Yet another fantastic interview, this time with Jonny from Eco Tortoise! We talk about all things to do with the environment, sustainability and clothing! How does it impact our mental health and why is it important? This interview means we have another incredible chance for you to win big, adding a fantastic prize to the bundle from the wonderful Eco Tortoise!
Please can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi there, I’m Jonny and the founder of Eco Tortoise. I’m a proud parent of two dogs and one tortoise. I’m a huge animal lover and keen gym enthusiast. I have a wonderful wife and we live in the beautiful countryside of Norfolk.
Tell us a little about Eco Tortoise and what you do.
Eco Tortoise is an eco friendly, sustainable leisurewear brand, focused on all things nature and wildlife. One of the things I enjoy most is being in nature and chilling out with animals. I wanted to create something that would help me express that, and so I thought I would create a brand which simply has some cool wildlife and nature designs on.
I’ve always said however I would only have a business if it was not damaging to the environment. So we’ve ensured all our processes are environmentally friendly. From the dye house using natural dyes with closed loop water recycling, to the cotton grown being fully organic cotton and the printing being run entirely on renewable energy. We wanted to create a truly fun, eco friendly brand that allows you to express your love of nature.
We all worry about the environment and our impact on it. Why is sustainability so important to Eco Tortoise?
I love watching all these nature programmes and being in nature. Increasingly, you notice the terrible impact humans are having on the environment, and the effect that is having on nature and wildlife. We live in a wonderful world, where so many specific things had to happen exactly how they happened for the planet to be a flourishing, breathing thing today. It is very easy to knock that out of existence, and so we really should do everything we can to protect it.
What steps have you taken to ensure that your products are sustainable?
We’ve made sure every step of our process is eco friendly.
All our products use only 100% organic cotton. This means there’s no nasty chemicals or pesticides used.
Then the dye factory we use is a closed loop water recycling system. Meaning none of the dyes get back into the water ways. On top of this, the dyes used are vegan, cruelty free and natural.
The printing of the designs is done in a factory run entirely on renewable energy, and it’s only printed when the demand is there for it, ensuring no waste.
The packaging we use is recycled paper packaging, no plastic involved. So you can easily compost or recycle this packaging.
Then when your product is at the end of it’s life, you can use the remill team that we have partnered with, who you can send your item back to for free, they will give you credit to spend against your next purchase, and they will take it apart, and make it into a new item of clothing.
Nature can have a huge impact on our mental health. How do you think protecting our environment can help boost our mood?
Nature has been proven time and time again to have a positive impact on mental health. From the chemicals mud gives off, to the beauty and tranquillity of nature itself. The wonderful plants and life around us. However that’s not a given. There are billions and billions of planets just in our own solar system.
We have observed many of them, and so far none of the others have shown signs of life, certainly not life as we know it – a living breathing planet. That’s because our wonderful planet is so fragile. So many things need to be in the right balance for it all to thrive. Pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is creating an event which can bring an end to all of that. So protecting that really will make us feel better.
Not only that, but how often have you taken a step out in nature and taken a deep breath and felt the instant calming relaxation. No matter what your mood is. I don’t imagine that would be so relaxing in a smog laden world!
We love your designs, which are of course nature based. In particular the stunning Dandelion Boxy T Shirt. We had a hard time choosing our favourite, since the designs are all incredibly inviting. The T shirt you kindly sent us is beautiful, soft cotton, with a crisp bold design and a lovely fit. How did you come up with this design and indeed the others?
To be honest, I just go with the types of designs me and my wife, Jenny, likes. All the marketing materials out there tell you to niche down to a very specific sub category, but for me, I love my t shirts that have parrots on, and I love my t shirts that have tigers on. I wanted to create a place people like me could shop with confidence and have some designs that they hopefully like!
I also like the fun aspect of it all. For the whole of my adult hood I’ve had plain t shirts and clothing really, at what point did we stop wearing the cool designs on our clothing we had as kids? The brand is about having more fun and expressing your love of nature.
Your inspiration for Eco Tortoise clothing being the world around us, in particular nature. What aspects of nature do you value and enjoy the most, and why?
Oh now this is a tricky one! So difficult to say! I live in the beautiful countryside of Norfolk, which is a very rugged kind of landscape. Lots of fields and trees, and loads of wonderful wildlife. I also grew up on the edge of the south downs way in Kent which had some really lovely views.
I think however, my favourite is the sea. I’ve been diving in some really wonderful places, and seeing what seems like a whole other world under the sea is so incredible, contrasted with when you stand on a beach and look out at a calm sea and feel the calm of the vast seemingly nothingness out there.
Taking time away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives is a fantastic self-care activity. Spending time in nature is arguably one of the easiest ways to do this. Do you have a favourite place to go to when needing a little ‘me time’?
