When Peita Davis took leave from her job as a political analyst to live in Kenya, she was struck by the abundance of sustainability and creativity at one of the local village markets.
“They don’t waste anything,” she says. “There’s a concept of using recycled materials so nothing ever goes to waste, and all the artists and creators took found objects and upcycled them into something beautiful.”
Perusing the goods in Nairobi, where Davis and her husband moved after he was posted there with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, reawakened her to the creative streak she had embodied as a child before her political career took hold.
“The whole time I was in Kenya, my creative side kicked back in,” she says. “And I just couldn’t shake it.”
Now, Davis has launched Gingerfinch, a digital store for ethical and sustainable goods from around the world.
“My aim was to show that beautiful design and sustainability are not mutually exclusive, and to help entrepreneurial artisans grow their business and income,” says Davis. “[If you] invest in something that’s consciously made, it has so many knock-on effects that are better for the planet and ultimately better for society.”
Most of the selection is minimalist and modern, encompassing everything from furniture and homewares to artwork, aprons and planters. You’ll find items from Aussie textile company Waverley Mills; Melbourne-based design studio Fomu; Studio Herron in Chicago; Kenyan jewellery label Soko; Ontwerpduo and Studio Macura, both based in the Netherlands; Gavelli in Prague; and Portego, which showcases designers from Veneto, Italy.
Whatever the item, the criteria for stocking it remains consistent, says Davis.
“I make my decisions based on three guiding questions: where was it made, who made it, and from what,” she explains. “I don’t take my product selection lightly, and if I’m not sure about a product’s quality I’ll often buy one for myself and live with it before I decide to stock it.”
Shop self-taught Sydney artist Laura Eaton’s indoor plant pots and colourful canisters that are made out of recycled stone but feel like porcelain. This clever apron, by South Korean social enterprise Zero Design, doubles as a tote bag. And sleek glass vases by Japanese label Kinto are perfect for propagating plants from cuttings.
The focus on sustainability and transparency extends to Gingerfinch’s logistics partner Sendle, a 100 per cent carbon-neutral delivery service.
“Australians are becoming more and more aware of the power of their wallet in voting for things we believe in,” says Davis. “I hope people buy something from me that they’ll treasure for generations, and that they’ll love and not throw away.”