If you enjoy wandering round quirky, chic homewares shops you’re probably familiar with Angus & Celeste. For those that haven’t wandered in quite the right direction, Angus & Celeste is a Victorian ceramics studio that has become known for its distinctive modern Australian aesthetic. Delicate gum leaves, sprays of native flowers; the shapes, colours and textures of the Victorian landscape – all find their way on and into Angus & Celeste’s pots, planters, and crockery.
Both Asha and Keir, the humans behind Angus & Celeste, grew up with a strong connection to nature. The ultimate dream for both remains to live in a treehouse, and they’ve managed to get about as close as possible. Their home is full of plants: potted, grounded, productive, decorative, calming and cleansing. Asha doesn’t downplay the effort involved in looking after an extended plant family, but says, ‘the joy that plants bring you definitely make it all worthwhile.’
This perspective seems to be reflected across the country. Asha and Keir can confirm that the indoor plant trend is booming and shows no sign of slowing down. ‘Looking at the societal changes that are occurring in our capital cities, this isn’t really surprising!’ Asha says. ‘People are living in smaller spaces but still crave to have nature around them. The modern existence can be so hectic. An indoor garden can provide people with a sense of calm and order, peace in and amongst the daily noise.’ Angus & Celeste see it as part of their mission to help people find the perfect harmonious match between plant and container, to place a little extra beauty in just the right spot.
It comes as no surprise that Asha and Keir are also passionate advocates for sustainable business practices. ‘The old saying there are no jobs on a dead planet rings truer than ever these days,’ Asha says. ‘Anyone running a viable small business in the current day must acknowledge sustainability, as resources are definitely not infinite.’
As well as making informed decisions about who they work with and how their products are produced, Angus & Celeste regularly reduce their carbon emission through tree plantings. They take a broader view of the plantings than just reducing their carbon though. They see the degradation of biodiversity as one of the greatest threats to human existence. By contributing to smaller, targeted plantings they know they are helping enrich both the environment and local biodiversity through the creation of flora and fauna corridors.
By coincidence, Fifteen Trees started around the same time as Angus & Celeste. Asha and Keir felt that the Fifteen Trees model would make the perfect companion for their fledgling enterprise. Over the many years since, they have helped plant over 2,000 trees in green corridors all over Victoria in Angus & Celeste’s name. These have effectively reduced the business’ commercial impact, as well as contributed to the biodiversity and revegetation projects they value so highly. ‘It’s very exciting to see them grow back for the future,’ says Asha. ‘We are given regular updates when our trees are planted and enjoy seeing the images from the planting days; this has made us really feel a part of the process.’
The sense of being part of a process is an important part of Angus & Celeste’s ethos. In the same way they recognise and honour their own contribution to an ancient artistic tradition, they are always conscious of a business having responsibilities beyond the bottom line. Giving back to the earth is part of that. ‘If business made a small commitment to allocate a small percentage of profits back into the land that supports us,’ says Asha, ‘then we would surely start to see a more positive universal change. Perhaps more business owners could ask themselves ‘what is enough’ rather than ‘how big can we get’?
As Asha and Keir move into a newly built design studio at their home, surrounded by a great team and a whole biosphere’s worth of inspiration, the immediate future for Angus & Celeste looks very bright. We look forward to seeing their business grow as sustainably and beautifully as their trees.
Interview by Sarah Hart.
Sarah is an emerging self-taught artist whose passions include the stories and experiences of women and narrative driven creative work. Her aim is to delight, to reveal glimpses of everyday beauty, and to celebrate flights of the ordinary. Sarah works across a range of media, with an abiding interest in pen and ink, mixed media and the human form. Facebook – Sarah Hart Creative.
To be part of the movement of companies looking to make a tangible contribution to our rural communities and our native environment, contact Colleen at <[email protected]>.