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July 25, 2019
Simple. Natural. Living
This month on the Blog, I’m so excited to introduce you to Kim Lane from The Coastal Cabin. Kim was one of the first ladies I ‘met’ through the women in biz online network “She Owns It”. I‘ve followed Kim’s journey for a while, so I was delighted she agreed to take some time to talk to us about sustainable living, especially in the world of home interiors.
Tell us a little bit about your business (what you do, where are you based etc)
I have an online store and blog where I provide everyday goods, homewares, and inspiration to support a sustainable lifestyle. I am passionate about reducing waste and trying to live more simply (work in progress…!) I live near the beach in Manly, North Auckland, with my partner and our two girls.
What was the inspiration that led to you starting out and why the interest in sustainable living and what even is sustainable living?
In 2015 I realised I was feeling overworked, unfulfilled, and yearning for more creativity and work/life balance. I halved my workload (and income) to make space for something new. I started a blog (The Coastal Creative), initially to record my new creative pursuits, but this very quickly evolved into writing about living sustainably. Nearly 2 years ago I opened an online store (The Coastal Cabin), promoting some of the amazing eco products I’d discovered.
My background is in interior design and I’d been noticing the increase in trend-driven cheap homewares, much like ‘fast fashion’, so I also developed a small range of cushions and throws from one of the most sustainable fibres available; linen. My love of relaxed interiors and coastal colours is reflected in this range. Linen looks and feels better with age, while most other fibres wear out!!
I think that sustainable living is being mindful of your footprint; when we throw things away, there really is no “away”. There is so much waste in our typical modern society and I believe that moving to a ‘circular economy’ is the only way forward.
A better world vs price? As a business owner, have you noticed any trends towards sustainability and do you think pricing has an effect on consumer decisions?
In the past couple of years we’ve all noticed an increase in awareness around plastic pollution, creating a greater demand for sustainable products. However, ‘green washing’ is causing confusion for consumers, and not all natural products are necessarily sustainable. For example, cotton requires an extensive amount of water and chemicals in its production and processing, impacting the environment and the people involved in creating it. Organic cotton, linen, and hemp are sustainable fibres, but they are more expensive to create. When the people who make our goods have been fairly looked after, both financially and socially, this results in higher prices too. Unfortunately we’ve all become accustomed to cheap ‘throw-away’ goods, but the impact this is having on our planet can no longer be ignored.
We’ve almost come to the end of “Plastic Free July” do you think positive initiatives like this have an effect on the everyday lives of kiwis?
Most definitely! One particular message I’ve liked this year, is encouraging people to focus on one change, make it a new habit, and then focus on another. (Take a look at www.changeone.nz) We need to make changes that fit within our lifestyle long term. We’re all juggling demands on our time, so find a balance that works for you. For example, I don’t mind making my own home cleaning and bodycare products, but if you don’t, choose to refill from bulk stores or online businesses instead. I’m still trying to make a decent sourdough bread - and am close to giving up - but all of my family are now happy with my homemade crackers!
Beautiful instagrammable homes are very popular right now, can you give us any tips when choosing sustainable interior pieces for our home.
Think about the materials; man-made fibres will eventually end up in landfill. Choose the best quality you can afford, and always try second-hand first! Most of the furniture in my home is from Trademe and with natural paint, like the Annie Sloan range, you can easily modernise and make them your own. For the decorative pieces, look for interesting foraged branches, leaves, driftwood, etc, and find a good florist for amazing dried arrangements. Learn the basics in creating little ‘vignettes’ in your home, and rearrange them when you get bored rather than buying new things. Support the small businesses - we have so many creatives in NZ doing great things! And engage all senses to create atmosphere. I love candles - choose soy wax and beeswax over paraffin.
A low-waste lifestyle should involve reusing items you already have, but there are so many kitchen pantries looking like a design store on Instagram right now!
With Christmas coming up, consumerism goes into overdrive, do you have any advice for us on how to make ethical choices and enjoy this period in as much a waste free way as possible.
It’s much harder with kids to keep things simple, but gifting experiences instead of things are a great way to give without buying more stuff. DIY gifts (often food, but could be a lip balm, a beeswax making kit, etc), are thoughtful, often cheaper, and planet-friendly. Pre-packaged foods at Christmas time typically create enormous amounts of waste, so communicating with family/friends beforehand to delegate who buys what, and visiting bulk stores in advance, will go a long way in reducing packaging waste.
You also have a young family, how do you manage the work/life juggle and what do you like to do ‘after hours’?
My girls are teens so my working hours are now longer, but the juggle is still real! These days I am better at recognising when I feel too stretched and try to simply say ‘no’ to some opportunities, and I give myself time for yoga or pilates most days. I also walk our dog daily and am lucky enough to live close to an amazing beach. I love making things and have done workshops in both natural indigo shibori and random basket weaving this year; both were amazing. I’d like to say I do this sort of thing in the evening but the reality is that once the jobs are done, I read a little and then fall asleep, usually by 10!
You have an awesome recipe on your blog for seedy crackers, I’ve made them myself and we love them in our house, do you mind if I share with our community?
Here it is Seedy Cracker Recipe
Thank you so much Kim,
Kim’s online store The Coastal Cabin, has the most beautiful selection of sustainable products for all aspects of your home and all with a relaxed coastal feel. www.thecoastalcabin.com
Or follow along her journey over on instagram. https://www.instagram.com/thecoastalcabin/ or facebook https://www.facebook.com/thecoastalcabin/
I would love to offer your readers a 10% discount to celebrate Plastic Free July, valid through to August 15. Use code STUDIOMILK at the checkout. Can I just add that I will be transferring my website to a new platform over the next couple of weeks so if any of your readers were to be looking online and find issues, I do apologise! They can email me firstname.lastname@example.org if problems occur.
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