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Second Year Sustainability Report

A little bit late getting this one written and published, but I didn’t want to just leave it until next year. I want to be as transparent as possible with the business, how it’s run and what efforts I’m undertaking to be sustainable, so better late than never with this report.

This past year in business has been a little bit of a crazy one. For starters, many of my plans have been for events which have taken place after the end of this second financial year in business, so on the surface it doesn’t look as though I got very much done. Secondly, it’s been more difficult than I ever anticipated trying to run two businesses simultaneously, so I’ve been working behind the scenes on both to try and make things easier and more efficient. There’s only so much time I have in a day, after all.

Continuing on from Year One

At the end of year one, I started a subscription with Ecologi to plant trees globally and offset some of the carbon emissions from the business. I’ve kept up with this subscription over the past year and I’m delighted to now be in a position where ~400 trees have been planted by my business – including the first two in the UK (Scotland, near the Firth of Clyde, to be more precise) – and over 10 tonnes of CO2 have been offset.

While tree planting and carbon offsetting isn’t the only way of being more sustainable or going down the carbon neutrality path, it’s a good start and helps to combat those areas of the business that I don’t have so much control over.


I’ve been working to get CO2e figures for each product line I stock. This has taken me some time, as it’s had to be pushed down the list of priorities a couple of times and it’s not been easy to discover the CO2e figures for individual materials, but I’m well on my way to having this information ready to publish. I intend to clearly display these figures on the individual product pages, so that all of my customers can see exactly how much of an impact they have on the environment. As well as prominently displaying the emissions data I’ve gathered, I intend to double the amount per product sold and use this calculation to purchase carbon credits which restore peatland in the UK with Forest Carbon. If you read last year’s report, you’ll know that peatland is a super carbon sink which sucks CO2 out of the air and locks it in the many layers of moss and plants which make up peat bogs, so this is a super way to combat emissions.


Last year I wanted to try and get my home better insulated, as this was one of the key ways I could bring my company’s emissions down, given that it’s based at home. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been possible; when the assessor came round to look at additional insulation, they instead claimed that the largest and coldest room in the house made the house more efficient and upgraded our Energy Performance Certificate, which put us out of the range of getting any help to cover costs. At this point, funding the insulation work ourselves isn’t possible or a priority (I’m due to have a baby in March), so this is something we’ll either have to sort in the future or leave for whoever next purchases this house. It’s by no means the coldest house or most poorly insulated, so it’s not as much of an issue, though in the current energy and cost of living crises any improvement to efficiency would have been a welcome one.

In terms of recycling the plastic waste that does still enter my supply chain, I have been able to take some of this to my other business and include it in the recycling there. Our recycling provider for the business is one of the few which has its own plant, here in Manchester, and can recycle most types of plastic packaging. For the harder to recycle items which can’t be taken to my other business, I’m intending to get a recyling box from Terracycle so that I can be confident all of the plastic waste which enters my business is being properly dealt with. I don’t receive a huge amount of plastic in my supply chain, as I’ve been quite careful to avoid it, but what I do receive needs to be properly recycled rather than landfilled or shipped to some unsuspecting country half way across the world. With that in mind, I’ve been collecting up my waste and keeping it stored safely until I can get the correct box from Terracycle.

In addition to plastic recycling, Terracycle also recycle fabric waste, and so as I begin to create toiles and samples for my sewing patterns, I may also add a fabric waste box to the recycling facilities I order from them. I currently keep all of my tiny scrap fabrics, yarns and thread in a box and plan to use it for stuffing things like cushions and toys, but I’ll have to see how feasible this is when sewing for the business is added to the waste from my personal crafting.


Packaging is one area which I’ve made no improvement upon as of yet. Due to the quantities required for purchasing postal boxes, etc, I’m still using much of what I already had and so I intend to use all of this before making changes.

That being said, as I’ve begun to attend in-person events, there’s been much less packaging required to fulfil orders, as many shoppers have not required a bag and they certainly don’t require shipping boxes! The bags I do use for in-person events are all made from recycled Kraft paper, however, so this is one more item of packaging I use which is recycled.


I had to make the change from shipping same day to shipping next day after an order was placed this year. It just wasn’t possible for me to continue shipping the same day, as it involved coming home from my other business’ premises to pack orders and going back again after posting them, which was actually increasing the amount of car journies I was making. Now that I ship next day, I have been making use of the Royal Mail collections, so my local postie simply pops round and collects orders from me at my other business, rather than me running to the post office. This has really helped with finding a balance between the two businesses and is something I want to continue with – especially with little one on the way. I may need to extend the order processing time from next day to a couple of days in order to continue managing the business with a newborn, but hopefully you all understand and appreciate the reason why!

Because the vast majority of my customers choose Royal Mail for shipping, I made the decision to deactivate UPS as an option in checkout. I still have an account with UPS, so I’ve been able to continue using it as necessary during Royal Mail strikes, though I think most of my customers fully understand the reasons the strikes were taking place, as very few have opted for UPS even during the strikes in December.

Future intentions for increased sustainability

I’ve opted not to include a section on what I’m doing this current business year, as much of it is as I’ve already detailed above. However, I do have plans for the near future which I have not yet outlined.

I’ve been working with a business coach for the past few weeks and will be doing so up to little one arriving, so I’m learning a great deal about the areas of business I feel are my weaknesses (like marketing) and can put what I’m learning into practice over the next few years. I’m therefore hopeful that my plans to expand my product lines can begin to become reality -beginning with my sewing patterns, which are close to being ready for testing. I’ve already identified suppliers of new product lines which are sustainably and responsibly produced, so it’s now a case of working out when to introduce these to the product line. Additionally, I have a new supplier for some of my own brand wooden items which I can’t yet produce myself (starting with seam ripper and awl handles) and these are now made in the UK. I have a range of new own-brand items I’d like to launch and having a UK based manufacturer capable of producing these products for me is a good step forwards. As with the other suppliers of new product lines, it’s a case of working out when to introduce these products into my shop.

I started doing some smaller in-person events from October onwards, and these have gone extremely well so far. I have plans to attend many more this coming business year and into the future – including going to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate this November – though I won’t be doing any in the first part of this calendar year due to obvious reasons. Therefore all the events I’m planning to attend this year are in the later half, from June onwards – and the first few I might not attend myself, instead sending my husband, mother, mother-in-law or a combination of the three. I’m lucky to have a super supportive husband and family who are willing to help me manage things, so we’ll just see how everything goes with little one first.

At present, we are a one-car household. This has worked well for us over the past couple of years, though it would be useful to have another car now that we’re about to have a small child and I’m doing more in-person events. As such, I’m intending on getting an electric car that I can use for both daily life and attending these events. I don’t think it’s something I’ll be able to do this year, but it is something I’m very keen on doing.

Our current car is more appropriate for use with our other business – as an SUV with adaptive 4 wheel drive, it’s perfect for outdoor filming but even though it has an efficient petrol engine, it’s still producing emissions that could be preveted by having an electric car – simply because it’s our only car. When we can get an electric car it would become the main vehicle we use on a daily basis, thereby reducing all the unnecessary emissions caused by our current car, as it would only be used when most appropriate – or when we both need to use a car.

That’s all of my plans for now; I’ll try not to leave it so long after the business year ends to write the next report, though as many of the events I’m planning on attending are in the last few months of the year I may not have a choice! Hopefully though you have a clearer picture of what I have been doing and what I plan to do with this business from this report.