Friends, we’re so happy to share more with you about our Declutter to Destash sponsor, The Small Circle. Created by Lizzie Ross in 2018, The Small Circle is a sustainable notions company specializing in beautiful sewing supplies of the highest quality. Each item is handmade of carefully sourced materials which are usually organic, often local, and always delightful.
We were so thrilled when Lizzie agreed to be a sponsor of our Declutter to Destash Challenge. We’re excited to share our interview with her below!
Meet Lizzie Ross
FGF: Welcome, Lizzie! We are so excited to have a thoughtful and sustainable company like yours on board! Can you please tell us a little about yourself and how you started The Small Circle?
TSC: I am delighted to be a part of this challenge and to be teamed up with another sustainably-minded business! I live in Georgia with my husband and two elementary-aged kids, where I like to read, sew, garden, and hike. In 2018, I started The Small Circle because I just couldn’t get the idea of it out of my head. I also wanted work that allowed me the flexibility in scheduling to keep parenting as my first priority and my occupation second. I had a job as a baker that I loved, but the lack of sleep was taking its toll on my health and my family. So, I decided to make my own work schedule, and I started The Small Circle.
FGF: How did you come up with the name The Small Circle?
TSC: The name The Small Circle originally belonged to an herbal products company I thought about starting in 2012. The name emerged from my desire to either grow or locally source all of the raw material for the herbal concoctions, and for all packaging to be compostable. The sourcing would be kept small to reduce the carbon emissions of shipping and to invest in my local community as much as possible. All materials would also be able to break back down into the soil which could then be added to my garden as compost; therefore the production would be circular. The business would literally be a small circle. I never brought the herbal products company to fruition. But the same values guided me as I was launching The Small Circle as a notions shop in 2018.
Organic Cotton Bias Binding
FGF: You make such lovely notions that everyone would love to have in their sewing room. How did you decide what notions you’d create to sell for your business?
TSC: Most of my ideas for products have come about from gaps I’ve noticed in the marketplace when I have been looking for supplies or tools for my own sewing. My very first product was organic cotton bias binding I knew that a lot of sewists didn’t like to make their own binding, and the binding available in big box stores is poor quality and not very exciting, so I decided to fill the gap for organic, pre-made bias binding in really great colors and patterns. Next, I couldn’t find just the right pincushion for my own sewing room, so I collaborated with two other local makers to create something that would be both beautiful and highly functional: The Quintessential Pincushion. It has since become one of the things The Small Circle is most known for and has allowed me to expand into offering additional notions.
The Tidy Tray
I next became frustrated with constantly having to search a cluttered workspace for my thread snips, machine feet, seam ripper, marking tool, etc., so I developed the Tidy Trays to keep my most-used notions close at hand and easy to find. Finally, I absolutely adore hand-quilting, but again, I didn’t love any of the thread wax on the market. Pure beeswax was too crumbly for me, and I didn’t like the step of ironing the wax into my quilting thread. The packaging was either plastic or not biodegradable, or there were ingredients mixed with the beeswax that I’m not comfortable with (namely, the ubiquitous “fragrance”). So I tinkered and experimented until I came up with our most recent product that I am so proud of: earth-friendly thread wax.
FGF: Please tell us about how sustainability is a core component of The Small Circle’s values?
TSC: We all sew for the joy of creativity and the beauty of the things we create, and for me, that joy and beauty are robbed if people or the planet are exploited somewhere in the production process. So, I filter each and every business decision I make through the lens of sustainability. The textile industry has so far to go in this area that most of the decisions I make are still far from perfect, simply because a better alternative doesn’t exist yet. However, as more of us make more conscious choices, sustainability and transparency in sourcing will eventually become the norm! In concrete terms:
- I only source organic, non-synthetic fibers, or non-organic fibers that are naturally eco-friendly, like hemp, and don’t require the use of biocides.
- My shipping and packaging materials are either recyclable, compostable, and/or biodegradable (or they are being re-used). I am constantly revising and improving our packaging as better options become available.
- I source raw materials as close to home as possible to reduce the carbon emissions of shipping.
- As much as possible, I purchase from suppliers who use eco-friendly shipping and packaging materials.
- I collaborate exclusively with other businesses who are also doing their best to make sustainable decisions.
These sustainable business practices are the core of The Small Circle, not only because I love our beautiful earth, but because environmental health is inextricably linked to human health and equality. The way we treat the planet and the way we treat each other are the same thing. I want The Small Circle to be a force for good: offering sewists beautiful supplies they feel good about using, and creating a demand within the textiles industry for materials that are produced by people in good working conditions and making a fair wage.
The Quintessential Pincushion
FGF: What dreams do you have for The Small Circle in the coming year?
TSC: I have so many new, exciting product ideas that I am eager to bring to fruition! I just released a brand new product: an earth-friendly thread wax in biodegradable packaging that makes hand-sewing a dream. Our first scent, “Rainwashed,” is the freshest, cleanest scent you can imagine. I plan to add another scent this fall. I have plans for more ceramic-based notions that have been put on hold all of 2020 so far due to the pandemic. I’ll work on developing them as soon as I am able to pursue that again. I would love to collaborate more in the coming year and team up with other amazing and independent makers. And I want to spread the love of well-made, beautiful, and functional objects far and wide throughout the sewing community!
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story and products with us!
The Small Circle is sponsoring our Declutter to Destash giveaway this week! Enter for a chance to win a Tidy Tray in your choice of Cobalt or Shortbread!
And for the month of October, Lizzie is offering all Declutter to Destash participants 15% off to shop The Small Circle!