2.16.18

SET ADRIFT

A little late on this week’s post because it’s Chinese New Year and that means flowers.

I have this grand plan for Sqwishful and while every version of it leads to a small, bio-fuel float plane docked outside of a jungle whisky bar, there are so many ways of getting there, and it’s taking awhile. Has it only been a month?

Okay so this month there have been many directions and opportunities. And like coming across a stoop sale or any mention of free things – I have to imagine every potential.

When I learned of overseas shops wanting to stock us, I immediately imagined our sponges alighting some foreign port and being couriered away to their new, exotic homes. Then, reality caught on and I spent the next few days pouring over spreadsheets and obsessing over “what ifs.”

Ben calls this “drifting,” or when an aircraft moves slightly off course due to weather or wind. “When you learn to fly, every 15 minutes you check your tracking and if you find you’re off track, you do a quick calculation to get back on course. It’s the 1 in 60 rule.”

I have no idea how to fly but I definitely drift so it’s comforting to know it’s sort of a science, and maybe it’s okay to stop every time you see a stoop full of old, but impeccably tasteful things..

Anyways, 新年快乐! Some very exciting news soon. For now, spreadsheets.

🔗 LISTEN to PM Dawn’s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”

2.6.18

MORE WITH LESS

One of my goals for Sqwishful is to inspire people to see ordinary things differently. This includes me, and lately this idea has taken form in a new project for us; developing reusable and biodegradable packaging. When I started Sqwishful, making natural sponges was enough, having recycled and recyclable packaging was enough, and raising awareness about sustainable living was enough.

Now I want to do more, with less.

So last weekend I went looking for solutions at Hong Kong’s sustainability expo and ended up staring at a Green Peace wall of disposable wares on display; plastic cups, straws, containers, and spoons – a tiny snapshot of the near 2,000 tons of plastic waste that goes into landfills each day in Hong Kong.

It reminded me of an article I read on Mandy Barker’s photography (from a newspaper I may have pilfered from a business lounge). In her photo series “Hong Kong Soup: 1826” she re-contextualizes plastic collected from beaches into images that “directly relate to the traditions, events, nature, and culture of Hong Kong.” I remember looking at her images of pollution and humanity and like the Green Peace wall, seeing plastic’s potential to inspire positive change.

The new project has so many obstacles. Typically, sponges are packaged in plastic to protect them from moisture and preserve their shelf-life. I’m still learning about packaging, and finding the right sustainable solution and partner is an incredibly complex process.

But in the end it would allow Sqwishful to do more with less, and continually grow as a business. And while we can’t all make art (or can we?) my sqwish is that we can look at challenges differently, and see opportunity.

Jenn

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – H.D. Thoreau

🔗 VISIT Mandy Barker’s site

1.10.18

LESS BUT BETTER

I get asked a lot about why I make sponges.

One reason is seeing how the near billion dollar sponge industry leaves behind uncountable waste in its pursuit of profit.

Another reason is seeing an opportunity to transform our idea about something ordinary, by getting away from making sponges that clean but don’t actually leave the world cleaner, and going “back to purity, back to simplicity” in the words of Dieter Rams.

I think the biggest reason is that I’m an insatiable optimist and obsessive cleaner.

I get misty when I see beautifully clean surfaces especially when natural materials are being used to their fullest potential. Like the silencing effect of a perfectly marbled floor, or the draw of a striking terrazzo countertop – sponges should be the same, thoughtful expressions of the sustainable materials that go into them.

So, I’m a sponge lady now. And words cannot describe the joy I feel seeing our sponges making their way into homes and bringing with them our “less, but better” philosophy and cheer.

Best Sqwishes,
Jenn

🌊 Shop Sponges
🔗 Read Dieter Rams’ “Ten Principles for Good Design”

1.1.18

BEST SQWISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR

Today, we are launching Sqwishful.

I’m overwhelmed by the support of family and friends! Thank you for making sponges a favorite topic of conversation. There’s a special kind of joy that comes from knowing you’re the person people think of, when they see a sponge.

I’m especially grateful for the work and talents of House of 207. Thank you for making the best sponge identity, packaging, and website anyone’s ever seen.

My warmest thanks to the creatives and businesses who have helped shape us, and a special thanks to Ben Hansen for greeting my insatiable optimism with unbridled enthusiasm. This would not be possible without your love and endless snacks.

Yoko Ono said it best, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” Together, we are inspiring change, and a community of design lovers, conscious cleaners, and positive thinkers — one Sqwishful sponge at a time.

Happy new year!

Best Sqwishes,
Jenn