natural light and the colours I use as well as majoring on negative space as a theme. Obviously my lifestyle and interiors blog work overflows from that approach and images for my brush lettering workshops can be easily adapted to suit the mood and colour palette. I actually had a complete overhaul of my branding and shop products last year to bring them more in line with the look I champion on Instagram . Now I feel much keener to share this avenue of the business in amongst the rest. I think it’s all about being deliberate, deciding your aesthetic and sticking to it even if its tweaked and evolves a little along the way.


If you’d like to learn more about curating your visual identity, as well as using social media for business, email marketing and photography, check out 91 Magazine’s upcoming workshops. Our next one is on the 16th March in Surrey.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Luna & Curious

This month’s Shopkeeper Spotlight shines firmly on Shoreditch lifestyle collective, Luna & Curious. Curated by three artisan makers: ceramicists Polly and Kaoru and jewellery-maker Rheanna, the store is proudly passionate about British manufacturing, sustainability and being part of the East End community.We spoke to the trio behind Luna & Curious to find out more…

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When and why did you decide to open Luna & Curious?

The idea to open Luna & Curious was formed in April 2006. We opened in June 2006. Luna & Curious began as a collective of seven designers who got together to open a shop to sell their own wares. It proved very successful, the ‘day-a-week-each’ commitment soon grew and was too much for some, with a move to bigger premises needed, we took on Luna & Curious as a trio.

How would you describe the store’s interior style?

From the outset, Luna & Curious has been white, any foray with colour has always been short lived. Influenced by Martin Margiela, white provides a unifying background for a varied range of distinctive products.

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You're passionate about British manufacture, why is it so important to you?

Luna & Curious began in a time where provenance was not thought about, an era of mass production and consumption. We created a manifesto stating our rally against this way of living. One of our original focuses was the ceramic industry in Stoke-on-Trent. A world class hub of knowledge and skills for hundreds of years was shrivelling at a rapid speed. Makers were considered factory workers not craftsmen. In 2008 we went with Polly to visit the place that was making her work (now closed). We met three ladies (whose names were along the lines of Marjorie, Margaret and Maud) and we watched in awe as the trio, using an array of unusual tools, transformed clay into the most detailed and intricate ceramic flowers. They had all been working doing this job since they were 14. They were now all 60+. One had retired twice. When we expressed our wonder at their skill, they brushed the compliments away, they did factory work, as did their mothers, sisters, aunts etc. They thought we were the talented ones as we had been to university and had our own businesses. So. to surmise a very long answer, it’s because of the history and skills of the Marjorie, Margaret and Maud’s of Britain that we seek out to continue this heritage.

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How do you source your gorgeous stock?

Trade shows form a large part of our sourcing, we go to the main ones but also love a ‘rookie’ show. The more specific the better, this is where you will find the treasure. We also use every modern buyers friend, Instagram. Combined with trawling the internet for the minutest mention of traditional manufacturing.

Provenance is a enormous consideration for us. We will only sell jewellery and greetings cards that are UK made. However it’s not all British, we look to Germany for wooden toys, Poland for Christmas decorations, Portugal for shoes. Environment, sustainability and worker welfare are also factors, a product is truly scrutinised before being welcomed into the Luna & Curious offering.

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As well as stocking wares from independents, what do you create in-house?

The independent shop thrives in East London and our neighbours and us were all competing for the same brands. We got a bit fed up with this and in 2016 as we celebrated ten years of Luna & Curious we pledged to return to our roots as designers and make many more products ourselves.

Since then we have made our own scented candles, with their ceramic pots made in Stoke-on-Trent, candles in Wiltshire and boxes in Hull. Our range of Scottish-made women’s and kid’s knitwear is growing year on year. Plus we have launched our own womenswear, which, you guessed it... is all made in the UK. Next on the list is our own children’s clothing!

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You’re just about to launch your latest womenswear collection, which sounds very exciting… can you tell us more?

For our latest womenswear collection we have partnered with Making for Change Social Enterprise. This is a joint venture in garment manufacturing between London College of Fashion and HMP Downview, which provides training in fashion production skills and accredits participants with industry-recognised qualifications; offering a route away from re-offending whilst simultaneously addressing the skills shortage within the UK fashion manufacturing industry.

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Which item is your bestseller? Why do you think that is?

The most sold product is a Hooray! card by Wrap. This is quite cheering, means there is plenty to say Hooray about! Our navy and orange spotted shirt dress went down a storm last year and we had to get more made fast. The Luna & Curious customer isn’t shy with their fashion, our candy pink rib knit is the bestselling women’s jumper.

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Which is your can't live without product?

Kaoru: Our rib knit jumpers, they keep me warm throughout the winter.`

Polly: Our range of scented candles, it was really enjoyable to link up all the elements required to produce the items in the UK.

Rheanna: Holztiger wooden animals, my son’s collection is constantly growing (I say his! I mean mine).

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What do you enjoy most about running Luna & Curious?

The people. We have fantastic women working at Luna & Curious which makes it everyday fun. Everyone works so hard, we are very fortunate. We eat well too!

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What has been your career highlight (so far)?

Moving to Calvert Avenue in 2010. After two written proposals and a 90 minute interview, Tower Hamlets offered us the lease on these premises. In fact it was too big for us for a few years, but it offered us an exciting future with the ability to expand. In 2018, we officially ran out of space!

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You have some rather lovely neighbours too, is community important to you?

Hugely. As a business based in the Boundary Estate, we believe we have an obligation to be part of the community, respecting the residents. This is echoed in many of the businesses on Calvert Avenue.

Luna & Curious is a founding member of the East End Trades Guild, a body that has come together to ensure a future for independent businesses in East London. The work done by the Guild in the face of rising rents and rates is fantastic.

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Do you have any top tips/advice for those thinking of starting their own store?

It’s really dull...but do your sums. Do a REALISTIC cash flow, make sure that six months down the line there is still money in the pot. Plus don’t try and do everything all at once. We’ve seen many businesses come and go over the years and the overriding reason is that the initial financial outlay on the shop fit and stock has been too much and eventually it drowns the business.

Find Luna & Curious at 24-26 Calvert Ave, London E2 7JP.

lunaandcurious.com

Photography: Caroline Rowland

The hidden value of workshops and retreats

Workshops, masterclasses, day events and retreats have risen in popularity over recent years, (you can check out the 91 events page here) and perhaps with increased time spent online in our day to day, having the chance to get out in the real world with like-minded souls is an appealing way to counterbalance that. Retreat host Vanessa Dennett highlights some further hidden benefits of attending an IRL event and shares details of a few workshops and retreats happening around the country.

Running and hosting workshops over the past couple of years has offered me great insight into the sometimes unanticipated benefits of attending events in person. While the variety and indeed quality of online courses continues to grow there are some excellent reasons to commit your time and resources to a day of learning amongst a group of real life people.

