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Sustainable shopping – our top tips

As a small business, and as humans, at This Material Culture, we want to be a force for good. We’ve put together some top tips for sustainable shopping. In a world of fast fashion, trying to shop sustainably can be hard. But changing the way we buy can change the world, and there are so many ways you can learn to shop sustainably. 

 

After I recently watched Stacey Dooley’s ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’ I was struck by how devastating the fashion industry is for our planet. From the dumping of toxic chemicals in Thailand to the destruction of the Aral sea because of intensive cotton farming, the impact of our fashion choices is visibly shaping and harming the world. As a fashion brand, we want to offer an alternative to the mass-produced tat that’s often the easiest thing to buy. We want to encourage sustainable shopping too!  Instead of giving up and crying, let’s learn to shop sustainably and challenge the way we are encouraged to buy.

Sustainable Vintage Shopping

I love vintage clothes and have worked with some incredible vintage sellers like pillbox vintage and girl in the blue coat. From fabulous 50s skirts to awesome 90s sunglasses, some of my favourite clothes and accessories are vintage. Forget the high street ‘vintage-look’ pieces; try to find the real thing! Shopping vintage means that clothes aren’t thrown away, they are treasured. You get unique, beautiful vintage pieces. And, your hard-earned cash goes to a fabulous independent business.

Have a clear out

It might sound counter-intuitive to have a clear out. However, a sort through your wardrobe can unearth some treasures you forgot you had. Try and clear out your current wardrobe of everything that you don’t wear and that doesn’t fit you. Those denim hot pants you loved when you were 16 are never going to fit you now (and that’s okay!), so sell them to someone who will love them as much as you did. Try selling on eBay, Etsy or Depop for some extra pennies or donate them to a charity shop for good karma. Swap clothes with your friends and work colleagues, have a rummage through your mum’s wardrobe or go to an organised clothes swap. Sustainable shopping doesn’t mean you need to spend more.

Charity Shops

I love charity shops, and for me, they are the key to learning to sustainable shopping. Let’s break it down –

  • Someone donates clothes instead of sending them to landfill – marvellous
  • You get the fun of searching for bargains and finding one of a kind pieces
  • They’re much cheaper than buying new
  • Your money goes to a charity
  • What’s not to love?

If you’re uneasy about wearing second-hand clothes, you can always have the clothes professionally cleaned. If you can’t get out to the shops, many charity shops now have online and eBay stores so you can shop second hand from the comfort of your sofa!

Shop small

I might be biased, but I will constantly advocate shopping small. Supporting local and independent businesses is such a meaningful way to show you care about what you buy and rewarding those who are chasing their dreams. Small businesses are often more conscious about their environmental impact, and due to their small scale have much less of an impact on the planet. At This Material Culture, our handmade jewellery is created at home in Liverpool. We print our packaging. We reuse and recycle where we can and have worked on reducing waste. I make some of our pieces like the rainbow button necklaces out of reclaimed materials. Each one is unique too. Our toy necklaces are obviously recycled from old toys. We’ve salvaged plenty of beads from broken necklaces, and we even reuse envelopes where we can. We write a lot of business plans on the backs of envelopes too.

Choose fashion that does good

With so many choices available to us, we now have the opportunity to look for brands that do good. Fashion brands like TOMS, which donate a pair of shoes to someone in need for every purchase, are a brilliant way to both enjoy sustainable shopping and a good conscience too. Try and find other smaller brands who have worked with charities and eco-friendly retailers too. When you’re doing sustainable shopping, look for brands which use sustainable materials, reduced packaging and have a clear environmental policy.

Is slow fashion the future?

Perhaps the best antidote to the world of fast fashion is a thoughtful attitude. Try to find a greater appreciation for the impact of your choices and a second thought before you fill your online basket with loads of things you won’t wear. By no means should you stop buying stuff (especially lovely handmade jewellery)! However, by thinking about sustainable shopping, you can start to change the tide. Is a slow fashion revolution coming? Will people start making things themselves? Will patched jeans and altered dresses become the norm? We certainly hope so.

