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Sustainable Wedding Gifts for Eco-Conscious Couples

For some of us, the end of the pandemic seems to be in sight. With life gradually returning to (the new) normal, dare we say that we can start planning ahead again? With many weddings resuming (though limited) in the UK and Corfu, if you’re lucky, you might just be able to tie the knot yourself – or have been invited to a post-lockdown summer wedding.

So many couples have sadly had to push back their big day and have been waiting for positive news. It’s understandable, then, that you might want to add something a little extra special to your registry, or gift the happy couple with a unique and sustainable present to be enjoyed for years to come – without breaking the bank. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered with our sustainable wedding gifts guide, all handpicked and under 100 pounds or euros.

 

Sustainable Wedding Gifts

Myrto Zirini Ceramics Deep Teal Pebble Bowl

sustainable Myrto Zirini Ceramics

Myrto Zirini Ceramics is a workshop in Corfu inspired by fluid, organic forms. This Deep Teal Pebble Bowl will make a stylish, thoughtful, and multi-purpose addition to the happy couple’s home. Each bowl is one-of-a-kind and made-to-order and made to last, so this gift is a truly unique one that you can treasure forever or gift to the happy couple. 

Shop Myrto Zirini Ceramics

 

CHOE Iris Soy Candles

sustainable wedding gifts candles

What better way to spruce up a home than with fresh, luxurious candles? The Iris candle by CHOE not only smells amazing, but is also cruelty-free and handmade from 100% vegan soy wax on Corfu. It comes in 3 colours and 3 unique scents, so you can customise your gift to suit the newly weds.

Shop CHOE Candles

Salty Bag Mandraki Bag​

sustainable eco-friendly duffel bag

The Mandraki Bag by Salty Bag is a versatile micro duffel bag that’s perfect for a weekend getaway or mini-honeymoon. Handmade from upcycled sailcloth and Sunbrella boat cover fabric, this sustainable duffel bag is available in two vibrant colourways and makes for a wonderful sustainable wedding gift.

Shop Salty Bag

 

Poppy on Paxos Gift Set – Erimitis Sunset

ionian kind hamper gift sets

A post-lockdown trip abroad may not be on the cards for some of us this year but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some sun to you. Give the happy couple a little piece of Paxos with this Poppy on Paxos Gift Set.

This unique gift set includes one A4 print of the stunning sunset over the white Erimitis cliffs, an A2 print of Gaios harbour, an illustrated tea towel, and a hand-drawn map of Paxos. If they’ve ever been to Paxos, this gift will hold real sentimental value, and if they haven’t, it’ll have them wishing for a trip.

Shop Poppy on Paxos

 

Enikeoros Set of 3 ‘Blue’ Canvases

Enikeoros set of 3 canvas paintings

This set of Enikeoros 3 small canvases, hand painted by local Corfiot artist, Eniko Orosz, will transport whoever views them to the beach. Eniko even uses Ionian seawater in these paintings so you can take a piece of Corfu home with you. These are one-of-a-kind, gorgeous pieces of art that would make for a great gift in any home. 

Shop Enikeoros Art & Photography

We’re sure that any eco-concious couple would love this diverse array of unique, ethical gift ideas. You can check out more of our sustainable, eco-friendly brands here, or for information on Ionian Kind you can visit our about page.

 

Useful articles: 

What does ‘cruelty-free’ really mean?
How to shop sustainably 

Sustainable Valentine’s Day Gifts 2021

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, why not surprise your loved one with something special? We all know a card just doesn’t make the cut so we’ve put together a list of sustainable Valentine’s Day gifts and goodies that are sure to win the heart of anyone in your life.

Fresh flowers and chocolates are, of course, a popular choice for February 14th, but isn’t it better to give your special someone a sustainable, eco-friendly treat they can adore for a lifetime? So, whilst the items below may have been made on a small scale with as little waste as possible, they’re sure to make a big impact with the one you love and last a lifetime. Here are 5 sustainable Valentine’s Day gifts from Ionian Kind.

CHOE Valentine’s Day Aura Red Body Candle, 170ml

CHOE Valentine’s Day Aura Red Body Candle, 170ml – Because nothing says “I love you” like a big red candle, treat your loved one to this unique soy body candle. Made from 100% all-natural vegan soy and almond oil, this cruelty-free candle burns for up to 25 hours and can be used on the body to soften even the toughest of dry, cracked skin – a spa treatment in the comfort of your own home. The CHOE Aura red body candle is sure to leave you or your loved one feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Available in a selection of scents.

