Here is a list of materials and methods that guide our gentle footprint.
FIBER AND TEXTILE
We are dedicated to traditional cellulose protein fibers (organic cotton, linen/flax, jute, hemp, wool, Peace Silk, angora and mohair) natural ingredients (plants, flowers, seeds, herbs, fruits, & vegetables.)
We acknowledge that all organic cotton must be certified to label it so. Both domestic and overseas manufactures are required to have certificates that prove the inspection of cotton fields. In the US, we also have a system where bales are tracked with bar codes (and if remaining in the country to be ginned then codes do stay intact. In a perfect world, every cone of cotton would be tagged to inform us of the originating growing field.)
We applaud the growing number of farms producing organic wool - USDA requires that the sheep be raised without the use of synthetic hormones or pesticides & to graze in organically certified pastures without overgrazing of the land.
We prefer natural fiber color over whitened & that the textile industry use hydrogen peroxide rather than bleach as a whitening agent.
We encourage exploration into newer green textile initiatives with renewable resources & gentle processing methods - such as soybean, milk, corn, the lyocell method (regenerated cellulose pulp from managed crops in a closed-loop system without harsh chemicals.)
We recognize that the Oeko-Tex seal is the most comprehensive label for insuring that a garment is healthy for consumers, yet has nothing to do with the company's manufacturing processes.
We avoid permanent fabric treatments such as stain guard, wrinkle relaxer (formaldehyde resin), sun block, insect repellent, water-proofing, & impregnated wax softeners.
We opt for gentle water-base pigments (CPSIA compliant) & inks that are void of plastisol (PVC: polyvinyl chloride) to use on fabrics. Fabric dyes are non-toxic.
We respect methods of reuse and recycling incorporated into creating. We do however, give attention to the material substances that are natural for our embellishments, findings, and supplies. Yet, we do not encourage the use of feathers.
PERSONAL CARE, CANDLES, GARDENING, FOODSTUFFS, STATIONARY
We refrain from using silicone, sulfates, parabans, parafin, or petroleum based ingredients in personal care items.
We use 100% natural ingredients to scent & color in personal care products. No fragrance oils, nature identical oils, synthetic perfumes or dyes are used.
We question chemicals in personal care items that have been banned in the EU and Japan, even if the US government continues to approve its use.
We understand that there are diverse schools of thought regarding the use of preservatives in water-based personal care products. We advocate the use of effective, naturally-derived preservatives, processed without chemicals.
We require that all body care hand makers incorporate the USDA NOP standards for organic ingredients in organic body care products. Any certifications claimed for our personal care products are USDA NOP certifications. We support all efforts of organic cultivation including organic agriculture that cannot afford USDA NOP certification. Such organic ingredients will be labeled "organically grown" and not "organic" nor "certified organic" and indicates that certification was not obtained. Any supplier claiming "organically grown" will be able to describe in detail their organic cultivation methods and meet the USDA NOP standards.
We embrace candles made from beeswax and soy wax, using non-GMO soy (even partially) when available.
We accept gardeners who use organic principles and sustainable practices, realizing that certification of individual gardens is costly. We do not recommend wild harvesting due to possible unknown attributes of the land.
We decline resellers of seeds & plants, regardless of their source, due to the fact that the origin of these items are easily lost. Leftover & commercially farmed seeds are not allowed.
We welcome chefs that use organic ingredients and natural preservatives, with no chemical additives that are homemade and prepared in a licensed kitchen.
We offer paper handmade from the renewable resources of hemp, banana, salago, rice, abaca, coconut coir, papyrus, & palm. Stationery made from recycled materials, which may include waste paper, waste cotton fabrics from garment industries and/or agriculture waste like husk and straw, is also available. Plantable papers, made with seeds, are celebrated!
JEWELRY, ACCESSORIES, CERAMICS and GLASS
We appreciate beads made from abundant natural resources of clay, stone, seeds, nuts, shells, horn, bone, tree resin, and wood (paper). Beads can not be chemically processed (natural dye pigments only), rare or endangered, wrongly harvested, or unfairly traded.
We admire found supplies, recycled glass beads, and reconstructed jewelry, yet discourage the use of tortoise shell, ivory, and coral both old or new, in the marketplace. Plastics, including polymer "clay" and imitation tree resins, are not permitted.
