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If you love soft sheets and lazy mornings in bed then you should know about Elkie & Ark. This business has created stunning, luxury homewares that are made organically, sustainably, without harming people or the planet.
Launched in late 2016, this young business has already had an incredible response from customers around the world.
Living with care has come to the forefront of the food, beauty and health industries. Anne Foster, the founder of Elkie & Ark, is now making a positive impact on the standards of the textile industry, creating an Australian-based luxury, bed-linen and homewares company. She is bringing sustainable and ethical out of its normal niches and showcasing the need for constant trend following, overconsumption and waste.
“We eat organic, seasonal food, we have detoxed our bathrooms, are mindful about our yoga and meditation practice… we live with care where we can. But what about our bedrooms? And what about the people who make them too?”
“I remember the day I realised how many harmful toxins were in the production of the homewares like bedding that we were using everyday. These toxins were not just impacting us, but also other families, newborns, ecosystems, waterways, food chains and whole communities. Creating devastating environmental and health issues. It just didn’t make sense.”
Having begun her career as a Private Equity Manager and Investment Banker, she helped build world-class businesses within the renewable, water, sustainable, retail and health spaces. It was through this work that Anne realised the extent to which every one of us has the power to impact the environment and world by changing our daily habits and decisions. Also, she realised that the textile industry is the second most polluting in the world. Coupled with the exploitation that often goes on a long way behind the scenes she decided to attack the problems of environmental harm and poverty or even trafficking at the roots.
So she created Elkie & Ark, where all products are hand-picked and sewn using 100% certified Global Organic Textile Standard and Fairtrade cotton, with all items created in fair trade certified factories. Every product can be traced right back to the farm (not just where it is ‘made’, but spun, woven and grown). “This is not charity” she says. She simply wants consumers, who seek beautiful, better made but perhaps organic and ethical goods, to have the best quality choices; to reflect their style – as well as their desire to make a change.
“When I looked around, however, we didn’t find anything out there of the high quality we wanted, at the right price, that was truly made without harm. Not just in word, but in true action, at every step of the way. So we created it!”
Elkie & Ark works with family-run farms and small-scale factories who embody the same principals. Every purchase contributes directly to paying scholarships for the children of workers and helps to build community projects like schools or women’s centres, with the ultimate goal of empowering people to get out of the poverty cycle through self-made opportunity and education.
Importantly, every product – certified GOTS organic at every step from harvest to market – keeps the devastating impact of toxic pesticides, dyes and finishing chemicals out of waterways, food chains, wildlife, and ultimately the farmers, makers and all of us.
Anne’s mission is to prove that the best products can also be made in the very best way. We don’t need to choose between “eco” and style. Many of use now want to live a life that is simpler, gives more time for the things we want to do, is lower waste and cuts out the crap. We choose ‘farm to table’ organic food, low-tox cleaning, make-up and body products. Yet we don’t have luxury and transparent options to help us make the same decisions in choosing the bedding or blankets we sleep in every single night.
Members of leading ethical and sustainable groups have said that the level of transparency she offers on her products is unlike anything they have seen in the Australian market. As “eco” or “fair” products gain traction, fairwashing and greenwashing can become issues. So transparency is key. Anne has already gained international attention from world advocates in ethics and is exporting to fill international demand as far as the UK, France, US, Scandinavia and Luxembourg.
Shop their range and read more about the business on their website: https://www.elkieark.com/
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