Today we'd like to introduce you to Zero-Living, a planet conscious and plastic-free lifestyle store based in the UK. Natalie Denyer, founder and director of Zero-Living, shares her brand's story and answers some of our questions!
What inspired you to found Zero-Living?
I started Zero-Living two years ago after working as a designer in the fashion industry for over 8 years. Fed up with the incredible amount of waste materials, discounted products and over consumption that was spiralling out of control, I felt like I needed to make a change to the retail world I had grown up being consumed by. I began finding brands for my home that were plastic-free, toxic-free and made by small and local brands who had a passion for the planet.
From this I started an online platform called Zero-Living. I have grown this over the last two years to be a space for new brands to share their journey, helping people to understand which products to buy and how to consume more consciously. I have introduced a new way of interacting with the makers by hosting workshops where consumers can learn, ask and discover. Opening up a space for a conversation that we all need to have
What is your mission through Zero-Living?
Zero-Living is a new retail platform for sustainable brands. Our aim is to help consumers make the right choices for the planet, without sacrificing good design. We do this by hand-selecting products that are in line with our core values. Importantly, we want to introduce our customers to quality products that will help them reduce waste, use fewer natural resources, and are made to the highest ethical standards.
As a society, our shopping habits are unsustainable. Change is needed, and it can only come from working together. The brands we stock have a fundamental aim to do things differently, and are working hard to make this happen. We work closely with them to ensure that the people who manufacture their products are paid a fair wage in good working conditions. We also aim to ensure that our products are of the highest quality, built to last, and our customers understand how to correctly dispose of them at their end-of-life.
Our products are plastic-free, vegan, FSC sourced, handmade, Fair-Trade, organic and repurposed. Most of our brands are small UK-based businesses, and 85% are managed by women. We therefore support WEN The Women's Environmental Network, donating a percentage of our profits and working on projects that connect gender, health and the environment.
We work with small brands that want to make a big difference.
How do you choose your brands?
The brands on Zero-Living are some of the nicest people i've worked with, they are so keen to share as much information as possible. We have lots of contact understanding how each other works at the beginning to assess whether it is right for both sides.
Most of the time the brands have so much information because of the journey you go on becoming a sustainable/ ethical brand, it is not an easy task for the brands, so ultimately they have all the information ready to share. I am very selective about who I chose as I ultimately want small brands who are very passionate and are really on a journey to make a difference.
What is one piece of advice you would give to our Sinipesa readers when it comes to being more eco-friendly?
You don't need to be perfect, just start with a few simple changes in your everyday life and the rest will happen from there. Once you start thinking in a more planet conscious mindset you begin to see other areas where you can make a difference.
Take a risk on new smaller brands, you might not be sure if the quality will be perfect or the delivery will be as quick as large brands but by supporting them, you are helping them grow, learn and develop. These are the brands and creatives that we need to be supporting to help us live in a more planet-friendly way. Without people taking a risk and believing in something we will never change the way we shop.
Can you tell me a little bit about the workshops that you organize?
I work with the lovely makers who founded the brands I sell to create workshops that connect people back to the craft of making. The idea is to get people physically learning how to make these products; touching the materials, asking the questions about where they come from, questioning why they are sustainable. And then just to enjoy the process and learn a new skill. I believe that interaction creates connection and ultimately emotional attaches you to that item. I'm hoping that people begin to want to learn more about being sustainable and become aware that it is getting easier to buy beautiful sustainable products.
We have a lovely new large space downstairs in our pop up on Duke Street in Mayfair which we can use for our winter workshops. We have some great Christmas ones lined up such as dried wreath making, chocolate truffles and candle workshops by three of our wonderful brands.
Do you donate part of your profits to some non-profit organization or charity?
Yes we currently are a member of WEN (Women's Environmental Network) and donate 1% of our profits to them alongside supporting their events. We had an exciting collaboration for their Environmenstrual Week 19th-25th October where we launched Grace & Greens reusable menstrual cups in store and talking to them about the impact of sanitary products on the earth. Plus donated 100% of our profits from the sales of their cups to WEN that week. Helping to share information on climate issues and support women at the same time is exactly what we stand for.
November looks different this year. How has the pandemic impacted your business?
We decided to open our six month pop up after holding off for months due to the pandemic, a decision I am so happy we went for. Yes it is a totally different world that we expected to be living in but it's time for a slowdown, a change and time to learn. We opened the store to give people all of this and to show them how to shop more sustainably.
Our workshops are on a much smaller scale, so in that sense we have had to adapt but we are looking into virtual workshops for later in the year that will mean people can enjoy them from their home too. Its going to be a tough road in the unknown but also an exciting time to make an impact and hopefully get people more aware about consuming more consciously this Christmas.
Be sure to check out all the amazing offered at @thisiszeroliving, and live sustainably!!