“Sharing is the new buying.” That’s one of the mottos of Lucky Sweater, an app that facilitates swapping handmade items as well as the supplies for making them. Founded in 2021 by Carley Lake and Tanya Daystar, Lucky Sweater is now used by 25,000 people and lists over 13,000 products. For Lake, it’s an important step in reducing the craft industry’s environmental impact. 

 Today, Lake is sharing five practical steps you can take to make your craft business more green, from swapping to sourcing. 

Choose upcycled or recycled materials and packaging

Crafters can consider using upcycled materials in their products. Upcycled materials might include paper (cardboard, newspaper, and magazines), glass (jars and bottles), metal (keys, bolts, foil), plastic (bottles and bags), and fabric (clothing, bedding, and linens). Jennifer Davies of Bur Oak Studio turns used aluminum knitting needles and crochet hooks into jewelry and wind chimes, for example. Also look to natural materials like leaves, twigs, and flowers. Avoid coupling materials that can’t be recycled. 

For packaging, consider buying from EcoEnclose which has a wide variety of sustainable options from 100% recycled poly mailers to algae printing ink.

A great example of a small business using sustainable materials is Hook, Line, & Tinker. All of founder Laurie Dolhan’s kits are plastic-free, and she creatively upcycles production waste when possible.

I celebrate the profound pleasure of guilt-free crafting,” Dolhan says.”That joyful experience includes sustainable production, materials, and packaging.”

Hook, Line & Tinker is an embroidery kit company that endeavors to use sustainable packaging.

Photo courtesy of Xxx

Lucky Sweater is an app that describes itself as “a community clothing swap in your pocket.” Users can swap handmade items as well as the supplies to make them. Sustainability is a big part of Lucky Sweater’s mission.

Encourage a circular economy via supply-swapping

Swapping supplies and finished handmade items that you are no longer using can help to reduce waste. My own experience with drawers full of unused supplies and the realization that these materials could find new life with fellow crafters led me to start Lucky Sweater.

Source in a lower-impact way

When you begin sourcing new products and manufacturers, see if you can find local suppliers. While this may not always be possible, one thing you can do is look for certifications such as Oeko-Tex which verifies that the manufacturing process and chemicals involved in producing a product follow sustainability standards, and Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) which ensures that fabrics are made sustainably and workers are paid fairly.  

Donate extra or unused supplies to local schools or senior centers

We’ve all been there. We dive headlong into a new craft, buying tools and materials with enthusiasm, only to later realize we don’t like it all that much and will never use up our new stash.

If this sounds familiar, consider calling around to local elementary schools to see if art teachers or classroom teachers might be interested in your new, or like-new materials. Many school districts have tight budgets and many teachers end up spending their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms. Teachers typically are interested in new markers, paper, crayons, scissors, binder clips, and other supplies commonly found in classrooms, but art teachers may be interested in a wider variety of materials such as stamps, ink, brushes, drawing pencils, and art paper.

You can also consider reaching out to your local senior center to see if they might be interested in clean, like-new supplies. Many senior centers keep an ongoing wishlist of supplies they hope to receive. Fabric, craft paper, markers, and stickers are items commonly on those lists. Even better, offer to volunteer to teach a workshop to the seniors using the supplies you donate, or to sort and organize donations.

Share creative ways for your customers to use up all of your products

Help your customers use what’s left in their stash. Transforming scraps into new projects not only minimizes waste but also challenges and expands creative boundaries. Lucky Sweater community member @jencanmakethat received leftover scraps as a gift from a customer they came to know through working at a bakery. Jen then created this super cool vest and traded it for earrings made by @ekbligh

You can also consider providing repair services for your customers or showing them how to mend the products they purchase from you when they get worn out.

For craft businesses, adopting sustainable practices offers a pathway to not only enhancing environmental stewardship but also building a stronger, more connected community. Our goal is for Lucky Sweater to be a resource and platform for those looking to make a significant impact through their craft, fostering a network of creativity, sustainability, and growth. 

Carley Lake

Carley Lake


Carley Lake is the co-founder of the handmade clothing and supplies swapping app Lucky Sweater.

For instant access to the app, use invite code “craftindustryalliance” at sign up after you download the app! Learn about how you can reach and connect with Lucky Sweater’s 25,000+ audience via their affiliate program with no upfront costs. For guidance on enhancing your business through sustainable practices or to discuss leveraging Lucky Sweater for business growth, feel free to reach out too to Carley at carley@luckysweater.com or message her on the app.

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