Can you imagine how many synthetic sponges, dryer sheets, etc. are thrown out each year?
We are on a mission to find better, less wasteful home cleaning options that don’t need to end up in a landfill. During our search for home care products that fit the bill, we happened upon Echoview Fiber Mill and Farm. Located in Weaverville, NC, the fiber mill has been on a mission since it’s opening in 2012, to connect makers with the production process of sustainable yarn and other finished goods, such as the wool sponges pictured. They work hard to shed light on the myriad benefits sustainable, USA-made fiber products offer. If you find yourself in the Greater Asheville area, the mill offers a free tour if you can make it at 1:00 pm on any given Friday afternoon. Since most of our customers are not in the area, enjoy a mini tour via this blog post!
The Case for Natural Fibers
Today, synthetic fibers account for over 65% of global production because they are standardized, relatively cheap and easier to manage on a large scale than natural fibers. Why should a person spend $24 on a 3 Natural Wool Dryer Balls when they can spend $8 for 3 plastic ones or overseas wool balls made for pennies on Amazon? Julie Jensen, owner of Echoview Fiber Mill, asked herself those questions and has some pretty convincing answers. Synthetic plastics are made in a lab from oil and chemicals and the process releases harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that are a major contributor to smog, which has been shown to lead to numerous health issues. Economically, these plastics are connected to large corporations that are dependent on fossil fuels. Natural fibers come from living, breathing animals or plants (which can be considered a renewable resource) and often have a small-scale farm, and families, or an indigenous community behind them. If you consider the carbon footprint of the raw materials you consume and the power of your dollar, buying USA domestic wool/natural fibers is absolutely the best option. And the best part yet, wool already has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties – making it a far superior product!
A Little More About the Wool
Echoview does meticulously care for its own fiber animals at its own farm but also places a lot of importance on supporting other fiber farms in the area. Amalia Fragoso-Eby, Echoview’s Mill Manager, is responsible for seeking out farmers in the region with the best quality wool. How does she choose what fiber to purchase when there are so many options? To answer that, we have to go back 26,000 years ago when plant fibers were first extracted and spun into cordage, and 7,000- 9,000 years ago, when alpaca and sheep were likely domesticated for the first time. Over the millennia, via farmers’ choices and natural selection, plants and animals with more favorable characteristics reproduce, creating an incredible variety of characteristics, often which are suited toward a variety of climates. There are several different characteristics Amalia looks for in wool when choosing fleeces. These include, but are not limited to; cleanliness, beauty, fineness, crimp, luster, elasticity and strength. All of these characteristics depend on many factors that happen during the animal husbandry stage of wool production. Genetics, region, nutrition, weather, housing, and age all affect the characteristics of wool. Merino wools, for example, can vary from 11.5 microns to 26 microns (average diameter of wool) at the upper end! In one fleece, the micron count and other characteristics can vary, making Amalia’s job one that requires great skill and experience to be able to create the highest quality end product without excessive waste or degradation of the fibers.
Wool Sponge: How It’s Made
Now you have an idea of how important animals and farmers are to your Sponges, we’ll move on to the creation. First, wool roving (a long, narrow bundle of fiber) comes into Echoview from a mill in South Carolina. It’s a high-quality Merino Wool, but isn’t fine enough for against-the-skin yarn use. The wool is sourced from domestic USA farmers and it all goes into a ‘Wool Pool’ so the wool from many different sheep are combined to allow for consistent roving. The roving comes to the mill in 30 lb. tightly wound bumps. The mill team picks the wool in a “picker” to fluff it, then runs it through a “carder” so it comes out in a beautiful, fluffy batt. Then, Myra, who is Echoview’s Wool Sponge lead, puts the batt on the “Wet Felting Machine” where she adds soap and hot water. The machine takes about 40 minutes to felt each batt and when it’s done, Myra hangs the batt on the drying table. Once dry, the batt is then run through the “Needle Felting Machine” to make sure the wool is consistent and felted properly and will hold together when you use it in your kitchen! The last step is cutting out every sponge by hand! After the sponge is perfectly cut in the sew room, the shop staff adds the tags and the sponges are ready to go!
