Jenny Espirito Santo is founder of mind the cork – a brand with craftsmanship, innovation and sustainable design at its heart.
From planters to storage pots, when you browse Jenny's Etsy shop you'll find practical and stylish home accessories, that, true to its name, is all made from cork; an environmentally friendly and sustainable material. It's a unique way to bring some texture and interest to your interiors, and perfect to display on an artfully curated shelf, even for the minimalists among us.
Want to find out more? Jenny speaks to House Beautiful UK about her small but growing business.
What year did you start your business? And when did you start selling on Etsy?
Mind the cork started as a hobby and I signed up for an Etsy shop back in 2014 to have a place to sell my experiments online. It took me a few years to create my first collection and a few more years after that before the brand became a full-time business.
What was the inspiration behind launching mind the cork?
After graduating from university and working in interior design for a few years, I couldn't shake off the feeling of being out of place in the industry. I realised that I needed to create opportunities to work on my own personal, creative and professional development. From there, my aim was to make the best of one of the world's most underrated materials to create eco-friendly, contemporary products that people would love to keep for years.
Does your heritage feed into the products that you create and sell?
My heritage is part of who I am, how I experience life and express myself. While it is only a small part of who I am, it is a significant part of how people respond to me. So, although my heritage doesn't necessarily feed into how I design and create my products, it influences how I run my business and the people I choose to work beside.
What's the most rewarding part of being a small business owner?
Connecting with like-minded people has probably been the most rewarding part. Creating the opportunity for creative and professional freedom is a close second. As the business grows beyond a one-woman band, I find great joy in building a brand and making connections that have fairness, honesty and positivity at their core.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
In many ways, it is dreary there is a need for Black History Month, but I think it is an opportunity to tell stories from a different perspective. We exist every month, always have, outside of the news and trending hashtags. As we stand today, it is a reminder to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of Black people, and an opportunity to work together to bridge the socio-economic gap.
How can people continue to support your business on Etsy, now and beyond?
It has been fantastic to get exposure on Etsy and have more people finding my brand. It makes my day seeing lovely reviews and in-situ pictures of my products. Nothing beats word of mouth recommendations, so it means a lot when customers continue to leave reviews and share the brand name with friends and family – it's an invaluable gift.
Visit etsy.com/uk/shop/mindthecork to shop the collection.
Etsy is committed to showcasing and celebrating independent creatives this Black History Month and beyond. There is a huge selection of one-of-a-kind creations to discover from Black-owned businesses from the Etsy community, and you can shop a few of Etsy's favourites at etsy.com/uk/featured/blackownedshops-uk.
• Discover more Black-owned homes and interiors businesses here.
Follow House Beautiful on Instagram.
You Might Also Like