St Albans woman sets up online shop with help from people facing social challenges

Emily Mathieson, the founder of Aerende

Emily Mathieson, the founder of Aerende - Credit: Archant

A new online shop specialising in selling homewares created by people facing social challenges is hoping to launch following donations from supporters.

The online shop, Aerende could be fully up and running by July if it can reach its target of £4,500.

The project is being run by Emily Mathieson, who lives in St Albans. She has already received £4,395 from donations and the money will be used to buy stock and packaging materials from British eco-friendly suppliers.

Emily plans on extending the target to £6,500 to “capitalise on the momentum” they have achieved so far and to try and reach more people.

Some of the people that Emily will be working with include inmates from prisons who have created cushions through embroidery, The Soap Co, a social enterprise that employs visually impaired and blind people to make soap, and also a homeless man in St Albans, who creates pen and ink drawings which will be printed and sold as limited editions.

Emily said she wanted to start the project to try and have a “positive impact on society.

“My previous career as a travel editor was brilliantly exciting but often quite guilt-inducing.

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“I wanted to spend more time doing something that would have a positive impact on society but that could also incorporate my enthusiasm for shopping and interiors.

“Aerende is my solution to that conundrum.”

Aerende will operate as a social enterprise, with social and environmental benefits and all profits will go to the craft makers and reinvested into the company.

Emily continued: “The shop taps into so many things that people are thinking about and keen on right now - from ethical consuming and socially considerate business to the trend for the rustic and homespun look.

“We think we are the first company in the UK to showcase the talents of marginalised groups in a considered stylish way, and it’s very rewarding to see our crowd-funding campaign take off.

“Hopefully it’s a great sign for the business and it’s really rewarding to get so much public support.”

For more information, or to donate to the project, visit: