Between selling eco-goods, attending farmer’s markets and educating communities, Verve Collective has managed to build a thriving, sustainable homeware products brand since their opening in 2020. Read on for our interview with Caleb Ostwald, Verve Collective’s director and owner!
Sustainable Homeware Products – Where to start?
Caleb finished school in 2020 with a determination to help the planet. He turned that ambition into action by developing Verve Collective.
“When we began, Verve was a smaller range of eco-goods on our eco store and we were finding our feet as a market-based and digital sustainability hub, navigating e-commerce and business structure as we went. Now, we are really starting to find our feet, engaging with more wholesale work, larger projects behind the scenes and we have some clients who we are consulting with.”
Verve Collective now offers a range of everyday sustainable homeware products including bamboo thermos tumblers, tote bags, plant-based phone cases, sustainable kitchen utensils and bathroom items, cleaning supplies and more! They have strived to attain a GOTS organic certification (the world’s leading textile certification), ensuring that Verve’s materials are ethically supplied and organically grown. They have a zero-plastic policy, use recycled materials for packaging and use vegetable and water-based inks for printed materials. Through their work with Carbon Neutral Australia, the company hopes to become Carbon Negative.
When asked what environmental issues Caleb wanted to tackle within Verve, he answered:
“Initially, I was driven by wanting to change the general mindset of the population; that living sustainably is too hard and more expensive. I grew up with many of those around me sharing that belief, and as I continued to become more educated on sustainable living, I knew this had to change. I would say that the first issues within wanting to change this mindset were, and still are, household waste and excessive animal product consumption. Our goal has never been to force an agenda, simply to show everyone that no matter your choices and beliefs, small changes in our daily lives can make a great impact on our footprint.”
Verve’s #LivingGreen Movement, as Caleb explains, is ‘really all about creating a more sustainable world through work at the community level’. He emphasises community building as a terrific way to share our knowledge of sustainability and simply connect with others who share a similar goal.
The importance of community involvement and education is a common theme in Caleb’s work.
“The most rewarding part of starting Verve has been seeing the changes in my family and friends as they become more aware of why we need to lead more sustainable lives. Similarly, building relationships with market-goers at our many regular markets is so rewarding, as we chat about life and engage in discussions about what they can do to reduce their footprint.”
Caleb also says, “With our online presence, we are continuing to build resources on sustainable living via our socials, green guide and other communications. Each sustainable homeware product has its own impact and education details embedded in the description. We are also really excited over the next few years to start implementing the education programs we have been developing too, predominantly in schools!”
Caleb’s top tips for Melbournians:
There are plenty of things – big or small – that people can do to help improve the city’s health. Here are Caleb’s four tips for helping Melbourne’s sustainability:
- Utilise the city’s public transport network and ride a bike or skateboard wherever you like!
- Cut back on excessive meat consumption, especially red meat, which produces greenhouse gases.
- Start a soft plastics bin at home and drop it off at Coles or Woolworths.
- Compost your food and wash your recycling before putting it in the bin.
Caleb stresses these last two tips as especially important; not sorting your waste properly puts a massive strain on our waste and recycling centres. Throwing recycling materials into your landfill bin leads to an excess of greenhouse gases being released.