The festive season is the gift-giving season, and while the concept of giving comes from a good place, all the wrapping and waste we generate over Christmas isn't associated with the same positive sentiment.
Australians use more than 150,000km of wrapping paper during Christmas – enough to wrap around Earth’s equator nearly four times. Leaving unwrapped presents under the tree in the name of sustainability may spoil the fun of the surprise, but there are definitely less wasteful ways to give and more thoughtful ways to express the season's greetings.
Tara Kelly is a daisy-loving sustainable artist, and she agrees. Tara is the founder of Hello Petal plantable cards, and she is passionate about reducing waste and having a positive environmental impact when it comes to gift-giving.
Hello Petal plantable cards are a sustainable alternative to traditional greeting cards and tags. Beyond the sentiment and artistry of the card itself, they also come with the surprise of embedded seeds which, when planted, grow beautiful daisies. Hello Petal cards are plastic-free, bleach-free, chemical-free and handmade, and they're made with 100% recycled paper too.
Tara stepped away from her flower-some daily to-do list as a business owner and busy mum, to share a little more about her creative journey and her love of floral art...
Plantable cards... What a unique concept?! Where did the idea behind your brand come from?
Isn’t it amazing?! My initial idea was to create greeting cards using 100% recycled paper and when I was sourcing this, I stumbled across the idea of seeded, plantable paper. I love flowers and in particular, daisies. I was in awe. It was as though everything came together and fell into place. I thought, ‘This is so me! This is my calling! I can’t NOT do this,’ and here we are today.
How did becoming a mother to your daughter, Daisy, drive you to pursue your business?
When your baby is born, you too are born as a mother which is the most wonderful journey of growth. It’s a rollercoaster of a ride! It is so magical but at times, also very isolating and draining. It can feel as though you have lost your identity and who you were as a person before entering this stage of life. I got back into my creativity to find something that was just ‘mine’ and from that, my business was born. To me, motherhood means being able to stay home during those first years before they start school and pursuing my business allows me to do that with Daisy. I wanted to be able to contribute to supporting my family, whilst spending those precious moments with our daughter at the same time. I feel very blessed being able to do what I love with her by my side.
Can you share a little more about the sustainable aspects of the materials you use?
Our paper and envelopes are 100% recycled, FSC certified, sustainably-made in Australia, and they're free from chlorine-bleaching processes. Our seeded pieces are made with the same paper and are embedded with Swan River daisy seeds which are native to Western Australia. Our packaging is 100% plastic-free and we use a biodegradable sticky tape that is made from regenerated wood pulp, as well as recycled kraft paper to wrap our orders, home-compostable cellulose print protective sleeves and Hero packaging mailers to ship our orders which are 100% compostable. We are a proud, plastic-free, zero-waste business!
What has been the biggest challenge of running a small business from home?
Definitely space and time! I started out with a tiny cupboard in our lounge room and then grew into a desk in our bedroom, which then started to overtake the whole room. We have now moved into a bigger place where I have my own studio to work from which is really lovely. Time-wise, it is always a struggle to get things done with a toddler at home full time! There are lots of late nights and constant multi-tasking happening behind the scenes at Hello Petal.
Do you find it difficult to compete against your much larger, non-sustainable competitors?
At this stage in my business, it hasn’t been very difficult in that sense and I think that has to do with my product being unique. A lot of consumers are changing the way they shop; people are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment and as a result are choosing to shop ethically. I think that’s really cool and I love seeing people make the switch.
Your designs are absolutely stunning. Has art always been a passion of yours?
Thank you! I have always loved creating. It was my favourite subject in school and as a child I remember my mum drawing and painting. I find it so therapeutic and rewarding and I think it will always be a big passion for me. It wasn’t until after having Daisy that I started to see my creativity in a different light – I gained confidence and belief in my skills and from there Hello Petal was born.
Has sustainability always been a part of your lifestyle or was it born out of Hello Petal?
Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been a part of my lifestyle. Back in my younger years, sustainability wasn’t at the forefront of people’s minds as it is now. My sustainability journey started while studying my diploma in Beauty Therapy and learning about harmful ingredients in products. From there I became more and more aware of my environmental footprint. Building a sustainable business has encouraged me to make a lot of changes.
Which would you rather: super strength, super speed or the ability to turn invisible?
I think I would have to go with super speed! Working from home with a toddler by my side can be challenging so this would be super helpful. More time to play, right?!
Give the gift of sustainability this festive season and shop Hello Petal's plantable cards at Hello Petal, or pop into our pop-up at 54 East Concourse Beaumaris to check out Tara's plantable range in person.
The Fashion Advocate x