Echoview Fiber Mill is a creative maker’s dream. The Mill places importance on sharing its blessings and successes with as many people in the community as possible. Free tours are not the only benefit of a visit! Echoview hosts free Craft Nights, Craft Mornings, Young Parents Knit Morning and general knitting help, as well as other classes and workshops. The Echoview team loves to share their skills and knowledge with anyone who asks. Emilie Gate, who is the Head of Yarn Wholesale, is an accomplished knitter. She is happy to help fix knitting issues, recommend yarns and has an excellent knowledge of crafting and knitting references. If you visit the Mill and Yarn Shop, more than likely, you will be greeted Alden Roberts, who has been knitting and crocheting since she was a kid. She keeps the store at Echoview stocked, cleaned and the pillows fluffed in the knitting lounge, ready for anyone who wants to relax and focus on their work in progress. Truly, a community hub, indeed!
Last week, Green Haven Living was featured in an article posted by Emily Huddleston, of Refin.
The article is packed full with both short term and long term improvements you can make at home that will certainly pay off down the road. Home buyers are already looking for environmentally responsible features, and this expectation will grow exponentially over time!
Click here for an important read and practical guide that is sure to establish a healthier, more sustainable home you and yours can enjoy for many years to come!
Cheers to a sustainable and happy new year in 2020!
Did you know that we produce on average 25% more waste during the holiday season than at any other time of year? Here are 10 easy ideas to green up your holiday traditions!
- Gifts don’t always have to be tangible items. Treat your loved ones to experiences instead. Great examples of this include:
- Simplify! Try the increasingly popular “Want, Need, Wear, Read” gift strategy. Simply put, you purchase a WANT (that new bicycle or Instapot, etc), an item he or she NEEDS (soap, food items, grocery gift cards, etc.), something to WEAR (socks, underwear, jeans, shirts, etc.), and one item he or she READS (magazine, books, etc.).
- Skip the wrapping paper! We have 100% natural jute bags available in 2 sizes at Green Haven Living. Not only are these bags reusable, and biodegradable — they will last years! They are a more economical option because you are purchasing them once to use longer instead of purchasing non-recyclable gift bags each year. The rest of the year, they make great totes for your farmers’ market!
- Look for stores that operate sustainably! Try your local resale consignment stores for gently used gifts at a fraction of the cost, antique and vintage goods, as well as stores that focus on gifts made from reclaimed, repurposed, or recycled materials. Check out these Westerville gems:
- Shop with purpose. Set your sights on gifts and/or stores that give back. The majority of our product lines at Green Haven Living have a social, wildlife conservation, or environmental cause they associate with. Additionally, as a small business, we funnel a portion of our sales to organizations such as the Ohio Wildlife Center. One of our most popular gifts — 4Ocean Bracelets — is always in stock! Your 4Ocean bracelet funds the removal of trash from our coastlines and ocean, as well as wildlife conservation causes around the world!
- Gift a donation or volunteer opportunity. You can tailor a donation or volunteer with a cause, religious organization, or project that is important to your loved ones.
- Ditch the ribbon entirely — or try more sustainable options! If you still want to use ribbon in your gift wrapping, there are 100% biodegradable cotton, linen, hemp, raffia and burlap options available.
- Cut down the kitchen waste! Use Meli Wraps (available in our store) as a replacement for plastic wrap. Meli Wraps are an organic cotton wrap made with beeswax and plant oil. Wash and reuse your dishes, utensils, and cups for your holiday meals instead of using disposables.
- Get picky about your Christmas tree.
- Cut Trees – Look for potted and/or organic varieties. It is VERY important to choose a tree farm carefully. Many farms still use a pesticide called chlorpyrifos, a suspected neurotoxin that may cause brain damage and health defects in children. Potted Christmas trees should be chosen based on your local growing conditions and can be re-planted outside.
