Better than before

This is a positive post about sustainability! I’m here to show you it can be bold.

I was always told that if you ever think you have learned everything you need to know when you are wrong. This is a bit harsh but true, you should always keep yourself open to learning. The world is constantly changing + developing so there is always something to discover. The same can be said about being suitable. You can be sustainable as you possibly can at that time then something changes – a new better way of doing things evolves or a new challenge hits you. You need to be open to keep up to date with changes + how to be more sustainable. That’s why Paper Houses Design will always push to be better than before.

Signals Collection - all colours - Waves, Play + Static

Signals Collection - all colours - Waves, Play + Static

So how are Paper Houses Design doing this now? By being eco-conscious when designing + making to create in an ethical way. Let’s start with our printing. The fabrics are digitally print in the UK, as digital printing in a larger scale uses less water + ink waste than more traditional printing methods.

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Image sourced from Be Fab Be Creative Instagram

Image sourced from Be Fab Be Creative Instagram

digital printing processes reduce our impact on the environment by reducing water, energy and waste.
— https://startex.co.za/the-greener-advantage-of-digital-fabric-printing/

I love our connection with our printers + how supportive they are. We use Be Fab Be Creative in Scotland for our silk printing + Magic Textiles in England for our cotton printing. Both are run by genuinely nice people, which is just as important! I asked Magic Textiles to explain what happens with the water they use -

water is processed through an effluent plant that filters the water and once cleaned is recirculated into the river
— Magic Textiles
Image sourced from Magic Textiles website

Image sourced from Magic Textiles website

The inks used on the fabrics are also very important. I researched a lot to find printers that used reactive inks. The handling, vibrancy + durability were all things that pulled me to this type of ink.

The reactive inks used to digitally print the fabric conforms to Okeo-tex standard 100.
— Magic Textiles

Washability is also important. Due to the nature of silk, it is recommended by our printers that you should dry clean it. (I will be writing a blog post soon about caring for your clothes in a way which will be kinder for the environment, keep an eye on the newsletter for that one!) For our cotton products, it was important that you could machine wash them. Mean it’s great having beautiful things but accidents happen; kids, animals, clumsy folks like me spill stuff all the time + you don’t want to have to take your new cushion to the dry cleaners.

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The design of the collection is also important. The pattern was designed to be transcendent of seasons. It’s stylish + has longevity, reminiscent of Mid-Century modern + Scandinavian style. The products themselves have been made to be useful + multi functional. The medium case for example is tall enough to hold a standard shampoo bottle upright, so can sit out on display in the bathroom. However you may want to use the case to put in all your chargers + other bits (that are needed on a daily bases but look untidy) then have it sitting tidy on your coffee table. They are square bottomed so can sit out for aesthetic storage. The design of the products also minimises down the wastage of fabric. Any small off-cuts are used in other products or sent as samples of fabric.

Medium case from Signals collection in Play colour way.

Medium case from Signals collection in Play colour way.

Next big thing is our packaging. Not going to lie this was a difficult one. Everyone wants their buys to arrive safely, obviously I do too! But often folk think that the only way for this is with plastic, bubble wrap plastic, big puffy plastic envelopes, taped with masses of plastic tape in a plastic bag. Though recently these things have changed, which is brilliant! Looking at other designers with the same values as Paper Houses Design helped! For posting bags we tried out bio-degradable plastic postage bags, recycled plastic bags but settled on 2 & 3 – ply protective paper sacks. The reasoning? They are easy to recycle or reuse, they are very durable + they look good. This teamed with paper parcel tape was the winner. So we are using up our old plastic mailing bags then moving towards these.

All reusable or recyclable + orange pops!

All reusable or recyclable + orange pops!

Branding is a big thing in our world but I thought if our logo was on all the tissue paper, boxes + ribbon then what would happen with it? Straight in the bin probably, right? Recycling is good but it’s not the best, it’s better to reduce or reuse first, so that’s what Paper Houses Design is helping you do! Everything still has our style at it’s core but it’s not plastered in logos.

Scarf box

Scarf box

The scarves come in a beautiful + sturdy box, which has a stamped logo inside the lid so you can use the box for display or simply pop a nice picture over the logo inside the box then use it as a gift box!

All tissue paper is acid free, so protects your buys, but since it doesn’t have logos on it + minimal tapes or stickers you can reuse it again. What you buy is special so it’s tied with a ribbon in Paper Houses Design’s signature orange colour. Also, no glue is used in this finishing stage so again it can be reused. If you don’t have a ribbon tin this is the perfect excuse to start one. Birthday + Christmas presents instantly look much better with a ribbon.

Grosgrain Ribbon helps with the finishing touches

Grosgrain Ribbon helps with the finishing touches

So that’s what’s been developed so far + by you supporting Paper Houses Design as well as re-using or recycling the packaging you also are being more sustainable! Great, right? A little here + there will make a big difference to this beautiful place.

Paper Houses Design isn’t stopping there though! At the moment, Gutermann thread, which is well known for its quality is used on all the products. Though I’ve been talking with a UK based thread manufacturer to see if they can supply the thread required, therefore cutting down on the distance the thread travels. The types of fabrics used to line products like the cases are being looked further into in order to see if there is a suitable alternative that will stand up to use. It’s important to be greener, not only in what we use but how long products last!

Hopefully you can help Paper Houses Design along on this journey by supporting us. On Tuesday 5th February, our first life style collection Signals will be launched on Kickstarter. You will be able to pre-order some of the collection at a less than RRP price + special Kickstarter rewards too. The outcome of this support will mean Paper Houses Design will be able to ethically make this collection. All the months of hard work + research is accumulating to this! It’s exciting, scary + brilliant all at the same time. So, let’s make this project happen together!

Mhairi Allan