In our busy lives, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and spend days not going out in nature at all. Especially in the winter. We have a couple of lovely dogs who force us out, rain or shine. So I think for me the best place to go for a little me time is just walking around our local area. For me that’s some wonderful countryside, but even if you live in a city, just going out each day into somewhere like a park is wonderful.
I used to work in St James’ Square in London, and each lunchtime I would make sure I went for a walk around St James’ Park and really take in the surroundings, the lovely moorhens and pelicans as well as the ever changing plant life and landscape.
As we said earlier, whilst we ultimately settled on the dandelion design, we found it a challenge. With mushrooms and toadstools in the mix, along with flowers and other botanicals there is a fantastic choice available on your site. We adore monsteras, cacti and succulents, do you have a favourite plant?
Aha, in terms of favourite house plant – that’s largely dictated by our dogs and tortoise. Anything that’s not toxic to dogs and that our tortoise can eat is a win. That being said, I think in terms of wild flowers, it would probably have to be snowdrops. They are one of the first flowers to bloom in the new year. To me they bring a sense of hopefulness and inspiration. My favourite seasons are spring and summer – when there’s an abundance of plant life, and the snowdrops to me signal the first of these flowers pushing through the dead leaves on the ground, to return to seasons which will be teaming with life.
Do you have any other designs in the pipeline that we could get a sneaky look at?
I think by the time this goes out, I’ll be busy into the design faze of our lovely wintery collections. You can expect to see Christmas themed ones, and some of our regular wildlife we associate with winter like robins and deer.
What is your favourite T-shirt from your range and why did you choose that one?
I think it would have to be my grumpy panda t shirt. A simple design of a panda with a bamboo stick looking grumpy with the slogan grumpy panda underneath. I think it’s my favourite because I know I can be a grump sometimes, but wearing that T Shirt just makes me have a little smile and a reminder to not take life too seriously. Also, pandas are just some of the cutest animals out there, it’s no surprise they are such a hit on YouTube.
The Wonder Collection
The Wonder Self-Care Journal! We believe self-care is vital to great mental health. What is your go to self-care activity and why?
Undoubtedly going to the gym and exercising. I used to do strongman training, until I injured myself too much, and then started doing CrossFit training – again until I injured myself too much. Now I tend to just go and do some cardio and weights. I love it because it’s just you against yourself in the gym. Pushing yourself as hard as you can.
Whenever I exercise, I instantly feel my mood lift. When I go periods of not exercising for whatever reason, I notice myself going into a deep spiral. It really is something that is make or break for me in terms of mental health.
The Wonder Mix Tape! What song/artist do you find uplifting and listening to it/them boosts your mood?
My music taste is extremely varied. I was born in the 90’s, and had a bit of an emo phase in my teens. So I do often indulge myself in some nostalgic green day and the like. But I’m also a big fan of country music and EDM – and of course can’t deny a bit of Taylor Swift. For me, it’ll depend on the weather. If I’m already feeling energized and bright, I’ll stick on some EDM. If it’s more of a relaxed feel sunny day – I’ll go for some nice country music, and if I just want to belt it out in the shower, then it’s Tay Tay time.
The Wonder Bookshelf! Can you recommend a book to our readers. Fiction, non-fiction, feel good or advice giving. Why did you choose this book?
I’ve been getting more and more into reading recently, so I can actually recommend some. My all time fave is definitely Harry Potter, without a doubt.
However, one I’ve found so helpful recently is a book called 10% happier by Dan Harris. This is a book about how a busy working person, has incorporated meditation into his everyday life. Just 15 minutes a day, and how huge of an impact it has had on him. For me, it was kind of the introduction to meditation, which I find is another can’t-do-without thing for me in terms of mental health. You don’t need to be spiritual or religious to meditate. Meditation is about taking care of your mind. Practicing keeping it healthy.
The other is Mindfulness – a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. This one is kind of set out like a course. It sets it out in a way you can easily follow along and kind of make mindfulness and meditation an everyday habit.
You Can Win!
And so, we have come to the point in the article where we add yet another prize to our bundle worth over £1800!! We have a fabulous voucher from Eco Tortoise today, valued at £25, so you can get one of these stunning T-shirts yourself. Now, the prize voucher will be generated by Eco Tortoise when we have our winner, so in the bundle you will get a voucher explaining this and to claim.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don’t forget you can get more entries and improve your chances of winning this amazing prize with each article in the series. You can find more about them if you search WTMH? or check our competitions page.
We hope you’ll take time to listen to WTMH? What The Mental Health? Our brand new podcast available over on Apple. You can click the link above or find it on our homepage! Our first Episode ‘Introductions’ is available now and we will have new episodes each week!