There are ever-increasing numbers of workshops and day retreats available all over the country at which you might learn anything from mastering crochet or learning how to identify birdcalls, to making sourdough, creating a beautiful wreath or learning how to live with a simplified wardrobe. You can acquire skills that will be useful and enjoyable for the rest of your life, but there are other good reasons for you to invest your time and money in these days.

Benefits of attending real life workshops and retreats

A new environment

Stepping out of our daily routines is wonderfully stimulating and invigorating. Being immersed in an environment in which time and energy has been spent to ensure a comfortable and inviting welcome, usually with many interesting things to observe, both relaxes us and sparks our imagination and creativity while we wonder about how to incorporate some of these aspects into our own lives.

Uninterrupted time for something new, away from our screens, washing machines, dogs, children or assorted other ‘stuff’ of real life allows us the opportunity to genuinely focus on the subject matter. I’m fairly confident that I’m not the only one around here with a flibbertigibbet mind, which despite my greatest intentions is frequently distracted while working at home. But amongst a group with shared purpose, the chances of focussing on the matter at hand are much greater in my experience.

Feelings of accomplishment

While the initial value of attending a workshop might be perceived as simply learning a new skill or understanding a new subject, I think that a feeling of accomplishment from the day is derived from more than just that.

Sometimes, the whole event can take on the feel of a mini adventure. Venturing somewhere new and immersing yourself into a group of unknown people can feel pretty stressful for the less extroverted amongst us. But, the realisation that almost everyone else has shared similar feelings of anxiety or discomfort about arriving at an event alone is extremely reassuring, and the satisfaction of doing so is a confidence booster and reminder that we are often more capable than we give ourselves credit for.

I’ve often observed too, how participants aid one another with alternative explanations or demonstrations, helpfully supporting the teacher or facilitator. Being instrumental in helping others learn is wonderfully rewarding and can result in that warm glow of satisfaction that helps us to feel good about ourselves.

Shared knowledge and resources

Did you read? Have you watched? Do you follow? Have you tried? Could you? Would you? I hear all these questions over and over again as people chatter. We love to try and be of help to others, to suggest a website, shop, magazine, blog or workshop that will be of interest or support. Whether your event of choice is offering general business skills or specialised technical knowledge, the chances are that you will encounter new thoughts, ideas and resources that spark your imagination and that you’ll resolve to explore more thoroughly in your own time.

Connection and collaboration

There is inarguably community to be found from online courses, and I have benefitted greatly from this myself, but the power of being in the same room as real people while you learn of shared interests and experiences is different somehow. The camaraderie, bonhomie and humour resulting from groups such as these is where the seeds of genuine friendships are sown, based on the comforting reassurance that others are thinking, feeling and doing the same as we are.

The connections we make in real life are very often sustainable as they can be happily continued online even if geography makes regular meet ups challenging. In the early days of business and projects when perhaps our Instagram accounts aren’t as perfectly curated and attracting the attention we might like, it’s often those online friends whom we’ve met in person who become our biggest cheerleaders. Quietly watching our backs and supporting us even on the days when everything seems to be impossible, these folk with whom we swap comments, suggestions, recommendations and introductions are often those with whom future collaborations will be made.


Below are a few suggestions for retreats and events which might spark your interest and lead you to make those real life connections and friends while learning and discovering new things…

The Simpson Sisters retreats

The Simpson Sisters, somerset

At Oak Tree Barn, just half an hour from Bristol, I host others who offer a variety of workshops ranging from self-care and mindfulness to personal development and creative activities. I’m a great advocate of the pleasure and connection enjoyed by eating around a table together, conversations happily flow when food is involved and the solidarity of indulging in afternoon cake is guaranteed to raise the spirits!

This year I am also offering monthly ‘Nourish & Flourish’ days. These days are intended to offer some support, warmth and camaraderie for anyone working on their own and feeling the need of some company. Just six people, coming together once a month. It is my sincere hope that people will experience some of the benefits I’ve talked about in this post, and will leave the barn feeling as though they have had the equivalent of a spa day (without the chlorine and swimming cossie requirement!)

www.thesimpsonsisters.co.uk

Hannah Bullivant workshops

Seeds and stitches, Kent

Hannah’s philosophy on getting people together is very much like my own. Not only does she offer an e-course, but she shares her beautifully-styled home in Faversham, Kent by offering day retreats for small groups to enjoy eating, talking, planning and making together. One of her participants offered the following feedback. “I left feeling nurtured and cared for after a period of feeling quite depleted. What is it about a group of women getting together around a table!? SO powerful!”

www.seedsandstitches.com

Kat Goldin workshops

Gartur Stitch Farm, scotland

From their farm in Scotland the multi-talented Kat Goldin and her husband Kevin offer a wide range of activities and experiences, from sourdough baking to cheese making and far beyond! Kat says “We teach practical skills; an ‘in person’ workshop helps people see the reality of how that skill fits in to our actual lives. It's not a theoretical idea or a project in isolation, workshop participants have the opportunity to get up close and personal with how we use the skills every single day.” 

www.garturstitchfarm.com

common farm flowers

Common Farm Flowers, somerset

Georgie Newbury, who offers a variety of courses from flower farming to social media from her lovely barn in Somerset, says “People do seem to love our workshop days, whether they’re here to learn something serious like how to make a career change to be a flower farmer, or just to have fun learning to make hand-tie bouquets or grow a cut flower patch. We take that part of the workshop very seriously in that we keep the groups we teach small. I wouldn’t want to have more people than I’d ever consider having for a dinner party so that I can make sure that everyone is very much included in the day and everyone goes away feeling that they’ve got more out of it than they’ve paid for.”

www.commonfarmflowers.com

Go Wild workshops

Go Wild Education, Monmouthshire

Jackie Roby can teach you how to light a fire, recognise birdsong and run a forest school amongst many other things. She is truly an inspiring leader and says “Something I definitely notice with my groups is the strong bonds that they form with both me and the other people on the course and I've seen friendships blossom that last well after the course has finished. I think it's the feeling of 'being in this together' and the journey of learning and making mistakes that makes the difference. Learning a new skill can be quite intense and people often feel a little vulnerable, especially if they've not taken a workshop or course in a while. Seeing a group of like-minded strangers being supportive of each other is great.”

www.gowildeducation.co.uk

Jessica Rose Williams workshops

Jessica Rose Williams, peak district

Jessica is passionate about creating a sustainable, simple life and is a great advocate of simplifying our wardrobes as part of this lifestyle. She runs occasional workshops from her enviably stylish pared back home in the Peak District and says ’Love it or loathe it, the internet and social media in particular, can be a lonely place. For me, there’s nothing quite like holding space for a group of like-minded women to come together. The conversations we have, lessons we learn and support we offer one another cannot be rivalled online. We all have our online friends, which is completely normal these days, but in our hearts I think we all crave that person to person connection - even fellow introverts like me.'

www.jessicarosewilliams.com

Alternative Valentine's Day dates

In case you’ve missed the red hearts and cupids that are currently adorning every shop window and supermarket aisle (probably since Boxing Day!), Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. With the commercialisation of a day we are ‘supposed’ to shower our loved ones with hearts and flowers, it’s easy to feel jaded by it all and want to avoid the whole thing entirely. But, instead of paying inflated prices at a fancy restaurant or spending a fortune on overpriced flowers, why not do something different this year? Do an activity together that will create memories for you as a couple that you will look back on fondly for years to come. Designer Berry Aktuglu shares four ideas for an alternative Valentine’s day out.