See more from CHOE Candles

Valentine’s Day Poppy on Paxos Print Gift Box

Valentine’s Day Poppy on Paxos Print Gift Box – The ‘Love from Paxos’ from Poppy on Paxos brings a love of Greece to your doorstep in this beautifully wrapped, personalised Valentine’s Day gift box. Simply choose from a selection of prints and add a personalised message to the gift tag to show your loved one just how much you care. Available for a limited time only!

See more from Poppy on Paxos

CORFOOT Baby and Toddler shoes, Heart Shaped

CORFOOT Baby and Toddler shoes, Heart Shaped – Who says Valentine’s Day is just for the lovers? For your littles ones, CORFOOT have created these adorable, award-winning heart motif leather shoes for newborns, babies and toddlers. These non-slip children’s shoes are available in a variety of sizes and made with a genuine Nappa leather sole which protects the baby’s feet when crawling and a toddler’s first footsteps whilst promoting freedom of movement. Your child will love the comfort these bring.

See more from CORFOOT baby and toddler shoes

Enikeoros Set of 2 A5 Watercolour Paintings ‘Whales’

Whale painting Enikeoros Ionian Kind

Enikeoros Set of 2 A5 Watercolour Paintings ‘Whales’ – It has been said that, like humans, whales are made for romance. In Greece (and throughout the world), whales have been traditionally known as a symbol of family and community. This set of A5 watercolour paintings from Enikeoros is inspired by the artist’s love of the sea so why not bring a sense of love and family to your home with this unique gift?

See more from Enikeoros

Ionian Kind E-Gift Card

Ionian Kind E-Gift Card – Why not spoil your Valentine with the gift of guilt-free sustainable shopping? No matter what the occasion, Ionian Kind e-gift cards are the perfect gift for those who just love to shop. Available from just €10, our e-gift cards are valid for up to 12 months so your special someone can purchase what they really want. Thankfully, buying an Ionian Kind e-gift card couldn’t be easier – simply select the amount and add to your basket and purchase as you would any other product. The voucher code will be delivered directly to your inbox and can be redeemed by entering the gift card code at the checkout.

Please note that e-gift cards cannot be discounted or swapped for cash value. E-gift cards are non-refundable. See full details here.

Well, that’s it for our sustainable Valentine’s Day gift guide. If you’d like to learn more about Ionian Kind and how we’re working to provide more sustainable, eco-friendly and quality products, you can visit our about us page or get in touch via our contact page.

What is greenwashing? A guide to avoiding it

Now more than ever, we as consumers are increasingly aware of the impact our shopping habits have on the environment, and many of us are taking conscious steps to shop more sustainably. Whether they be cruelty free, vegan, plastic free and/or ethically sourced products, shoppers are becoming more mindful of where their products have come from. Whatever the reason, everyone is playing their part to shop ‘greener’ – and businesses are recognising this, too. 

Whilst we may have the best intentions at heart when making purchases, big businesses can often take advantage and use a technique known as ‘greenwashing’ to entice customers. Greenwashing can make purchasing decisions confusing with dubious claims and marketing jargon used in an attempt to appear more sustainable or environmentally-friendly than they really are. So how can you spot greenwashing and known when to avoid it?

What is green washing?

Greenwashing is a marketing technique used by businesses and companies to persuade the public that their products, aims and policies are more environmentally-friendly and sustainable than they are in reality. It is essentially a way to mislead shoppers and a form of false advertising. Greenwashing is targeted to appeal to consumers who care about sustainability and the environment, by trying to make themselves or their goods sound more ethical. 

Increasing demand from eco-friendly customers has created a marketing goldmine that is easily exploited by companies, some of which will go to lengths to appear conscious and sustainable to drive sales. When companies invest more time and money into making their products and/or brand seem ‘green’ rather than actually doing the hard work and implementing meaningful change, they are greenwashing. 

Some examples of greenwashing include promoting the company’s use of paper straws, when in actual fact the straws are still not recyclable; or even calling something cruelty-free because the final product it is not tested on animals but in actual fact the ingredients in the product have been tested on animals. Another prominent example of this is shampoo companies advertising their bottles as “made from recycled material” when, in fact, only 25% of the bottle is made from recycled plastic.