We insist that all gemstones (precious & semi-precious) and metals (silver, copper, & gold) are ethical in trade & harvest.
We value services such as landscaping, garden design, catering, and printing that are sustainable and in both approach and materials.
BUSINESS ETHICS, PACKAGING and SHIPPING
We love animals and are very happy to include healthy supplies and treats for your pets! You will be pleased to know that organic items are available for your furry loved ones!
We research our supply chain to learn details about our resources (vendors and manufacturers of our product fundamentals), how things are made, how they get to us, & how they get to our customers.
We advocate to shorten our supply transport by buying national, regional, and local when made possible.
We are knowledgeable in the current progress of governmental laws, rules, and regulations concerning "green" definitions & requirements (CPSIA, FTC, USDA and US Customs.)
We support ethical business practices, fair trade, just treatment of humans & animals, low impact methods, energy conservation, & closed loop systems.
We inquire about ISO (International Organization for Standardization) when possible and realize that this an "Environmental Management System" separate from a company's manufacturing processes.
We trust reliable certification companies such as Soil Association, SKAL, & KRAV for organic or sustainable certification.
We are sensitive to our carbon footprint & continually make choices to lower it.
We believe in disclosure, transparency, & honesty to assure quality standards for our customers.
We value recycling, reuse, repurposing, and biodegradability
We consider the environmental impact of every aspect of running our shops, including packaging, shipping, and the issues of plastic, paper, waste & unnecessary surplus inventory.
HAND-MADE GUIDELINES AND CONSUMER TIPS
FOR PRODUCING AND USING THE MOST NATURAL AND GENTLE ITEMS
FOR PRODUCING AND USING THE MOST NATURAL AND GENTLE ITEMS
FIBER AND TEXTILE
- Traditional cellulose fibers, such as linen (flax) and hemp, grow like weeds (without fertilizer) and are naturally pest resistance. They do not need the word "organic" to describe them. "Sustainable natural resource" or "renewable natural resource" is often used and is true.
- All protein fibers (wool, cashmere, natural felt, silk, angora, and mohair) are from animals -- they are sustainable fibers that grow back and can be used without harming the creature providing it.
- All organic cotton must be certified to label it so. It is wise to follow up with a supplier to see that they have the paperwork on hand. This limits abuse and also strengthens the movement. Both “organic cotton” and “certified organic cotton” can be used to describe this fabric.
- Wool is now being certified organic. Organic wool yarn has not been chemically treated at all throughout the entire production process, from the farm to the finished product. When “organic” is used the yarn has never touched a chemical and is 100% natural.
- The new bamboo is a natural cellulose fiber. To become fabric it is a regenerated cellulose, like rayon or viscose, and must be labeled so. The important thing to consider is the processing of the fiber and that the factory is either a close loop one that does not pollute, that they are reducing the use of toxic agents, or that they are certified with Oeko-Tex (a company that tests the final fabric for safety.) If you don't have this info because it is too far down the supply chain it is understood. The word to describe these new fabrics is rayon and can be described as “regenerated natural cellulose” “made from a sustainable natural resource" or "made from a renewable natural resource." If you are using regenerated cellulose (from bamboo or other plant/wood based items) the FTC requires that you use the word “viscose” to describe it; “Viscose of bamboo” Do not use the word "fiber," this is misleading information, due to the fact that after being regenerated the fiber is broken down. Bamboo, like hemp, grows naturally fast without assistance, and you do not need the word "organic" to describe it. Though some supplier’s claim that their bamboo is certified organic this is a very recent and rare development that needs time to be understood clearly.
- Fibers that are regenerated often loose their intrinsic natural properties, such as antibacterial agents. It is not wise to make therapeutic claims.
- Avoid permanent fabric treatments such as stain guard, wrinkle relaxer (formaldehyde resin), sun block, insect repellent, water-proofing, & impregnated wax softeners.
- Reclaimed fabrics in a shop must be labeled 3rd party, second hand, or reused. Our focus on reclaimed fibers is mainly sweaters made of wool, angora, cashmere, and mohair.
ACCESSORIES (Pillows, toys etc.)
- Follow fiber guidelines above.
- We encourage reuse and re-purposing when possible with accessories, and they should be properly labeled this way.
- If you use a man-made element to construct your item, such as a buckle, elastic banding, or plastic button, it is helpful to distinguish this in your product descriptions.