Valentines idea: Take a dance class

Take a dance class together

Even if you or your partner has two left feet, don’t let that deter you! Try something new and hit the dance floor at a local class. Opt for a style for which you both enjoy the music; whether it’s ballroom, salsa or swing, simply let loose for a night and have fun! Dancing is not only great for you physically, it also benefits you mental well-being and raises self esteem - which in turn contributes to healthy relationships.

Valentines Day Alternatives: visit a museum

Go to a late opening museum

Many museums do at least one or two late openings a week, so find an exhibition that interests you both and take a leisurely stroll together, admiring artwork or artefacts, while chatting (no phones allowed!) If you are London-based, find out which museums are open late on which nights here. Talking about something other than the kids or work will feel so refreshing!

Alternative Valentine's Day dates

Brunch is the new breakfast

Food is undoubtedly the way to everyone’s heart, and who doesn’t love brunch?! Take the morning off together and simply whip up a delicious dish at home and enjoy each other’s company. Try scouring Pinterest for love-inspired recipe ideas - heart-shaped waffles anyone?! Or, if you’d prefer to avoid the washing up, pop to a local eatery with a great brunch menu - they are much less likely to have raised their prices like they do for evening set menus.

Alternative Valentine's Day ideas - take a city tour

Take a walking tour

Be a tourist in your own city for a day and take a walking tour together. There are often lots of free ones available and if you prefer you can opt for a themed one. In London, you can take a Harry Potter tour or a WWII tour, or in Bristol you can go on a street art tour. Sharing and learning new things together is a great way to ignite interesting conversations.

And hey, if there isn’t currently a special someone in your life right now, then any of the above activities could be an opportunity to meet them! ;) Happy Valentine’s Day xxx

Ethical Living: Sustainable laundry

There’s no doubt there has been a huge increase in consumers looking to make thoughtful and sustainable purchases, particularly when it comes to clothing. This move follows recent TV documentaries that have brought the fashion industry’s ethical failings to the masses. This is great news for the planet, and it is pushing manufacturers to be more transparent about their production techniques and values. But, sustainability does not stop at the checkout. Giving your clothes the best care that you can will prolong their lifespan and help to reduce the volume of textiles that go to landfill. Slow fashion designer/maker Bridey Davies shares a few tips and ideas that are a step towards this goal, with the additional benefit of reducing the resources we use in the laundry process, as well as being economically savvy.

Photo: Bridey Davies

Photo: Bridey Davies

Prolonging Wear Between Washes

For a while, I developed a completely unnecessary habit of wearing an item of clothing once before putting it in the laundry basket. I didn’t check to see if it really needed a machine wash with detergent, it just became a routine at the end of the day. Undress before bed, throw everything in the basket. Then at the weekend, it would all go in the machine for a hot soapy wash. A hangover from the days when my children were babies and this seemed like the safest option. In fact, the simplest steps have made the biggest difference to curbing this habit.

Firstly, installing some hooks in the bedroom has given me a place to hang washed-but-still-clean clothes without them becoming creased by the morning. If any small marks have appeared on otherwise clean clothes, then the most effective way to remove them is to rub gently with the corner of a bar of soap. Rinse the area with a little water and allow it to dry before wearing again.  Finally, a homemade freshening spray can give your clothes a new lease of life before you put them on in the morning.  I mix four parts water to one part witch hazel, and add a few drop of essential oil for fragrance. A combination of eucalyptus and lavender is my favourite and I’ve even come to prefer this to a spritz of perfume in the morning!

Photo: Bridey Davies

Photo: Bridey Davies

Opting for alternatives to bio-detergent

A gentle detergent is the best choice for your clothes, your skin and for the planet and luckily, there are lots of alternatives to the harsh varieties in the supermarket. Some people like to use soap nuts, the dried fruit shells containing a natural soap called saponin. They are completely natural, non-polluting and compostable. I buy mine from a local greengrocers but you can buy them online from websites such as www.soapnuts.co.uk. Simply pop a handful of nuts into a cotton drawstring bag and throw into the machine. I use these for very delicate clothes and spritz with freshening spray afterwards for fragrance.  For all of their benefits though, I have found it is true that soap nuts are more effective at forty degrees than thirty, a cost that you might like to consider if you decide to try them.

Alternatively, you could make your own detergent using borax and traditional scented soap.  Combine two parts borax, two parts washing soda and one part grated soap to create a simple and effective washing powder. This mixture is more gentle on skin than a supermarket bio detergent but I would advise choosing soap according to known sensitivities in your family as scented soaps can be irritating. I buy the borax and washing soda from a local hardware store but they are easily and cheaply available online too - try Ethical Superstore.

Photo: Dan Gold on  Unsplash

Photo: Dan Gold on Unsplash

Harnessing the power of the sun

There is little better than the sight of freshly laundered clothes drying on the washing line on a warm, breezy day. Speedy, satisfying and sustainable. In fact, these days I would never machine wash either denim, canvas or woollen items.  A regular spot clean when necessary helps to remove marks, whilst a day spent airing in the breeze will freshen them up perfectly too.

But, did you know that the washing line is also useful to clean your clothes? UV rays from the sun can often be powerful enough to remove stains and bacteria from fabric. For best results, hang damp clothes in bright sunshine in the morning to see an improvement by the afternoon.  Wooden dolly pegs are the best kind to use here as they won’t leave behind rusty marks and are compostable too.

Of course, not everybody will be able to implement all of these ideas into their routine - you might not have a garden for a washing line or be able to screw hooks into your walls, plus nobody needs the pressure to be perfect all of the time. But hopefully, just some these ideas will help you to form mindful laundry habits, and your favourite clothes will reward you with years of joyful wear. 

91 loves.... hanging chairs

In our current issue (AW18), we incidentally had two home tours which featured hanging chairs. In both homes, the chair is a striking feature, creating a cocooning and cosy spot to curl up with a good book. There is something quite romantic about them, they almost insist that you take some time for yourself, gazing out at the garden or reading a magazine. In fact, putting one in the garden is a great idea too! Can you imagine sitting there in the summer with a chilled glass of wine?! Bliss.

