I was thrilled with the response to my recent Instagram story about shopping locally, and figured there’s a conversation to be had here.
If you didn’t catch it, I filmed a short clip of the fruit & veg at a greengrocers where I live and wrote about how I’ve started shopping locally (aka from independent stores, rather than supermarkets) predominantly for fruit & veg, but to be honest I try to get as much as I can! Afterwards, I had many messages about others trying to do the same thing, which is brilliant! And definitely something we should be raising more awareness about.
Save Monday & Feel Good About It
For me, saving money is brilliant but not quite as brilliant as feeling good about where I’m spending it. We’ve all got to spend money on food, so why not spend it in local places and support local businesses & farmers (particularly in the West Country!).
That aside, shopping at a local greengrocers has been financially beneficial too. I compared what I bought this week to the prices at Morrisons and as it happens I saved about £7. That might not seem like much, but £7 every week adds up pretty quickly! Plus, that’s not a gram for gram comparison. The veg I bought from the greengrocers was definitely bigger than the veg I usually get in Morrisons, so I’m sure if I compared them gram for gram I’d be saving even more!
Shopping Locally & Saving the Environment
Being strict about where my food comes from has always been a big thing for me. Where absolutely possible, I buy produce from inside the UK. Fruit, veg, milk, eggs, meat etc goes without saying, but I’m also conscious of where my cupboard products are from too.
This is so important when it comes to the environment. Now, I’m not one to preach… But I’m going to anyway!
It is our responsibility to be more aware of where our food is coming from. Yes, it’s lovely to have an unlimited supply of out-of-season fruit whenever we want it, but we need to be thinking about how my poison is being spat into our atmosphere from the amount we import from overseas. (I appreciate the topic of imports/exports is a tad touchy at the moment… *Don’t mention Brexit*). Still, we do have to be aware of the environmental impacts.
Now, let’s talk about plastic… The carbon footprint from imports is only a small part of the environmental impact. We are all aware of the plastic epidemic, and there has already been a huge push to reduce the amount of plastic that are ending up in our oceans. Still, you walk into a supermarket and are bombarded by so.much.packaging. Unnecessary amounts of single use plastic.
Yes, supermarkets have now started trying to eliminate the amount of plastic used in packaging, but we’ve still got a long way to go.
I’ve found that 90% of items at a greengrocers are loose, and they provide paper bags that can be reused and recycled. So, you can do an almost entirely plastic free shop. What’s not to love! Something to consider when trying to reduce your plastic consumption or carbon footprint…
REDUCE . REUSE . RECYCLE – we’ve all heard it before, but are we all doing our bit?
Before I get any backlash, I’m very aware that not every town has a greengrocers or something similar, and not every person is able to shop like this. This post is just about raising awareness, and if you’re able to, then do.
The Empty Box Company is my family’s business which has been running for 30 years (older than me!). With it being the family business, I’ve – obviously – always been involved. But as I’ve got older (and into the wedding industry) I’ve helped out more & more, particularly on the marketing and social media side of things.
The Empty Box Company
The company itself predominately makes wedding dress boxes to protect and preserve your wedding dress after the ‘big day’. Because of this, it’s really not surprising I’ve chosen a career in the wedding industry – I’ve grown up in it! And it will always hold a special place in my heart.
The Empty Box Company also makes all sorts of other boxes (empty ones, obvs). Including home storage boxes, hat boxes, and keepsake boxes (and many more!). Starting in Surrey, and expanding 10 years ago when we moved to Devon, we now have two workshops. One in Surrey and one in Devon!
You can find out more about the company on the website.
Where do I come in?
As I said, I’ve always been involved (hard not to be). But about 5 years ago now I helped exhibit at the first ever London Bridal Show, which is also when I realised I just had to be in the wedding industry. So my own journey working for different companies within the wedding industry began!
It was also when social media really started to reach businesses properly. It’s hard to believe that it was only 5 years ago that the big Instagram boom started to happen, but it was! I setup an Instagram account for The Empty Box Company (Facebook had been around a while) and went from there.
I also started to get more involved with the marketing side of things, and contributed to projects with a fresh eye. 2 years ago we decided to hold an open workshop event for the first time, and (as I was studying weddings & events at the time) it was my job to assist with the organisation of the event.