- Artificial Trees – A vintage, make-it-yourself, or artificial tree can be enjoyed for years. Most commercially available artificial christmas trees are constructed of materials that cannot be recycled. If you must use an artificial tree, find a shelter that will gladly accept a donation.
- We love the nostalgia of Christmas Tree Tinsel! Yet it’s a real pain to try and collect all of the pieces to reuse next year before they clog up your vacuum! Christmas Tree Tinsel is simply not sustainable! But, never fear…we have your sustainable option. Enter our Victorian Christmas Tree Tinsel! In Victorian times, tinned steel was used to decorate trees giving the illusion of icicles. Isn’t it funny how old becomes new time and time again!? Pssst…we also have enameled tinsel in beautiful colors if that’s your thing!
Astor + Orion was born out of a coincidental meeting.
Karen Hartman – a passionate creative who spent nearly a decade in Shanghai, China as a manufacturing agent – was looking for a new way to express her creativity.
In her search, she signed up for a jewelry design class taught by renowned American sculptor, Tomas Wittelsbach. Intrigued by the idea of learning how to sculpt organic shapes using a 3D sculpting program, she knew right away this new workflow could lead to big changes in the jewelry industry.
Karen kept in touch with Tomas as she and her family moved from Shanghai to Bali — and eventually to Seattle, right into Tomas’ backyard. With Tomas as a partner, they established a studio in the Ballard neighborhood and Astor + Orion was born in January of 2018.
Astor + Orion Founder Karen Hartman wearing the bestselling Dreamcatcher Earring design.
Astor + Orion jewelry is sustainably cast from 70% recycled stainless steel and designed to be easily recycled again at the end of its life. This approach to jewelry design is unique; the 3D environment which allows the creation of stunning modern designs with handcrafted charm. Once a design has been perfected, it is sent to a certified manufacturing partner in Thailand who shares the belief that quality work starts with a fair and safe workplace. The pieces are cast, polished and inspected for the highest quality so that customers can feel proud of each and every piece they own.“Astor + Orion is the result of me working to reconcile my need for beauty with my need for justice.” — founder, Karen Hartman
The manufacturing partner in Thailand is conscientious about it’s own environmental impact. The air in the facility is purified to remove contaminants. Additionally, the water leaving the facility is purified to avoid adverse impact to the surrounding environment. Packing and shipping materials are recyclable or reusable and minimize the use of plastic.
Model wearing the Amorra Silver Hoop and Providence Studs.
Angie Scheu, of Green Haven Living, first connected with Karen Hartman in September of 2018. Both women recognized their mutual desire to promote and encourage environmental sustainability in the commercial sector, as well as a passion for elevating fellow women entrepreneurs. Each business is — at its very core — a celebration of those virtues — so, it only made sense to work together. Stop in to see the Astor + Orion collection at Green Haven Living. You’ll find unique designs that celebrate your individuality while creating a community of women who aren’t afraid to take risks, achieve their goals, and live their life as they please. After all, we’ve heard somewhere that you only live once. So, why not look amazing while you’re at it?
In the literal sense — by getting involved on Earth Day! Earth Day is just a few days away on April 22nd. Did you know Earth Day was first recognized in 1970 due to the efforts of Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin? 49 years later, it has evolved to become an international day of citizen action for those looking for a way to make a difference. Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about Earth Day:
- Earth Day was partly inspired by the New York Times Bestseller Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
- Over 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day in 1970.
- Earth Day inspired sweeping environmental legislation in the 70’s and Richard Nixon’s creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated April 22nd to recognize Earth Day internationally as “International Mother Earth Day”.
- NASA’s “Moon Trees” are in celebration of Earth Day.
- The 2019 theme for Earth Day is “Protect Our Species” in recognition of the millions of species that coexist with us on Earth.
