Make your home just a little bit more gorgeous with Stone and Sage
- Credit: Stone and Sage
From accompanying her nan on trips to charity shops on the hunt for vintage treasures as a young girl, to scouring table top sales, Sophie Harvey has always had a love of sustainable style.
“I suppose that was my introduction to vintage, pre-loved and sustainability,” says Sophie.
She is always, she admits, ‘truffling’ - scouting car boot sales and charity shops for items that can be re-used, upcycled and given a new lease of life, and decorated her home near Long Melford in the heart of Suffolk using only secondhand finds.
And three years ago Sophie, who also teaches art and design in Bury St Edmunds, launched Stone and Sage, a gorgeous online lifestyle boutique, selling an eclectic array of British and European vintage and antique wares.
Losing her beloved nan was the catalyst for Sophie to create the business.
“Juggling being mum, a career and I suppose being slightly heartbroken that my nan had passed, I decided that life’s too short and to give it a go and see what happened.”
Shopping vintage is second nature to Sophie, and sustainability was at the forefront of her mind when it came to her own home.
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“We found an ex-council house and we have done it up,” she says. "Absolutely everything in the house is secondhand, we bought nothing new. We’ve put a little barn conversion porch on the front, we sourced an old oak tree that we had cut and we now have that as our fireplace.
“We've got heirlooms that have been passed down to us, we’ve been and collected things from car boots, from people’s houses, so the house is mixture of everything from 70s patterns to a farmhouse aesthetic.
“I’ve got my nan’s old dressing table which she had that got passed down to her, so we’ve got things that are over 100 years old, to things that someone might have not wanted any more that was new, that’s maybe manufactured two years ago, so it’s a combination of everything.”
And Sophie is always “on the prowl” for treasures for Stone and Sage’s online store – whether that’s 70s wooden ware or an Edwardian piece.
“Everywhere and anywhere I go I am looking,” she says. "We call it truffling, we truffle around. It could be car boots, it could be charity shops.”
Sophie’s in-laws live in France, and they source items for her too.
“I try my hardest not to go [to France] because I’m hot on our carbon footprint and have to be true to our brand, so everything that I myself find is sourced here.
"A big part of the eco green system is that I’m giving back as well. To date we’ve raised over £5,000 for charity through sourcing through charity shops.”
Now, as well as having created a thriving Stone and Sage online community on Instagram, Sophie also runs virtual fairs online and offers styling and photography packages to help other small businesses create content for their online platforms.
“We’ve been doing that for a year and that has been amazing – we mentor and support more than 45 small businesses from up and down the UK and we have some international businesses that we help as well.”
In spring Sophie is launching a magazine celebrating sustainable style, Preloved.
"I think creativity, photography, styling and design has always been something that I’ve been interested in,” she says.
“The magazine is about embracing a greener life, socially as well as economically,” she says. “So it’s looking at sustainability in interiors and décor, fashion and eateries.
“Being a consumer society, I think it’s so easy to go out and buy new and not stop and go actually, could I repair it, could I upcycle it, could I reinvent something new with it, could I re-purpose it in some way?”
Sophie’s tips for buying secondhand and sustainably
“I think it’s really important, firstly, to assess your home interiors and functionality,” says Sophie. “I know during the spring months we like to redecorate and we rush out to purchase ‘new’ everything – curtains, paint, cushions, accessories, etc.
“I personally would give yourself a little task – try your hardest to buy some of these things secondhand: paint and wallpaper can also be found in charity shops, especially the Sue Ryder ones.”
If you’re wanting to live more sustainably, Sophie recommends starting with the basics.
1. Buy a wooden toothbrush.
2. Re-purposed plastic pots are perfect for lunches and sowing seeds.
3. Buy secondhand clothes. You’ll find that villages often put on 'table tops'. Sophie purchased her last two winter coats still with the labels on for no more than 50p - one was from the 1980s.
4. Prepare to put time and effort in to living more sustainably and embracing the culture of preloved. “There is no taboo to it, honestly,” says Sophie. “If we all did one of the things mentioned above, collectively we can make a difference.”
Follow Stone and Sage on Instagram @stoneandsageshop and see the website stoneandsage.co.uk