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Sustainable Stories: Bristol shop Paper Plane for plastic free + eco handmade Christmas gifts

Sustainable Stories: Bristol shop Paper Plane for plastic free + eco handmade Christmas gifts

Paper Plane are located on the famously independent Gloucester Road in Bristol. They were one of Hairy Jayne's first Bristol stockists, selling a selection of our shampoo bars, conditioner bars and zero waste gift sets. Alice Rolfe’s creative co-op for designer-makers is a feast for the eyes. It’s packed full of wonderfully unique handmade Christmas gifts. Her intention of supporting indie makers and brands has resulted in a selection of ethical and sustainable work from over 50 local emerging designers, makers and artists.

our shampoo and conditioner bars stocked at Paper Plane

A fine artist herself, she has her own brand of contemporary homewares, Rolfe and Wills. She initially gathered seven designer-makers together and founded Paper Plane in 2014. From handmade Christmas decorations to mushroom enamel mugs (a Christmas gift purchase I made last year!) the whole range of sustainable gifts includes her work, accessories, jewellery, fragrance, clothing and gifts for kids. Some of my favourite local indie brands like Bristolmade, Kay Morgan and Ding Ding Designs are stocked in the shop.


1. Why did you decide to make sustainability a big part of Paper Plane?

From the beginning sustainability was key. Each designer-maker was making choices about how they sourced their materials ethically so keeping that mindset while setting up the shop was a natural progression. 

2. How does sustainability come in to the day-to-day running of your small business? 

Many of our makers already use ethical raw materials, for example the clothing we sell is made from organic cotton using water based organic inks. But if a maker doesn’t use ethical raw materials, we can offer them alternative options. We don’t accept work which is made from plastic when a non plastic option is available. A maker once contacted the shop with plastic fridge magnets to sell, and although I liked the illustrations I fed back our no plastic rule which they took onboard. We also keep our makers local. Around 90% of our makers are from Bristol or the South West of England. 


Kay Morgan earrings made with leather destined for landfill

3. What's a small step you've taken behind-the-scenes to be more eco-friendly?

We’re a plastic free shop, so all the packaging is either paper, card or biodegradable. We ask our makers to send us their products without plastic. We now only fill one bin bag every two weeks!

4. Tell us a little about the makers or handmade Christmas gifts that stand out personally for you?

That’s such a hard one to answer! I definitely can’t pick just one product but I can select a few makers who I know go above and beyond to be as ethical and sustainable as possible… Boodle Boutique, My Bear Hands, Priormade, Rolfe & Wills, Quazi Design and Wylder Naturals. My Bear Hands only use recycled silver, reducing their impact on the planets resources. And Boodle Boutique only use organic cotton or bamboo (which needs less water to grow) in their T-shirts. They also use eco-friendly inks (Permaset) that contain no toxins or plastic.

cute felted dog handmade christmas decoration

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