Research shows that linking our indoor spaces to the natural world improves wellbeing, productivity and creativity by as much as 15%. Online homeware shop Chalk & Moss is inspired by the ideas of Biophilic Design: our need to connect with nature for our wellbeing.
Chalk & Moss sell simple, functional and stylish products in natural materials; from sustainable kitchen cloths to ceramics, home textiles and handmade furniture. Having only been founded in December 2017, they were picked by Elle Decoration as one of the UK’s best online shops for 2018.
Make Mother's Day Green: You can receive 10% off if you make a purchase before 31st March. Use GOGREEN at checkout.
We got the opportunity to interview the brains behind Chalk & Moss, Anna Sjöström Walton, as part of our #WomenInSMEs campaign. Here's what she had to say!
1. Hi Anna, thanks for sitting down to talk to us. We’ve heard great things about Chalk & Moss – can you tell us a bit about your journey so far?
Having led business development and marketing teams in video games, web development and social media for interiors, I thrive working across all aspects of a business. I had been itching to start a business based on my own beliefs and passions, and I needed flexibility around my family life. The reality is that two parents can’t commute from Brighton to London each day. So, where my husband works in TV, my career was easier to steer in a family-oriented direction.
I see the positive impact nature has on the wellbeing of others and myself. Coming from Sweden, I guess it’s in my blood! I’ve always brought nature into our interiors and loved the idea of curating a homeware shop. So, when I heard of Biophilic Design, and the brilliant research that’s been done into the positive impact reconnecting with nature indoors has on us, it was a light bulb moment for my business idea. I wanted to help people to live life more naturally in their homes, whilst being mindful of our planet. Biophilic design goes hand in hand with the heightened awareness of sustainable attitudes to consumerism and consumption.
Chalk & Moss started as a blog about natural interiors, outdoor lifestyles and healthy eating. During these initial six months, I built the e-commerce shop in the background and sourced wonderful artisan made, ethical and sustainable homewares. The online shop Chalk & Moss launched in December 2017.
As predicted, the most popular items in the shop are plastic free alternatives - like the organic cotton food bags, all purpose bags, lunch bags and kitchen & wash cloths. Products by The Organic Company sell particularly well.
Chalk & Moss offers a curated selection of sustainable and ethical home textiles, jewellery, furniture and accessories in natural textures and colours.
2. Thanks Anna, Chalk & Moss sounds like an amazing brand! What are some of the things you’ve been most proud of so far?
Just three months after the online shop launching, Elle Decoration Magazine featured Chalk & Moss as one of the UK's best online homeware shops!
They loved the concept, products, curation and blog content. This was a huge boost and affirmation that I'm doing the right thing. You can see the feature here.
3. Is there anything that you struggle with?
I do everything myself, including the website development and maintenance (which is a steep learning curve!). Prioritising and allocating enough time to the tasks is a challenge. As the company grows, I look forward to getting support on the website and bookkeeping side.
4. What would you say to other female entrepreneurs starting out in business?
Think about what your strengths are, and consider finding partners or freelancers who can support you, so you can focus on the business. I’m guilty of wanting to do everything myself. Setting up your own business is pretty isolating. I’ve found it really helpful to have an accountability partner - someone in a related field with whom you can throw ideas around with, show your targets to make sure you stick to your plan and even collaborate on co-marketing projects. We met during an online 7-day marketing challenge. We also have a little group of small business owners and Instagrammers who meet up every couple of weeks to share ideas and support each other online and offline.
5. That's great - why were you drawn to the campaign, can you offer a comment on why you think it's important?
In a world of mass-produced goods, it’s great to see the start of a shift towards buying from independent shops and businesses, and consumers demanding more sustainable products. These kinds of initiatives are great to highlight the people and missions behind the brands. The questions raised here also highlight that we don’t just define ourselves as women in business, but that we are the business owners, regardless of our gender.
As the products in my shop and imagery on social media appeal to a largely female audience, I don’t feel that being a woman in business is a hindrance. I’ve not yet sought funding, at which point it would be interesting to see how my gender affects my situation.
Connect With Chalk & Moss
- Instagram: @chalkandmoss
- Facebook: Chalk & Moss
- Twitter: @chalkandmoss
- Pinterest: Chalk & Moss
- LinkedIn: Anna Sjöström Walton