Reducing Plastic One Seed Pack at a time

When I started Sow ‘n Sow 9 years ago, being an eco friendly business was at the forefront of my vision. I wanted to produce products in Australia with a low carbon footprint, using recycled materials where possible. Our Gifts of Seeds are printed in Australia on 100% post consumer waste recycled card and we produce everything within Australia. But more recently there has been something that I knew we could do better with.

Back when we started, we used paper envelopes to package our seeds within our Gift of Seeds packaging. They actually came from China, and the quality was less than impressive. The seeds literally slid out through the cracks in the folds of the envelopes! For fine seed like Poppy this was especially problematic, so we switched to little plastic zip lock baggies for poppy seed. With on-going issues with the paper envelopes, we ended up deciding to switch all of our seed types to the little zip lock baggies. I liked how the seed was visible, and also that the package was water proof and re-sealable so you didn’t have to use the seed all in one go.  But this has had me increasingly feeling uneasy. Especially with the plastic bag bans across many of Australia’s states and territories, it seems that everyone is now focused on reducing waste and reducing the use of single use plastics.  Which is so awesome! So those little zip lock baggies were really starting to weigh me down. It was time to switch, but the decision on what to switch to wasn’t an easy one.

We looked at heaps of different options, including getting a machine to package our seeds with. We might still do this down the track, but I wasn’t satisfied with the eco credentials of the packaging available for the machines, and the outlay was going to be significant.

In the end we decided to go back to the paper envelopes, but this time we’re having them produced locally in Australia by a family run envelope manufacture. This factory is literally located behind the business owners home, and they make beautiful, high quality envelopes. The cost? It is literally 10 times more than we were paying for the plastic zip lock bags. But it’s a cost that we are willing to wear in a bid to be more eco friendly.

So going forward you may start to notice the seeds within the Gift of Seed packaging in a lovely white recycled paper envelope. This won’t happen over night as many of our stockists will have stock that still have the Plastic Zip locks within them. But all newly packed Gifts of Seeds from today will be packed with these lovely recycled, Australian made paper envelopes. We are sure the dolphins will appreciate our small step in the right direction 🙂

How to Make a Pressed Flower Frame

If you’re wondering what to do with all of your gorgeous, delicate pressed Flowers, here’s an idea. Arrange them in a picture frame so you can admire them every day.  We made a little video to show you how easy it is. 

 To create this you will need pressed flowers! Check out our ‘How to Press Flowers‘ blog post  for a demonstration. Our Sow ‘n Sow Flower Presses are available for purchase here.

Happy crafting!

1.  Source an old frame – see what you have at home or have a look at op shops/$2 dollar stores to see what you can find.
The frame we used is from Kmart.

2. Pull the frame apart and clean the glass

3. Arrange the flowers and foliage however you like. If necessary, you can use a small bit of kraft glue to keep them in place

4. Put your frame back together

Flower Press

About us & how it all began

We are now 9 years into Sow ‘n Sow’s life and what an adventure it has been. I realised that there may be many new members in our community that do not know me and I wanted to introduce myself as well as explaining why and how Sow ‘n Sow came to be.

First of all, hi! I’m Michelle, and I live in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland town of Maleny with my partner Nick, our 2 young daughters, fur baby Maude some chickens and a hive of bees.

Sow ‘n Sow is my little business, started back in 2010 which keeps all the cogs turning in our life. We currently run the business from an old shed that has been converted into our studio. Garage doors were swapped for sliding doors and a new floor, roof and wall lining transformed it into a beautiful light filled space overlooking the garden.

Sow ‘n Sow is run by myself and Jess who’s my main wonderful employee! Jess does most of the day to day running of the business now which allows me to juggle being a mum whilst also focusing on new product development, marketing and dreaming up awesome ideas for my garden! We employ other casuals as needed including Jordan who puts together most of the seed packages and Flower Presses, and Louise who steps in when we need another set of hands to get through the day or the week. Nick is chief of payroll & book keeping amongst other things!

The Sow ‘n Sow team, from left Jess, Nick, Jordan, Michelle, Freya and Louise.

