While Small Impact Studio's business model includes the use of recycled materials, it is not what defines the brand. Scott and Gina believe that good design must come first, and impact follows as people choose to live with their designs.
Sure, it is great to roll out the sustainability credentials, but one of the greatest markers of that ethos is its longevity. ‘You keep it around because it is good design, not because it is an old wine or gin bottle,’ explained Scott.
He continued: ‘It goes way beyond just knocking the top off a wine bottle and calling it a tumbler. We have honed our design identity so that our glassware reveals it’s history very lightly.’
Gina continued: ‘I spent many years living across Southeast Asia, and I was always inspired by the entrepreneurial reuse of everything at hand. Waste just wasn’t a concept,’ said Gina.
Both Gina and Scott believe that our whole language around waste needs to shift.
‘I recently heard the comment that “waste is just a resource in the wrong hands”. We need to shift the dialogue and stop seeing it as upcycling or recycling, and rather think of these materials as a design resource,’ continued Scott.
‘It is not sustainable to buy something from a garage sale and then throw it away in a year – that is just prolonging waste. It is about holistic liveability.’
Gina added: ‘A lot of upcycled just looks downcycled. And shabby chic is just shabby. It all just comes down to design. I love the intersection of really refined materials and strong design, with the organic quality that recycled materials can offer. That is what we are trying to find in our jewellery – that balance that teeters in a sweet spot.’
Scott continued: ‘Not everyone is attracted to a recycled aesthetic, so you have to be smart to be committed to creating an impact.’
‘In many ways we are entering the design market at the point where sustainability is right ‘on trend’, but it takes a decade of working with bottles – as I have for large scale sculptures and installations – to recognise that the market has reached a maturity that demands more of that circular economy,’ explained Scott.
‘The trick is not just taking everything that is offered but to understand the materials and their capacity as design objects. Needless to say, we have done a lot of prototyping! I suppose you could say it is a marriage between being design-led and material-led,’ he added.
Part of that material understanding comes through partnerships. Small Impact Studio has worked to find like-minded partners for bottle supply, but also for their packing materials.
‘When we set up the studio we bought a big-ass roll of bubble. We are proud to say we still have not opened it – and continue to track the days it remains unused. We always try to on-use all our packaging and wrapping. We are more interested in what’s inside,’ said Gina.
Part of our holistic sustainable practice is to offset our studio carbon emissions. All our shipping - the parcels that come to you - and our daily studio emissions, are countered by a commitment to planting native forests, which reduce the impacts of climate change and restores our habitat, via the Australian company Greenfleet.
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