Why is greenwashing bad?

Greenwashing is bad because it means the brands who are eco-friendly have to work twice as hard to make a real impact. When consumers cannot tell the difference between eco-friendly, ethical products and products which are damaging to the planet, nobody wins. 

Greenwashing allows unethical brands to convince buyers that they’re making changes when in actual fact they could be exploiting their workers, using potentially dangerous ingredients and damaging the environment. 

Remember – it is far more cost-effective for these unethical companies to spend money marketing themselves as green or eco-friendly business, rather than actually implementing these necessary changes into their business practices.

Some examples of greenwashing may be unintentional but it is important to be mindful of the possibility that brands could be intentionally misleading consumers, taking advantage of your good conscious and values as a marketing tool.

How can you avoid greenwashing?

To avoid companies using greenwashing techniques, researching a brand before making a purchase can help you make informed decisions. Most brands will have a section on their website which outlines their manifesto but if their website is still unclear, this could be a red flag. You can also write to them to ask them to clarify their stance and describe what work they are doing to be sustainable. Holding companies accountable is key to affecting real change. 

If you’d like to avoid falling for greenwashing claims, you can use our following tips…

1. Do all their products reflect their values, or just a few?

Be wary of those companies that ‘jump on the bandwagon’ when it comes to being eco-friendly. They may have one green product at the forefront but lurking behind this may be a whole host of not-so-green ones. A good example of this is a clothing store putting a lot of marketing behind a few outfits that is made from recycled material, but the rest of their store is not.

Food boxes, often promoted as a solution to the problem of food wastage are an example of this. In theory, ordering basic groceries to be delivered to your door sounds like a great idea – but could easily lead to more pollution due to increased traffic congestion. Plus, food boxes tend to come filled with single use plastics – something a truly green company would look to avoid.

2. Watch out for claims that aren’t backed by research 

Using words such as ‘clean’ or ‘green’ placed in front of it, is most likely an attempt at green-washing. This can be seen regular within the beauty industry with ingredients such as coal. Coal is mined, shipped, and burned, releasing emissions every step of the way – it can’t be clean or natural – no matter what the marketing people say. Watch out for these adjectives as they may be designed to misdirect you from the truth. If you can’t find any solid scientific evidence to back the claims – assume there is none. 

3. Eco-lingo and cute marketing

Images of leaves, friendly paw-print or nature-themed logo can be slapped onto products to signal a vague sense ‘eco-friendliness’. Be sure to search for authentic cruelty free symbols, like the vegan leaping bunny logo. Other vague marketing language seen in green-washed companies include buzz-words like ‘non-toxic’, ‘natural’ and ‘pure’. 

4. Heavy Polluters partnering with green charities 

Another example of piggybacking on the good deeds of another company to sell more products. This scheme allows large corporations to create a smoke screen, hiding behind the charities affiliated with their brand, without implementing or affecting any change within their businesses. Shopping with smaller, independent companies can reduce this risk. Smaller companies tend to have less money to throw at creating a green sheen on their products and therefore have to have a more transparent approach to sharing their realities with their customers. 

At Ionian Kind, we understand that no person or business can be perfect but we firmly believe that making small changes can help contribute toward saving the planet. Ionian Kind is committed to being transparent and making positive changes to support the environment and seeks to work with brands who share in our values – but also understand that there is always more work to be done. No one is perfect but our small changes can make a big impact. 

We work closely with our brands to develop packaging and products that are sustainable and ethically sourced. This is an ongoing process but sustainably is at the heart of our ethos. If you’d like to learn about our values, visit our About Us page for more.

How to Shop Sustainably

Research has shown that shoppers are constantly updating their wardrobes and purchasing for their homes – which means they are discarding of more of it too. Implementing sustainably-friendly ways of shopping can be an adjustment but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are some easy steps for shopping sustainably. 

Sustainable shopping and eco-friendly homeware is paving the way for a kinder way to shop. So, whilst fast fashion may be kinder to your bank balance, the negative repercussions for the environment and for the workers behind the piece you are purchasing can be long lasting. So what can you do to make a difference?

