Authentic House is an online shop and eco-friendly subscription box for anyone who wants to protect the planet at home. We make and share sustainable, plastic-free home refills and self-care products. Our aim is to encourage everyone to create a home that is authentic to their values and that respects our makers, our wildlife and future generations.
I run Authentic House with the help of my partner Daniel, my sister and my dad, making us a family business! Two years in, we run our business out of our home in Cardiff and have sent 5,500 eco-conscious alternative products and gift boxes, as well as planting 1,000 trees. We’ve also launched our own range of soap bars, skincare and haircare which is available on our site and in independent retailers across the UK.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
The idea for Authentic House came in early 2018, when I was exploring ways I could build a social enterprise that would help people create an eco-friendly home. I had the name ‘Authentic House’ from the very beginning, with the idea that our home should reflect and be authentic to the values we want to live by.
I began by interviewing experts in all aspects of eco-friendly homes – from architects to cabinet makers and product designers. Eventually, I came across two products that I had never seen before. One was a dish brush made of coconut husk fibres and the other was a hand-sewn washing up sponge. Both products were inherently beautiful, simple and far better for the planet than your average plastic brush and sponge.
Working in Edinburgh in the past, I used to subscribe to a beauty box. I loved the surprise of receiving new products in the post each month, but had eventually fallen out of love with the waste and unused products it created. I thought I could create a different kind of subscription box, with purpose, that would send people eco-friendly products to enjoy at home and in this way help them make small, positive changes every month.
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What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
I would say, just start. When you start, you begin to create your own momentum. It’s that energy which is hardest to sustain at first, but which draws new ideas, opportunities and people to you. Especially in the early days, keep an eye out for programmes that can help. I received support from The Prince’s Trust, the Natwest Entrepreneur Accelerator and this year from Red Bull’s own social innovation programme. Through these, I have two brilliant female mentors who have generously shared their ideas and experience with me in a way that has very much shaped what Authentic House is now.
Secondly, think about your purpose. I don’t think it’s enough anymore for businesses to have no purpose in the world beyond generating profits. Starting your business is your chance to create an entity that can change the norms around how we live, the way our products are produced, or that can revolutionise a service to make it better or more accessible to more people. With issues such as the climate crisis, the loss of wildlife, and continuing inequality, this time is one of upheaval, but also encouraging in that there’s so much we can do to help. A purposeful business will also help you gain the support you need, and keep both you and your team inspired even through the tough times.
What can we hope to see from Authentic House in the future?
At the moment we’re working to expand the products in our Authentic House range, to provide the best eco-friendly alternatives you can find for yourself and your home. We’re also bringing in lots of fantastic ethical brands who share our values and create wonderful products from stationery to the garden.
After 2020, it’s even harder to predict what the future may hold! My overall aim though is for us to become a one-stop shop for a sustainable home, and through our work to support many more makers, plant trees and inspire more people to take action to protect our planet.