Winter Jewellery Trends

Winter Jewellery Trends

It’s beginning to feel a little like Christmas, and these winter jewellery trends are perfect for a little sparkle. As it gets colder outside, winter jewellery is great for adding some glamour. From layered pearls to feather earrings, we have rounded up some fab winter 2018 jewellery trends you will love. Winter jewellery is great for showing off, being a little bit glamorous and having fun with your jewellery choices. Our handmade jewellery at This Material Culture is perfect for recreating catwalk looks at slightly more affordable prices!

Pearls

As the festive season starts to get into full swing, pearl jewellery is making a welcome reappearance. Classy and elegant, pearls are perfect for any event and were shown off by designers like Gucci and Chanel in their Autumn/Winter 2018 shows. Chanel’s layered strings of pearl necklaces and pearl encrusted earrings showed a new way of wearing pearls for this season – more is more! We love pearl jewellery at This Material Culture and we have loads of beautiful pearl jewelry pieces like our dangle earrings and charm bracelets.

winter jewellery trends

Emilia Wickstead’s delicate pearl dangle earrings were totally beautiful, and we loved the combination of heritage prints and classic pearls. You can recreate the look with our classic Pearl earrings that feature a chic pearl and crystal combination.

Letters

One big trend for Autumn/Winter 2018 is Letters. Seen on the catwalks of Celine and others, from the bold to the delicate – Letters are a huge trend. Whether you want to wear the initials of the love of your life, you’d like a Name Necklace, or you fancy some quirky earrings with letter charms, there are loads of ways you can work Letters into your jewellery collection. Our stunning initial necklaces are perfect for this, with a crystal charm too. They also make gorgeous personal Christmas initial gifts and they are packaged on gift cards too! 

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Feather Earrings

Another one of the winter jewellery trends we can’t get enough of is feather earrings. Beautiful, boho and slightly seasonal, feather earrings are a great choice for winter. Showcased by Valentino and others, we think our beaded feather earrings and gold feather earrings are just as glamorous, and much better for your budget! Another one of our favourite winter jewellery trends is layering, and if you have multiple piercings you can style several feather earrings together for a wild and high fashion look.

winter jewellery trends

Sparkles

One of very favourite 2018 winter jewellery trends from the fashion world is sparkles. From big glittery earrings to rhinestone chokers to sparkly hoop earrings, this jewellery trend is perfect for the festive season. Teamed with gorgeous glitzy party pieces like sparkly crepe jumpsuits and glittery jumpers – there is no such thing as too much sparkle at Christmas! If you’re looking for a more subtle way to sparkle this winter, then our delicate rhinestone studs are perfect. Available in a range of jewel tones, they are a bargain way to get your sparkle on. Though they are not quite precious stone level, they’re fun and sparkly and cute.

 

Halloween Treats and Halloween Jewellery

We’ve put together our favourite Halloween treats so you can get into the spirit (pun intended), we’ve also included some of our fab Halloween jewellery you can find at This Material Culture. From scary movies to Halloween bakes, here are some fun ideas for you.

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Decorate your house

In Liverpool, we take decorating houses very seriously. Whether it’s Halloween or Christmas or the champions league final, we like to go all out. Go to your local pound shop for some bargain window decorations, get some cotton wool spider webs on your frames and throw a few fake bugs into your hanging basket.

Bake Some Delicious Halloween Treats

The lovely Rachel Teodoro blog recently posted a fab recipe for some mummy rice krispie treats. Super cute and delicious, they’re definitely on our Halloween baking list.

Epic Costume

If you’re throwing a Halloween party, your costume has to be on point. There’s the classic witch, ghost, clown etc or head to Pinterest for some awesome costume inspiration. The gorgeous F.B.L Savvy shared her  Demon of the Night Halloween makeup look with us – definitely worth a try, it’s fabulous!

