Since last interviewing Humblee Eco’s Leonie Prater in March earlier this year, I have been the proud and frequent user of her fantastic beeswax wraps (starter pack), which have helped keep my fruits and vegetables last nearly 3x as long. In addition to keeping my food fresh, its colorful and fun patterns make me want to showcase them even more in the fridge, particularly when I have friends and family over, because it ends up being a great conversation starter and encourages them to make the switch from cling wrap to more environment-friendly and sustainable options.
With the upcoming Gathered Design Market in Hahndorf from December 13 – 15, 2019, I had a follow-up Q&A with Leonie about her returning to the Market as a stall holder – have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Hello again, Leonie! It’s been a while since our last chat – how are you doing?
Leonie: Hello Tema, I am well and busy, preparing for the summer market season here in our very creative state of South Australia.
Tema: How are things going with the business?
Leonie: It is going extremely well and keeping me very busy. I am so very fortunate to be associated with some of the best markets in and around Adelaide with fantastic organisers, who are always so very supportive. The response from customers who have seen and purchased my wraps at these markets has been amazing. It means that I am on the right track and all that time I spent perusing fabrics, perfecting my wax formula, preparing the wax wrap packs and presenting them as finished products makes it all worthwhile.
Tema: How does it feel to be returning to Gathered SA for their Hahndorf edition?
Leonie: I am excited to be a part of this Christmas Market with Gathered, as it embraces artists who are exceedingly creative and passionate and bringing them all together in a beautiful location and setting. Jenna, who is an ‘organiser extraordinaire’, puts a lot of effort into presenting a quality market.
Tema: What did you experience from your previous market experiences with Gathered and how do you think it helped your business?
Leonie: Gathered does represent quality & I think coming into contact with like-minded stall holders, networking, & seeing where I ‘fit’ has certainly helped me on my own path. I often get inspiration from other stall holders, where we exchange ideas and help each other out.
Tema: Would you like to talk a bit about why it’s important for your products to be environment-friendly?
Leonie: I’d love to! I was raised in the country on a farm in rural NZ, where I learned to garden at an early age, rode horses, saved rabbits from the cat, and generally lived the farm life. I have a connection with the land and all it embodies and so have a profound respect for it. This planet nurtures and sustains us and it deeply saddens and angers me how much we simply take it for granted. Plastic, because it is cheap and convenient, has become part of our daily lives (unfortunately). We buy it, use it, and throw it away without thinking, not realising that it never breaks down and believing that the Earth will remain as it always was. Our rubbish (including plastic) is conveniently collected at the gate and taken away and is therefore out of sight and out of mind. In reality, it is often thrown into landfill and what doesn’t go to landfill, often just ends up in the oceans and then quickly makes its way into the food chain – where it doesn’t belong. We do not see the effect that our use of plastic is having on this planet. Change must happen. We need to start using products other than plastic and the first place for change to happen is in the home. The first step is that we can choose to use materials that will bio-degrade and will not harm the planet. We created this problem of plastic waste and everyone of us needs to help solve it. I am contributing by helping my customers take that first step by producing reusable, bio-degradable food wraps to replace the use of plastic cling wrap. I am also sourcing other eco-friendly products, which up to now, have been made of plastic e.g. Coconut fibre dish and bottle brushes, string produce bags and bamboo clothes pegs.
Tema: What made you choose reusable wraps in particular as a primary product for your business?
Leonie: I thought about our over-use of plastic and in particular, the use of cling wrap. We use it a lot, to wrap practically everything and most importantly, we only use it once and then throw it away. This seemed to me to be a good place to start. I began researching alternative methods to wrap food and found that waxed material provided many benefits – keeping food fresher, reusable and bio-degradable. It has taken me a long time to perfect the product, but I am now happy with it and I know it works well.
Tema: How do you decide on the cute and colourful choices of patterns and designs that are used for your reusable wraps?
Leonie: I spend a lot of time searching for suitable fabric with patterns and colours that will go well together (especially the starter packs, which are in sets of three). I want to offer a product that reflects the quality of my business and am now working with textile companies to help me achieve that point of difference.
Tema: Why do you think people should consider switching to reusable wraps?
Leonie: Really for all the reasons I have mentioned earlier. This is not only a good option for the environment, but it is so much better for your food as it stays fresher for longer, which results in less food waste. Wax wraps are waterproof but not airtight, they allow a minute amount of air in, which means that your food can breathe. I believe that if we can all make a small change in our daily habits, it will result in a big change towards saving our environment.
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like us to know about you and your participation at Gathered SA?
Leonie: We will be at both the Gathered Hahndorf Christmas Market from Dec 13-15 as well as the Gathered Lobethal Christmas Market from Dec 20-22, so there is plenty of opportunity for people to purchase the wraps, which make an ideal Christmas gift or they can stock up for themselves. We will also have a special deal on offer at the Hahndorf Market and there will be details of an online offer as well.
You can visit Humblee Eco at the Gathered Design Market from December 13 – 15, 2019 from 4pm – 10pm at the Thiele House in Hahndorf. Entry to the market is free and there is plenty of free street parking available nearby.
With thanks to Jenna O’Dell from Gathered SA for the interview opportunity
Interview conducted by Fatema “Tema” Sitabkhan
Answers and images supplied by Leonie Prater // Humblee Eco // Reyes Marketing