So, today we are sharing a few inspirational images for how to incorporate one into your home and garden, as well as some online sources to bag yourself the chill out accessory of dreams.

photo:  Georgia Burns
source unknown - via  Pinterest

source unknown - via Pinterest

Our top 5 hanging chairs

Broste hanging chair , £285 - Decorelo

Broste hanging chair, £285 - Decorelo

Black outdoor hanging chair , £322 - Out There Interiors

Black outdoor hanging chair, £322 - Out There Interiors

Rattan hanging chair , £199, House Curious

Rattan hanging chair, £199, House Curious

Macrame double hanging seat , £145, Ella James

Macrame double hanging seat, £145, Ella James

Rattan bowl hanging chair , £575, Out There Interiors

Rattan bowl hanging chair, £575, Out There Interiors

Meet the Maker: Louise Lockhart

Renowned for her bold, colourful and vintage-style illustrations (which have caught they eye of the likes of Liberty, Marks and Spencer and Heal’s), Louise Lockhart’s designs never fail to make us smile.

We caught up with the Yorkshire-based illustrator, founder of The Printed Peanut (the online store where she sells her beautifully illustrated wares - including homeware, books and soaps) to talk inspiration, cat prints and what it’s like living in a mill…

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Hi Louise! Why and when did you decide to open The Printed Peanut?

Back in 2012, I was living in Canada and I worked part-time in an amazing stationery shop. It was the first time I’d really noticed that you could apply your designs to products to sell! On my days off, I set up a screen-printing bench in my tiny flat and printed cards and wrapping paper. It was a real education to see what people would pick up and buy in the shop and I learnt the basics of how to run a business.

Meet the maker interview with The Printed Peanut

How did you get into illustration?

I studied Illustration at Glasgow School of Art. It suited me down the the ground because you can apply illustrations to all sorts of things, whether that be textiles, chocolate wrappers or animations. I also love narrative and storytelling and the two go naturally hand in hand. When I graduated I found it difficult to get work in the industry, so I would just continue to draw in my spare time, slowly creating a recognisable style and a more consistent portfolio to show future clients.

How would you describe your style?

My style is very true to me and it just comes naturally. I’m very influenced by the flat, cut out styles of Nathalie Parain and the prints of Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden. I love vintage children’s books and have a collection next to my desk that I like to delve into when I’m having a creative block. I love working in a limited colour palette and I often create my own little worlds where men still wear suits and hats and there is always a happy cat in the background.

Meet the maker interview with The Printed Peanut
Louise Lockhart paper cut outs 3.JPG

Can you tell us a little about the processes used to create your work?

I create my work by compiling paper cut outs and drawings, which I then scan into the computer, where I will add colour and texture. It’s fun to rearrange compositions using Photoshop. I love that you can press ‘undo’ which you can’t do in real life. I have recently began drawing directly into my iPad to speed up the process. I like my work to look as if it is all done by hand but in reality, the computer is just a very handy tool! 

Louise Lockhart lithographed concertina book.JPG

Which illustration is your most popular? Why do you think that is?

I love designing packaging for my products and bringing illustration into every day life. I love designing tea towels because it’s like having a useful screen-print in your kitchen! It’s hard to say what is most popular... people always love a cat-based illustration!

Who doesn’t love a cat print?! Do you have a favourite design?

I really enjoy working with clients and seeing my designs come to life on products I wouldn’t be able to get produced myself, such as the fudge packets I designed for Liberty, or the circus play tent I designed for Anthropologie. I have the tent up in my spare room as it’s so fun!

Meet the maker interview with The Printed Peanut

Where do you create? Does your location inspire you?

I work from home in an old mill in Yorkshire. I have a custom built workshop for myself (complete with an underfloor heated marble floor!) I could happily work from anywhere, which is a great kind of job to have. I love living in the bottom of a valley, surrounded by brooding hills and trees. It is an old fashioned town with a great market and local characters. I live right next to a train station and can be in Manchester in 20 minutes if I need some city inspiration.

Meet the maker interview with The Printed Peanut

That sounds like the perfect mix. What does a typical day look like for you?

I get up around 8am and make coffee, which I’ll drink whilst checking over emails. If I have a big illustration project on, such as a children’s book, I’ll usually be working on that solidly for the whole day. I do like to break up screen time by packing up orders from my website. I love all the details that make buying from an independent so special. Each of my products will be wrapped in printed tissue paper and I like to pop in little notes or a free pin badge.

My daily outing is to the local post office. I enjoy the balance of running a small business and working on illustrations. I find it hard to stop working at the end of the day, especially as I work from home. My life is about to drastically change as my first baby is due in a matter of weeks, so it will be a steep learning curve how to balance work with looking after a little one!

Meet the maker interview with The Printed Peanut
tea cups.jpg

So exciting! You use social media for your business - how does this work for you?

I love the community of illustrators out there on Instagram, it helps to keep you going through the harder times and you can bounce off ideas when you’re feeling isolated in your studio. It’s a great platform for showing my work to people all over the world at the touch of a button. 

Do you have any words of wisdom with readers looking to start a creative business?

Do what you want to do and keep true to your own style. It’s easy to be influenced by gorgeous designs on Pinterest and Instagram but they already exist, there’s no point copying! It takes a while to get a steady income from a creative business and the first few years can be tough, so keep on going!

What's been your highlight so far?

I have to pinch myself daily to remind myself how lucky I am to be doing something I love for a living. I’m so happy I can draw every day, and get paid for it! There’s nothing quite like getting a completed book back from the publishers. I have three books coming out this year and I feel really proud of that.

Meet the maker interview with The Printed Peanut

That’s amazing! What else do you hope 2019 has in store for you?

Perhaps some baby themed products! I’m looking forward to a new direction in life as I have been working so hard for the past five years. I think a bit of time out from commissions and a focus on personal work will ultimately feed and inspire my other work in the long run, so I’d love to work on some large scale prints.

QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS

Describe your work in three words…

Colourful, playful, jolly. 

What are your making rituals?

I usually start by cutting little shapes out of paper and drawing into them, as it’s a lot less daunting than drawing onto a blank sheet of paper. I can’t work without the radio on, and a steady stream of biscuits.

Tea or Coffee?

Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon!

Mountains or Sea?

I like the sea as long as I’m looking at it, not in it.

Night Owl or Early Bird?

I’m a mid-morning person, I love my sleep!

I wish someone had told me…

Hard work does pay off!

See more from Louise at www.theprintedpeanut.co.uk

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars

This month 91 Magazine talks to Charlotte Martin, owner of lifestyle store Cuemars – a verdant oasis of beauty and calm tucked away on London’s Brick Lane. 

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars

How would you describe the essence of Cuemars?

Cuemars is an attitude. We curate with a conscience, and eschew trends in favour of a more timeless style. Our philosophy is founded on conscious curation and aesthetically-engaging designs. At the heart of Cuemars is the old adage, ‘buy less, buy better’. We house many independent brands that produce durable and culturally-relevant pieces – be it clothing, lifestyle, or homeware goods. We also love plants and all things botanical, and this has become a distinctive feature of Cuemars.

Where does the name come from?

Cuemars is a Persian myth. In the tale, everything is created from Cuemars, and everything has a bond with one another. We wanted to have a name that creates the vibe of things being inter-connected  - nature, our lives, our time…

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars

How did Cuemars come about?