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Carve those pumpkins

Pumpkin carving is basically an art competition in our house. The current record holder is this epic Jurassic Park pumpkin that took me way too long. Last year I attempted a from stranger things, complete with creepy pumpkin seed goo, and Sam always opts for a classic scary face. Tag us in your epic pumpkin masterpiece – we want to see! Oh and be careful with knives and stuff.

Get yourself a fab Halloween necklace

We have fangs, spiders, pumpkinsskulls… all gorgeous Tibetan silver charms on a punky black cord. And for just £5 – why not buy one for a mate too. We can’t get enough of Halloween jewellery!

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Stock up on the sweets

Whether you get loads of trick or treaters or you just like sweets, Halloween is the best excuse to treat yourself to something sugary. And if you’re looking for something different for your little visitors, our rings are super sweet and a total bargain. We even have Halloween jewellery!

Watch everything Tim Burton ever made

Tim Burton films are the perfect way to get into the Halloween mood – creepy and weird – just how we like it. The classic nightmare before Christmas has to be enjoyed (and get a Jack Skellington ring if you’re a fan). Also corpse bride, beetle juice, Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissorhands and sleepy hollow are all excellent choices.

Listen to Spirits podcast

We love love love this podcast. Mythology and drinking are a big thumbs up from us. If you’re a podcast junkie or a first-time listener these fascinating stories from around the world are sure to get you feeling creepy and cool.

Have fun with the kids!

If you have little ones, or you can borrow some – check out this fab list of Halloween ideas from Mummy’s Diary.

Have a fabulous Halloween and don’t forget to use the discount code Halloween18 on our site during October – treat yourself to some spooky Halloween jewellery too!

Never Grow Up – Fun Jewellery for Your Inner Child

At This Material Culture we are all about fun jewellery that makes people happy. It’s on the office wall in big pink letters. There’s so much going on we could sit and complain about, and we know jewellery isn’t going to solve the worlds problems. BUT it can make you smile. And a smile is totally worth it in our opinion.

Whether you work with kids and want cool points, you have a terribly boring uniform that you want to add some colour to or you’re just a great big kid like we are, here’s some super fun jewellery you’ll love.

Unicorn Ring

Unicorns are awesome. That’s a universally recognized thing, and we totally appreciate the amount of unicorn related things you can buy now (I own all of them). So brighten up your day with a magical This Material Culture unicorn ring. We have a blue one too.

Unicorn ring

Junk Food Jewellery Set

Eat healthy, excercise… blah blah blah. We all know it’s important but seriously, pizza exists.  With bright M&M studs, a pizza slice necklace and a maccys fries ring, this set is just great. Celebrate all things a little bit naughty but super delicious with our junk food jewellery set.

junk food jewellery set

 

Dinosaur Necklace (s)

We love dinosaurs at This Material Culture. I have one tattooed on my leg. Our teeny tiny T Rex necklace has been one of our most popular favourite items and it is guaranteed to bring a squeal of delight from at least one person who notices you’re wearing it. Or for dedicated big kids, we have turned some of your favourite dinosaur toys into awesome necklaces just for you. Check out this Triceratops necklace. Give a dinosaur a home.

toy dinosaur triceratopsAlien Ring

For fans of Toy Story, our alien ring is just heaven. Whether you watched Ty Story when you were little or it’s great for keeping your own kids quiet, rock an alien ring. You’re super cool.

Alien RingBalloons Necklace

Everyone loves bright, colourful balloons (well nearly everyone). They remind us of parties and celebrating and eating too many sweets. Our gorgeous balloons necklace is colourful, cute and has a little bit of ‘Up’ inspiration.

balloons necklace

Nah Year Resolutions

Nah year resolutions

Happy New Year?!?

I’m going to be honest with you, I hate January. It’s my least favourite month. All that pressure to make changes and be better and the worst… new year resolutions! Urgh!

I think a few people might feel like this too. So I wanted to use our blog to tell you it’s okay to feel a bit crap about January.

You are awesome. You are unique. You’re reading this so you obviously have great jewellery taste. You are amazing. You got this. You’re lovely.

