Alice Ojeda founder of Authentic House picture for the Maker of the month interview for Nurture Collective Welcome to  September and it certainly feels like the month of change with Autumn feels! We’re sooo excited to welcome the launch of our lastest brand to join Nurture Collective, Authentic House freshly launching their fabulous New Baby Box. We talk to founder Alice Odjea who is passionate about sustainable living, and how this should feel accessable to all.

New Baby Box a gift box for new Mums by Authentic House at Nurture Collective Tell us about the story behind Authentic House and how it all started?

The seed of Authentic House was planted with a conversation. I was living in Edinburgh at the time, and a colleague told me about his life purpose. It felt like a profound moment and set me about thinking about what impact I wanted to have in the world and what I wanted to work towards.

I realised that I needed space to work this out. My partner Daniel and I moved to Peru for four months, where we volunteered in the Amazon region and lived with my grandparents there. We saw lots of beautiful river beaches, pink dolphins and giant tropical trees. At then, at the same time, we also saw the effects of deforestation and plastic waste lining the water’s edge.

The destruction of the Amazon Jungle. The inspiration to start making sustainable gift boxes by Authentic House at Nurture Collective Returning to my parents’ home in Cardiff, it struck me how many options we have on how we live and how we are lucky in this. I thought about how we need to be responsible for our choices because we have an impact on the rest of the world. With this in mind, I began researching in the winter of 2018.

 During this search, I stumbled upon a fuzzy brush made of coconut fibre which was a replacement for a plastic dish brush. This was in the wake of the screening of Blue Planet II and the growing awareness of plastic pollution. The texture and the natural fibres appealed to me, not only because they were eco-friendly, but also because they were beautiful. As I went on to find a handmade sponge, a bamboo toothbrush, and my first shampoo bar, I thought that these were the things that I would like to be part of my life and that others would too. 

While back in Edinburgh, I had subscribed to a beauty box. I enjoyed the surprise each month and found it a treat, even though eventually my home had filled up with tubes and lotions I didn’t need. I wondered if I could create a subscription service that was against consumerism, and that instead sent everyday home supplies in a way that made them a pleasure to receive.

 I launched Authentic House on July 2018, and we’ve gone on to send monthly boxes, with the help of my family. Since then, we’re still discovering so many ways to live a more sustainable, mindful life and, as we go, we translate these discoveries into the boxes we create.

UK countryside picture from Rewilding Britain Charity sponsored by Authentic House with customer purchases part of Maker of the month interview for Nurture Collective
New Baby Box a gift box for new Mums by Authentic House at Nurture Collective

How do you select which products go into your boxes?

Products for our boxes, either benefits the environment in some way, reduce harm, (for example by reducing our waste) or deliver a social or environmental benefit through its production. We choose products that are plastic-free, compostable or easily recyclable and organic wherever possible.

We get lots of inspiration for our boxes from Instagram, where we also find new makers. Most of our products are made in the UK, and just a few are from abroad. What unites the products we choose is that they have to be useful to most people and appeal to most people, regardless of our taste.

We love your impact pledge, and your partnership with Charites tell us more about this and how you help with their sustainable mission?

Our purpose as a social enterprise is to make sustainable living inspiring – for everyone. The UN has set out Sustainable Development Goals as a blueprint for a positive, sustainable future. Goal 12: ‘Responsible Production and Consumption’ is where our focus is, helping people make new choices and discover alternatives to live in harmony with the planet, not against it.

In our boxes, if one eco-friendly alternative replaces one piece of single-use plastic, that means so far we’ve already diverted over 3,000 pieces of plastic from a landfill – or from being shipped abroad for recycling.

If we can stop damaging our planet in the way we are currently, there is hope. However, we’ll also need to repair the damage that is done. Supporting conservation work was something I always wanted to do and, in July this year, our customers voted to support Rewilding Britain and Trees for Cities with a donation from every box we send. Rewilding Britain aims to reverse the loss of land and sea habitats in Britain and to help reconnect people with nature in a way that benefits both.

Trees for Cities works to improve lives by planting trees in cities in the UK and across the world, creating healthy spaces that involve and are cared for by locals. Through our donations so far, we have already helped them plant 60 tree saplings as part of their Urban Forest programme across the UK.

People planting trees for Trees for Cities Charity sponsored by Authentic House with customer purchases part of Maker of the month interview for Nurture Collective
The Logo from Trees for Cities Charity sponsored by Authentic House with customer purchases part of Maker of the month interview for Nurture Collective

What do you think the challenges with eco and conscious living and what would be your top tip to overcome this?

I think that a challenge facing sustainable living is the idea that it isn’t accessible. This comes across in two forms. The first is where sustainable living is seen as an aesthetic or trend, characterised as a neat row of mason jars in your kitchen, that some people buy into and that others don’t. The second is where sustainable living is seen as expensive and something that requires the purchase of lots of new products and, worse, even throwing out the products you already have.

To overcome this, I think we need more diverse sets of people, men and women, and of different backgrounds championing the effort to live without damaging the planet. We need options to be accessible to all income levels and for eco-friendly brands like us. To say too that you can live sustainably by buying less – buying less is the cornerstone to reducing our massive over-consumption.

Let’s talk about your chosen Nurture Collective Icons why you chose them, and which ones mean the most to you? (pick 3) 

 The Nurture Collective icons reflect our values and intention to leave the Earth a better place than we found it. Being sustainable means most to me because even eco-friendly products mustn’t damage the planet in their manufacturing. Eco-friendly packaging matters so that we aren’t contributing further to landfill and plastic pollution. Lastly, organic is something we’re working towards across all our products and buying natural means that wildlife is respected and that the use of harsh pesticides doesn’t harm people and habitats.

   Your favourite Inspirational Quote:

 ‘As you venture into these spaces, and as you start to create your own work, like-minded people come around you and support. You can never attract those things if you’re just sitting still. You have to be moving, and you have to be doing something in order to draw it to you.’

Ava DuVernay

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