It started with the vision that every purchasing choice can make a difference. We are committed to honest sustainability through our supply chain, and we seek to create a positive buying experience.  From sourcing to distribution, we scrutinise every process and every supplier before it reaches our customers.

What’s the ethos behind your business?

We pursue cultural significance, driven by a belief that good design is not synonymous with trends or fashion. Our focus is based on our conviction that nature is universally influential in what good design should be; a symbiosis with the environment. We see our name not as a product, but a story, and our designs are inspired by history, natural and organic forms. 

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars
Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars

What inspires you?

Our sources of inspiration are many! We love the ancient world of mythology, antique art, nature, contemporary art, mathematics, geometry, music and literature.

How valuable is the online community to your work?

Social media tools offer great potential to reach and connect with an audience. It’s great to be so directly involved with our community.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars

How did you go about designing and styling the store?

Our first shop was on Hackney Road, where we stayed for two years. In August 2018, we moved into the vibrant Brick Lane, in the heart of Shoreditch. Our new shop is in the Truman Brewery, which is a great spot for us as it brings both locals and tourists to see the street art and vintage market.

The space is not as big as we really needed, so we had to be creative and use it in a clever way. We chose an adjustable shelving system that we can modify (which is great as our range tends to change during the year). We also have an outdoor courtyard, which is visible from the main street, so that is used for display and allows us to attract people into the shop.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars
Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars
Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars

How do you source your products?

We don’t have a fixed system for this - we browse on Instagram, Pinterest, design fairs, and we contact independent makers that match our core values of sustainability, design and production with a conscience.

What are the joys of working as an independent retailer – and what are the challenges?

I really enjoy being an independent retailer, the best bits are meeting and collaborating with talented people and being part of a local community. Our daily tasks are very diverse, we never get bored! The challenges include often wishing to have more hours in the day (it’s hard to get everything done and we often run over time)!

How do you juggle an online business with a physical shop?

Our 2019 resolution is to get better at the online side of things - at the moment we find it a bit difficult to get the traffic we would like. We use, for example, the online platform Trouva, which allows us to reach a wider range of clients.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars
Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars

How do you approach marketing and PR?

At the moment, we mainly contact bloggers that match our ethos and style, in order to develop our community and expand our audience.

What are your favourite products or bestsellers?

We have many! But our three bestsellers are: our collection of botanical prints, our jewellery made from recycled sterling silver, and our plants are very popular.

Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars
Shopkeeper Spotlight: Cuemars

Any advice for aspiring independent store owners?

Always try to plan your day ahead as the tasks are usually multiple and very varied. You will never get bored, but you do need to be organised!

Before you go, are there any future developments in the pipeline?

As plant-lovers, we are excited to be opening our new oxygen room next month - it’s going to be a room just for green plants, located next to the shop.

Find Cuemars at 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

www.cuemars.com

Photography: Caroline Rowland

Effective planning and making the time for your side-hustle

Like so many creative businesses, 91 Magazine began as what is often referred to these days as a ‘side hustle’. I was working full-time for a newspaper when the idea for creating my own magazine struck. Less than two years later I quit my job to pursue my own publishing path. I have no idea how I managed to juggle it all, and I seriously wish I had had the following post to guide me as there is a wealth of information about planning and managing your time when you are juggling a job and a personal project. Planning & productivity coach and podcaster Josephine Brooks shares her top tips for growing your side hustle in your spare time.

91 Magazine - effective time management for your side hustle

The driving force behind building my business on the side of a 9-5 has always been to create the lifestyle I long for with the freedom to do more of the work I love, to live a slower and more meaningful lifestyle and to reduce my work hours. It’s exactly the same motivation for the side-hustlers I work with, it always boils down to seeking freedom.

On the steep learning curve that was my side-business journey, I learned that making these dreams a reality takes planning and careful time management. For me this looked like getting serious about my side-hustle as a business. I learned how to plan more effectively and be smarter with my time. I used my project management skills from my 9-5 to develop more effective ways to grow my business within the limited time I had.

After a couple of years of constantly going full speed, feeling stressed and reaching the point of burn out I discovered that productivity and managing your time as a side-hustler doesn’t need to be about being busy or striving to get lots done every day. It’s about doing less and focussing on the most impactful tasks. Let me take you through a few of the time management and planning tools I’ve used to grow my business in a sustainable way, on the side of a 9-5.

91 Magazine effective time management for your side hustle

Writing more effective to do lists

My to do lists used to be endless scrawls, as soon as I’d have completed one task I’d add two more to my list, and it was demoralising. Now I have a few go-to tools that help me keep my to-do lists under control. 

  • Remove tasks from your list – This is one of the first things I cover with my clients. As I mentioned earlier, productivity if often about doing less and just focussing on the most impactful stuff. So, if there’s anything on your to do list that’s either not necessary or not having a big enough impact on your business, take it off your list. Another thing to look out for is if you’re doing tasks just because you feel you should, because someone told you that’s what all the successful people are doing. Take those tasks off your list. Use your gut instinct and be really honest with yourself - what's on there that isn't an impactful task, what’s on there that doesn’t feel right for your business?

  • The 2 minute method This is one of my favourite tools and it’s so easy. Have a look at the actions on your to-do list, are there any actions that could be done in two-minutes or less? I often find myself putting off actions that would only take a couple of minutes just because they're not my favourite tasks. Often, it's replying to an email or tweaking something on my website. Put a star next to those 2-minute (or less) jobs and action them right away.

  • Must do and could do - Try splitting your daily to-do list into ‘must do’ and ‘could do’ and make sure you’re not putting any more than three tasks into the ‘must do’ list. This will not only help you tackle the more important tasks first but also give you more chance of getting to the end of your to-do list and reaching that feel-good factor. 

91 Magazine - how to juggle a side hustle

Organising your weeks

Organising my weeks ahead of time is now a habit I heavily rely on because it avoids wasting any time in the week thinking about what to do next and it prevents me from going off after shiny new ideas and losing my focus on the impactful stuff.

  •  Plan out your weeks in advance - I like to plan for the week ahead every Sunday evening and it only takes about 10 minutes. I use a weekly planner to plot out when I’ll work on my tasks for the week. The benefit of doing this is that you know exactly what you need to do that week and you won’t be wasting time and mental energy deciding what to work on, you can get straight to it.

  • Block out your time - If you use a weekly planner or diary for your side-hustle, cross out the hours you’ve already committed to things like work, school runs, socialising etc. This will give you a visual representation of how much time you’ve got left to dedicate to your business and help you plan more realistically. Don’t forget to leave some time for YOU to switch off and recharge as well.

  • Create a new habit - If you struggle to make the time for your side-business, create a habit of working on it at the same times each week. Perhaps it’s putting every Wednesday and Thursday evening, or every Saturday morning aside for your side-hustle. By creating a habit of working on your business at set times it’ll start to become second nature.