I love chatting to you guys, whether it’s in person at a market, or through email or on twitter on instagram or anything. We seriously have the coolest customers. You’re always the ones who aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd. You will wear your dinosaur necklace or your penguin ring or your feather earrings with pride because they say something about you and what you love. You light up the room with your quirky, wonderful youness.

Don’t feel pressure to change who you are. If you like a lie in, or you’re not the most organised or you snack a little too often. It’s okay – you’re human. We all deserve a treat, especially you. Don’t give yourself a hard time like I used to. Relax. Breathe. Treat yourself.

Oh and here’s a cheeky 15% off with the code “january18′ cos you deserve it

Rebecca

Trick or Treat!

We love Halloween! Creepy things, dressing up, horror films, trick or treat … happy days.

This Halloween we’re launching the coolest treat you’re going to get.

Trick or Treat Halloween Jewellery Parcel

We’ve created some fab spooky jewellery especially for halloween and we’re going to send you a selection of our faves for just £10! Our Trick or Treat Halloween Jewellery Parcel contains 1 halloween cord necklace, a spooky ring, a pair of studs and a trick or a treat too.

Get yours now here – https://www.thismaterialculture.com/product/trick-treat-halloween-jewellery-parcel/

Or treat a friend who loves halloween as much as you do. It’s dead simple, just use their address as the delivery address. It’ll make their October.

For the coolest halloween jewellery you can wear all year round, get a limited edition Halloween Trick or Treat from us at This Material Culture xxx

Happiness is Handmade

 Happiness is Handmade – an introduction

I have made things for as long as I can remember

Whether it’s salt dough Christmas decorations, a patchwork quilt sewn on the beach on a Cornish holiday, or the beaded bangles I so love to make. I’ve found despite what I studied at school or university, I’ve always ended up making things. My mum and dad are probably the reason for this. Our house growing up was always full of mum’s botanical paintings on the walls and beautiful pine furniture made my dad. Handmade stained glass windows, stone sculptures and mum’s patchwork cushions. They always made our Christmas presents, from a miniature welsh dresser to the greatest Barbie house, stables, shop and apartment the world has ever seen. They always encouraged us to enjoy making things and be creative. We learned that happiness is handmade.

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This idea that happiness is handmade is something I treasure. Now my house is full of handmade things. I love my paintings on the walls, the bed my dad made us for Christmas and a big knitted blanket that Sam is learning to knit squares for.

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In this busy world of 24/7 social media updates, same day delivery and throwaway fashion, people have started to fall in love with making again. It’s a privileged position – we don’t learn to knit because we can’t afford socks, we do it because it’s fun. It’s relaxing, enjoyable and at the end we have results. Whether it’s a scarf full of holes or a slightly wonky teapot, what we made is ours, and totally unique. The only one in the world like it.

People are learning to sew, and customise things and knit and crochet and woodturn and blow glass and it’s awesome. I love pinterest, it’s fab to see all the beautiful interesting, and sometimes crap things people make. My personal board is literally rammed with ideas, from art to interiors to stuff I will one day make. I used to have a blog with recipes and crafts and things too. It’s great to share that passion for handmade happiness with everyone.

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Happiness is handmade – The Blog

So I’m going to start filling up the This Material Culture blog with handmade inspiration for you. You can come and check it if you fancy making something while you’re watching telly or you want to make some presents this Christmas. Nothing too complex and nothing that requires hundreds of pounds of materials. There will be real crafts that you can do in your house for a couple of quid. I want to feature other creative people too. I love hearing people talk about what they’re passionate about and why they make/cook/write/design whatever they do. And because life can be a bit rubbish sometimes we’re going to finish every post with a word of wisdom, a little quote or positive message. I know it’s cheesy but we all need positivity sometimes guys.

happiness is handmade Calligraphy, Lettering & Quotes instagram.com/felingpoh:

Thanks for reading my little ramble. I really do believe happiness is handmade, and making something or being creative in the tiniest way is good for you. If you do too, please get in touch! Contact us via this form or through twitter or facebook. `Sign up to the newsletter if you want reminders of new posts. Email thismaterialculture@gmail.com if you want to write a guest post. Have a wonderful day and make something.

