The common life cycle of a product in our linear economy is as follows: Manufactured, used and thrown away. Unfortunately, this has not just been the case since yesterday, but for about 1.5 centuries. The raw materials needed to make these products are not reused, but end up in the rubbish. Not only does this mean endless waste and the consequences for our climate are devastating, but the raw materials used for this are also limited. According to forecasts, we would need three earths in 2050 to cover our raw material needs. At least if nothing changes. And this is where the Circular Economy comes in. The Circular Economy is an economic model in which existing products and materials are repeatedly returned to the cycle. This is done by reusing, sharing, repairing and recycling existing products for as long as possible. In this way, product life cycles are extended many times over, resources and our climate are conserved and the waste mountains of this world have the chance to shrink.
Since the foundation of Maren Jewellery, we have seen ourselves as a mindful, responsible and sustainable company. Consequently, the only option for us was to build up our company according to the principles of the Circular Economy. We firmly believe that it is possible to trigger a systematic change if only enough companies join us on this path. For this reason, we are big fans of all other labels that also follow a circular approach and thus enable and strengthen the circular economy. Whether within the jewellery industry or beyond.
Interview mit dem Slow Fashion Label 'The Slow Label'
Today we talk to the founder of the sustainable fashion brand The Slow Label , founded in 2019, about her company start-up and her first circular product. The company is built on the three basic principles of sustainability, transparency and social responsibility and has been extremely honest in its communication from the very beginning about the raw materials and production, but also about any weaknesses and potential for improvement.
Particularly progressive for us is their completely transparent Price Breakdown for each individual product, which shows exactly which components and how much the corresponding product price is made up of.
Dear Anna, what were your motives for trying your own label in the highly competitive fashion industry?
With The Slow Label, we wanted to found a fashion label that covers the topic of "fair fashion" holistically. This means: full transparency, slow growth, timeless collections, soft marketing, respect and fairness in the supply chain, and an effort to always use the most sustainable and innovative materials. In our opinion, there are not enough of these on the market yet!
Last year you tried out a new business model, a circular product. Can you tell us more about it?
We are still in the initial phase of the project, so unfortunately we cannot draw any conclusions yet. However, I can already say that the response has been great and we have learned a lot in the past months. We have participated in circularity workshops with other fashion brands, recyclers and clothing collectors and learned a lot about circularity and reverse logistics. How these learnings can be put into practice will be seen in the coming months.
What were the challenges for the producers and you as manufacturers in implementing the idea of "circular tea"? And what are your experiences so far?
The biggest challenge in implementing a circularity project or take-back programme is the reverse supply chain. How does the product get back to us? Who pays the expensive shipping costs? Who sorts out the bad products? Where do the bad ones go, where do the good ones go? We were confronted with all these questions (and a few more). Fortunately, we are not alone in this and regularly exchange ideas with other fashion brands. Because only together can the fashion industry finally become more circular.
And last but not least: What are your visions for the future of The Slow Label? Do you plan to push the topic of the circular economy further?
Yes! As soon as we see the first successes, we will aim to expand the take-back programme to a larger product range.
Thank you very much and all the best for the future.
Our approach at Maren Jewellery
As mentioned at the beginning, we have also structured our company in such a way that it benefits the Circular Economy. We have put this into practice with the following approaches:
> Urban Mining
Since the company was founded, we have only used recycled 18 carat gold and recycled 925 sterling silver for the production of our jewellery. Find out more in our Urban Mining Journal.
> Synthetic Eco Diamonds
Furthermore, we use diamonds grown directly in the laboratory, whose origin is 100% transparent and unproblematic. In terms of quality and appearance, these diamonds are in no way inferior to their natural counterparts. You can read about all of them in detail in our Journal about synthetic diamonds.
Both our paper and linen packaging options are also fully recyclable, making them as sustainable as possible. Find out more about our sustainable packaging partners in our Journal about sustainable jewellery packaging.
We have captured our sustainability efforts in the form of our we mind initiative, which was launched specifically for this purpose. In particular, we would like to emphasise the two points 'Designed for Deconstruction' and 'Made for you' in relation to Circular Economy. All our jewellery pieces are designed in such a way that they can be professionally melted down again without any problems. The precious metals and all other components can then be used again. Furthermore, we only manufacture as soon as we receive an order. In this way, there is no unused stock and we save unnecessary resources of any kind.
What you can do
The Slow Laben haben es auf ihrer Website für den Bereich Mode wunderbar treffend formuliert: "Sich anzuziehen ist ein tägliches Ritual - Kleidung zu kaufen sollte es nicht sein. Wir ermutigen dich, immer wieder bewusste Entscheidungen zu treffen und das zu schätzen, was du schon hast."
However, this statement does not only apply to fashion. Before consuming any new product, you should always consider for yourself whether you really need it, whether you will actually use it regularly, how durable it is and whether you might be able to borrow, lease or find something comparable second-hand. And if, after careful consideration, you do decide to buy, it's best to go with sustainable and circular businesses.
Things that you already own should be maintained, repaired if necessary and used as long as possible. If you can no longer use something or no longer like it, try to pass it on or sell it. In this way, it can provide its next owner with many more years of faithful service before it is - ideally - recycled.
Written by: Franka
Franka is a freelancer in the fields of marketing and communication and lives with her small family in Munich. She tries to consciously organize her everyday life in order to gradually integrate more sustainability into her life.