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 🙂

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!

 

 

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It has been a busy year so far and things just got busier. Last Thursday the 13th of August we moved our studio from Fitzroy North to Castlemaine.

It was a little sad leaving the wonderful artist studios that we had been a part of for nearly 3 years, but also super exciting to be moving to our new home in the wonderful Wollen Mill opposite the Botanic Gardens in Castlemaine.

We now have a lovely north facing window and we are neighbours to Earth Garden Magazine, the wonderful new Austrian inspired ‘Das Kaffeehaus’ cafe and coffee roastery by Coffee Basics , Boomtown Winemakers and lots of other Castlemaine based businesses.

Just a couple of weeks prior to our move we exhibited at the boutique trade event Life Instyle for the first time in around 4 years. It was wonderful to take orders for new stockists all over Australia, and to see the familiar and friendly faces of our existing stockists. We were completely overwhelmed by the response and the number of orders we received.

We are now frantically hiring new staff to help us in our new studio, as well as trying to keep on top of all of the orders. Please do bear with us if we don’t get back to you as quickly as we normally would.

We set up online wholesale ordering a few months ago which is up and running now. We introduced a new wall hung display stand, and we have new designs for our boxed Gift of Seed sets which I’m yet to photograph and add to the webshop so they are coming soon. And we gave our Flower Press a lovely little calico bag with matching gift tags!

I have left the best part for last, our beautiful new Gifts of Seeds which join our Australian Native collection, Swan River Daisy and Billy Buttons. The photos above were created by the stylist Emma Duckworth. We couldn’t be happier with these beautiful shots as well as the new designs which bear the stunning illustration of Daniella Germain as always.

The Natives

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While the Australian Native collection has been available for a few months, I thought it was about time I wrote a little about them.

Since launching Sow ‘n Sow about three years ago, the question of native seeds has been asked many times. So late last year I decided to create the Australian Native Gifts of Seeds.

Together with designer and illustrator Daniella Germain, we developed a new look and feel for this collection which was inspired by botanical illustrations and an overall earthier aesthetic.

Picking the seed types was the most difficult task, finding seeds which are easy to grow, long lasting while being well known certainly wasn’t easy. As we had tourism in mind, I couldn’t go past Golden Wattle, Australia’s floral emblem. Everlasting daisies were chosen as they’re so pretty and much loved, Kangaroo Paw because it is such an iconic and unique native plant and Australian Native Wisteria because it produces a stunning purple flower and is easy to grow from seed.

The photos below document the development of the collection, Daniella getting started on the Kangaroo Paw illustration, the original Golden Wattle illustration which is my favourite, and Marcel our photographer perfecting the seed arrangement for the product photo shoot.

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Custom designed Gifts of Seeds for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

The Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) in Sydney is one of the most well-known gardens in Australia and as such we were honoured and thrilled to create a custom designed RBG Gift of Seeds. The packets are currently being placed in hotel rooms at the Four Season Hotel (Sydney) as an innovative way for guests to support the Gardens and in doing so, help to protect Australian plant species in threatened habitats.

Paper Daisies were chosen as they are one of the most popular features at the Gardens in Spring and are easy to grow from seed. The design of the packets was created with Karen Rinkel, the Garden’s graphic designer, who applied a vintage botanical illustration of the paper daisies (Rhodanthe chlorocephala subsp. rosea ‘Rosy Everlasting’) combined with the layout and a few elements from our retail packets.

The Royal Botanic Gardens raise half of their funding independently which contributes to maintaining the gardens, conservation and heritage projects, science, research, education and outreach. If you would like to show your support for the gardens by purchasing one of these lovely packets, pop over to the Gardens Shop.

Greening Laneway Festival with wheat grass

Here are some snaps of the Wheat Grass trays I created for St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Melbourne. These went into the artist’s area as table centre pieces. The venue is the Footscray Community Arts Centre, a fabulous modern art gallery space. The simple, lush green trays looked great against the white walls and funky furniture.

Creative Theming for Big Day Out Melbourne

Last week was an odd one, we threw ourselves into a last minute creative theming job for Big Day Out’s Wine Bar. Check out our “nest” and pallet creations which came together in 36 degree heat. Thanks so much to Imm, Caja, Mike & Bish for all your help, you’re the best, couldn’t have done it without you!


Project Time

It’s been a year and a half since my sister Maddie and I threw ourselves head first into a massive creative theming project for South Bank in Brisbane (see here and here and here). I’m excited to say that I’m now back in the creative theming driving seat, this time dressing a bar in an ‘organic’ way for Big Day Out Melbourne. The above image is a mood board that sort of captures what I’ll be creating between now and this coming Friday. Wish me luck!

Studio inspiration

We have just moved into a wonderful, light filled studio in Fitzroy North and I’m dreaming up ways to transform the space into a plant-filled oasis. Like any professional procrastinator, I turned to pinterest to while away a few short hours and here’s some of the highlights.

Studio neighbour Lauren McIvor wants a swing.

How about a plant swing?!

I need to find a fiddle leaf fig!

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