There are countless ways to participate and to almost any extent you wish. If you are looking for group volunteerism locally, you can choose between dozens of service sites across Columbus by visiting Earth Day Columbus 2019. All ages and abilities can participate in activities from cleaning up litter, to Repair Cafe’s, planting trees, or removing invasive species from our parks. Bring friends and family and meet new people through these unique opportunities to do some good!
Of course, there are ways to contribute on your own if you prefer. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Plant trees
- Create a pollinator-friendly garden (See below! We have 12 types of seeds in the shop to help you with that!)
- Make a monetary to a conservation organization or “Adopt” an Endangered Animal
- Go for a hike
- Donate unneeded items to charity or sell to second hand stores
- Write a letter to your local or state government
- Donate to an environmental or animal charity, such as Ohio Environmental Council, Sierra Club, or Ohio Wildlife Center
Earth Day is a great opportunity to make a difference in the health of this amazing place we call “home” as well as the rest of the creatures with whom we share it. Additionally, there are many purchases you can make year-round at Green Haven Living that contribute to Earth- and Animal-friendly causes, such as our popular 4Ocean bracelets and Naked Bee products.
Enjoy all that this season has to offer! Hope to see you soon.
Angie @ Green Haven Living, LLC
A few summers ago, our friend Jud Beachler found a newborn bird in bad shape just outside of his home. He thought at first that the bird had died, but then realized when taking a closer look that it was barely clinging to life. So, he brought the bird inside despite thinking it may not have much chance of surviving. The little bird had been exposed to the heat, and malnourishment left him weak and fragile.
Over the next several months, Jud and his wife Deborah nursed the little bird — who they named “Peanut” — back to health. They both found that caring for a newborn bird was a lot like caring for a newborn human! Peanut was very vocal any time he needed to be fed or wanted attention. Peanut wanted to be held often and grew very attached to Jud and Deborah. Likewise, they grew really attached to him, and both knew the day they released him would be bittersweet.
Before long, those round-the-clock efforts paid off. Little Peanut had regained his strength. His feathers were growing in, and it was important to his rehabilitation that he was able to practice flying in a safe place. So, Jud and Deborah took Peanut to the basement of their home where he could fly safe from harm. Brave little Peanut showed such amazing progress and resiliency, and the day soon came that they released him. Weeks later, they discovered that Peanut had joined a family of birds that were nesting near their home.
Several times, Jud allowed my daughters to feed Peanut, and they marveled at how such a sick little bird could transform into such a lively little guy with a personality all his own. Now, several years later, our family is still inspired by Peanut’s story and the ability of people to look after and be a good neighbor to our local wildlife. So, in determining Green Haven Living’s community impact efforts this year, the Ohio Wildlife Center was a natural choice. These efforts will contribute to the rehabilitation and release of local wildlife!
The majority of the animals brought to the Ohio Wildlife Center have been brought in by private citizens, just like Jud and Deborah. Many have been injured or orphaned, or are found to be suffering from another medical condition that requires intervention for their survival. The Ohio Wildlife Center operates with the help of volunteers and funding largely through charitable donations. In addition to the hospital, the Ohio Wildlife Center also provides a sanctuary for animals that cannot recover fully enough to survive after release.
On Saturday, March 16th, Green Haven Living will host the first ever Wild Saturday event from 11:00 am to 5:00 PM. This will be a quarterly open house-style event benefiting the work the Center does. A portion of sales for the day will be donated to the Ohio Wildlife Center and will directly benefit the animals. From 1:00 to 3:00 pm, an educator will be here in the shop to introduce animal ambassadors to you!
We hope you will come and benefit the amazing work the Ohio Wildlife Center is doing. As we get closer to the event, stay tuned into our Instagram and Facebook pages for more updates — including stories about the animal ambassadors!
We returned home from the market last week during a brutal POLAR VORTEX! (Cue: scary music.)
Why couldn’t that cold snap have happened WHILE we were away?! We spent the morning driving around out west in 60+ degrees in this super cute 2019 Volkswagen Beetle – only to return to Ohio with wind chills in the double-digit negatives.
