Shop local, shop ethical

Ethical business owner Matt Corné recommends some local businesses for festive gift ideas

Nut Roast Christmas

Shoppers can enjoy a ‘Nut Roast Christmas’ with local business vo-ldn.com

Waltham Forest has a long history in the creative trades and today it’s home to a vibrant community of independent businesses carrying on the proud tradition.

Christmas is fast approaching and if you need any ideas, I’ve found six local small businesses that not only make fantastic products but are also doing their bit for the environment.

Firstly, jewellery. Based out of a garden studio in Tower Hamlets Road, SlinkyLinks make colourful jewellery and industrial home-decor from copper, concrete and reclaimed leather that would have otherwise gone to landfill. All their packaging is environmentally-friendly too, using eco-bubble wrap and recycled boxes. Their best-selling bi-colour studs can be found at slinkylinksjewellery.etsy.com

For fashion, playful street-wear brand 4649 is currently running a pop-up shop at Central Parade in Hoe Street. Here, they raise awareness of the importance of sustainability by upcycling unwanted materials into a range of comfy street-wear, with its roots in modern Japanese culture. 4649 promote ‘slow fashion’ and produce all their items in the UK, including a vegan leather cork bum bag. Find out more at 4649worldwide.com

Meanwhile, Walthamstow resident Lee Borthwick crafts natural artworks for residential, commercial, and exterior spaces. Ethically-sourced English hardwood and felled branches from sustainably-managed local woodlands are combined with mirrors to harness the peace and serenity of nature. Their unique platters and boards make an ideal centrepiece for a festive feast. Go to leeborthwick.co.uk/shop

For pampering this Christmas, Meé Time makes natural body and bath products from vegetable oils and pure aromatherapy oils. To ensure freshness, they hand-make their small batches locally and do so with no chemicals, no synthetic ingredients, and no animal testing. To top it off, all their products are packaged in fully recyclable materials. Meé time’s early grey soya candle is available online at etsy.com/shop/meetime

Finally, Christmas jumpers! My own business VO-LDN makes eco-friendly clothing with a sense of humour. Our ‘nut roast’ jumper is made in a wind-powered factory and the organic cotton we use is traceable all the way back to the farm it was grown on, where farmers are paid a fair wage. We also use low-waste printing technology and don’t use animal-based products in their production. Visit vo-ldn.com to find out more.

I hope you have a very ethical Christmas!