91 Magazine - effective planning for small business

Longer term planning

At the end of March 2019 I’ll be taking my side-hustle full time, which is terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure. But none of this would have happened without some careful planning. I developed my 3-step planning method over the last 8 years of side-hustling and it’s been the biggest game changer when it comes to making the best use of my time. There are three main components to my 3-step planning method.

  •  Finding your focus - It’s tempting to dive straight into the planning but by taking the time to reflect first on what lifestyle and business you’re building as well as what’s gone well and what you’ve learned from over the last few months can quickly help to clarify where your focus needs to be moving forwards.

  • Making a 12-week plan – I like to plan in 12-week chunks because it's a whole lot less overwhelming than planning for a whole year. A lot can happen over 12 months which could throw you off course and leave you feeling disappointed that you’ve strayed so far from your plan. By planning in 12-week chunks you can pivot and adapt your planning throughout the year to react to those curve balls that inevitably appear.

  • Get motivated – A big part of staying motivated and achieving your goals comes from having a support network. For me this has come in a few forms; setting up an accountability partnership with a business buddy, working with a coach, joining communities online and going to workshops and in-person events. Reach out to those fellow side-hustlers you always find yourself chatting with on Instagram and ask if they fancy meeting for a coffee. Look for Facebook groups, find a coach or sign up to workshops and events. The connections you make will start to form a support network around you that you can fall back on when you get stuck on a decision or when you’ve had a tough week.

91 Magazine - Juggling a job and a small business

I can’t sign off without a mention to making time for YOU as well. I know from experience how self-care can easily take a back seat when you’re already juggling multiple commitments and a business. The irony is that when we take time out for ourselves to recharge we come back to our work with the energy and mindset to be more productive.

 After feeling burned out and struggling with anxiety over the summer of 2018 I realised I was waiting until I was ‘successful enough’ ‘big enough’ ‘earning enough’ to make the time for my own self-care. The problem is, what is successful enough, earning enough or big enough? These weren’t very quantifiable, meaning that I never reached those destinations and my self-care constantly sat on the waiting pile. This was not a sustainable way to build a business.

This is an area I’m very much still working on myself. I now try to make self-care part of my weekly schedule and I’m working on creating daily habits that make time to get out for a walk, to meditate for 5 minutes and do something as simple as enjoy a slow cup of tea in the garden before I start work. Essentially, I’m working on not reaching for a destination and instead enjoying the journey and making the time to recharge myself along the way. If you’re also putting your self-care on the waiting pile I urge you to make it a priority and schedule in some time for YOU this week.

As I mentioned, growing a business as a side-hustle for me and a lot of others is all about creating freedom and the lifestyle we long for. I think all of us, particularly side-hustlers, are on a journey to improve our lifestyles and do more of what’s most important to us. The starting point is making the time for what we want most.

Thank you Josephine! So much important and useful information there! For more help with planning and productivity head to Josephine’s website for blog posts, free resources and to listen to her podcast On The Make.

Word and Images: Josephine Brooks

Effective planning for your side hustle

An Instagrammer's guide to: Bordeaux

While Paris may be known for being the fashion capital of France, it’s the more southerly city of Bordeaux that we are heralding as the place to visit for great lifestyle shops and trendy cafes. The Shopkeepers are back with their top spots to head in between strolls along the Garonne and sipping French wine.

September is the perfect time to visit Bordeaux. The sunny, warm weather is perfect for exploring this French city that befits a Disney-themed princess set. Luckily I had a local guide (and her dog) to show me around this charming destination. I happily abandoned maps and GPS tools, whilst we strolled the cobbled streets. I loved walking around Bordeaux. There are wide swathes of paths for walking and cycling along the river Garonne, and there is limited traffic in the town centre. The historic old city of Bordeaux is on the UNESCO world heritage list. The majestic buildings in the old city serve as wonderful facades for their charming shopfronts. I stayed at the Mama Shelter hotel, conveniently located in the old city, perfect for exploring the streets, shops and cafes.

Sip Coffe Bar, Bordeaux - 91 Magazine's Instagrammers Guide to Bordeaux

Sip - We started our day with flat whites at Sip Coffee Bar, a lovely vintage-style interior with high ceilings and lots of seating options to sit and plan our day.

@sip_coffeebar

le local, bordeaux

Le Local is one of the most beautiful food shops I have ever visited. Crates of colourful, local produce displayed against the framework of the stunning original architectural features of the building, and neat rows of speciality goods line the walls.

@lelocalstore

Amour de Fleurs, Bordeaux

Amour de Fleurs - The day we visited Amour de Fleurs we were lucky to witness the owner changing the shopfront decor from summer to fall. Inside it is bursting with beautiful blooms and houseplants, which you may not be able to transport home but you can certainly admire and enjoy.

@amour_de_fleurs_bordeaux

La Garconniere, Bordeaux

La Garconnière - Behind a facade with dramatic soaring windows, is menswear lifestyle shop, La Garconnière. This beautifully designed store has a coffee shop, delicatessen, and barbershop, as well as men’s clothing and accessories.

@la_garconniere_

coutume, Bordeaux

Coutume is a modern hardware store with goods for the home and garden. The shop, with distinctive graphics, is divided into sections such as table, office, bathroom, kids and garden.

@coutume.store

Pow Wow Kids, Bordeaux

Pow Wow Kids is an enchanting children’s lifestyle shop. The displays and merchandising is charming, with clothing to the front of the shop and furniture and toys are displayed against a forest of wallpapered-trees at the back of the shop. There is a scandi feel with an emphasis on natural materials.

Mariage de Fleurs, Bordeaux

Mariage de Fleurs - Bordeaux has an abundance of beautiful flower shops. Across the street from Pow Wow Kids is Mariage de Fleurs. Plants decorate the unique teal green shopfront and inside plants are displayed on vintage furniture and crates.

@mariagedefleurs

Herbes Fauves, Bordeaux

Herbes Fauves - Yep! Another one for you greenery lovers! An abundance of colourful floral stems and foliage are grouped on a collection of tables in the centre of Herbes Fauves. Vintage furniture is used for the shop counter and a multitude of plant pots are displayed inside a cabinet.

@herbesfauves

Apache, Bordeaux

Apache - This pretty boutique with its natural wood fixtures and pastel painted walls offers handmade jewellery inspired by Native American influences.

@apachebijoux

Be sure to head to The Shopkeepers website for more beautiful shops and eateries to drool over. Their Instagram feed is particularly fab. Thanks for sharing guys!

Ethical living: a beauty & skincare guide

We’ve had such a great response to the ethical living theme in our AW18 issue of the magazine, that we decided to run a series of blog posts, highlighting great products for living more ethically. First up, Kay Prestney investigates the best buys to switch into your beauty and skincare regime.

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

With shocking daily headlines and images highlighting the plight of our planet and the negative impact on our health, we are all feeling overwhelmed and concerned by the amount of waste and chemicals in our lives. The products in our bathroom are one area for great concern - we are aware of the things we should be trying to eradicate such as animal testing, chemicals, palm oil and plastic packaging - but we don’t all have the time to research the alternatives.