Hey – at least we had a couple of days to glimpse Spring this past weekend. I don’t know about you, but I feel more ready for Spring this year than any other year in the past.
I digress. Forgive me – obviously, I’m not a cold weather person.
Visiting the market this time of year always serves up a HUUUGE dose of inspiration. It might be the desert landscape, the mountains, the glorious Lake Mead, the artistry and culture, the sun…I could go on and on. But, for certain, one of my favorite things about this trip is the fact that the eco-conscious market expands EVERY SINGLE YEAR.
Yep – trends come and go – but, it’s quite evident that consumers are starting to recognize that “eco-friendly” isn’t a trend. I’m sure you’ve noticed that products with a lot of natural elements are trendy right now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those products are eco-friendly. Artisans and makers are constantly finding genius ways to manufacture or produce products with less impact to the environment. From the materials to the process, the finishes, the packaging and distribution — change is happening every day because people care about how they are leaving the planet to current and future generations of peeps and creatures that depend on it for survival. It’s amazing to watch the home furnishings and gift industries make this shift, and at Green Haven Living, we are proud to empower those artisans and makers.
At market this year, we shopped 56 vendors from all across the US. As a small eco-friendly retailer, we consider ourselves a humble student of consumer trends, innovations in products, manufacturing, and of course, new opportunities for environmental impact. Though we come to market with our own local perspective, these vendors always have so much to share from a more global viewpoint. And now, we want to share those home and gift trends with you!
Without further ado…here are our Top 5 Trends for 2019:
- Sun-soaked – think vibrant colors, beachy themes, and festive serve wares
2. Handwoven – natural fibers, traditional weaves, and patterns
3. Marbled Wood – sustainable marbled mango wood in warm colors
4. Alternative Materials – Think rattan, cork, recycled glass, water vine
5. Unconventional Neutrals – Muted shades of gold, rose, and terracotta
And, there you have it! We will bring you the most gorgeous, eco-conscious home and gift items in 2019. If you like what you see here, let us know about it. And as always, use our contact form if you want to submit a wholesale brand you feel we should carry.
Events are being planned as we speak, including this Saturday’s Uptown Cookie Walk. Keep a frequent eye on our Store Calendar for updates about our special events and activities throughout the year!
As 2018 draws to a close, it’s time to pause and put things into perspective. Here is a brief synopsis of this whirlwind year —- as well as a few thoughts on 2019.
My earlier post, Why 2018 Has To Be The Year, reflects the renewed determination I felt at the beginning of the year to find our storefront. I had just returned from the winter market. The new year and the trip brought some fresh optimism. In fact, writing the post at all felt more like a prayer in hopes everything would fall into place.
By Spring, we were setting up our first Green On The Green pop-up shop in Worthington. And, several pop-up shops followed thereafter at the super popular 4th Friday event in Uptown Westerville. During our pop-up’s, we received a lot of validating, positive feedback. It all seemed to be building up to our big break.
Throughout the year, our storefront search never ended. We held lengthy discussions during the Summer over a couple of locations. By early September, it seemed highly unlikely that Green Haven Living would find it’s home in 2018. I hit a low point. The thought of finishing out another year with no storefront is a depth of disappointment I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
Then, our big break arrived. A chance phone call from a friend reconnected me with a property owner in a key location in Uptown Westerville. Within 6 weeks of that call, we were moving into Green Haven Living’s new home at 12 W. College Avenue. Needless to say, the space needed a lot of TLC.
The shop officially opened November 16th. I have found myself experiencing those surreal moments of elation while the shop is full of family, friends who have become family, and passers by. I envisioned owning a business where family and community gather. It’s a space brimming with positivity. It’s a business that seeks to support environmental and animal causes not just via our products, but by virtue of how our business (and our suppliers’ businesses) operates. I am so proud of what we have accomplished so far, and I say “we” because my family has been involved every single step of the way.