Rebecca

x

happiness is handmade

 

 

The Story Behind… The Traveller Necklace

At This Material Culture we’re all about ideas – the bangle, necklace, earrings you buy weren’t churned out in a factory. Each piece has a story, a concept, and about 4 other earlier versions I decided weren’t good enough. I wanted to share the stories behind some of our pieces with you because we’re not a faceless company, we are two quirky, creative people with a passion for creating products that mean something (and are really pretty).

I really love it when a customer falls in love with one of our pieces. They pick it up, they tell you why they love it, you usually get to hear a good story and you know they absolutely love what they bought. The traveller necklace is one of those pieces. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I’m going to share the story behind it.

traveller necklace

I love miniature things. It’s probably why there are so many adorable pendants in our range. There’s something lovely about a tiny version of something. Our little bronze aeroplane that’s on the traveller necklace is so detailed you’ve got to love it. It’s got little aeroplane windows and a tiny cockpit – it’s cute.

When I’m designing pieces it’s all about finding something that people will connect with. Travel is such a widely loved thing. The world is beautiful and increasingly smaller and it’s getting easier and easier to have wonderful adventures and explore the world. I love reading travel blogs and browsing air bnb. Though we haven’t been on a plane in a while, there are so many places I’d love to see. Whenever someone buys the traveller necklace they tell us all about their favourite trip, from teaching in China, to working on a ranch in Australia to backpacking in Thailand – we love hearing your travel stories. Go ahead and tell us yours in the comments! The lovely Sarah (https://twitter.com/sunshinesarahxo) reviewed our traveller necklace on her blog which you can read here… http://www.writingrambling.co.uk/2016/06/smallbiz-series-part-17.html

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The traveller necklace features the gorgeous bronze aeroplane charm and a little world charm that matches beautifully. This is one of our statement necklaces and I wanted it to be really special so each one has a lovely turquoise crystal that represents the oceans you’ve travelled over. It’s the perfect piece for anyone with a little wanderlust, or a beautiful reminder of a life changing trip. Travelling is smething so exciting, that stays with you forever and like a travel tattoo – this necklace is a little reminder you can wear everyday.

Each traveller necklace is handmade by me, like everything at This Material Culture. It’s  a beautiful necklace, with gorgeous charms and it’s a beautiful gift for the travel lover in your life.

So there you have it, your beautiful traveller necklace – inspired by… travelling!!

Get yours here xxx

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8 Winter Treats

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8 Winter Treats

It’s chilly outside, it’s getting closer and closer to christmas and it’s one of our favourite times of the year. It’s too early to go full on festive, but with snow in the air and big wooly jumpers coming out of the drawers, we thought you deserved a treat. We believe it is so important to take care of yourself. Take a little time out of your busy schedule and just enjoy the present. We’ve put together a list of 8 lovely winter treats that won’t cost the earth and will put a smile on your face.

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate

We love a good hot chocolate this time of year. It’s the ultimate of winter treats. To make our ultimate hot chocolate you’ll need good quality hot chocolate (cadburys drinking chocolate is always a classic), squirty cream, marshmallows, ground cinnamon and flakes. Make your hot chocolate, drop in a teaspoon of cinammon and stir, pop a few marshmallows in, add all your cream, more marshmallows and then crumble a flake on top. Heaven.

Wintery Walk

Get all wrapped up in your scarf and hat and gloves and have a winter walk for an hour or two. It’s a great way to spend time actually talking to your family or SO with no distractions and you often find yourself discovering places you never knew were there. With google maps you can never get too lost so have a wander and explore. It’s great exercise too.