So, to help out, we have gathered together some brilliant small brands founded by people who want to make a difference to both our health and that of the planet. Every small act really does make a difference, so try some (or all!) of our swap tips to start the new year with some positive changes for yourself and the environment.

91 ethical beauty guide

Drink up!

One of the biggest and simplest things we can do to improve our health and cleanse our bodies is to drink more water. After the festive party season and with the heating turned up for winter, we are probably all dehydrated, so rather than reaching for more beauty products promising to hydrate and plump, start with an eco-friendly water bottle and make sure you are getting your two litres a day. Try adding some natural flavours, such as a twist of cucumber, lime or lemon, for added taste.

Mintie 350ml and 500ml stainless steel water bottles - £9.50 / £12

Environmental Life is a small Brighton business founded by young parents Vic and Dan who were concerned about the BPAs and toxins associated with the plastic containers and food wrappings they were using for their children’s packed lunches. They also wanted to reduce the amount of waste they were producing. They have designed a range of chemical free, eco-friendly and re-useable containers for food and drinks suitable for all the family.

@mintielunchboxes

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

ONE great, natural facial oil

Using too many products on your face and body can cause adverse effects as your skin adjusts to each product. Keeping it simple and natural encourages your skin to regulate itself. You can also use oils on your hair to discourage split ends and on your body as a moisturiser; use when your skin is slightly damp after a bath or shower to encourage absorption.

MOA Aphrodite facial oil - £26

This rosehip, damask rose, yarrow and geranium organic facial oil by MOA hydrates, calms and nourishes the skin without the use of any chemicals or environmentally damaging ingredients.

@magicorganicapothecary

Alternative stockist: 19 Alexandra Road

LA-EVA Jasmina oil 50ml - £25

Organic UK brand LA-EVA makes what founder Louisa Canham calls ‘units of well-being’. Each product has been inspired by the memory of a scent or place and this blend of jasmine, argan, rosehip, safflower and almond oils evokes images of white muslin curtains floating on a summer breeze in a warm climate, transporting you to Mediterranean summer days. 

@lifelaeva

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

Natural lip colour

Swap out endless lipsticks or lip balms and keep just one great product in your handbag for smooth, natural lips with a hint of colour.

Bloomtown red & berried lip balm - £4.80

Bloomtown are a small indie business creating palm oil-free, cruelty-free, natural, vegan body and skincare products handmade in Cornwall. They also donate 10% of their profits to environmental and social causes.

@bloomtownuk

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

No more single use

Single use items are having such a significant impact on our planet - consider how many cotton wool pads you may have went through in your lifetime?! Ditch the single use for a reusable alternative.

La Nature reusable makeup remover pads - £15 (for 8 re-useable pads with a laundry bag, travel pouch and recipe book download)

UK small brand La Nature was founded by Anna and her husband in 2018 when they got tired of all the disposable toiletries they were throwing away and wanted to make a difference. Using one of these can save on average 300 disposable cotton pads. Made from a natural bamboo derived rayon fabric, they are more absorbent than cotton or hemp and are chemical and dye-free. Bamboo is naturally anti-microbial and hypoallergenic and the plant is fast-growing and biodegradable so these can be put on the compost heap when they wear out. They come with a brilliant free recipe book for five natural makeup removers (e.g. banana and soya milk) that you can make yourself, further helping the planet and your body.

@lanaturestore

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

Non-plastic dental care

While toothbrushes might not be single use, we still go through a lot of them in our lifetime and the plastic versions end up in the landfill. Swap for a compostable wooden one instead.

The Humble Co bamboo toothbrush - £3.99

The Humble Co toothbrush has bio-degradable nylon bristles and bamboo handle, and each purchase funds projects for children in need.

@thehumble.co

Georganics vegan charcoal dental floss with English peppermint essential oil and natural wax - £4.90 (refills available at £6.90 for two reels)

Started from a farmers market stall in London, Sussex based company Georganics produces natural, organic, hand-crafted, zero-waste dental care products from ingredients sourced as locally as possible.

@georganicsuk

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

DITCH HARMFUL DEODoRANTS

Earth Conscious jasmine & rose natural deodorant - £7.60

Handmade in the UK using natural, vegan ingredients, these deodorants by Earth Conscious are cruelty and palm oil free. They use sodium bicarbonate to prevent bacteria and odours whilst arrowroot keeps perspiration at bay and coconut oil and shea butter moisturise. Not only will you avoid harmful gases found in aerosols, the container is biodegradable cardboard.

@earthconsciousuk

Alternative stockist: Greener Habits

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

PLASTIC BOTTLE ALTERNATIVES

Our bathrooms are often overrun with a vast collection of potions and lotions all contained inside plastic bottles. Cut down on these by opting for alternatives to shampoo, shower gel, bubble bath and hand soap.

Soapnut vegan shampoo bars - £6

Alternative stockist: MiApparel

Soapnuts have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, known for their anti-inflammatory, toning and softening properties which comes from the saponin. Organic, botanical ingredients such as coconut milk, rice bran and avocado oil have been added to these shampoo bars for additional conditioning properties. All of Living Naturally’s bars are cold-pressed and free from palm oil and chemicals.

@livingnaturallysoapnuts

The Printed Peanut solid shampoo bar with lavender and rose geranium - £5.95

Equivalent to the contents of three plastic bottles of shampoo, this natural, hand-made, vegan, palm oil-free, non-animal tested soap bar smells great and is packaged in recycled paper with beautiful artwork by The Printed Peanut designer Louise Lockhart, which is printed in the UK using eco-friendly inks.

@theprintedpeanut

Alternative stockist: Firain

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

Wild Grove dark forest charcoal & sea salt spa soaps - £4

Canadian Lisa Pasquill is based in Bristol and makes all her Wild Grove natural beauty products by hand, selling them on her popular farmer’s market stall in the city. These soaps are made in the traditional way using natural essential oils and butters in a hot process technique which allows the fragrances to hold for longer. The rough finish of these soaps adds to the artisan feel and the scent fills the whole bathroom long after use.

@wildgrove

 Join Vitamin sea & hedgerow soap bars - £8

East London brand Join began producing essential oils and soy wax vegan candles inspired by the two sister’s childhood on the Cornish coast. All the products have evocative names conjuring the natural scents of the sea and cliff tops. The range has recently expanded to include diffusers, room mists and soap bars. The soaps are handmade, vegan, natural and are sent out in recyclable packaging.

@joinstorelondon

Greener Habits Co lemongrass & hemp soap - £2.90

Greener Habits is a small indie company based in London founded to make a positive environmental impact and to support the Friend Farm Animal Sanctuary in Kent. Hemp bran and essential lemongrass combine to produce a naturally antibacterial and deodorising soap with a fresh, zingy smell. Handmade in Yorkshire they are also free from palm oil chemicals as well as being vegan and cruelty free. Full points for the compostable label made with elephant dung and water based eco inks!

