Shopping With Soul members and sustainability - Melodie Telliez from SlinkyLinks Jewellery

Sustainability and environmental impact is something that is becoming increasingly and urgently important for customers to consider when they are making buying choices.  At Crafty Fox Market, we’re proud to say that many of our Shopping With Soul members have either founded their creative businesses on sustainable principles or have adapted their working practices to be more environmentally minded as their products have progressed.

Over the coming weeks, we will be highlighting some of our member’s stories, starting with Melodie Telliez from SlinkyLinks Jewellery.  A Shopping With Soul member since the platform launched and a regular Crafty Fox Market trader, it was great to hear more from Melodie about how sustainability is key to her business.

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I started my business SlinkyLinks in 2013 after working in the footwear industry for a few years.

I make jewellery using 100% reclaimed leather. The idea came from my previous job, where I noticed how many pieces of perfectly good leather were going to waste in the process of making shoes. After a year working there, I just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to find a way to reuse all these scraps. That’s how SlinkyLinks was born.

Was sustainability a consideration for you when you first conceived and started your business, or was this something which evolved over time?

From the start I have been working with leather cast-offs to create beautiful and unique pieces of jewellery. Over the years, I’ve created relationships with other leather workers and use their leather scraps in my designs. I love the idea that you can make something beautiful out of what other people consider rubbish. In our times, when environmental issues are getting more and more serious, it is our duty to limit waste. Using reclaimed materials in my designs is my way of creating something new while staying in line with my values and beliefs.

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How easy have you found it to implement environmental and sustainable elements to your business?  What have been your greatest challenges with this?

The hardest thing when making sustainable jewellery is to find good quality chains and links made locally. It’s very difficult to know where chains are made. I buy from UK or European sellers but often enough, it’s very tricky to know where the product they are selling has come from or how it’s been made. Because of my brand placement, I also have to stay an affordable brand. Balancing all of these considerations is definitely a challenge. And that’s something I’m still trying to improve.

The other challenge for my business comes from the fact that I work with reclaimed leather. This means that I get limited quantity of each different leather and can only make a limited number of pieces with each bit of leather. This makes selling wholesale very difficult. I can’t produce a big amount of a single design.

Did you have to spend a lot of time researching in order to implement sustainability into your business?

Yes, I have spent hours looking for chains and findings. Trying to find out where the material comes from but also choosing a good quality product.  I’ve also done a lot of research on my packaging. All my boxes are recycled and I now use recycled bubble wrap and biodegradable loosefill to fill my boxes and prevent any breakage in transport.

Has there been a financial impact, whether positive or negative, on making your business more sustainable or environmentally conscious?

It’s just finding the balance between what people are willing to pay for your product and how much it will cost you to be even more sustainable. But as people become more aware of the real cost of sustainability for small businesses, hopefully they will be willing to pay more to show their support.

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What has been the most fulfilling thing about making your business more sustainable?

For me it’s feeling like I’m not just producing more. I’m trying to find a use for something that would otherwise go in the bin. It’s hard to run a business a product-based business when you believe that we all need to consume less but I feel that by using reclaimed leather, what I’m doing is reducing waste a little and turning the ugly into something beautiful.  Buying locally, supporting other small businesses, caring where and how things are made is the only way forward.

You can find out more about Melodie and her beautiful work at our Shopping With Soul directory.  To find out more about Crafty Fox Market’s forthcoming events and trading opportunities, click here.


Cat ElliottComment