Updated: May 8, 2022
Beautiful furniture does not have to hurt the planet, and Riz and Mica are proving it with every piece they create.
Who Are Riz And Mica... And What Do They Make?
Riz and Mica are the dynamic duo creating beautiful and sustainable furniture in their London-based shop. With lots of passion and expertise, every piece they make has a unique identity and an equally interesting story behind it.
Q&A with Riz and Mica
Riz: For me, all this started as a hobby. At a young age, I was always making something; bikes and other contraptions, or repairing stuff around the home. I would fix up trashed bikes with bent forks that seemed destined to be scrapped, getting different standards of parts from the '70s and '80s to fit together. My main driver back then was a lack of money, but also a sense of the challenge in getting these things operational again, I think for me that naturally led to working with reclaimed furniture.
How Did Riz And Mica Start?
Mica: Making furniture happened quite organically. We'd moved to a larger unit at the Bow Business House for our previous jobs and needed furniture to make our office functional, this is how it all began. I had never thought of doing anything like this before. We initially treated it as a side project, it was fun and interesting and very educational, creating something unique, something we had never done before. Riz was able to bring his mechanical expertise, I'd previously worked as a make-up artist which translated very well to make up custom finishes for our wood pieces. We were expecting our first child at the time, and decided that this would be the ideal time to launch a family business!
Riz: Absolutely, we'd both always had a love of furniture, and wanted to furnish our new workspace with stylish pieces made of reclaimed material. However, the ones that were out there seemed inaccessible price-wise or without the quality we were looking for. It seemed like a great opportunity to start our company together.
Why Add Customer Donations To Your Online Store?
Mica: We'd been looking for an app that allowed our customers to donate to causes during checkout. It's something that we really like to be able to do and is a feature seen on lots of sites, with tick-boxes for carbon offsetting donations for instance. However, a lot of the apps we'd seen didn't offer support for charities we cared about or were more US-based. We've really loved the support and dedication of the Pledger team throughout.
Running a company means thinking not just about making money but making sure that what we do is positive for the world, so allowing Pledger on our site is one way we can go about this.
Which Causes Can Customers Support?
£5 can help train forest communities to map and defend their rainforest home
Mica: We're losing the planet's trees scarily quick. Especially as we always seem to be learning how important they are for the planet. Rainforest Foundation UK is a great group to support as they work with indigenous communities to save the forests in South America, rather than excluding these crucial people. We've both visited South America for many months at a time, and it means a lot to us as a place and needs preserving.
Latin American Women’s Aid runs refuges for Latin American women and children fleeing gender-based violence
Riz: Out from the pandemic, people started realising how important our support services are. From friends working in similar charities, we know how government cuts have hit these sectors hard. Donations and other third party funding are crucial to services that should really be the remit of the government. In that gap, people and organisations should do all they can to help bridge it and mitigate the real harm being suffered right now. Latin American Women's Aid is based in East London like us and we'd heard about a lot of good work being done by this charity.
You Have Also Planted 483 Trees To Date (via tree nation) Why Is Tree-Planting So Important To You?
Riz: We integrated our site with Tree-Nation last year and pledged to plant a tree for every item ordered (over a minimum value of £12). Tree-planting is instantly understandable and we like the ease with which our customers can then go on to plant their own trees through the site. We also think it's a really great gateway into more environmental action, causes that might not get as much coverage (due to the focus purely on emissions over ecology) but are super important such as protecting our rivers, or re-wilding areas.
Could You Tell Me A Little More About Your In-House Sustainability Practices?
Mica: We take a lot of inspiration from companies we love on Instagram or in our local community! We try to be as sustainable a company as possible, we love the challenge of this! We sell our wood offcuts, our wood shavings (for use with compost toilets and animal bedding!) and are looking at trying to grow mushrooms using some of our waste materials. It seems unfair to not think of the results for our children in the future.
Riz: People are really starting to understand that if something is thrown away it doesn't magically disappear, it can take years, or decades, or longer, to break down. It's always made sense to us (financially and ethically) to find a use for these things that would otherwise break down anaerobically in landfills.
Are There Any Other Local Initiatives That You Are Supporting?
Riz: We're going to be working with our local nursery Edith Kerrison Nursery to bring some craft classes to them. I'm very excited to be starting as a parent governor there as well soon.
Mica: It's a really amazing school and we can't wait to bring our classes to them!
How Are They Fundraising?
And now customers have the ability to get involved by adding a few pounds to these great causes as part of their purchase using Pledger's Shopify Plugin,
How to Get Involved
With Riz and Mica Make
Or, take a look at our app on the Shopify App Store. At Pledger, we keep things simple. As a shop, you can either give a portion of your sales directly to a charity, or you can ask your customers to give a little at the end of their purchase (or both).