An Interview With Ellie Ellie

Ellie Ellie offers unique gifts made through up-cycling, recycling, re-loving and general great sustainable behaviour. We spoke to the founder and MD...

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Plastic Expert is pleased to welcome Danielle Plowman, Managing Director and Founder of British brand Ellie Ellie.

recyclingEllie Ellie offers unique and personalised gifts to men, women and children built on a passion for sustainable living, British charm and a soft spot for nostalgia.
Where did it all begin for Ellie Ellie?
Ellie Ellie originally began in 2006 after I graduated from university with a fashion design degree. After trying to find a job to get my foot in the door I realised no one was in the position to hire me due to the recession, so I decided to start Ellie Ellie, but back then it was a girlswear label. After 3 years and not much success I gave everything up and went traveling for a year, and it was in Melbourne that I fell in love with the sustainable design culture. Upon my return I decided to rebrand Ellie Ellie with our ethos ‘Re-design, Recycle, Re-love’ and I haven’t looked back since.
What are some of the materials you are recycling for your products and how do you source them?
At Ellie Ellie we use loads of recycled materials such as old maps and atlases, music score sheets, vintage scrabble tiles and old computer keys. I love rummaging around charity shops and jumble sales so lots of them come from there, which is great as we also get to support local charities. We do also use eBay to source lots of our vintage maps, from a local seller ‘world of books’ who are also based in Sussex.
Map-Circle-Necklace recycling
Which products are you most proud of?
I am most proud of our Vintage Letter Tile Personalised Necklace, as this was the first product I ever made and sold, so it is very special to me. Our Personalised Map Necklace is also one of my favourites as I originally made this product for a friend of mine who was home sick while travelling and she loved it. I have one myself with Melbourne in to remind me of my travels and where it all started.
How important is it to you to be recognised as a ‘sustainable brand’?
This is really important for us at Ellie Ellie. When we think about sustainability we don’t just think about our products and the materials and components we use, but also about our ethos as a company. We are not after quick success and are all about long term goals in order to maximise our growth potential, investing in the brand and in our staff.
What can you tell us about your slogan ‘Re-design, Re-cycle, Re-love’?
Our slogan is represented by our flags, which help our customers to understand how each of our products fit in with all the things that we stand for, and more importantly how they can fit in with their quest for a sustainable lifestyle.
Our Re-design flag represents our products which have been upcycled, taking something that’s been unloved and giving it a new lease of life with a little TLC. We redesign forgotten treasures into something new, current and lovable, whilst keeping its original charm. The best example of our redesign ethos is our best-selling vintage letter tile collection, made from old Scrabble tiles.
Our Re-cycle flag represents products made from waste materials that were destined for a landfill. They are made from items that have no original charm or sentimentality, such as old plastic bottles and cans, helping to reduces water and air pollution. The best examples of our recycled products are our scrumptious scented candles which have all been made from household glass that was popped into the recycling bin.
Finally our Re-love flag is based on Ellie Ellie’s love for British nostalgia, it flies the flag for all those things you used to treasure. Taking inspiration from our childhood, our relove collection captures your imagination and ignites your memories of yesteryear. Our retro sweet range is a great example of how Ellie Ellie uses this ethos, as we remember those afternoons racing to the local sweet shop with our pocket money.
Where does the name Ellie Ellie come from?
It comes from my name, if you put my first and middle name together Danielle Ellen you can see Elle Elle is in the middle I then added an ‘I’ for pronunciation and it became Ellie Ellie.
How do you feel about using materials that would otherwise go to landfill?
Great! I think the more we can avoid sending materials to landfill the better. There are so many great ways to reuse and recycle things that we may otherwise throw away which is great for limiting what we send to landfill.
What awards and opportunities has Ellie Ellie granted you?
Ellie Ellie are part of the small business marketplace and in 2014 we won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. As well as this I also won the Business Advice Award, for my contribution to supporting other Notonthehighstreet partners with advice and tips. I was also thrilled to be featured in co-founders Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish’s second book ‘Shape Up Your Business’ in which I was sharing my advice to entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. We have been part of Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday initiative since December 2013, which involved us being retweeted by Theo and joining this brilliant small business network. We were also delighted to win the Online Business Award at the Sussex Women of the Year Awards in 2014 which was a huge achievement.
What advice would you give to our readers about being more sustainable with their possessions?
My advice would be to look at things from a different angle, and look outside the box when it comes to sustainability. There are so many ways you can contribute to acting and being sustainable and it may only be a small change you have to make. We are always sharing recycling and upcycling tips on our blog and ways to be more sustainable which you can find here. We’ve also pinned lots of great inspiration on our Pinterest boards with brilliant interior ideas.

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