Jump The Hedges

Design studio in Belfast with recycling and sustainability as its driving force, advocating for zero waste and changing practices.

Jump The Hedges’ story

As part of the Re[ACT] Festival organised by Linen Quarter BID in Belfast, we hosted the screening of a film, The True Cost, to raise awareness of the environmental problems associated with the fashion and textiles industry. Textile waste is a problem everywhere, including our own city of Belfast, and we wanted to show people the extent of the problem.

We invited Siobhan Purnell from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful (KNIB) to speak after the film ended and give a local, city and regional perspective. She introduced Siofra Caherty, who runs the successful local fashion accessory brand, Jump the Hedges, to show how a fashion business can adopt a circular economy model.

Jump The Hedges is a sustainable design studio that creates bags from reclaimed materials – mainly truck tarpaulin. Recycling and sustainability are the driving force: waste is seen as a raw material to make something valuable and not to be thrown away. Alongside this, Siofra also leads workshops on environmentalism and sustainability in local communities and schools. Designing and teaching has become a platform for her activism about educating people about sustainability.

Photos by Emma Williams

Useful learnings from Jump The Hedges

If you don’t like something, you should change it. We’re sometimes too afraid of failure, too afraid of what people are going to say.

Advice for other creatives starting out is to start small and try to double job so you don’t have 100% financial pressure. Money is very hard to make. The passion leaves when there’s urgency and pressure; it removes the fun and the pleasure.

If you want to turn your idea into a product sustainably, learn as much as you can about the industry. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs. You need as much support as possible when deciding to pursue the road of self-employment. By getting to know people already in business this will let you see that your dreams can become a reality and keep you focused.

Find out about all the free stuff. There is SO much going on in Belfast for start-up businesses. It is a matter of researching everything and attending multiple networking events. There is free office space, mentorship, website development, courses etc. It is just a matter of educating yourself and being aware of what is going on.

Jump The Hedges’ metrics

Bags sold during ‘bag drops’ 3-4 times per year.
Improving the business’ sustainability (and helping others improve too).
Collaboration and support for people doing creative things.
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