THE owner of a smallholding in County Down has launched a school uniform supply business, while at the same time promising to plant a tree for each uniform sold and send details about the tree to the family making the purchase.
Liam Charlton-Killen, who moved back to County Down after becoming a father to two adopted children, has launched Ethical Schoolwear – a new business based at his Crossgar smallholding. For communications manager Liam, the new venture marks a change in direction and one that was prompted by his relocation as well as his experiences as a parent.
Since Liam became a parent seven years ago, when he and his husband adopted their son, he realised that he asks a lot of questions: What’s that? Where’s it from? Who made it? What’s it made from? How much? Sorry, I think I misheard you … how much?
Many of these questions have been about school uniform. Liam found it difficult getting answers to his questions, and sometimes getting no response at all. So he decided to set up a shop himself, and Ethical Schoolwear was born. It’s for people who are trying to do the right thing for the planet, the people who make school uniform, the kids who wear it and the grown-ups who pay for it.
Ethical Schoolwear is an online shop offering plain and embroidered school uniform, and only sells items that have been produced by B Corp certified suppliers. The business has also pledged to plant a tree for each sale, and the trees can be named by the customers. Having grown up surrounded by fields, Liam is a self-confessed nature lover who has been boosted by his children’s desire to look after the planet. Liam plans to increase the amount of wild land by creating more woodland and native hedgerows to act as nature highways.
He said: “I hope that by creating an oasis for wildlife, as well as a carbon sink to absorb CO2, that our small efforts can make a lasting difference.
“Each tree will absorb nearly a ton of CO2 in its lifetime. Customers will have the option to name their tree and I will post the planting on social media so that they can explain to their kids the positive impact their uniform is having on the environment.”
In addition to a range of affordable plain uniform, Ethical Schoolwear is already selling embroidered items for Cedar Integrated Primary School in Crossgar.
Liam is also in talks with more Northern Irish schools whose headteachers are keen to offer the choice of ethical schoolwear to their parents.
n For details go to www.ethicalschoolwear.co.uk
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.