Georgeta lives in Cornwall where she runs her own business, HandMade Tales making reusable products. She talks about the inspiration behind her aim to live in a more sustainable way and offers some great tips to help you with your green journey.
Tell us about yourself
Me, my husband and my little boy moved to Cornwall a couple of years ago and we love it. We love nature and feel very lucky to be able to go for wonderful coastal walks, or to the beach. We joined a local marine group and our local Beach Clean Group which we enjoy as a family.
When did you start to live more sustainably and what made you change the way you live?
I grew up in an environment of self-sufficiency and eating from our garden. No plastic, no rubbish, everything being reused. However, I did not appreciate or be aware of it until later on into my adulthood.
When I become a mum in 2013 our baby had multiple allergies that were hard to pinpoint and it was a struggle at times. My husband and I started researching about the allergies and what could we do to help.
I was shocked to find out the huge amount of unhealthy things that goes into our food, our day-to-day lives, and the reality of the plastic and mass consumption of everything…clothing, food…etc.
We started to make changes. At the beginning it was a bit overwhelming so we came up with the idea of implementing a change or 2 per week. Seeing the results gave us great happiness. After that we started to share our changes with our friends.
Tell us about Handmade Tales
At HandMade Tales I make reusable, zero waste, practical products with my own hands and my sewing machine, one by one. I use fabric from charity shops, scraps and also upcycling. I buy some fabrics from family-run fabric suppliers as local as possible based on the specific fabric I require for my products. Examples of my products: reusable face pads, reusable wipes, reusable sanitary pads and much more.
What inspired you to start your business?
HandMade Tales was born out of sharing the changes we'd made in our lives with friends and receiving great feedback. I couldn’t find what I wanted to buy at that point, so I used my sewing experience and with some research started to create my products.
I started making reusable products. I wanted them to be practical and easy to use and make a difference. I now have my own website, my etsy shop and various refill shops stocking my products with great feedback and reviews, which is very gratifying.
What was the first product you created and why?
My first products were reusable veggie bags, made out of net fabric I found in a charity shop in the sale box. I liked the fabric and I could see in my mind exactly what I could do with it. It felt good to help the charity shop too.
I was so fed up with bringing plastic bags into the house. No matter how much I was reusing them, they were everywhere and I felt like screaming! Creating the net bags made me super happy, my local market trader was very admiring and friends requested some too. Everyone is happy 🙂
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your business?
I enjoy making the products and I love it when at the end it all comes together. Reading people’s feedback makes me very happy. It's great to see my products are useful and help other people in their green journey too.
Who or what inspires you to live sustainably?
The realisation of what we do to our planet. Looking back to my childhood, I appreciate the clean and simple environment I was lucky to grow up in. I love nature and it makes me so sad to see all the pollution and living by the sea, it really stands out much more.
Give us your favourite tips for a more eco-friendly home/life
Reduce food waste. I cook from scratch most of our family food. I batch cook or cook a bigger amount than what we need for that night and freeze in portions the rest of the cooked food. This reduces the temptation for takeaways or ready meals which usually come in plastic and probably with added ingredients you would rather leave out. Eg. I make a big lasagne, half of it I use and the other half, I cut into portions and freeze. I plan to serve it when I know I have a busy day.
Reduce any kind of waste as much as possible.
Reuse as much as possible. Think twice if you really need to buy something, can it be borrowed or can you use something else? Choose to buy from a second hand, from a charity shop. With kids we have friends who passed on clothing to us and we pass it on to other friends and so on, which is so great.
Make a conscious decision when you decide to buy something. My mum said we are too poor to buy cheap. If you buy good-quality products and look after them well, it's a much wiser decision in my opinion.
What green plans do you have in your personal life?
My ultimate goal is to come back from shopping without any plastic at all. The first step is to return without any plastic that is not reusable. We've managed to reduce considerably, but there's more to be done.
Future plans for your business
I plan to expand my work by collaborating with refill shops and reach more locations in the UK. I feel this will be a gain all round, for customers to be able to buy locally, for the refill shops and for my business. A win-win situation all around.
Find out more about HandMade Tales
You can learn more on the HandMade Tales website and also buy some wonderful high-quality reusable products. I use HandMade Tales face pads, veggie bags and sanitary pads so definitely recommend them. Plus there's free delivery in July and you can snap up some seconds at bargain prices.
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