Shop Sustainable: Pepper You
Today’s interview is especially exciting for me, as not only have I followed this lovely lady on Instagram for a while and purchased some of her amazing designs in the past, she was also kind enough to gift me a pair of studs as a thank you for being featured on my series! So without further ado, let me introduce you to Jade Golding, the talent behind Brighton-based jewellery company, ‘Pepper You’. All of her jewellery is beautifully hand-crafted out of clay and her links will included at the end of this post if you want to get your hands on any of her products!
First off, tell me a little bit about yourself, what your business is about and why you started it…
I run Pepper You - consciously crafted clay jewellery. The business was born from a love of creating and a fascination with the journey of imagination to a physical product. I like to think of the things I make as little pieces of art for your ears. I strongly believe in quality over quantity and that we should buy less and cherish the items we choose for longer. The business began because I had just made a huge career change and felt I needed another creative outlet for my weekends and evenings. Gorgeous jewellery kept popping up on my Instagram feed and when I realised some of it was made from poly clay I was suddenly inspired to start playing around and seeing what I could create myself. My partner laughed when I told him it was just a 'hobby' (he knows me too well) and sure enough - within a few (long) months I had created a logo and a website and was selling the pieces online.
How did you get into sustainability? Were there any particular stories or events that resonated with you enough to change your habits?
I feel like I have always been conscious of the importance of sustainability, but this really came to the forefront of everything I do about 3 years ago. I became vegan and started to really think about the choices I made in my everyday life. From cleaning products, to food, to clothing - I try to really put thought into what I buy. No one is perfect, and I am still learning a lot every day but it feels great to run a small business which supports a more sustainable way of living.
Can you tell me a bit about how you have made your business practices sustainable?
Fast fashion is second only to oil as the world's largest polluter. That's MAD isn't it. By shopping with small brands and independent designers we are automatically cutting down on the mass production of fashion by huge companies.
All jewellery is handmade by me and my promise is to always ensure as little waste as possible. Any offcuts of clay are saved and used for my 'limited edition' collection (one off designs) and I only make up to 5 of each earrings style at any time, meaning I will never have tons of dead stock that ends up in landfill. I am really proud to not use any single use plastic in my packaging and the cards I use to display my studs on are made from 100% recycled cotton from t-shirt offcuts - helping to reduce waste from the fashion industry.
At the beginning of this year I also began my partnership with the Eden Reforestation Projects. For every pair of earrings sold on my website and Etsy shop I donate a percentage of the money to Eden, who will plant a tree which helps to restore healthy forests around the world and reduce poverty. By planting trees around the world in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nepal, Haiti, Indonesia and Mozambique we are:
Restoring animal habitats
Helping to restore local rainfall patterns
Improving water purity
Increasing soil quality by preventing flooding and soil erosion
In addition to the above environmental benefits, Eden hires local villagers to plant the trees, providing them with a decent income so that they can provide for their families.
Do you hope to expand your business in future or are you happy with where you are at?
Oh, I am always hoping to expand! I would like the business to stay small because I would like it to always be just little old me, making away in my studio! But I am always looking for new projects and ways to be creative - so expansion is always on the cards if it's possible.
What has been your favourite part about running your business so far?
I absolutely love coming up with new designs - it can sometimes be a lengthy process but once I'm happy with the outcome, its brilliant!
What is the one cause that you are most passionate about in terms of sustainability/environmentalism?
I think the brilliant thing about sustainability and environmentalism is that the ways in which you can help are almost endless so it's hard for me to say - but I feel incredibly strongly about buying products with a conscience. I also think it's so important to know who made the item you are buying - which is why I enjoy connecting with customers so much on Instagram and showing my processes and work space - it allows people to have a connection with the jewellery I sell, which is much deeper than if they were to purchase from as fast fashion chain.
How do you think people should go about promoting sustainability in their everyday lives?
There are so many ways we can be more sustainable in our everyday lives. It's important to remember that no one is 'perfect' (whatever that means!) Here's some very basic first steps to help the environment that you can take if you haven't already and feel comfortable to do so:
Always make sure you pop all rubbish in a bin - and recycle what you can. Go one step further and join a local Beach Clean if you live near a beach.
Avoid fast fashion - when buying clothing and jewellery choose small businesses who clearly state who made their garments, where they come from, what country they are made in and how they make them.
Choose the veggies and fruits that are not in plastic - your local green grocers will make this much easier than larger chain supermarkets.
Adopt a plant-based diet - it will make you feel amazing and is a brilliant way to help the planet.
Carry around a reuse-able cup for coffee and water bottle with you.
All images courtesy of @pepper.you on Instagram.