Our main line of products is our Gifts of Seeds – a greeting card and gift that grows in one beautiful package. We started with just 2 Gift of Seeds varieties back in 2010. We now have 26 seed packet designs and more on the design table at the moment.

In 2014 we added one Australian made, hand crafted Flower Press to our collection and we now have 4 styles including our gorgeous mini Flower Presses.

We sell bright recycled kraft gift tags which have the illustrations from our seed packets and compliment our range of gifts.

And we distribute a few other products that relate to plants and gardening, such as our Plant Animals which are sourced from the UK that clip on to your plants which are very cute!

Our core business is wholesale sales into Gift Shops, Eco Retailers, Book stores, Nurseries and Florists. We sell directly to customers through our website and phone, and we have a custom design service where our Gifts of Seeds can be fully customised for corporate promotions and special events. Over the past 9 years we’ve done custom designs for some amazing clients including the City of Sydney, Stephanie Alexander, Blackmores and Audi Australia to name a few.

We’ve always strived to be an eco friendly business, producing products using sustainable materials and producing a minimal amount of waste. Our Gifts of Seeds are printed in Australia on 100% post consumer waste recycled card. The production of our products is all based in Australia, even the envelopes provided with our Gifts of Seeds and the plant labels enclosed are made in Australia.

How did Sow ‘n Sow come about?

The initial inspiration came from the fact that I wanted to be in control of my life, not being restricted by the standard 9-5 work life. I started working full time when I was 20 years old, working for Channel Nine in Brisbane and then the ABC, before moving to London and working in branding and advertising for a few years. I enjoyed my career but I wanted to be in control of my daily movements. I knew I wanted to have kids so I set about creating a life where I could have an income as well as complete flexibility day to day.

Initially it was hard to come up with a business concept – there are so many beautiful products that it seemed overwhelming to come up with something original and with purpose! I have always been creatively driven and have a passion for design. When living in England I found comfort in the small green courtyard we had outside our bedroom and began buying flowers and plants to fill it with. This is where my passion for gardening really began. There I discovered the joy of watching a seed grow into a plant and I found that truly amazing and very fulfilling.

Nick and I moved to Melbourne where the gardening interest grew in our little Northcote courtyard. I began gifting my friends packets of seeds as gifts to share my own joy of gardening and by this point I had been trying to develop a business concept for some time. When I realised that they were all loving the seeds I thought there could be a business concept there. I sat on the idea for a while then dismissed it as being silly, mainly because I’m not a graphic designer and also because I was afraid that it wouldn’t work.

A while later I came back to the idea and decided to just give it a go anyway, resigning to the fact that if it failed I’d surely learn something along the way and at least my desires to do something would be fulfilled for the time being. I literally knew very little about gardening, hardly anything about seeds and absolutely NOTHING about the gift and homewares industry. But I did know a fair bit about design & printing having worked in creative advertising agencies for a few years. So I teamed up with a friend, Rochelle Sanko who’s design work I admired, and her business partner Jodi Shepherd and together we produced the first 2 Gift of Seeds designs – Basil and Sunflower. I had these printed then started dropping samples into gift shops around Melbourne and that way found my first few stockists. These old designs had to be hand glued and each packet required the application of 3 labels, so they were very labour intensive! We ended up with 6 varieties in the original range of seed gifts.

Working with Rochelle and Jodi on the first Gift of Seeds design

 One of the first Gift of Seed designs we produced ‘My Basil’.


Forget-me-not in the first design style we took to market 

With help from my sister Madeleine, I did my first trade show in Melbourne where were took about 30 orders – which at the time felt huge! With a growing list of stockists and some experience in the industry I felt that the product needed some impovements, so I put an advertisement out for a designer and that’s how I met the designer and illustrator Daniella Germain.  I loved her work, especially her beautiful cook books published by Hardy Grant. Daniella and I started working together on a big redesign of the Gifts of Seeds which we launched a few months later. That was back in 2012 and we’re still selling those exact designs today. We still work closely with Daniella and she’s become a dear friend too.

Michelle & Daniella with son Henry visiting the studio in 2016.

