The perfect piece of homeware can certainly bring joy to its owner but for British brand Aerende, which sells “life-improving homewares”, their products also have a huge impact on the people that make them too. Founded by former travel editor Emily Mathieson, Aerende is a non-profit social enterprise that sells a range of homeware, from scented rapeseed wax candles to linen napkins to glazed stoneware bowls, made by people across the UK who face social challenges that affect their access to conventional employment.
Aerende works with makers via other social enterprises, charities and organisations that support them. For example, some of the pottery comes from North London-based Studio 306, which supports people recovering from mental health illnesses; their napkins come from Making For Change, an organisation run in HMP Downview prison in Sutton with the aim of reducing reoffending rates; they sell chopping boards made at River Garden Wood in Scotland where people are trained in woodwork as part of an addiction recovery programme; and their bed linen, lightshades and macrame plant hangers are made at FabricWorks, a London-based social enterprise helping isolated women learn new skills and find employment. Each order comes with the name of the person or the organisation who made it and gets wrapped in fully compostable packaging.
Aerende means ‘care’ in Olde English, which reflects not only the brand’s ethical and social mission but also its celebration of craft and heritage skills – all items are made in the UK and are small batch or limited edition, with many being made exclusively for Aerende. These are pieces that made to last and have a lasting impact.