Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career background?
I founded Little Hands Design in 2001 to provide an inclusive forum to make textile design education affordable. Little Hands Design was later turned from a non-profit Community Interest Company into a fully-fledged charity. Our aim is to teach the next generation of designers, consumers and decision makers what sustainable fashion is and how to make practical steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
What makes your business sustainable?
Our product is about education and sustainability, and to prove the concept we are continuously looking at improving our circular business routines. For example, all the materials we use in our courses and events are either industry waste materials, kindly donated by big fashion companies like Ted Baker, Marks and Spencer, Anya Hindmarch and Mulberry, or donated second hand textiles and garments.
How did you start incorporating sustainability more into your business practices? When did you first realise this was necessary?
We did this from the beginning of the business almost 20 years ago, with a strong focus on organic growth rather than rapid expansion.
Was there a stat or figure that made you take stock and realise that you need to play a part in sustainability?
On a personal and professional level, the school strikes throughout more than 100 countries have reinforced our belief that we have a compelling responsibility towards the younger generation and ourselves.
What’s the biggest challenge to having a sustainability-focused business?
Logistics, communication and a lack of resources, both in regards to time and money, of our educational partners at local primary and secondary schools. We also have issues competing with privately run after-school provisions, instead of being seen as enrichment education, and securing long-term staff with both pedagogical and technical skills.
What are your biggest learnings?
As long as our business models are based on growth instead of circularity and environmental and ethical reparations, we will struggle to achieve meaningful sustainable practices.
Which businesses do you admire in this space?
What’s one thing you believe everybody should be doing to lead a more sustainable life?
Reducing their consumption.
What would you like to see in the future with sustainability at its core?
That money is reduced in its importance to being just one factor as part of a secure, meaningful life.
Do you follow anybody on Instagram that’s great at getting the message out there?
What are your top tips for living more sustainably at home?
Start with one room at a time. In the bathroom, replace shower gel with moisturising soap in a little exfoliating bag. Rediscover your wardrobe and stop buying new clothes for a period – instead mend, alter or re-design with the help of a professional. Buy as many unpackaged items in the supermarket as possible. Question your household routines with regards to waste, necessity and how much time they really save.
If you could invent anything, what would it be?
A magic re-forestation of the world, a meat substitute that really tastes like meat and affordable hydrogen air travel.