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What's actually in there? love.bound's karmatic footprint in prose.

Phew, we made it! After five months of constant creation our LOVE.BOUND sticks are finally a reality. In this blog I want to take you along in one of the hardest questions we had to deal with in creating LOVE.BOUND: How can we create a pure product that we can honestly say serves mother nature?

Let me illustrate how hard this question is with a simple example. The device I am writing this on - and I expect the same goes for the one you are reading this on - is far from a pure product. At this very moment beautiful nature is destroyed in making our technological tools of creation... Yet it seems almost impossible to do anything of meaning or impact without even a simple laptop. So how can we create without destroying? Would it be better for us to just go live off the grid asap and stop all this webshop nonsense? Why choose to do LOVE.BOUND?

Our drive starts with our heartfelt conviction that the plants we use are inherently good. Sage, lavender, rose and daisy all have a message for us. No matter your view of the world, when you smudge our sticks the plants will teach you more than we ever could in a million blogs. So it is our mission to get the plants out there, to you.

To your living rooms and bedrooms... ✺ Photo by Anna Perger

To enhance your moments of peace and tranquility. To aid you in your moments of despair and grief. And guide your spirit to joy and creation.

In this way we believe the plants can make a difference in the bigger picture — it's what the plants tell us when we listen to them. So our mission was clear.

But how can we help the plants give you their beautiful message without causing pain to other beings - or at least the least amount? How do we create in harmony? We learned a lot from grappling with this concept and I would like to share this experience with you. Also, we want to give you full disclosure about every part of you purchase. So that you know exaxctly what impact your choice for LOVE.BOUND has on people, planet, parakeets, puppies and pandas.Without further ado, here are some of the choices we made that felt right to us:

We chose to hand-pick our sage from the private gardens of our family and friends - so no fertilizers or toxins there. Also, we were recently blessed to get in touch with local organic farmers who in the future may help us with the supply of sage and other essenial herbs. Futhermore, we chose wild daisies from a large meadow near the Waal river (Nijmegen). We made sure not to pick too many as there were plenty of bumblebees and other insects. For these little fellows the flowers are an essential part of the ecological system. So naturally we thanked them after filling our basket <3 The roses you find on our sticks are actually from rose bushes right near our house! We made sure we picked those of which the pollen had already dried. So the roses you find in our sticks are not 'stolen' from bees: they already collected all there was to collect from them!

✺ Photo by Anna Perger

For our first batch of sticks, we used plain non-organic lavender we ordered online. The aroma is still mesmerizing, but this wasn't our brightest choice. At the moment of ordering this lavender we were more insecure and we lacked direction. However, there is no point in dwelling on it now. We have found and even created organic and local options for the next batch of lavender - such as the organic farmers we mentioned above. Be sure we will get it right next time! The next step was to get these sweet herbs to you in a packaging that does justice to their message - as your connection with them starts from the moment you open the post box. We sought to create a package with aesthetics, textures, scent and even a sound that vibrates with the bundle inside it. So started our quest for organic and ethical options in printing and packaging. This may sound boring to you, but for the most part it was a joyful experience: we're amazed at how many businesses are going out of their way to create slower, loving alternatives to quick and dirty business. However, it wasn't without error.

The organic hemp rope from Hemptique we use to bind our bundles was an easy pick-up. It's elegant, sustainable and it's scent when burnt is nicely aligned with the herbs themselves. Then we found a sturdy gift box made from unbleached and recycled kraft paper, with a nice grainy texture. It's dimensions were perfect as well. However, the webshop named has a very mainstream look. We figured if an organisation has no explicit ethical statement, it's likely bad karma. So we looked further and found a packaging company that claimed to explicitly create sustainable packaging. They also offered kraft paper as a sustainable packaging option - all be it for about 4 times the price as they had to create a new box to fit dimensions. Naturally, we went for the cheaper option. It arrived after a few days and honestly it looks perfect.

✺ Photo by Anna Perger

At first sight, I didn't think twice about the kraft paper: it's brown, it's recycled and as such it looks like a fine material. But as I am writing this and reflecting on our process, I did some research. Turns out that while kraft paper is recycled and unbleached, it's still made with chemicals. Then why did the sustainable manufacturer offer it?! Fuck... Needless to say, we're looking for non-chemical alternatives for our next order of gift boxes. Do you know of any? Please let us know!

Luckily, that was the last choice we feel less than crazed about. From there on it was smooth sailing through a sea of organic alternatives. To decorate the gift boxes we chose to emboss them with our logo rather than print it on them. Embossing doesn't use ink and it looks gorgeous. Easy win. To ensure the herbs don't get damaged when being transported we found soft organic hay stuffing with a subtle, charming scent. Perfect. Lasty, we wanted to add a simple written message to you personally. Just a small, heart-felt blessing. To help us in creating a fitting card to write this on, we found a Dutch printing workshop named De Bij that does go the extra mile to create ethical alternatives. Not only do they use paper made from plant-based European agricultural refuse, they also exclusively use bio-degradable vegetable ink. So cool... We only found this workshop a week before writing this blog, but we're hopeful that they might be our preferred partner in all things printing and packaging. Our next step will be to pick their brain about totally chemical free alternative to kraft paper. We will keep you posted. And with this last order our journey finally came to an end...

...and there we have it! This bundle is filled with good intentions and conscious choices. She may not be perfect, but we're proud of how far we made it.

Yet proud as we may be, we want to keep exploring every option to better serve mother nature. For now, this thoughtful manner of doing our business feels like the right way to play our role in the immense theatre of creation. And yes, maybe someday we will go the live off the grid. If ever the time is right. So... you should definitely order a bundle while we're still here!



Ps. If you have any questions, advice or just want to say hi - just click here and tell us anything!

✺ Blog cover art is by Daren Thomas Magee

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