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5 Questions for an Eco-Friend - Sally from Starfish Living

Today's Eco Friend is actually someone I've met in real life. Thanks to the wonderful world of Instagram, I discovered Sally and her wonderful business, Starfish Living, making beeswax wraps. We have a love of gorgeous fabrics and one day pre-pandemic we met up in a nearby scrap shop, swapped some makes and had a cup of tea. One day we will have another one!

Over to Sally to tell us who she is and what she does and why.

Here's Sally!

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m Sally, I’m 51 and I live between Leeds and York in the very Southernmost tip of North Yorkshire. I’ve got a husband, two grown-up children and a grumpy elderly chihuahua. I’m a Crafter and ‘Make-do-and-Mender’; knitting, sewing and baking right from childhood and the queen of handmade gifting! I acquired a sewing machine in about 1980 and taught myself dressmaking via books and Simplicity paper patterns. I was making and altering/repurposing clothes from being 10 years old – I even made myself a long black trenchcoat when I was a Goth in 6th Form and a prom dress for my step-sister, as well as countless cushions, curtains and later Austrian festoon blinds (do you remember them?!)

I really wanted to study fashion design and art but, for various reasons (sadly) this didn’t happen, so I ended up training to be a Registered Nurse, and later a Midwife. I worked all over Yorkshire in NHS hospitals and decided to leave in 2019, after 29 years. I wanted a better work-life balance, less stress and a new direction, which my small business promised me.

Beeswax wraps are so flexible and useful for lots of things!

Tell us about your business and what you do

My business is Starfish Living, and I handmake beeswax food wraps using locally-sourced Yorkshire beeswax and other quality ingredients. My business ethos is ‘ethical products for sustainable living’; making and supplying reusables to reduce waste. The Yorkshire provenance is important to me and my local focus is a conscious choice. I supply lots of refill/zero-waste shops across the North of England, and have a direct e-commerce site too.

I use high quality, design-led fabrics that are certified (either organic or oeko-tex 100) and aim to produce a high-end product that is that bit different to others out there. I also make reusable face wipes, multi-purpose wipes and ecofirelighters using every bit of fabric and leftovers, so nothing is wasted in the manufacturing process. Everything is still handmade by me. Recently I’m making some Hedgehog themed items too, to try and raise funds for my local Hedgehog rescues. I post my orders using recyclable and recycled card and paper tape.

Sally uses her leftovers as eco fire lighters!

What made you start your eco/reusable business - why do you do what you do?

It started in Summer 2018; we were in Cornwall and I was reading about reducing single-use plastics. I believe in reduce/reuse/recycle and living simply, so this was just the next step really. Further investigation led me to beeswax wraps as a plastic-free alternative to cling film, and the crafter in me just thought ‘ooh I could do that!’. I sourced some local beeswax from a local beekeeper in Selby and off I went, initially intending to make a few using vintage fabric, then progressing to making them to sell. The business started with a stall at a Farm Shop in August 2018 (they sold out), then just grew organically; with me learning along the way (many hats are needs as a small business owner!) I also accessed some great business support via Selby District Council and the Ad:Venture project. I’ve made mistakes, believe me some things have gone wrong - but mistakes do make you learn, regroup and focus!

What is the best thing about your eco/reusable business - what do you love to sell/make/talk about?

I’d say the flexibility of self-employment has been key for me after many years of shifts and unsociable hours. Also, making a difference, however small, is a healthy and positive aspect that I value. We can all make changes to help save the planet and support nature and wildlife.

I also loved our regular stall at the brilliant eco-friendly Sheriff Hutton farmer’s market, which sadly stopped due to Covid, but this will restart in December 2021. I still love to make the wraps and sew the wipes, and I now have a workshop in the garage at home.

I always love the fabrics Sally chooses

Where can people find and connect with you and learn more about what you do?

You can find me online on

Facebook @starfishliving18

Instagram @starfishliving

Regular monthly markets at Sheriff Hutton, near York

And on my website

The one reusable thing I've never even attempted is beeswax wraps, so if you are interested, I would definitely give Sally's a go. You can find them in shops all over Yorkshire and through her website.

Thank you so much for sharing your story - here's to that cuppa when the cafe is finally open!

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