“The idea is to provide an antidote to the big players in the wedding listing business, while also creating an opportunity for people to really make an impact and make sense of their marriage,” Mathieson explains. For her, the environmental aspect is essential – Aerende’s products are all made in the UK, from carefully selected natural materials and sent in plastic-free and fully compostable packaging – but it’s not just about make green choices. His business also operates as a social enterprise and employs individual manufacturers who have difficulty finding conventional employment, whether it is because they have a physical disability or mental illness, or because they are prisoners, refugees or survivors of trafficking in human beings.
The impetus to start the gift list service came when Mathieson was contacted by a bride-to-be whose mother had heard of Aerende in the Telegraph and loved the products. At first, the prospect of creating a marriage registry seemed difficult, but then Mathieson received another request and realized there was a demand for such an offer.
After receiving funding from The Big Issue, which invests in social enterprises and charities, she was able to set up the technology and logistics, and did several trials before officially launching the service. Those who have used it have, she said, reported that it is as easy as any other gift list: plus, Mathieson herself is on the phone if customers have questions, and delivers. often the gifts itself.