Fresh new talent to grace TVM this Sunday is Nicole Jenner, with her beautiful eco and ethical homewares label F O R A G E D Byron Bay.
"I have a varied background, after completing a Bachelor in International and Community Development I spent 10 years working in the Foreign Aid industry. I travelled the world, visiting disadvantaged communities, learning their culture and witnessing first hand their beautiful wares and their simple way of life."
What made your pursue your creative passion?
I have always been interested in design and interiors, but travel gave me a real passion for supporting small producers and ethical products. I then studied Interior Design at CATC whilst still working, in a hope to learn more about the homewares industry not really having any plans to pursue it, it was more just out of a genuine passion to be a more ethical consumer.
When did you take the plunge and start your own business?
Just under two years ago, we made the big move from Sydney to the Byron Hinterland. After coming up on a short holiday we made an impulsive decision to move and only 8 weeks later we had purchased a small block of land. It is only 7 acres but still a HUGE change from our tiny 2 bedroom inner city apartment in Sydney. It was a big learning curve, but we have loved every minute of working the land and cultivating a garden and building a new slower way of life. Over time, and a lot of googling we have managed to plant out a growing herb garden and made efforts to live more simply and sustainable, including making a lot of our own household products.
What does your brand consist of?
Our label is based on my passion of Eco and Ethical homewares and consists of a full range of small batch, 100% natural and vegan cleaning products and an eco-linen range.
The F O R A G E D cleaning range includes kitchen, laundry and floor cleaning options. We are passionate about producing a high quality, low impact product and therefore use only the highest-grade essential oils and include home grown produce where-ever we can. All Foraged products come packaged in 100% recyclable materials, from the glass bottle to the waterproof label. We would also like to encourage the minimal use of plastics in our products so all our products are sold with a recyclable aluminium cap allowing you to reuse your last plastic spray trigger or lotion dispenser should you wish.
We also stock a beautiful eco linen range made from 100% Belgian flax linen in a range of beautiful dusky pastel tones. This beautiful range of linen was awarded the 2015 GALA Gift & Life Instyle ‘ECO’ Award. A stonewashed linen, made in Belgium under the Masters of Linen Certification, which is a guarantee that the European flax is grown and processed in accord with strict environmental and labour standards.
Where is the label designed and made?
All our products are designed and handmade in Australia using ethically produced, low impact ingredients.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by people mostly, strong people carving out their own path through hardwork and being true to themselves. I love to travel and see how small communities work together to build beautiful things from skills passed down and simple materials. I want to use this thinking to give more options for people to still live beautifully but also tread lightly.
What are your plans for the brand and where do you hope it takes you?
What began as a small roadside market a mere 10months ago is now being stocked in 8 beautiful outlets and showcased in the homes of some of the beautiful, stylish people that have inspired me throughout the years. I am already so grateful for what I have been lucky enough to achieve. Going forward I would like to expand the brand, the more I learn about the daily items we use the more opportunities I see to find better ways of doing things whilst still being luxurious and beautiful. I am always hunting for beautiful things, fabric, patterns, process etc.
What were the biggest challenges when launching your brand?
Having your own brand and business takes a lot of work and starting out means you have to put yourself out there which can be daunting. But I have found if you love what you are doing and are passionate about it you will find a community of people who love it too!
What is the best thing about having your own business?
So many things! Having a little one the flexibility is amazing! I probably work more hours a day than I would with a full time job but I have the flexibility to still get a lot of time with him, which is very important to me. It is also so rewarding! It’s true, when you buy from a small business someone does a happy dance!
One piece of advice for someone hoping to start their own small business that you wish you’d been told?
There is so much push and pull out there it can be easy to lose your way. Find your individuality, what it is you love, your image, write it down and stick with it. There will be trends they come and go and whilst it’s important to grow and develop, don’t lose what makes your brand yours!
Connect with F O R A G E D Byron Bay, here.