In October's Box: Home of Juniper

Home of Juniper has a simple base in positivity. Created by Eliza to give conscientious people a space to enjoy buying for their home and gift giving, every item on sale was created ethically, often by individual UK craftspeople and is packaged in biodegradable materials. Home of Juniper extends that positivity into its support for charities doing good things in the world, from bumblebee conservation to mental health.

We've really enjoyed working with Eliza on the October box and are proud to feature Home of Juniper as part of our 'Wildlife' theme. Here's our interview with Eliza:

What does Home of Juniper offer?

Home of Juniper offers a range of home decor, jewellery and gifts, all conscientiously sourced. Each piece is handpicked by us. Home of Juniper also has a blog and social media which are orientated around people and positivity.

I wanted to create a range that had variety in both style and price. Prices go from 50p to over £100.

Alongside our natural fragrances and well-being products, we support individual ceramicists based in the UK, sell jewellery made in Cornwall, and have a range of sustainable alternatives (such as bamboo straws and sandwich bags).

Our Christmas range is due out in October and so everything is about to get very festive. The range will include bestsellers from last year, such as fair trade baubles, rattan reindeer and Christmas Wishes candles. And some wonderful new gifts and decorations. Including eco-friendly felt decorations and fair trade metal angels.

How did it all begin?

It started as a childhood daydream. I cant remember a time when I didn’t want my own shop. I have always loved giving gifts and making a house feel like a home. So it is lovely to create a space that allows other people to enjoy this too.

One day it just became the time to bite the bullet and start. But even before this there had been years of planning and daydreaming. One of the main issues was narrowing down what to have in the shop. I knew I wanted the shop to be run in a positive, ethical manner, so it made sense to buy from people with the same values.

What are your values and what’s your approach to sustainability?

I wanted to create a business which had a base in positivity. This was always very important to me, and is still developing. One of the ways it is positive is the ethically sourced nature of the brand. Supporting individual makers, supporting charities and being ethically minded in the way we wrap and the way we work.

Sustainability is within how we work, how we buy and what we sell. We reuse and recycle everything we can and therefore produce minimum waste. We also sourced giftware made from recycled paper which is recyclable. They may be little things but they all add up. We do have a few things we want to change to increase our sustainability but we are getting there, so watch this space. We also sell a range of sustainable alternatives, including sandwich bags, bamboo straws and beautifully scented bar soap, made by a lovely mummy in the UK.

Another way we like to spread positivity is with the charities we support. We have been partners of the BBCT bumblebee charity since 2017 and have just this September created a range of products in aid of Mind, a mental health charity.

What’s it like running your own business?

Some one once told me running my own business would be the hardest but best thing I ever did. And so far this has been true. There are a lot of challenges to running your own business, and there are days that I don't feel up for the challenge. But most days I absolutely love it. And no two days are alike which means it is always interesting.

Talking with customers and finding new stock and stockists is wonderful. And I am loving social media, which I wasn't expecting - I never really used it before starting the brand.

How do you select the products in your shop?

Firstly, I only choose pieces I genuinely love and I think the Home of Juniper followers will love too. This was harder at the beginning when we didn’t really have a audience. But now social media is great for letting our customers tell us what they like and what they want to see more of. This is partly what has influenced the growth of our bee range. I also love the fact that for each bee item sold we donate money to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust which is a great charity in the UK.

Otherwise there is a range of ways we select our products. Some are designed by us, either in-house or in collaboration with makers and designers. So these have a different process compared to pre-designed items.

We find designers, makers and stockists in a range of ways too. For example some are from trade shows, some people I met while selling at fairs and some we find on social media - including some who have contacted us.

If you could choose, what would be your favourite product?

I have too any favourites! The story behind each piece makes them so special and I only choose pieces I love. Whether they are handmade by an artist in the UK or crafted by artisans abroad each piece has something to it that makes it more special than just being pretty or useful.

I do love the jugs made by Lynn Fox. Each piece is individually made and she is wonderful enough to let me have some design input, meaning we really can get what our customers ask for, but it still has her wonderful style.

And I love our bee products. Our bee gift sets were one of the first things we sold, everything in them is made in the UK and they make a lovely gift.

What advice would you give to someone looking to live more sustainably?

I think it is important to know it is one step at a time, you don't have to make all the changes at once (quite often this isn't possible) but each little step makes a difference. And enjoy doing it. If you enjoy living more sustainably you will find it easier to find new ways of being sustainable.

The most recent swap I have made is to metal straws instead of plastic ones. We have them on the site and so it seemed silly not to try them myself. There is something sophisticated about drinking from a metal straw. The bamboo ones are great too.

Thanks Eliza!

We've worked with Eliza to choose three beautiful gifts for our October Home Box, all to help you develop your relationship with nature - get yours here.

Browsing through Home of Juniper is a real joy. If you'd like to take a look, you can visit the Home of Juniper website or follow Eliza on Instagram.