Today we’re chatting with Diti from the amazing Théla.
Théla crochets and sews products with yarn made out of discarded plastic bags, thus preventing plastic waste from filling our landfills, polluting our oceans and harming our wildlife.
How did your brand start? What was the inspiration?
I started this initiative to
- reduce the amount of single use plastics that end up in our landfills and oceans
- increase awareness about its impact and alternatives
Single use plastics, or disposable plastics like plastic straws, plastic bags, coffee cup lids and water bottles take a lot of energy and resources to manufacture and are used only once before they are discarded.
The nature of this plastic makes it very difficult and harmful to the environment to recycle. Most of it end up in our landfills where they take 10-1000 years to decompose and eventually beak down into toxic particles that contaminate our soil and water. When we consume this soil (in the form of food) and water these harmful chemicals enter our bloodstream.
The rest goes into our oceans where over millions of marine animals and birds die each year after getting entangled in it or mistaking it for food and eating it.
This has been too disturbing for me to ignore and I wanted to do something about it.
I am a graphic designer by profession and an instinctive environmentalist by habit. My love for design, making things with my hands and living consciously and as sustainably as possible inspired me to start Théla.
What is your idea of sustainable living and how would you suggest people practice it in their everyday life?
Sustainable living is all about being mindful of the positive and negative impact of one’s actions on the environment, having the sensitivity and inclination to change and the creativity to make these changes in everyday life.
Adopting a sustainable lifestyle is a personal journey; it varies from person to person depending on one’s needs and habits.
The thought of changing one’s life long habits can be daunting and this in itself discourages a lot of us from doing so.
My basic suggestion would be to start with only a few changes or even one change at a time. Adopt just one simple change for everyday living or something that is more challenging just once or twice a week – even this can create a big impact.
Decide where you want to draw the line, don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy the journey!
We are swooning over your floor mats – Chatai is a firm favourite – how long do items like this take to put together?
All Théla products are handmade with a lot of love & thoughtfulness – the plastic bags are individually collected, hand washed and dried, meticulously cut by hand into yarn, and finally crocheted & hand sewn into unique pieces.
The mat, or Chatai, which is one of the bigger products is made from over 50 discarded plastic bags and the entire making process takes about 5 days.
What’s next for you and your brand?
My brand is still very small – everything from collecting & washing the plastic bags and conceptualising and making the products to managing the branding, social media and sales is done by me along with a lot of much needed help and guidance from my husband.
The next step would be brand awareness – to increase the online sales and also get larger custom orders that would help the brand grow and enable me to work with people here in Athens for cutting, crocheting and sewing the products.
Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
I am constantly researching different ways of making products with plastic bags.
Right now I am learning how to weave on a small lap loom with the plastic yarn and would love to make some products with this technique.
I also want to learn to fuse plastic bags into a sturdy material that can then be sewn into various products.
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting a sustainable brand?
I would buy a sustainable product not just for its sustainability but also for its good design and functionality and attention to detail. However sustainable a product is, it is not going to be of any use if it is not well designed and user friendly.
And so my advice would be to focus on the design as well, not just of the product but of the branding and communication too.
Why should people buy from you?
Because we try our best to be as sustainable as possible in every step of the journey:
- We only use the plastic bags that have been previously used or discarded.
- All other accessories used in the products are also used or discarded or are locally and ethically sourced.
The product packaging is completely plastic free and minimal – we use recycled cardboard boxes, paper wrapping (for the larger products) and adhesive paper tape.
Connect with Diti
Website: thela.design – don’t forget to use the code CLC2018 to get a 20% discount!