HI, I'M STEPHEN
Here's where I am...
I am the owner of Linen + Leaves, and as of right now the only person involved. So if you contact me, you’re contacting me directly. That’s one of the nice things about supporting a small business, I suppose.
I started Linen + Leaves after spending most of my life wanting to open a store - I just never knew what kind or how. Obviously my one true love in life is houseplants, but I also have a love of interior design, sustainability, and supporting ethical small businesses. After browsing a wholesale catalog for a fair trade home décor company, my store was suddenly clear in my mind. In order to get there though, I had to start small. My goal with this web store is to provide stylish home goods and houseplants that are sustainable, ethically sourced, and socially responsible. (this means produced in ways that do little to no harm to the Planet, are made by people getting paid a fair wage, and supporting small makers like Black-, queer-, and women-owned businesses)
It’s my philosophy in life that to make a difference, whether in your community or the planet as a whole, we all need to find our starting point. We can accomplish more with many people doing a little bit than with a few people doing a lot. If you just start somewhere, you will inevitably evolve and create some kind of positive effect.
That’s also my philosophy going into Linen + Leaves as a business owner. I could never expect to get where I’m going if I didn’t just start somewhere. That means that I’m not perfect, I’m learning as I go, and my business will inevitably grow and evolve. By striving to uphold my core values of Sustainability, Transparency, and Responsibility, I will make an effort to share with you, the customer, products to help you make a difference where you are, too.
So in the spirit of transparency: where am I today?
I am currently working on developing my online store and building an inventory. Right now that does mean that my products are fulfilled through dropshipping. Dropshipping is a method of fulfillment where the customer buys something from the vendor, and the vendor has another supplier send the product directly to the customer. (so I don't actually send you anything from my house) I try to find independent suppliers in the US and Canada - which helps reduce the carbon footprint created in the shipping process - or socially conscious companies that produce their products in developing communities. (this means I find lots of really cool handmade, artisanal stuff!) Additionally, with dropshipping the product goes through one less set of hands - mine - before coming to you; a leg of shipping and carbon emissions is eliminated.
Unfortunately, this is not a perfect system. Many suppliers produce cheap goods with cheap labor, and don’t make responsible shipping choices. However, when I choose a product, I make every effort to ensure the product is sourced, produced, and shipped with sustainability and social responsibility in mind. For example, I never drop ship from China - it's just too much to weed through to find these important values being fulfilled.
Check the Suppliers page for more about the places I find my products.
As Linen + Leaves grows as a company, I hope to eventually be able to carry an inventory of independently crafted, ethically sourced, and eco-conscious products that I can sell with more confidence than with dropshipping. Beyond that, I want to open a local storefront where I can interact with customers face-to-face and grow my impact in the community.
For now, though, I must start where I am and make a difference doing something small. I'm always welcome to constructive feedback and suggestions/requests. I'm not one of those businesses that is going to act like I can't improve. So feel free to contact me if you want!
Thank you so much for visiting, and I hope to keep you coming back!