A lot has happened since 2012 of course but that’s enough for one post…
If you’ve come this far and have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to hit me up! I can be contacted by email on info@sownsow.com.au or send me a DM on instagram 🙂

Seed Packs for Healthier Happier

One of our biggest projects in 2018 was producing a whopping number of these seed packets for the Queensland Government’s Healthier Happier campaign.

The custom designed Gifts of Seeds form part of a Kitchen Garden Pack which include an instructions booklet, gardening tips and tasty suggestions.

We produced five seed packets for each pack including Lettuce, Cherry Tomato, Basil, Spring Onion and Carrots which were available free to Queensland residents!
This was our second time producing packets for this campaign and a fab opportunity for our small business which creates employment for locals in our hinterland town. We also love being a part of a campaign which encourages growing your own veggies 🙂

Xmas Shipping & Holiday Closure Dates

The weather is heating up, the Christmas parties have started and the last minute mad rush of gift purchasing has begun!

We have received our last delivery of Flower Presses for the year and there is still stock available but it won’t last long so be quick if you would like to secure some.

For delivery in time for Christmas, for Australian metro areas with regular shipping, please order by Monday the 17th of December.

Express post is available right up until Thursday the 20th of December.

We are taking a break and will be closed from Friday Dec 21 until Monday January 14. 

Sending massive thanks to all of our wonderful customers & stockists for a fantastic & very busy year. We hope everyone has a safe and fun filled Christmas & New Year.

xx Michelle & Jess

Seeds ‘n Greetings, A Gift of Seeds

New for Christmas is our Australian summer inspired Gift of Seeds
for wishing with a little Aussie humour, ‘Seeds ‘n Greetings’!

Containing a mix of seeds to create stunning summer bouquets,
with easy to grow white Cosmos, red Zinnia and
fragrant Dill as a useful and beautiful filler.

Australian made and designed, printed on 100% post consumer waste
recycled card and hand packed in our Sunshine Coast studio.

Available to order now alongside our other Christmas themed Gifts of Seeds,
our year round floral and edible seeds, our Australian made Flower Presses, 100% recycled Gift Tags, and our other gifts!

 

Mini Flower Presses by Sow ‘n Sow

Sow ‘n Sow are thrilled to introduce our new Mini Flower Presses. Although we have had these for a while now, we have been unable to promote the product due to high demand and not enough stock!

These beautiful presses are available in two designs, Golden Wattle or Posy. Beautifully illustrated, each press is hand crafted in Melbourne out of hard-wearing materials to ensure stable pressure & long-lasting use. Flower Presses are used to eternalise the beauty of flowers and foliage and are sure to inspire creativity.

We are proud to provide long lasting, eco-friendly products that are made in Australia.

Sow ‘n Sow at Life Instyle Melbourne 2018

We’ll be there! We’re in a different spot this time, stand 1334.

We’ve got 3 new Gifts of Seeds to show everyone plus some exciting new Flower Presses! And a few other new things.

We look forward to seeing our existing stockists and meeting anyone interested in stocking our products.

We love Precious Wings

Just a quick note to put light onto the incredible charity Precious Wings. Sow ‘n Sow has proudly provided our Everlasting Daisy and Forget Me Not Gift of Seeds in support of the charity since 2013, when Kerry first contacted Michelle.

Precious Wings is a not-for-profit organisation who’s generosity and compassion is touching the lives of people who have experienced tragedy. Kerry and Kirsty began Precious Wings (formerly Project Butterfly) in memory of their two beautiful sons, Lachlan and Toby, after experiencing still births. They have since been driven to reach out to families who are experiencing the devastating loss of a loved one. They are able to provide comfort and support through giving families a beautiful and memorable gift as they leave the hospital.

They supply Memory boxes to families who lose a baby, who lose a child of up to 16 years, as well as for some adults. Miscarriage memory bags are supplied to early pregnancy units and emergency departments. They also provide hospital staff and families with support and advice in empowering families during the healing process. Precious Wings currently provide for 24 hospitals and funeral homes over Queensland.

 

 

0