I’m now doing a lot of PR work, as well as writing blog posts and creating social media content (such as videos, Facebook groups, and -yep – more Instagram posts), plus we’re holding another open workshop event in April which I’m in charge of promoting and executing.
Why the family business?
Anyone who’s grown up with their parent’s running their own business will understand how much their business can end up meaning to you. The Empty Box Company has been the foundation for my whole life as I know it. I felt the stress in the earlier days when my parents were working incredibly hard to make a living, and I’ve seen first-hand how hard work really does pay off. Like with The Bishop’s Palace, it really does get in your blood. And for me I actually consider it to be my blood. My parents built the company from nothing, with a bizarre idea that no-one else believed in, and it would’ve been so easy for them to give up and get ‘normal’ jobs. But they didn’t. And from that they have created something wonderful which I cherish so much.
I could honestly type for hours about the company and what it means to me, but I won’t! Instead, give us a follow on Instagram (@theemptyboxcompany – because who doesn’t love pictures of beautiful boxes, right?!) and think of us for any and all box-related needs!
On my hunt for the perfect wedding dress, I recently visited The Bridal House of Cornwall in Truro. Whilst Truro isn’t super local to me, it’s still not far. I actually travelled down by train and it was comfortable & easy.
The main reason for visiting The Bridal House of Cornwall was to treat one of my besties to a ‘wedding day out’ as I was going to ask her to be my bridesmaid (not that she knew that of course). I’m a tad fussy when it comes to bridal shops, and after my last experience I knew I didn’t want to just go ‘anywhere’. I wanted it to be really lovely. We were not disappointed!
The Bridal House of Cornwall – About the shop
If you know Truro at all then you’ll know what a gorgeous city it is. And The Bridal House of Cornwall, a stunning Georgian Mansion nestled in the heart of the city, was very in-keeping with that.
They stock a range of designers, from the high-end glitz & glamour queen, Jenny Packham, to the more affordable Spanish brand, Rosa Clara. Plus a bit of everything in between! A personal favourite is London designer, Naomi Neoh, who uses incredible silks and laces to create ultimate elegant wedding dresses.
The Bridal House of Cornwall Experience
There are two different options for your appointment. They offer a standard hour long appointment which is free of charge, or an ‘experience’ appointment which I highly recommend. My bridesmaid & I arrived early and were seated in the library and handed a glass of bubbles. The stylist was super friendly and chatty, and made us feel instantly welcome & comfortable.
The library is a gorgeous room. One wall is filled with shelves of shoes & jewellery, and another a bookcase design with vintage teacups and other adorable trinkets. My bridesmaid, Ruby, was in her element (which made me super happy because I wanted her to enjoy the day as much as me). We chatted some more to the stylist before she took us through to the showroom. In my opinion, they have the perfect number of dresses. Not so few that you can’t find any you like, but not so many that you get lost amongst them.
Once we had chosen a handful of dresses, we were taken through to another room (honestly, this place is just fab) where I then tried on the gowns. There is a catwalk which you walk down and the stylist takes pictures for you to look through later. Before the appointment, the thought of a ‘catwalk’ seemed a bit daunting, but it’s not like that at all. The whole appointment was super relaxed and most importantly, fun.
We spent probably around an hour trying on dresses, and I enjoyed every second of it. As did Ruby! Once the dress-trying part was over, we went back into the library to look through the photos and select the ones we wanted to keep. And just when we thought the fun was over, we went back into the showroom where our stylist let us loose on the Photo Booth props and we had a mini photoshoot to document the day!
It was honestly the most wonderful experience and I don’t think I’ll have another one like it. Although I didn’t find ‘the’ dress, that didn’t matter to me at all. It’s all these moments which make planning a wedding so exciting & memorable, and I’m so thankful to the team at The Bridal House of Cornwall for making such an important day that bit more special. 100% would recommend!
Okay, so I’ve officially opened the business Facebook page for Lila Bailey. It might seem like a small thing, but it is the final step to Lila Bailey’s online presence and I’m quite nervous. But it’s done, it’s there, and there’s no going back now…