As purveyors, we strive to put a focus back on the world of craftsmanship — to celebrate the maker and the goods they make. It’s one of our driving principles at Boston General Store.
When we look to form partnerships with craftspeople and makers, we are especially interested in finding those who produce not for mere profit, but out of a greater sense of purpose. There’s nothing we love more than a well-made and thoughtfully designed product that’s been crafted with the goal of benefitting the greater good in some way. Many of our makers adhere to sustainable business practices, some create to promote slow living, others are stewards of at-risk natural resources, and many give back to their local communities.
Here are a few of our partners who are producing with purpose.
SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS PRACTICES
When our buying team visited Opinel’s headquarters in Chambéry, France, this summer, they witnessed firsthand Opinel’s commitment to sustainability.
Opinel prides itself on production processes that generate no waste and create no water pollution. All of the waste made in the production of their knives is reused or recycled. Wood shavings created when knife handles are carved is used as fuel to heat their workshops and offices. Blades are made of steel, a fully recyclable material, and water used in the grinding process is filtered and fed back into the machines, creating 0% water waste. The metal dust that is sifted out is repurposed as a concrete additive.
Raw materials for Opinel’s products largely come from sources close to home. As much as 97% of their wood comes from sustainably managed forests in France and 80% of their suppliers are domestic.
The Opinel family has manufactured their knives in the Alps region of France since the 1800s, staying true to their historical roots while incorporating modern technologies in a way that honors and respects the land around them.
Meow Meow Tweet’s commitment to sustainability is multi-faceted. At its core is their dedication to making all-natural apothecary products using plant- and mineral-based ingredients in vegan, cruelty-free formulations.
What first attracted us to Meow Meow Tweet was their whimsical, zero-waste packaging. Deodorant and lip balm tubes are fully backyard compostable, aluminum and glass bottles are easily recyclable, and soap boxes are made with FSC-certified, fully recyclable paper that is printed with vegetable-based inks.
Once we started using their bath and skincare products, we really began to appreciate just how effective they are. Ingredient lists don’t contain a myriad of unpronounceable ingredients, and the natural formulations are gentle on most every skin type. Simpler, gentler products for us means less of an impact on our planet, both in terms of what’s been taken from nature and what is being put back into it.
With a mindfulness toward reducing production waste and a dedication to redistribution, Meow Meow Tweet exemplifies a company that is taking a full-circle approach to sustainability.
You can read more about Meow Meow Tweet’s commitment to sustainability here.
Hot Date Kitchen is a small company that is local to us here in Boston. Their business was founded with the goal of creating a truly sustainable food company, which is not something easily achieved in our current food system. Through intentional choices, redistribution, and carbon offsets, they strive to tread lightly as they craft some truly delicious products.
Hot Dates and Coffee Dates are sunflower butter-stuffed Medjool dates that are covered in chocolate. (And yes, they are as good as they sound!) Sunbutter is used in lieu of almond butter because it requires no irrigated water for growing. Other ingredients were specifically chosen because they didn’t require refrigeration, which helps reduce energy usage in transportation, storage, and production.
When sourcing ingredients, preference is given to small and local suppliers, as well as those who value sustainability. And distribution is thoughtfully aimed toward retail partners who are small, local, or regional in an effort to minimize shipping impact.
Perhaps one of the most notable ways that Hot Date Kitchen is making an impact is in their generous donation of 100% of profits earned Black Friday weekend, which is typically their most profitable weekend. Proceeds are donated to climate-focused non-profits like the Rainforest Foundation.
You can read more about Hot Date Kitchen’s commitment to sustainability here.
PROTECTION OF AT-RISK FOOD SOURCES
Luisa Abram is a new-to-us chocolate maker, and in researching her company for our Wine + Chocolate blog, we learned more about the incredible efforts she’s making to protect the availability of wild cacao sources in Brazil.
To read about Luisa Abram’s mission in her own words is to understand just how passionate she is about it. Traveling deep into the Amazon rainforest with her family, she works to identify native sources of wild cacao and partner with local families and cooperatives to sustainably harvest it. In doing so, she establishes sources of income that ensure the livelihood of the people living along the banks of the rivers where the cacao grows.
Collecting [the Amazon’s] fruits in a controlled and respectful way to nature can create dignified living conditions for riverside populations, who lack so many basic items. If these families manage to survive from the controlled extraction of fruits, coexistence between us, humans, and the forest becomes possible and fruitful, without the need to cut down its trees and always preserving its riches. - Luisa Abram
Luisa Abram chocolate is single-origin bean-to-bar chocolate with a uniquely floral and fruity taste. With the purchase of each bar, you are supporting the Abram family’s efforts to bring this wild cacao to market in a responsible way.
SLOW + MINDFUL LIVING
A number of our makers are driven by a purpose that is focused on the effect their products have on the people who use them. Some see a world that is overly centered on consumerism, disposability, and the frenetic consumption of resources and seek to simplify, beautify, and slow down. Here are some of our partners who are promoting slow or mindful living through their creations.
Through their beautifully crafted writing utensils like dip pens and ink, Kakimori seeks to encourage the connection that happens when people take the time to express themselves through writing by hand.
Read more about Kakimori’s story here.
By producing knit accessories of high quality in small quantities, Swedish-based Öjbro hopes to contribute to the slow fashion movement. Their woolen socks, mittens, and hats, knit in patterns inspired by traditional Nordic designs, are the antithesis of cheaply made, mass-produced fashion. When clothing is made thoughtfully and with better materials, it serves to bring you greater comfort, lasts longer, and is more easily repaired.
You can read more about the Öjbro family’s thoughts on slow fashion and learn how to mend a mitten here.
In 2023, we added a new vendor to our tea lineup. Comins tea is a husband-and-wife team from Bath, England. They partner with single-estate tea growers and cooperatives to source their tea. Their belief has always been that “the preparation and enjoyment of loose leaf tea can be an every day activity which can fit in with and indeed enhance our increasingly busy lives.”
This holiday season, we stocked their Advent Calendar, the theme of which was “Five a Day, the Comins Way”. It offered a chance to take five minutes a dayto make a cup of tea and to notice and connect with the world around you. While the Advent Calendar is sold out for 2023, we do offer a Comins Tea Gift Set, which contains five of their assorted teas.
"In an age when conveniences are celebrated, curated lifestyles are worshiped, and optimization is celebrated as a virtue, we have a divergent perspective." - Manual
Manual designs home goods that encourage slow living. Their Slow System Essentials kit can be used to make pour-over coffee, brew tea, or mix cocktails. It was created in the spirit of embracing and enjoying the time it takes to perform these tasks and the ritual inherent in them.
You can read more about Manual’s thoughts on slow living here.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about these eight makers and the considerations they’re taking when practicing their craft. When you shop with us, you support these makers and others who are making efforts to tread lightly on our earth and to send a lot of good back into it.
Thank you for your support.