It's our first birthday. I'll pause here for a moment and just think how amazing this first year has been. Creating Authentic House has been the most fulfilling, creative, fun, challenging (and even heart-wrenching!) year I have ever spent. Thank you to everyone who joined this year - you've been the momentum that has kept us going and growing.
I started Authentic House last July when I came across, for the first time, some products that completely changed my perspective on how we can live. I was already working on ideas for a social enterprise that would help people live with a lower environmental impact - it was the simplicity of these products that made me think.
The first was a fuzzy brush made of coconut fibres that you can use to wash your dishes. The second was a handmade sponge made in the same city as me - Cardiff. These were plastic-free alternatives becoming more popular in the wave created by David Attenborough's documentary Blue Planet II. On seeing them I thought how these products were not only better for the environment - they were also beautiful. While I wouldn't have blinked twice at a plastic sponge, these objects were made of natural materials, with care and by brands with purpose. If more of us were aware of these products, then who wouldn't want to shop like this?
A few years back, I'd subscribed to a beauty box which I loved, but eventually gave up on because of the plastic tubes and unnecessary things like self-tan and fake eyelashes that would build up in my drawers. I thought that this model would work for discovering eco-friendly products instead and create a gradual transformation in our lives, as we made a positive change together each month.
Fast-forward through the year and it's been inspiring, hectic and yet such a brilliant experience. Starting with just me packing the boxes, I've had lots of help come in from my family - Daniel and Emilia - and from Maddy, Hazel, Rhiannon and Kelly. Running a subscription box was a lot harder work than I thought, but I also didn't expect all the help we'd get and the brilliant support and feedback from subscribers and customers. Authentic House is for you and I want us to get better and better at sharing the best eco-friendly brands, at a great value that makes sustainable living more accessible.
What's true now is that, a year in, I'm clear on the vision for Authentic House and I feel we've done a lot to perfect our eco-friendly boxes. Starting this month, personalisation will mean we can better understand your lifestyle and pick the products that are right for you and your family. We're now offering different sizes of box, and sending as often or as little a you like. The idea behind this was to make our subscriptions more affordable so more people can join in. Lastly, we've begun to donate 20p, 30p or 50p for every box sold to Rewilding Britain and Trees for Cities which means a lot to me as I've always wanted Authentic House to contribute to the wider conservation of our planet. After all, we can stop the damage we do, but there's a whole lot more to repair and campaign for. Supporting charities that can help, chosen by you each year, is a way to make our difference.
So I'll finish this with an enormous THANK YOU to everyone who has subscribed to our boxes, been a customer, liked our posts, given great advice or who has even just been a good friend in this first year. We're growing and have plenty of ideas and ambitions for the next year to keep sustainable living inspiring, help you discover the ethical products you'll love and to get more people started on this journey.