Make some christmas cards

I’ve been making some gorgeous personalised jewellery gift cards which will be going up on the site soon, and it’s a lovely way to spend some time being creative. People have stopped sending christmas cards as much and a beautiful handmade card makes such an impact. Write it like a letter, catching up and filling in someone you haven’t seen in a while. It’s so nice to get something in the post. If you need ideas have a look at pinterest or if you like I can write a post with some how to guides (let me know).

Visit Christmas Markets

Wandering around a christmas market is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Look on facebook or twitter for markets held in local pubs and halls and try to support smaller fairs. Often people just go to big events with lots of promotion, where the small makers miss out. The winter arts market in liverpool is hugely successful but we have been turned down to trade repeatedly, and so have many great local artisans we know, with larger businesses from all over the country trading instead, despite it’s claim to have local makers. Large temporary market stalls cost thousands of pounds to rent, which is totally impossible for small local businesses and they often get turned down anyway. Shop local, buy some winter treats and look for smaller craft fairs and markets where local small businesses are supported. Chat to the artist who made the product – it’s a lovely way to get to know about local things going on and you know what you buy is made with love as well.

Have a chill day

Get your diary and pencil in a day of NOTHING. I mean nothing, stay in your pyjamas, watch old episodes of gilmore girls, don’t bother with your makeup, even get a takeaway. We’re all so busy, especially beacuse of this time of year. Having a day of nothing can be amazing to look forward to during a hard week and it can be the perfect way to recharge your batteries. If you feel really brave turn your phone off. And don’t feel guilty about it.

Phone your mum

Or your dad. Your grandma. Or your sister. Maybe your friend from school. Sit down and spend a good hour chatting to someone you don’t see often on the phone. Organise it with them so you both have the time free and just enjoy talking with someone who cares.

Bake

No matter how appaling your cooking skills, everyone can manage to bake something. Find a recipe for mince pies, cupcakes, cookies or a giant chocolate cake covered in icing and sweets. Bake your favourite winter treats. Give yourself an afternoon to bake something. Pop the radio or your itunes on and enjoy cooking and music too. And if you eat it all in one day, we’re not judging.

Pamper Time

With winter weather and freezing wind taking a toll on your skin, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to a little pampering. I’m honestly not a fan of beauty treatments (shock horror) but even a good cleanse, tone and moisturise can leave your skin feeling much better. If you fancy getting creative, there’s loads of amazing DIY beauty treatments on pinterest and some great blogs too. You can ensure that everything you’re putting on your skin is natural and good for you. Maybe it’s sitting with a face mask on and your feet in a bowl of hot water. Maybe you fancy getting your eyebrows done or going for a full on spa day. Look after yourself and give yourself a little TLC. You deserve it. You’re awesome.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our little list of winter treats. Let me know what your fave is!

Rebecca

x

 

 

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Changing the World, Brain Buffering and Carrying On.

Changing the World, Brain Buffering and Carrying On

This Material Culture isn’t just mine anymore, it’s yours, you guys are the reason we make necklaces til 3 in the morning, write blog posts when we fancy a lie in and STAND UP IN FRONT OF HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE AT A BIG BUSINESSY EVENT TO TELL THEM ABOUT THIS MATERIAL CULTURE.

Oh yes, you heard me. There’s photo evidence.

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I’d practised my pitch till I was blue in the face and the dog hated me. I’d watched every ted talk on public speaking. I even did some yoga. I’d planned my outfit, complete with button necklace, cloud ring and arrow earrings ( #represent). We were sitting with all the other competitors. There were hundreds of people in a big corporate conference suite at a hotel (who ever decided grey walls were a good idea? I’d paint the whole place pink personally) and I had Sam, my lovely spark up fellow entrepeneurs, my wonderful friend Ellen. I was near the end of the afternoon, everyone else did awesome, there were a few wobbles, some could have done with a little extra sparkle, but it was my turn.

