Handmade Reviews Eco Emporia Logo

Published on September 15th, 2008 | by Kelly Rand

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Eco Emporia

Eco Emporia Logo Eco Emporia is a new online shop based in the UK, that sells desirable objects made from discarded things. They have a range of eco-friendly gifts such as accessories created from felted sweaters, beautiful jewelery made from electronic components, bowls and necklaces made from chopsticks, plus wall art made from hand painted records. Everything is individually handmade by skilled craftspeople.

Founded by husband and wife team Anna and Peter Burns, Eco Emporia came to be after the couple was inspired by the craftspeople they met on numerous travels around the world. “Reusing and recycling is a way of life for many people around the world,” said Anna. “It’s about making the most of limited resources and income. As a result they create something new, useful and often ingenious. I remember being most impressed by the Uros people on Lake Titicaca in Peru. They created amazing boats by weaving lake reeds and kept them afloat using hundreds of recycled plastic drink bottles.”

The shop has a three-tired mantra, believing in:

  • Making things from discarded materials
  • Making things by hand
  • Making the environment part of everything they do

In addition to their environmental impact, some of the items they offer have a greater social benefit, too. For example, the company EaKo, that remakes old fire hoses into belts, donates 50% of their profits to the London Fire Brigade Benevolent Fund. Another supplier, Trash Design in Austria, creates incredible jewelery from electronic components by retraining the previously unemployed. Each of the items, also come with a “Meet the Maker” profile, so you can see who made the item and read about their company and environmental and social leanings.

Beyond being a proponent of handmade environmental goods, all of Eco Emporia’s items come wrapped in reclaimed materials, such as recycled cardboard and tissue paper. In the office they use 100% recycled paper, use an ethical bank and source their energy from greener companies.

Eco Emporia also let’s buyers in on the handmade action with the “Make it Yourself” page. Here, online projects are listed to help you be inspired to create by using your own discarded things. Check out the latest project, the No Sew Pouch, a quick pencil case made from scrap fabric and a pin.

Its great to see another company dedicated to people, the planet and profit.

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About the Author

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting. Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.



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