Behind the brand.. Siren
We had the pleasure of meeting Holly and Hannah, the talented Australian best friends championing body positivity through their range of beautifully crafted, sustainable goods.
What inspired you to launch ‘Siren Store’, an online shop selling beautiful, sustainably made goods such as vegan soy wax candles?
We were inspired to start Siren at a time when we’d both just moved from London to Manchester (after only having been in the UK for 6 months), and were both in temporary jobs that we hated. We were going to work everyday and coming home deflated and sad because we weren’t doing anything we were really interested in or passionate about. One sunny day we took ourselves to the park with a pen and paper and made a list of everything we loved, everything that inspired us and all the things we were passionate about (sustainability/feminism/body positivity/art/spirituality, etc), and how we can do these things every day. After we did this, we stuck it on the fridge and looked at it everyday until we started talking about it more and more. We started with cards, which at the time were the easiest and most affordable thing for us to make and sell. From there, it moved into candles and now we’re expanding into other product lines. Our biggest thing has always been to make sustainability as accessible as possible, so that’s always at the centre of every decision we make.
You mention being passionate about body positivity and feminism. Could you tell us a bit more about how this feeds into your sustainable creations?
Absolutely! For us body positivity and feminism go hand-in-hand. We want to empower and uplift womxn through our work, particularly through celebrating all body types, including all lumps and bumps and perceived flaws. We want to celebrate everybody and every body. We plan to have a very diverse range of body candles so that everyone can feel included. At the end of the day, we want to use our platform to create a loving, supportive and inclusive community, for anyone who hasn’t benefited from the patriarchy!
Congratulations on becoming an official company in July and setting up your own studio recently! How do you plan to keep sustainability at the heart of your business as you grow and expand?
Thank you so much, it feels incredibly surreal for us to be in this situation! I think the most valuable thing you learn when trying to run a business sustainably, is that you learn to accept doing things the hard way. It really does make most decisions far more complex and difficult. Things aren’t as easy/straight-forward, things aren’t as available to you, things take much more research and trial & error, and of course it’s almost always the more expensive option. With that being said, it makes every decision a very deliberate and conscious one. Going forward, we’ll continue to explore all sustainable avenues until we find the ones that fit us perfectly, and accepting that this can be a frustrating and convoluted process is just something we feel, as a business, have a responsibility to do!
What’s been challenging so far?
We’ve definitely had our fair share of challenges over the last two years, but I think the hardest and most unexpected was Han having to move back to Australia at the start of quarantine. We live together, so not only was this a really awful situation to happen to our personal lives, but at the time Siren had just experienced a huge increase in demand. This got quite challenging as we had one maker, full time jobs, juggling different time zones and the ever changing COVID restrictions, etc. It was a lot of 100 hour weeks, tears and wine!
Can you give us 5 tips for living a more sustainable day to day life?
There are so many small changes you can make to your day-to-day life to do things more sustainably!
These are in no particular order but I think the first and most obvious thing is cutting out single-use plastic where you can. This can come across a little overwhelming sometimes, but it really just gets down to choosing to buy your fruit and veg from an independent green grocer, rather than from tesco where they cover anything and everything in a plastic wrap.
The second would be investing in reusable items like bags, straws, bottles, cups and then actually remembering to take them with you! The amount of times I’ve forgotten them or left them in another bag is countless, but don’t beat yourself up, just do what you can!
The third would be to eliminate as much meat and dairy from your diet as you can. It’s old news now, but by just cutting beef out of your diet, you can lower your environmental footprint enormously!
The next tip would be to shop small and locally where you can. This absolutely doesn’t have to mean more expensive either - there are so many small sellers (especially online), who not only pour their heart and soul into their products, but truly give you value for money.
Lastly, avoiding fast fashion is a big one. Shopping second hand, whether that’s through boutique curated second-hand stores, depop or your local charity shop are all great options - however this definitely isn’t always accessible for everyone as we both find that size inclusivity can be few and far between.
At the end of the day, we believe if everyone just does what they can more consciously, the world will be a much better place.
Read more about their journey @sirenstoreuk