Women-Owned Homeware Brands Making Sustainability a Priority
At Living Deep, offering sophisticated, sustainable homeware -- from furnishings and decor to lighting and tech -- is core to our identity. We focus on providing consumers with alternatives to fast furniture and homeware. In this, we offer our buyers pieces that will fulfill both an aesthetic and functional need while protecting the planet. Those familiar with our marketplace will know that Living Deep carefully curates pieces from “ecologically and socially responsible" sustainable homeware brands. Each of these products is "gentle on the earth, beautiful to behold and designed to last.” From Jaipur Living to Meyer Wells, our vendors source materials responsibly and exercise social responsibility. They do so in the creation of each piece they offer through Living Deep. Given our values at Living Deep, we love learning about other homeware designers, brands and businesses leading the charge in sustainability. Many of the homeware brands and businesses we love and respect in this field upcycle bits and bobs and recycle basic materials. Many also pour their energy and their hearts into reviving vintage and antique pieces. Follow below to learn about three of our favorite woman-owned homeware brands making sustainability a priority. We will outline Keita Turner’s approach to upcycling and discuss Ronel Jordaan’s sourcing of organic, eco-friendly and biodegradable materials. Lastly, we will highlight the ways in which Diana Adams repurposes elements which would otherwise become waste. Be sure to catch the latest work from each of these woman-owned homeware brands on their Instagram pages!
3 of Our Favorite Woman-Owned Homeware Brands Making Sustainability a Priority
Keita Turner of Woman-Owned Homeware Brand Livvy & Neva
Award-winning NYC interior designer Keita Turner has long garnered respect in the design world. As such, the loud buzz and repeated interest expressed in one of her woman-owned homeware brands Livvy & Neva should not come as a surprise. Turner’s recent foray into product design has produced gorgeous, decorative pillows. These pillows are made from rich and glamorous vintage textiles as well as a few contemporary prints. Follow below for more about the upcycling brand Livvy & Neva as well as Turner’s background and many accolades.
Who is Legendary Design Powerhouse Keita Turner?
Keita Turner is the RISD-educated founder of the full-service design firm Keita Turner Design, which began in 2002. According to the Houzz profile on Turner’s firm, Keita Turner Design “offers expertise" to all her clients. The firm is a giant "in custom furniture and cabinetry, interior design, renovations, project management, and staging.” Turner and her firm have wowed clients and peers alike. They have done so through their “chic, enduringly classic, functional, and inspirational” designs. Over the last two decades, the firm has won a myriad of awards and well-deserved accolades. The design firm was the runner-up in the 2006 Rohm & Haas Paint Quality Institute National Design Competition and the 2007 IDA for Residential Design. Turner also received M/WBE Certification of NYC SBS/DEFO in 2010, which -- according to the program’s website -- “ensures minority and women-owned businesses have greater access to public contracting opportunities.”
In 2011, Turner began her service as a member of the Interior Design Committee for the Annual Winter Antiques Show. She has since done so for seven consecutive years. Turner has also participated in a number of respectable philanthropic and high-profile design collaborations. One might say that the art and design worlds remain quite reasonably obsessed with Turner. Since her firm’s inception, Turner has been inducted into the African American Design Archives at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She has also participated in a group exhibition at the Met and has been quoted and featured across important design, culture and news publications. According to the KTD website, Turner has been featured in “The New York Times... The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest and Elle Decor." She has also been featured in "House Beautiful, Vogue, New York Cottages and Gardens, Domino, Business Of Home, Better Homes & Gardens and HGTV." Other publications are "Good Housekeeping, New York Spaces, New York Post, Curb NY, New York Social Diary, Ebony and Essence.”
Exploring the Upcycling-Centric, Woman-Owned Homeware Brand Livvy & Neva
In her article “BLACK-OWNED HOME DECOR BRANDS WE SHOULD ALL BE SUPPORTING” for ElleDecor, Kelley Carter describes Keita Turner’s Livvy & Neva brand. She writes that the collection was “founded by [the] interior designer...and named after her great-grandmothers Olivia and Geneva.” Turner’s company now “sells gorgeous one-of-a-kind pillows made from vintage textiles.” Keita Turner describes her experience launching a new business in 2020 in conversation with Danine Alati. Alati quotes Turner in her Architectural Digest article “What It’s Like to Make a Big Career Move During the Pandemic.” Though Turner has not expressly mentioned sustainability as a driving factor, her upcycled products have made a big impact on consumers. They have done so both from a purely aesthetic perspective and from one concerned with environmental responsibility.
Quoted by Alati, Turner notes that she initially planned to present Livvy & Neva to the public in the Spring of 2020. However, around this time, “‘consumer priorities shifted…and no one was the least bit concerned about upcycled, fanciful, bespoke pillows.’” However, buyers began to search for personal, more meaningful and more sustainable homeware products they could purchase online. As such, Turner listed her pieces on the Livvy & Neva website to great public interest. Our favorites from the new line include the royal blue and silver Macintosh Liberty 23" Pillow. This pillow was made from a vintage silk scarf featuring a William Morris print. We also love Turner’s Montezuma Vera 20" Pillow. The Vera pillow was created from a “vintage Vera Neumann scarf printed in one of her signature patterns inspired by the Aztec Empire.”