A quick google search will show you that the fashion industry alone accounts for around 10% of carbon emission globally so it’s clear to see why fast fashion and non-recyclable goods has a direct negative impact on our environment. With so many of us shopping solely online, often we forget where they came from and the majority of these pieces end up as landfill. So, if you’d like to do your bit for the environment, here are some small, simple changes that you can make whilst shopping online…

Buy Independent 

As well as offering quality, long-lasting products, shopping sustainably with independent stores helps to support communities and lessen your carbon footprint. 

The turnover of products is growing at an alarming rate and that means more waste. Not only is this bad for the environment, it also means that companies rely on outsourcing production to factories to churn out new items quickly and cheaply. As a direct result, local skills and businesses suffer. Purchasing from local textile and craftspeople ensures job security and economic growth for industries whilst promoting local culture, a sense of community to thrive.

At Ionian Kind, the brands we work with are committed to creating products with a rich history and skill found only in shopping independently and locally. See our full list of brands

…it only takes a second to do a bit of research on where it came from. Who made it and is the quality long lasting? Is it made from ethical materials? Implement these small changes to shop more consciously.

Do your research 

So often we are disconnected from the purchase we are making and it has never been easier to spontaneously shop. With that in mind, it only takes a second to do a bit of research on where it came from. Who made it and is the quality long lasting? Is it made from ethical materials? Implement these small changes to shop more consciously. Investing in good quality and ethically made products are sure to quench your thirst for some retail therapy whilst still being kind to the environment. Plus, hefty returns are creating waste and causing pollution levels to soar, so think twice before making an unnecessary purchase. 

Remember, trends always come full circle 

All fashion and trends are recycled and come back around all the time. Whilst it can feel tempting to stay up to date with the latest ‘it’ piece or seasonal style from your favourite brands, upcycling a preloved or vintage item or investing in quality that will last can be much more satisfying. 

Trends are often cyclical, and styles are often repeated. Other styles are always going to be classics. You can find some real gems when shopping with smaller, local brands or whilst rummaging in a vintage or pre-loved clothing store and many vintage sellers also have website now too. 

There are many brands who offer the option of renting clothes now which is perfect for special occasions where you may only wear an outfit once. Pre-loved or second-hand items promote the reuse and recycling of products that may use harmful materials or production methods. Rather than discarding items like this, reusing is always the better option. Each new item of clothing has a substantial carbon footprint, when compared with the zero footprint of local charity and vintage pieces the choice is obvious. This way of shopping cuts down on unnecessary waste and you will have a unique piece that makes you stand out from the crowd. 

Use the 4 R’s – Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle

When shopping online, it’s important to remember the 4 R’s – reduce, reuse, repair and recycle. When adding items to your shopping card, avoid frantically adding items to your cart and think practically. This will help you to avoid returning items and cut down on waste. Another benefit of waiting before purchasing is that you’ll have one, amazing larger order instead of lots of littles ones that will need separate packaging and shipping.

There you have it, our top tips for how you can make small improvements and shop online more sustainably, reducing your environmental impact. Here at Ionian Kind, we are committed to promoting sustainability not only within Greece and its accompanying islands but to our UK and European customers too. If you’d like to learn more about our brand ethos and commitments to sustainability, you can visit our About Us page to find out more. 

What does ‘cruelty free’ really mean?

Now more than ever, consumers want to know how their products are made and what ingredients are being used to make them. And, whilst there have always been cruelty free products available, the retail market has been flooded with products labelled ‘cruelty free’ in recent years, but what does it really mean? 

 

What does cruelty free mean?

In short, cruelty free means a product and its component ingredients have not been tested on animals. Cruelty free is often associated with beauty and cosmetics, but it can also apply to other goods such as household cleaning products, clothes, stationery, and candles.

A common misconception with cruelty free branding is that the product is vegan. Sadly, this may not be the case unless the brand clearly stipulate the product is both vegan and cruelty free. This is because often the product may not have been tested on animals but may still contain animal product. To be sure, it is best to look for both on labels when shopping for vegan and cruelty free items.

 

Why should you buy cruelty free products?

The rise in sustainable shopping practises and the increasing popularity and importance of going vegan has forced us to reflect upon how animals and their by-products are incorporated into our everyday lives. More people are also questioning how their everyday consumption impacts the environment and research shows that animal containing products are one of the largest contributors to climate change.

