Welcome to our ethical policy page! Fair warning, it’s long and detailed and you might want to grab a cuppa before you begin.
We really hope that the things we design and make have a lifelong quality to them. If you’re buying a print, it should be full of meaning and make a beautiful addition to your home for years to come. The inks and paper we use have a lightfast guarantee of at least 70 years. A baby’s first Christmas decoration should be something they take with them when they leave home and hang it on their own Christmas tree as an adult. We approach everything we do with the lifecycle of the product in mind and we expect each product to have a long and happy life!
I guess this is why we also don’t jump on every design trend going – we really don’t want your beloved print to feel old-fashioned within a season or two. Our favourite destination print is based on the Routemaster bus blind which is a well-established design classic and just refuses to date!
When you DO make the considered decision to purchase something from us, either for yourself or a loved one, our wish is that it is produced in a responsible and sustainable way; by a respected team of people who are fairly paid and well treated; arrives with you in appropriate and planet-friendly packaging; and looks beautiful and makes you smile. Hitting all of those markers is no small feat for a tiny company!
Well, it’s a biggie and probably the most complicated so we’ll start there. Some things were relatively easy to resolve. They didn’t seem it at the time but looking back it really was. We used to use these solid cardboard poster tubes with a plastic top and bottom. They were super rigid, we hardly ever had anything delivered squashed but those plastic ends are not easily recyclable and honestly how many times do you need to reuse a postal tube in your life? Hardly any, as compared to say bubble wrap as we can ALWAYS reuse bubblewrap! So, we tried four different varieties of poster tube – some square, some triangular – until we found one that works. Yes, we may get a few more prints squished in the post, but these are still very rare and we will always replace a squished item. PLASTIC ENDS BE GONE! If you still get artwork from people with plastic ends on the tubes – kick back to them and ask why they are still using pointless plastic!
The we looked at jiffy bags and thankfully the industry had started looking at it too. When we first looked in 2018 there was almost nothing. There was a jiffy bag variety that was filled with grated wastepaper, but these were an absolute arse to open as a customer and we always managed to rip the envelope and spill thousands of bits of fluffy paper over the floor. They were also expensive and heavy which meant they were bulkier to transport and store and carbon footprint blah blah… they were a crap solution is what I’m saying. But now we have two types of completely paper made padded envelopes that are very effective, and we’ve had not one breakage since making the switch. JIFFY BAGS BE GONE! If you still get things from companies in plastic filled Jiffy bags – kick back to them and ask why they are still using pointless plastic!
Flat A4 prints were a bit more of a challenge. Quite often they are bought as gifts and it’s nice to see what the gift is, even if it’s just to check how beautiful it is before gifting. We traditionally used cellophane bags to present the prints, with a carboard stiffener. Navigating the difference between recycled bags, recyclable bags, compostable bags was proving a bit tricky – so this took longer to fix. However, literally on January 7th 2021 we found a cellophane bag that is clear and completely made from plant materiel so can be home composted, industrially composted, put in with your food waste or even – if you have to – put into landfill as they will ultimately break down to CO2 and water in the same way they would in a compost heap. Problem solved!
Our tissue paper is from the wonderful Suttons Packaging based in Devon. The papers are fully recyclable and compostable and are themselves produced from a high recycled content. The colours used are eco-friendly soy-based ink and the paper is produced using elemental Chlorine free pulp which significantly reduces harmful bi-products. Oh, and it’s SFI certified.
We don’t buy in any cardboard boxing at all. Everything we use to send large orders out, is recycled packaging that we have been sent ourselves. We reuse every scrap of bubble wrap that we get sent and suggest you do too, even if it’s just to protect your Christmas decorations in the loft each year.
Our framed prints are sent direct by our expert framers and because we use glass instead of plastic in the majority of our frames, they do require some bubble wrap. The bubble wrap is made from recycled plastic and the cardboard is also recycled. If you’re getting a framed print then it really needs to get to you in one piece and so there will be a decent amount of packaging around it so we implore you to reuse as much of it as you can before recycling. Our framers have experimented over the years to get the best possible packing method and reduce unnecessary packaging, so what you get is the tried and tested and minimized result!
The two main materials we use are wood and paper. Both are natural products and end of life recyclable.
Our wood comes from a local supplier in Gloucestershire and they are pretty amazing. The veneers are all FSC and PEFC certified and they require anyone they work with to sign up to a Pure Wood Charter for sustainable practices. They generate 30% of their own electricity from their own solar panels and get the remaining 70% from green energy providers. Any waste wood offcuts are used to heat the premises in the winter!
Our paper, along with our printers, come only from Epson, and what a company they are! They published a 280 page sustainability report in September 2020 and no I didn’t read all of it, but I did read most of it. They cover everything from a circular economy, to diversity, to human rights, to water conservation and corporate citizenship. Honestly, I was a bit blown away. The bit I needed to know the most was on page 224! Epson manages its entire supply chain from the immediate supplier all the way back to the forest to ensure the legality, sustainability and environmental safety of the paper products they procure. They ask that suppliers understand the intent and nature of these initiatives and commit to compliance. Gawd, it took about an hour of searching to find the information though! I don’t know why they don’t make it more user friendly to find!
Working with third party manufacturers
We live on a globe (flat earthers move along please) and as much as we try to source everything we can from the UK, we just can’t – and believe me we try, constantly! Whoever we work with, wherever in the world, we acknowledge the power of even our limited spend with them and ask them to commit to the following Code of Practice.
Betsy & Team
We’re a small team and we look after each other’s physical and mental well-being both in and out of the studio! We pay at least the UK real Living Wage to everyone except the dogs – they get paid in dog biscuits, strokes, and ball games.