Otti Made: Embracing Locavore living
Otti Made is a gift Ilona Glastonbury received from her two young children. Their birth prompted the life-long nature lover to create a world that embraced sustainable living and encouraged eco-friendly practices. Ilona wanted to lead by example and create products that were devoid of massive carbon footprint, and horrors of child labour, among other appalling practices. Out of these needs grew Otti Made, Ilona’s handmade ceramics business that uses local South Australian clay to make cups, plates, bowls and spoons. All the materials used for the creation of the ceramics are sourced locally, encouraging local business and staying true to the mantra of being eco-friendly.
In a chat with TAL, the 40-year-old entrepreneur speaks about her love for nature, her inspirations, and the importance of ‘Locavore living’.
Why this emphasis on an eco-friendly lifestyle?
I have always been concerned about our environment. As a primary school student, I remember signing away all my pocket money for over a year to organisations like Greenpeace or the WWF, because I thought it was important to support them. The grim reality of our lives today- in terms of pollution, climate change, persistent issues with plastic- and their ongoing ramifications on our future generations really hit home when I had my own kids. I felt I could no longer sit by as a passive observer.
Please tell us about Otti Made.
Otti Made is my handmade ceramics business where I use local South Australian clay to make cups, plates, bowls and spoons for use in the home. I feel I have a huge commitment to local businesses. I also have a business called The Hundred Mile Home where I source homewares made by other local artisans who have used local materials. Everything I sell at The hundred Mile Home is handmade by someone within 100 miles of Barossa (my residence), using materials sourced locally. I believe that one of the most powerful things the Australian consumer can do is to commit to purchasing from locally owned businesses, and preferably from those who further support the local economy by using locally sourced materials or goods. Think of it like ‘locavore living’ if you will.
What prompted you to start Otti Made?
It really was the birth of my two children that spurred me on to set up Otti Made. I was sure that I was not the only mother out there despairing that anything beautiful she wanted to buy for her home was inevitably unethical, had a massive carbon footprint, supported child slave labour or some other such terrible thing. When you bring your makers and materials back down to 100 miles there is an authenticity and integrity that automatically follows. At this point, I think it is prudent to mention that I have a very small margin for non 100 Mile ingredients currently which I am always looking for ways to eliminate completely.
Was it easy to create awareness among consumers about your products? How the initial feedback?
I think like any small businesses creating awareness takes time. I feel fortunate that there is a very receptive community in the Barossa Valley which is quite supportive. It makes perfect sense when you think about how many small businesses have started up here. The Instagram community has also been incredibly supportive!
How old is Otti Made?
Technically Otti Made was launched two years ago, however it was launched when I had two small kids at home and was a part time venture. With one child at school and one at home now, it is still not a full-time concern, even though it could quite easily be given the demand.
What are your future plans regarding Otti Made?
At the moment, life is a huge juggle. I have lots of plans for Otti Made and The Hundred Mile Home, but one will just have to follow along on Instagram to see them unfold!
Ilona Glastonbury was born in Adelaide. At age five, her family moved to Brisbane. After school, she did her Bachelor’sin Visual Arts at QUT with Honours and shortly after that found herself falling for an Adelaide boy and moving back to South Australia. That relationship was not to last and she ended up importing a boy from Queensland, moving to the Barossa (where one side of her family originated six generations ago) getting married and having two children.
Follow Ottimade's remarkable story on Instagram.