 

Cruelty free myths and facts

Although the term ‘cruelty free’ seems straightforward there are a lot of grey areas due to the fact there is no standardised legal definition of what counts as ‘cruelty free’. This gives companies licence to use the language how they best see fit for their product.

Brands can make some pretty broad claims without any major repercussions. In turn, this means the phrase can be used interchangeably with different definitions that some consumers may in fact not consider cruelty free at all. Some of these include, ingredients that have been tested on animals, but the final product has not, or the brand may have hired a third-party company to test the product on animals. Often brands who claim to be cruelty free do not test on animals unless it is required by law – which usually is the case for brands who sell in China as animal testing is a legal requirement there.

As always when shopping sustainably and ethically, it is important to do your research on a brand as, in some instances, brands may claim an item is cruelty free but this may not the case. For example, mink eyelashes can claim to be 100% cruelty free, by definition, as they are not tested on animals. However, you may wish to consider whether they are ethical aspects of this statement, as they are made from minks that are confined to small, cramped wire cages in highly unsanitary conditions.

Animal rights activists and advocacy organisations are continually striving for one unified definition of cruelty free – one which does not allow brands to use loopholes to sell to China or involve any use or harm of animals in the end to end making and selling of goods.

 

How can you find out if a brand is cruelty free?

Nowadays it is easier than ever to find out about a brand’s ethos and where they sit within the sustainable, cruelty free and vegan spectrum. Many brands are actively more transparent on social media and with a quick google search you can usually find a handy cruelty free guide to many popular brands too. If you’re shopping in-store many products are now clearly labelled cruelty free and tend to have recognised logo such as the ‘leaping bunny’ to affirm their status.

Is Ionian Kind cruelty free?

At Ionian Kind, we are proud to partner exclusively with brands who share our passion for animal welfare and ethical shopping. Many Ionian Kind products are vegan, vegetarian and cruelty-free. 

Some Ionian Kind products may include vintage upcycled leather, although when this is the case these products are labelled as such. Where these products are handmade, some can also be made without leather upon request. Please contact us before making an order.

That’s it for our guide to cruelty-free shopping. If you are unsure about any specific product, do not hesitate to get in touch with us via the contact page or our social media channels. 

Slow Tourism and the Preservation of Ionian Culture

Preservation and sustainability is incredibly important to us at Ionian Kind. Accommodating mass tourism on the Ionian islands potentially threatens local traditions as well as the local environment. In spite of Corfu’s agricultural traditions, the expansion of tourist infrastructure has resulted in an increasing abandonment of productive lands, leading to a greater dependence on food imports. Moreover, making room for more and more arrivals each year has compromised the recreational land available for local use and the health of the islands’ ecosystems. Evidently, this creation of  a tourist monoculture is detrimental to the islands’ local culture, traditions, environment and businesses. 

One of the less-discussed aspects of the slow fashion movement is cultural sustainability. Simply put, cultural sustainability describes the ‘successful transmission of traditional knowledge to future generations’ (source). Fast fashion poses a threat to cultural preservation in a number of ways; firstly, traditional methods and processes in clothes production are often neglected by the fast fashion industry, in which clothing designs move rapidly from catwalks to stores for mainstream consumption to meet new trends. In addition, patronising fast-fashion conglomerates represents a failure to support and re-invest in the local economy. Thus, as Danica Ratte argues, by buying products instead from sustainable, local brands, whose processes are inextricably tied to the local culture, the consumer can ‘actively help preserve and protect this particular piece of culture’ (source).

One of our main pillars at Ionian Kind is the promotion and preservation of our local Ionian culture. The historical and cultural influences of the Venetians, French and British are evident to this day in the islands’ architecture, cuisine and dialect. Furthermore, being the rainiest region in Greece, their fertile land makes the islands ideal for agriculture; the island of Corfu specifically is renowned for its production of dairy products, wine, citrus fruits, and olive oil. To an international audience, however, the Ionian islands are possibly best known as a tourist destination. The huge influx of visitors throughout the summer months has led to an increasing economic reliance on tourism; the industry now accounts for over 60% of the seven islands’ GDP. 

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5 good reasons to buy artisan products

In a world where it is all too easy to thoughtlessly consume mass-produced products, many consumers are making it their mission to shop sustainably by supporting local artisan brands. This means shopping with ethical brands that create unique products via traditional methods and often completely by hand. With this in mind, here are reasons why we think buying handmade is the best way to shop.

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