I got on to the stage, in my fave turquoise heels (which matched my hair, nails and business cards) and I went for it. Confident, smiling, I blasted my way through the first two paragraphs and then my mind went blank. You know those nightmare moments, when your brain is buffering, maybe in an exam or in an interview. My brain decided to buffer when I was on a stage under lights, with a two minute time limit, trying to share my passion for fab quirky jewellery and my vision for a company all about happiness and good vibes and being an individual in front of the movers and shakers of the Liverpool business world.

It was awful.

I’m not gonna lie. A few good intentioned audience members called out things I could talk about, but I knew exactly what I wanted to say, it was just on the other side of a rainbow spinning wheel. I took a big yoga breath. It seemed like hours. And continued where I left off. I could’ve been talking russian for all I remember, but I’d practised my pitch, I kept going, Sam said I’d said (mostly) everything I wanted to say. And then…

I FROZE AGAIN.

I think I managed to squeeze out a little ‘please give me some money’ and ‘we want to have a lovely team and a lovely office and happy people’ and ended with a well and truly resigned ‘Yeah…’

And I got a massive round of applause and lots of whoops and a big hug from the host. I plastered that game face on, answered the judges questions swimmingly and finally got to get off the stage.

So kids, I’m not the next Winston Churchill. Pitching is damn hard. No matter how much I’d practised and written the perfect speech, getting up in front of lots of important people and trying to share your vision, your hopes, your plans and your numbers is so freaking difficult. Sometimes the words just go, your brain buffers, you feel like crap. And it’s not just pitching, when you love something, when you believe in it and have put your heart and soul into it and you blow an opportunity or your brain buffers it’s heartbreaking. Carrying on seems like running a marathon through fire on glass with no clothes on and a dragon chasing you. And smiling, well that’s like adding a blindfold and some rock throwers to the situation.

But I did it. And people were lovely and came and said I was adorable (cringe) and brave and that it was a really hard thing to do. And no, I didn’t win the money (my beautiful friend Eleanor did and I’m so proud – her product’s called nature whip and you need it like now). I had a couple of G&Ts, stayed around to network (god I hate networking), went out for a lovely meal with Sam and Ellen who both couldn’t stop hugging me and I was ok.

I survived.

It was the opposite of a roaring success but I left with my head head high and I didn’t say ‘fucking, bollocking shitbags’ in front of everyone. I giggled when I wanted to cry in the loo. I am so lucky to have beautiful friends, the best hubby in the world and people around me who love me for me. Not for how much money I make or how perfect I look or how good I am at pitching.

The business world is weird, it’s all suits and shift dresses and pop up banners and handshakes and numbers. It’s often data not stories. It’s about success and failure, not journeys and experiences and life lessons. That can and should change. Sam told me that I shouldn’t change to fit the business world, it should change to fit me. Not quite sure how we’re going to all that changing the world, but if you have ideas, hit me up. I want to live in a world with pink walls rather than grey ones, armchair Q&As rather than pitching alone on a stage under lights with a hundred eyes facing you, where you buy things because you love them and their story not because they’re the next big thing. Where everyone shares the prize, or at least the people who tried so hard and carried on are encouraged, not losers. Call me an idealist, but that’s the world I’m fighting for.

And I honestly believe in my business. I want to hire staff so I can give them a paid day off on their birthday, and sell awesome things that kids can afford with their pocket money and wear with pride. I want my staff to love This Material Culture and tell everyone about it because they love their job so much. I want other businesses to look at ours and say they love what they do, and they’re doing damn well and question whether they should work staff to the bone for zero hour contracts. I want to turn on the telly and see adverts with happy people with normal bodies and messy hair and giant smiles.

So. The Moral Of The Story.

It’s okay to mess up, it’s okay for things not to go to plan, it’s okay to suffer from a nightmare case of brain buffering. We’re all human. We all know what it’s like to not quite hit the target. And those who look for perfection will be endlessly disappointed. This Material Culture will fight tirelessly to challenge ‘normal’ and the wonderful people it excludes. We will continue to put our hearts into changing the world, though it may seem like the biggest challenge imaginable. We will continue to give discounts to kids who don’t quite have the right money. No matter how many times things don’t go to plan.

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