In 2019, we will continue to get the word out that we are open in Uptown. We are a small, unique family business with a lot of large companies trying to replicate what we do. But, we believe there are very compelling reasons why small businesses like ours are still the “backbone of the American economy”.
With our customers’ help, we will continue this process of listening to understand what our community seeks from our shop. New relationships will be forged and existing relationships will be deeply appreciated and honored. I relish the opportunity to continue to explain to anyone who asks about what it means to choose eco-friendly products for our homes and gift giving.
In closing, thank you to all of you — our family, friends, and customers — who have chosen to shop here, “share” and “like” our posts, and spread the word. You must know it means everything that you have thought of and chosen us. Thank you for all of your support. We wish you all a beautiful holiday season.
Our next post will feature a behind-the-scenes look at our winter market trip. See you in 2019!
Tired of the same old? Green Haven Living has your eco-friendly holiday gift giving needs covered, including those extras that are just the right size for Santa to sneak into those stockings! Read on for some unique stocking stuffers sure to bring you and yours comfort and joy this season!
Your purchase of this product contributes to an amazing cause! 4Ocean Bracelets are made using recycled materials. Our stock evolves as needs change, but we have 4 varieties now — including Signature Blue, Polar Bear Conservation, Shark Conservation (baby shark de-de-de-de-de! Forgive me.), and Coral Reef Replantation. Adults and kids alike love these unisex bracelets. Collect them all!
No need for synthetic chemical air fresheners when we have Candelles all-natural freshening mists. Take them on the road in your purse or car, or use them as a room or fabric refresher at home! The ingredients are so pure, that you can use them as a body spray if you so choose. We currently stock 5 varieties: Lavender Sage, Mint Nectarine, Favorite Sweater, Amber and Vanilla, and Fig and Sugar.
These hand-poured 100% beeswax candles are produced in a solar-powered facility in NY. No shortcuts here, peeps. These small, 2×3 aromatherapy pillars are made with essential oils and eco-friendly dyes. 3 warm, soothing scents are currently available: Orange, Ylang Ylang, and Sage.
Looking for a hand and cuticle salve that won’t leave you smelling like a medicine cabinet? This fresh salve from Naked Bee works to quickly soften, hydrate, and refresh hard-working hands. Personally, we love using it for spa night!
Lip balm is a must-have for the winter months. We stock two different kinds, each with a different feel. Naked Bee lip balm is a long-lasting, lightly scented, and balmier formula. Rinse Pucker Sticks are a long-lasting, but creamier, formula that hydrates as it protects. Rinse Pucker Sticks come in 3 delectable flavors: Pomegranate, Mango, and Peppermint.
You know what bath bombs are, but did you know we carry shower bombs too? Set one down in your soap dish, sprinkle a little water on it, and let the steam carry the scent through your shower. Depending on how you use it, you may get 2 or 3 showers out of one shower bomb. Of course, we stock Tub Truffles for our bath bomb fans too. We have 6 delicious scents on our shelves!!
Beaucycled!! Need we say more? This gorgeous jewelry features natural stone and recycled materials. Trust us — people will compliment you on these statement pieces!
These unique little candle tins from Creative Energy Candles aren’t just pretty to burn. The candle actually melts into a lotion suitable for your skin. We stock Moroccan Teakwood, Citrus Basil & Wild Mint, Rosemary & Lavender, French Fig & Amber (bestseller!) — and new for the holiday season, Spiced Pomegranate!
Orange Blossom Honey is the top selling fragrance for which Naked Bee is known. We carry a small Hand and Body Lotion and Foot Balm in this light, revitalizing scent. The foot balm works especially nicely to soften dry cracked skin and calloused feet. Their compact size make them great options for stocking stuffers!
Handytizer – an all-natural hand sanitizer without the drying effects of alcohol! Use as a mild surface cleaner too. We have 4 blends in stock: Rosemary & Peppermint, Tea Tree & Lavender, Orange & Lemon, and Thievery.
New products are arriving all the time! Hurry in for the best selection of eco-friendly stocking stuffers and gifts in Central Ohio!