Ronel Jordaan of Woman-Owned Homeware Brand Ronel Jordaan Textiles
It is with absolute pride that we feature incredible South African creator Ronel Jordaan of Ronel Jordaan Textiles in this post. Jordaan is a member of the Living Deep marketplace. Ronel Jordaan represents one of the most exceptional woman-owned homeware brands making sustainability a priority in the industry today. Jordaan’s designs range from hand-crafted Merino wool pebbles to sound-proofing wool flowers. In her artist statement, Jordaan writes that the process of creating her wool products “feels like...healing by nature.” She notes that while she is primarily a product designer, she is also incredibly artistic. Jordaan uses “pure merino wool” as her primary artistic medium and ordinary elements in the natural world as her inspiration.
In her own words, Jordaan is “fascinated by the uplifting potential of design, and by how products can inspire change.” Her passion for creation and for facilitating change for women who remain stuck in poor living conditions led her to pursue a teaching studio. In her studio, Jordaan transfers her skills to others, transforming lives while expressing herself and her perspective of the world. Jordaan writes that “the environment and nature is a driving force behind the ethos within which [she] creates.” It is Jordaan’s hope that her sustainable homeware pieces “reach out to someone she has never met or spoken to.” She wishes that each piece will communicate “a little part” of her to each viewer and buyer.
About Jordaan’s Creative Process
According to Ronel Jordaan’s Wescover profile, the designer and craftswoman stands out because her sustainable homeware “label is harmonious with nature.” Not only are all “processes implemented in the workshop...eco-friendly,” but Jordaan’s sustainable homeware studio also focuses on teaching marketable skills to others. She does so with the goal of encouraging job creation in South Africa. To date, Jordaan has trained and hired at least forty women in her studio. Jordaan also focuses on sourcing as many materials as possible either locally or responsibly. She sources the wire and structural supports of her more solid pieces from nearby artisans just outside Johannesburg. The Joanna Frankham blog post “RONEL JORDAAN’S FELT FEELS FABULOUS” notes that each piece is made with "an eye to environmental and social responsibility.” The Merino wool Jordaan sources for her products is “treated by hand, the soap used is biodegradable, the dyes are lead free.” At the end of her production process, all the grey wastewater used to create her pieces is repurposed to “grow a vegetable garden.”
Recognition for Ronel Jordaan’s Work in Woman-Owned Homeware Brand Ronel Jordaan Textiles
Since the founding of her woman-owned homeware brand in 2003, Ronel Jordaan’s work in textile design and sustainability has been recognized worldwide. She has been repeatedly honored by Design Indaba, which named her designs among South Africa’s Most Beautiful Objects for three consecutive years. In 2006, Jordaan received the Canadian interior design award for excellence from Le Salon International de Design de Montréal. A year later in 2007, VISI Magazine selected her as one of their Top 10 Best Designers. In 2010, she was the winner of the SMME Trade Sector business award and in 2012 received the ROCCI Business of the Year Award.
Diana Adams of Woman-Owned Homeware Brand SampleHaus
A fierce advocate for sustainability and environmental responsibility, artist and craftswoman Diana Adams rejects throw-away culture by repurposing discarded materials and objects. According to the Vetta article “14 Black-Owned Sustainable and Ethical Brands,” Diana Adams uncovered a major waste problem within the design industry. After noting the problem, Adams sought to fix the issue. Adams observed that many interior designers, architects and other industry leaders had committed themselves to “creating sustainable designs.” Sadly, though they had made "reducing their carbon footprint" a priority, they were still “creating excessive waste” as a result of producing their designs. Unsettled by the pile-up of unused -- yet perfectly usable -- castoffs, Diana Adams decided to “make her own products using their leftovers.” She turned this would-be waste into stunning art pieces and beautiful homeware. Adams now creates stunning sustainable homeware. She makes ceramic planters, fabric collages and so much more from “upcycled pots, leftover marketing samples and scraps from upholstery [and] buildings.”
Adams named her woman-owned homeware brand “SampleHaus” and established both an e-commerce shop through the eponymous website. She set up another -- titled mySampleHAUS -- on Etsy. Her “About Page” notes that Adams creates “unique and one of a kind art work from interior design waste and discontinued marketing samples.” Without her intervention, these elements would "have been discarded” due to “discontinuation or project surplus.” With a background in Interior Architecture and Fine Art, Adams brings a creative, eclectic, informed and artistic eye to her sustainable homeware. Her clients laud her “high-quality craftswomanship,” “stunning designs” and “extra-special homemade” touch.
The Future of Sustainable Homeware Brand SampleHaus
According to the recent profile “Meet Diana Adams of SampleHAUS” from VoyageLA, Adams sources these materials through her “work for an interior designer.” She is “surrounded by beautiful fabrics and other materials” that can be “creatively up-cycle[d].” Though Adams does make many of her own pieces completely from scratch, she opposes waste across her practice. Adams’ advice for other designers and makers is to “save your scraps, challenge yourself, and make something cool.” Though Adams is currently maxed out on pre-orders for her ceramic products, her shop will likely be taking new orders in the near future. Some of her jewelry and wall art are still available for purchase on the SampleHaus website. However, Adams did note in the VoyageLa profile that -- at the time -- she was overwhelmed with orders and support. As such, please stay tuned until Adams is ready to unveil new projects. Follow her work on Instagram in the interim!
Continue following Living Deep's Into the Deep blog for more spotlights on sustainable homeware brands we love. For now, read our article "Eco- Friendly and Energy- Efficient: The Latest in Green Lighting Design." This post focuses on sustainable homeware brands Stickbulb, Grain and Kitset.