Mad Jessie: Sustainability
Sustainability. It is a massive word that covers a whole lot. Here at Mad Jessie I am taking it one step at a time, as I educate myself on sustainability, and then take steps to moving the business to becoming more and more sustainable. It’s a big responsibility, but I think if we all take time to learn, and then to change our lives little by little, it will be more manageable, and we will be able to see our progress.
What is Sustainability?
Have you ever tried googling it? Everyone seems to have a different definition, to see it in a different way - It’s also one of the biggest buzz words out there -
In 2020, just before the pandemic hit, I began to do some proper research on sustainability in fashion, and among other things, I attended the sustainable angle future fabrics expo in London.
Here I learnt so much in regards to sustainability in fashion:
How clothing generally comes from two main sources: Plants and Petrol.
To be sustainable we need to look at fashion as a circular economy with sustainability as its core aim.
So if the fabric you use comes from plants - are the farmers receiving a proper wage? Is the agricultural earth being leeched of nutrients due to mono-crops? Are the processes to create the fabric using or wasting too much water? Are the dyes toxic to their environment? How are they made? are the people making the fabric making a proper wage? How is the fabric transported? Is there waste in the creation of fashion items? Where does this waste go? Are the final items long lasting? Will they end up in landfill???
To tell you the truth, I freaked out…
I was failing THE WORLD! There was so much for me to do, and I was only one person! I needed to close up my business and retreat to a cave dressed only in a (sustainably sourced) burlap bag and live off roots and berries… No more Mad Jessie for me! I WAS DESTROYING THE WORLD!
And then I took a breath
I think a lot of us are freaking out, and we are all really, at the end of the day, doing our best. As people, as friends, parents, business owners, workers, siblings, children. As people. I really do believe most of the time, we are trying to better.
So. I took a breath, and began to take things… one step at a time.
And I began to Do Better.
I switched my packaging to more sustainable options.
I found recyclable brown paper tape with no plastic in it (made with FSC certified paper 65% recycled.) My envelopes are 100% recycled. I re-designed my postage boxes in order for them to be reused again and again. I made sure my packaging was made from unbleached Kraft (or similar) card. I ordered PLA eco bags for my art prints, made from brown bin compostable PLA (cornstarch bio plastic).
I began to research fabric options, and got in contact with numerous companies from all over the world. I found a company specialising in sourcing eco friendly textiles. I changed suppliers. I invested in Sprout Plantable Pencils and Guppy Wash Bags (they stop the microplastics in our clothes from entering our rivers and lakes) for the business. I introduced the Sustainable Snuzzle made from recycled plastic bottles diverted from landfill or the ocean (Global Recycled Standard). I introduced a whole Eco Range to Mad Jessie! Even my art prints were made on recycled paper. I began to look for local people to help me create my new line of Skipper Hats - and I found the most amazing knitter Caroline!
I began to collaborate with local businesses. I also began to review local businesses more and more. And I started sharing and tagging businesses online. I began to support my community when I could, and how I could.
One of the big things I did is change where I source my fabrics - Now my designs are printed on 100% recycled microfibre polyester - made from plastic bottles!
Most importantly is where these plastic bottles come from:
Did you know that you can buy unused plastic bottles directly from the factory, recycle them into fabric and stick a recycled label on it???
This is called greenwashing.
The bottles used to make these tube scarves is diverted from landfill and the ocean, and the fabric I use has the Global Recycled Standard (This standard applies to the full supply chain and addresses traceability, environmental principles, social requirements, chemical content and labelling.)
Don’t Freak Out - All of this took Two Years!
And - I’m STILL working on doing better, step by step.
It’s a journey, and I hope you stick around for the ride!
Want to join me on my journey? I send out emails to let you know what I have been up to, and these include stories of living aboard a sailboat (with a wee puppy), new things I'm learning on my sustainability journey, new products I am developing, collaborations, discount codes, free gifts and MORE!