Space for Ideas: the story behind Aerende

18 Oct 2017

Emily Mathison describes Aerende as a (very) small, independent department store – a special place to find carefully crafted products from around the British Isles, created by makers who are unable to access or maintain conventional employment.

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Emily working on her store design with Kennedy Woods Architecture

The idea came about whilst Emily was working as a travel editor for Condé Nast. She found herself constantly inspired by the many beautiful interior shops she visited on her travels. But on closer inspection, they always seemed to lack integrity: you couldn’t unpin what was special about the products.

It was when Emily bought a wicker basket from a craft fair, that she had her lightbulb moment. The craft people were from Delrow, a residential community for adults with learning disabilities. The basket was so cheap, but no one had bought it. Emily explains, “I knew if I put that basket in front of the right people and displayed it in the right way I’d be able to sell it.” The baskets are now one of her most popular products on Aerende.

So in May 2016, she set up a crowdfunding campaign to help her launch her idea. After raising £5K to get Aerende started, she spent the summer building her website and finding different charitable organisations and makers to work with. The name Aerende, which means ‘care’ in Olde English, reflects the heritage skills, British-made items and interest in slow living her brand stands for.

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“I’ve always wanted to set up shop, but I also want to have impact,” Emily tells us. “My vision for a store is to make a showcase for what marginalised people can create when given an opportunity and to open up a wider conversation around the issues they face.”

What does Emily hope to achieve for her makers with Aerende? "Different makers have different aims, for some it’s about creating revenue, for others it’s self esteem. For many, the satisfaction lies in creating something, and knowing someone has bought it and getting recognition for their work.” Emily adds that the baskets she discovered at the craft fair are now one of her most popular items on Aerende.

As our London Space for Ideas winner, Aerende will be appearing at 7 Park Street, by Borough Market), from 24th October to 5th November. Pop by to discover Aerende’s beautiful curated products. Or join one of the events and workshops run by Emily’s maker organisations to showcase and pass on their skills.

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No.7 Park Street where Aerende will be appearing

Wednesday 25th October – WORKSHOP

Bring your social impact idea to life.
Kennedy Woods will be offering individual one-hour design clinics for people who have a business idea that can make a difference.

Time: 10am-4pm
Price: FREE
Details: To find out more and book your space, click here

Thursday 26th October – TALK

Sustainable restaurants: beyond the ingredients.
An informal panel discussion and Q&A about emerging areas in restaurant sustainability; including interior design, social impact and tableware. In conversation with:

Meg Doherty and Emmanuel Bejedi, founder & chef – Fat Macy’s
Robin Honhold, operations manager – Cub & Mr Lyan
Bianca Martinelli, creative director – Petersham Nurseries
Lizzie Rivera, journalist and founder – Bicbim, Evening Standard & The Independent

Time: 7.15pm (or earlier if you’d like to shop)
Price: FREE (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included)
Details: To find out more and book your space, click here

Friday 27th October – WORKSHOP

Make your own pinch pot.
Experience the therapeutic value of clay and learn to make your own pinch pots. This session will be led by Studio 306 which supports people recovering from mental health illnesses through creativity. You will make at least one and up to three pots to take away.

Time: 11am-12.30pm
Price: £15 (including materials, coffee and Rise Bakery brownies)
Details: To find out more and book your space, click here

Wednesday 1st November – WORKSHOP

Bring your social impact idea to life.
Kennedy Woods will be offering individual one-hour design clinics for people have a business idea that can make a difference.

Time: 10am-4pm
Price: FREE
Details: To find out more and book your space click here

Thursday 2nd November – TALK

Ethical interiors: why homes matter and how to make them count.
An informal panel discussion and Q&A about what ethical interiors are, issues to be aware of and how we can integrate them into our homes. In conversation with:

Kate Watson-Smyth, writer and blogger – Mad About The House
Nina Woodcroft, interiors designer – Dean Street Café, Luminary Bakery
Christine Chang Hanway, architect and writer/editor – Remodelista

Time: 7.15pm (or earlier if you’d like to shop)
Price: FREE (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included)
Details: To find out more and book you space, click here

Friday 3rd November – WORKSHOP

Make your own pair of espadrille slippers.
Using reclaimed leather and jute soles our makers at Juta Shoes will be leading this workshop to make your very own pair of unique slides. Juta is a social enterprise that offers well-paid and flexible employment through the medium of shoe making to deprived and under-waged women in Tower Hamlets.

Time:10am -12pm
Price: £40 (including all materials, coffee and Rise Bakery brownies)
Details: To find out more and book, click here

Saturday 4th November – WORKSHOP

Make your own paper origami fairy light string.
Using natural hand-made papers, you will learn how to make pretty paper covers for a string of fairy lights to take home in time for the festive season. Run by our makers Creatively Mindful, who work with a range of marginalised craftspeople and help them deal with daily stress and anxiety through creative activities.

Time: 4pm-5.30pm
Price: £20 (including all materials, coffee and Rise Bakery brownies)
Details: To find out more and book, click here

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