At the age of 25, Sasha moved out of home, got engaged, rescued her two beautiful mastiffs, renovated on a budget and embarked on a PhD in childhood epilepsy. Sasha couldn’t wait to get to designing her bedroom. She curated and repurposed old furniture pieces, hunted down antique distressed rugs from all over the world and customised her bed. All she needed were some luxurious bed linen to dress her bedroom, and so the Jonquil journey began. Here we chat to Sasha about the philosophy behind Jonquil, why it’s important to buy sustainable, organic products and where she draws her inspiration from.
Jonquil stands for everything I believe luxury bedding should be – high quality, ethically made and free from unnecessary harmful toxins & chemicals, all while producing the finest organic cotton bedding pieces.
Can you tell us a little about you and Jonquil, and how you came to create a product dedicated to organic, sustainable fabrics?
I started on the Jonquil journey just over three years ago when I moved out of home. I became engrossed with researching products and finding new ways to be as sustainable as possible while renovating our home. My bedroom was the most important room to me. The bed, new sheets, pillows, comfy mattress. It’s my sanctuary, so of course I wanted luxury! I had my favourite brands but as I researched into the textile industry, I found that many had a long history of child labour and use of harsh synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. It just didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to find luxury sheets that matched my values, so I needed to create my own!
What does Jonquil mean? And what is the philosophy behind it?
Jonquil is my favourite flower, it’s part of the daffodil family. The fragrance is so fresh and crisp – perfect name for our bedding company! Jonquil was founded on the ideology that as a start-up business, we give back by supporting a sustainable and ethical supply chain. It meant that we could support people’s livelihoods over the long term, not just a once off donation where funds are distributed with no real impact.
You’re a huge advocate of sustainability…What drives you and why?
Sustainability is really important to me and it drove me to ensure that with Jonquil, every person is treated fairly and there wouldn’t be harm to the environment and animals. As a startup, we have a responsibility to try to do things that make a positive change. We couldn’t be part of the problem, we needed to know that our products weren’t going to harm anyone or anything. This is why it was so important for us to receive Fairtrade and Organic certification. I put my heart and soul into the unique designs of Jonquil collections and that can’t be tainted with the use of harmful pesticides, artificial fertilisers and chemicals. That’s not real, that’s not authentic. I can sleep easier at night knowing that we’re a clean, transparent business that gives back. And it’s this whole philosophy of giving back and being “fair” that motivates me to live as sustainably as possible.
How do we start when it comes to switching to sustainable & organic products?
Great question! It is hard to make the switch, not all products are clearly labelled or certified so it can be difficult to make the change. However, these are my top tips.
- Switch the smaller more affordable items first. Unfortunately organic and Fairtrade products are sometimes a little more expensive. You could start by switching with smaller items so you don’t feel the pinch in your wallet, such as toothpaste, coffee and tea!
- Where you can, use natural alternatives. You don’t have to buy organic/ eco-friendly cleaning agents when sometimes the natural way is best. For example, using vinegar and bi-carb to remove soap scum or stains.
- Do it in stages – this is what I did. The first step was to switch any edible product to organic where available. The next step was to switch our body care products, followed by cleaning products etc.
- Take your time – there is no rush!
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw my design inspiration from memories and experiences, translating them into every piece. For example, the crochet collection was inspired by the calligraphy I saw everywhere in Rajasthan, India when we went backpacking years ago. It’s breathtaking to see the amount of work and depth in these structures, temples and palaces. The signature crochet is hand stitched to reflect this – it’s pretty special. The Plissé collection is inspired by mum. It’s structured, perfect but also contains a lot of depth in the detail. Mum is one of the reasons I started Jonquil. We have a mutual passion for bed linen and homewares, so I’d say there’s a trace of her in all of the collections! The hotel collection is inspired by the memories I have of roughing it up a few days in Nepal and then finally getting to a beautiful hotel, having a hot shower and slipping into this amazing, fluffy, fresh bed. It’s clean, crisp and luxurious.
What amazing products can we find in your store?
At the moment we have three bedding collections that come in sheet sets and quilt sets. We’ve chosen to have all our collections made with the highest quality in certified organic cotton. Next month we’re expanding our range to include baby bedding and smaller single items, to make it easier for everyone to experience the Jonquil difference. The slight sheen to it, the thickness of the cotton sheet and the sheer weight of each piece makes it so luxurious to sleep in.
A mantra you live by or trust in to guide you day to day?
It’s OK not to be perfect, just be authentic.
After work, I like to… walk my dogs Inca and Django. I also love music, so I literally walk through the door and have my favourite playlist on.
I believe… in Karma. Think good thoughts, say nice things, do good for others. Everything comes back.
Happiness is… sleeping soundly
What makes me laugh… my husband!
Strange Indulgence? I don’t know if it’s strange…I think it’s quite normal…. pancakes with eggs (sunny side up) sprinkled with salt and pepper, drenched with maple syrup. Is this strange? It’s delicious!
Tomorrow I will… be taking my baby to a mums and bubs yoga class- pretty excited!