Sisal Soap pouch - £4

This clever biodegradable bag made from the Mexican agave plant serves the triple purpose of holding your soap in the shower, exfoliating your skin as you use the soap, and can be used to merge several small pieces of soap so you can use them until they are completely finished. Made by Hydrophil, stocked by Greener Habits in the UK.

@greenerhabitsco

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

Yellow Gorse is based on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, this small company produces natural and environmentally friendly therapeutic products created to help alleviate the stresses of modern life and to encourage energy flow. Made using botanical ingredients in small batches, their products are ethical, vegan, natural and sourced locally where possible.

Herbal bath tea 500g - £24.95

Wild chamomile, lavender and clary sage essential oils mixed with mineral rich epsom salts help to remove toxins, stimulate circulation and promote energy in this relaxing bath tea. Fill the little bag with a handful of the beautifully scented ingredients and let your worries and toxins wash away!

Himalayan bath soak 175g - £12.95

With geranium to relieve stress, patchouli to ground, frankincense to calm and lavender to relax this blend of pure natural oils and Himalayan salt restores and revives you. A recyclable glass bottle and metal top and pure ingredients make it planet friendly as well as chemical free.

Lavender, frankincense & nutmeg bath & body oil 100ml - £16

This can be used in the bath or applied directly to skin to calm and moisturise with an uplifting blend of essential oils.

Chamomile & lavender Sleep balm - £4.80

Finally, after a busy day, try their chamomile & lavender sleep balm to help you drift off into a restful night’s sleep.

@yellow.gorse

91 Magazine ethical beauty guide

SOAP DISHES ARE BACK!

With switching out bottles for bars, there has been a come back of the humble soap dish. Repurpose a vintage saucer or support indie makers by purchasing a beautiful handmade one.

Libby Ballard Ceramics soap dish - £18

Libby Ballard’s work is all individually thrown, trimmed and glazed in her studio in Wiltshire and is inspired by her coastal childhood on the Isle of Wight. Libby uses a flecked stoneware clay which produces beautiful, tactile pieces. The swirls in this soap dish keep the bars raised allowing them to dry quickly, thus prolonging the life.

@libbyballardceramics

Remember folks…. “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world” Harold Zinn.

Thank you to the following brands for supplying samples of their products for trialling and photographic purposes to put this guide together: Environmental Life, 19 Alexandra Road, Bloomtown, La Nature, Georganics, The Humble Co, MiApparel, Firain, Wild Grove, Join, Greener Habits, Yellow Gorse & Libby Ballard Ceramics

Join us on our first Seek Inspire Create day out!

Over the last year, it’s been a bit of a dream of mine to bring 91 Magazine to life through days out with our readers. I spent months mulling over what these days could involve, how they could be structured and what they would bring to the people who came along. Then one day, in the summer, I had a brainwave. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. For once, instead of rushing head first in to organising it, I have taken my time - thinking, planning and talking to others, and made the decision to launch this idea in 2019.

It has been a slow burner (by my standards!) but I kind of want this to be reflected in the day. While we will pack lots of fun stuff in, I hope that it will feel relaxed and slow, and will allow attendees to soak up the atmosphere, get to know us and each other and enjoy a full day of creativity and inspiration.

91 Magazine Seek Inspire Create day out in Lewes

I’m thrilled to share that we are now selling tickets to our first ever Seek Inspire Create day out on the 25th February 2019. It will take place in Lewes in East Sussex, a town filled with independent businesses and creative folk - a place I’ve enjoyed visiting to shop and explore over the years.

The idea behind the day is inspired by the hashtag I launched on Instagram around two years ago - #seekinspirecreate. This phrase also went on to become the name of our quarterly e-zine, and it was these three simple words that struck me that day in the summer as being the perfect structure for our days out. I wanted to bring lots of different elements to the day - all of which represent the ethos of 91 Magazine.

Marchand Son

Marchand Son

Freight

Freight

From Victoria

From Victoria

SEEK

The day in Lewes will begin with SEEK where we will visit three independent shops. Not only we will have time to explore these beautiful spaces and shop (wth discount!), each shopkeeper will spare us some of their time for a chat sharing some insight and expertise. Simon, proprietor of Marchand Son will talk to us about his own brand of eco-friendly paint. I, for one, hope he will explain the stories behind some of his paint colour names! Onwards to Freight, and a chat with shopkeeper Adele about mindful shopping. Finally, Victoria, owner of lifestyle store From Victoria will do a mini Q&A about house plants - so come armed with your plant care queries - I know I have many!

Inglis Hall - our venue for lunch

Inglis Hall - our venue for lunch

Social Pow Wow will talk about using Pinterest for business

Social Pow Wow will talk about using Pinterest for business

Jade Golding will talk on how to inspire your customers

Jade Golding will talk on how to inspire your customers

INSPIRE

Next, we will move on to the INSPIRE section of the day. And to get inspired, first we must refuel! So we will take a walk up to Inglis Hall - a kitchen design company whose Lewes showroom houses a beautiful fully working kitchen, where a delicious lunch will be prepared for us by Caccia and Tails, a pasta & focaccia bar based in the town. Over lunch, we will have two talks from local creative business women. First up Dorte and Georgie, the brains behind Social Pow Wow, offering digital marketing help to small businesses. They will talk specifically about how to use Pinterest for business, something many of us are not utilising well enough in our businesses. Following this, Jade Golding will talk to the group about how to inspire your customers and the importance of motivational and influential selling tactics. Jade runs lifestyle store The Little Deer and is also a creative business coach. Whether you are an existing business owner or it’s something you aspire to, both of these talks are sure to provide lots of knowledge and insight. Bring your notepads!

AS Apothecary

AS Apothecary

CREATE

Finally, we will walk off our lunch with a stroll over to AS Apothecary for the CREATE part of the day. AS Apothecary is a skincare brand with a difference. Their natural products are produced in small batches from ingredients picked directly from nature, and owner Amanda is truly passionate about ethical production and simply creating wonderful formulas that are kind to both us and the planet. Her beautiful store will be where we end our day learning how to make our own natural beauty balm to take home over a reviving cup of herbal tea.

Our attendees will hopefully leave with a head full of inspiration and a sense of a day well spent. Time surrounded by like-minded creative souls, learning, chatting, creating together. And, did I mention the goodie bags?! Everyone will leave with a little package of loveliness to take home, plus some further tips for exploring Lewes if you have decided to make a trip of it.

I have curated this day in the same way I curate 91 Magazine - with passion for the things that excite me - independent businesses, creative people, beautiful interiors, great food and appreciation for hand-crafted goods. It is everything I look for in a perfect day out and I hope you will agree! It’s a great chance to spend time with a friend you haven’t seen for a while or the perfect way to socialise and make some new friends with like-minded folk.

Come and be part of the first ever ‘real-life’ 91 Magazine experience! We are so excited to meet you!

Book your ticket now.