Every issue, we shine a spotlight on a brand or shop we think is really getting it right. For homewares with heart, look no further than Aerende…
Here at The Home Page, we are all about the stories which unfold within a home. That’s not restricted to the domestic dramas of the people who live there; it can also be the story told by the items chosen for it. While most of us have some more prosaic and mass-produced items in our homes, we’ll bet that it’s the ones with a story behind them which you cherish the most. Which is why we think you’ll love Aerende as much as we do.
Former journalist Emily Mathieson was inspired to set up Aerende after realising that there were no homewares shops anywhere in the UK that really integrated social and environmental considerations alongside style and desirability. “For me, putting a product out into the world comes with a lot of responsibility,” says Emily. “There’s not much point in creating products that claim to good in one area if they do harm in another.”
That’s why Aerende’s products are handmade – to avoid the energy consumption and emissions of mass manufacturing – and sourced and designed within the UK. By commissioning craftspeople who face barriers to employment, Aerende creates hours of meaningful work and wellbeing for people who often don’t have an outlet for their talents, and of course this has wider social benefits in terms of improved mental and physical health for makers as well as reduced intervention costs from public money.
“Home to me should be a place of sanctuary,” says Emily. She adds another level to the William Morris ideal that things should be beautiful and useful: “I want to be surrounded by products with a story, and that I know haven’t caused harm. How can I feel safe and nurtured if I know someone else has suffered to create that sense of contentment?” It’s a good question. “I’m passionate about changing the way we shop for homewares in this country, and want to inspire people that they can make a difference by showing how ethics and aesthetics can go together,” says Emily. We wholeheartedly agree.