- All inks, paints or dyes must be indentified and properly labeled.
- Check the MSDS from your supplier to assure that applied colors are non-toxic.
- We only accept Water- based silkscreen inks (CPSIA compliant) & avoid of plastisol (PVC: polyvinyl chloride). Fabric dyes must be non-toxic. Natural, Acid, Direct, and Reactive dyes are acceptable. Hand dyers should try to achieve low water levels and cool temperatures when possible. The dumping of water waste goes down the municipal drains, never into to ground.
- We do not use feathers or fur (natural or synthetic) so not to contribute to the fashionable look of them.
- If you are using filling or stuffing the material must be identified. Today organic batting and stuffing are available.
- Buttons come in a variety of natural materials such as seeds, bone, and bark. (see Jewelry)
- Please list your bead materials in detail.
- We accept natural stones, gems, seeds, shells, bone, and wood that are ethical in trade and harvest.
- Avoid plastics (resins, polymer clay) and endangered items. (No vintage tortoise shell, ivory, or coral.)
- Any adhesives must be water based.
- Silver, gold, and copper are acceptable metals and should be of high grade and mined justly.
PERSONAL CARE, CANDLES
- Plant life is natural and a truthful description. "Organic" is used when a supplier certifies it as such. Abide by the USDA organic label laws.
- Please include "best used by xxxxxx" dates in descriptions. To take it further, include this information on actual items and packaging.
- If the product must be refrigerated this too must be clearly indicated.
- Add "care instructions" to water-based items like "wipe the lid", "close tightly" "refrigerate"
- Please include “personal care items are designed for external use only,” unless otherwise indicated by a qualified professional, to your shop and labeling.
- Do not claim that your products are cures or preventions. Products can aid, assist and stimulate. Word them honestly.
- Labeling must abide by FDA regulations.
- Please describe your “lab,” the environment in which you create your products, in your shop policies
- Refrain from using silicone, sulfates, parabans, parafin, or petroleum based ingredients or synthetic perfumes and fragrance oils.
- Soy based wax is now available in non-GMO, though the supply chain is readily stocked it is a good idea to inquire and check on your supply. State clearly in your description, even if you are using it partially and mixing the two.
- All plant ingredients are "natural" and should be described this way.
- If you garden with “organic principles” and “sustainable practices,” please state it that way.
- Refrain from using “organic” as a single adjective.
- Please list your natural fertilizers and pest deterrents (ash, worm casings, etc.)
- Resellers, leftovers, or commercially farmed seeds are not allowed.
- Be careful when making therapeutic claims.
- Food items must be prepared in a licensed kitchen.
- Ingredients must be natural, pure, or organic.
- Only use natural preservatives and no chemical additives.
- Labeling must be extensive. List certified products (organic, kosher, etc.)
- Disclose if you use wheat, soy, nuts or dairy in your kitchen for those that are sensitive to allergic reactions.
- Please list your paper content and decorative ingredients in detail
- If the paper is from waste be specific about consumer waste %.
- Please state if the paper is sized or not. Go to the originating source to check on pesticide-free materials.
- We allow reclaimed items (details of trim) and they should be clearly stated.
- Natural trims, string, and ribbon are encouraged.
CERAMICS and GLASS
- We accept earthenware, stoneware and porcelain.
- Glazes must be certified food safe and lead free, meeting the labeling standards of proposition 65, the highest standards for ceramic glaze labeling.
- Note if ceramics are dishwasher safe and microwavable.
- Run an efficient studio: small kilns, fire in batches.
- We accept all glass. Highlight the fact if you use recycled glass.
- We accept landscaping, garden design, catering, and printing.
- Services are required to submit a portfolio, a statement of ideology, and references.
- All supplies must be sustainable.
- Item descriptions be eco educational.
PACKAGING AND SHIPPING
- Reduce waste.
- Maintain low inventory if possible, create to order if you can so not to over produce.
- Packing materials should be biodegradable or reused.
- With recycled packaging and shipping supplies the important information to look for is the % that is recycled (higher, the better) and if it is "post consumer waste."
- Reconsider any plastics you are using and how to lessen these petroleum-based products.
- Cut back on your paper use. Double side printing is recommend.
- Also, question if your orders need a packing list. It may be better to ask your customer to save the computer receipt of purchase.