Shopping With Soul members and sustainability - Erin Plant from Too Many Pjs
In the third of our Shopping With Soul members’ story series examining sustainability, we meet Erin Plant from Too Many Pjs. Erin has recently joined our Shopping With Soul directory with her brilliant range of sensory play products and it was great to hear more from her about the importance of the environment for her business.
I create toys and interiors products for families. I do this sustainably by only using organic cotton and vintage fabrics to create bedding, sensory play mats and sensory alphabet blocks. The blocks also use scraps of fabric left over from the play mats to help eliminate any waste. The blocks are stuffed with recyclable foam and the play mats with wadding made from recycled plastic bottles.
Was sustainability a consideration for you when you first conceived and started your business, or was this something which evolved over time?
I started out using scraps of fabric I had designed in my fashion textiles career to make patch work sensory play mats, so in a way it was sustainable from the beginning. But the products I make evolved over time as did my policy to use only organic cotton. I made this decision after honeymooning in India where the harmful environmental and social implications of non organic farming are extremely evident. I have also started using all eco friendly packaging which wasn’t something I considered from the beginning.
How easy have you found it to implement environmental and sustainable elements to your business? What have been your greatest challenges with this?
It is a challenge to find a diverse range of fabrics to create the sensory toys with only organic cotton and vintage fabrics. There are some things I would like to use for their texture but I won’t unless they meet the right criteria. Prices are also higher for organic materials so it is challenging to keep prices down for my customers.
If you have any changes you would still like to make or further developments planned, what would make it easier for you to make your business more sustainable?
I would like to be GOTS registered but there is a fee for achieving this status and as a small business I cannot yet afford it. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. It defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.
What has been the most fulfilling thing about making your business more sustainable?
Knowing that my own family and the other families who use my products will not be contributing to the environmental and social issues that the textile industry cause.