2019 BuyMeOnce Excellence Awards
For the past four years, BuyMeOnce has been meticulously researching brands to discover the very best in their commitment to sustainability, durability, exceptional aftercare and eco-innovation.
Now we’re sharing our findings with the world with the BuyMeOnce Excellence Awards.
In these throwaway times, these awards are celebrating those brands and organisations who are bucking the trends of obsolescence and disposability. These are the people putting the planet first, rejecting the throwaway retail culture and making the very best products they can to help their customers keep them for longer.
2019 marks the first year of the BuyMeOnce Excellence Awards. We will run the awards annually with the aim that they will eventually become known as a kitemark of longevity and sustainability.
The winners of the inaugural BuyMeOnce Excellence Awards will be celebrated at a special event on May 30, 2019, in London. Each winning brand or organisation will have an evergreen oak tree planted in their honour. Oak trees are one of the longest living species with some living over 1000 years and will be our way of congratulating and supporting those brands who are doing the most to secure the future of our planet.
MOST DURABLE: WOMENSWEAR
Linen is one of the longest-lasting textiles in the world, only improving with washes and wear. Each Lemuel MC piece is designed to be an heirloom, handcrafted in London using Lithuanian dead stock linen with a simplicity and tactility that appeals to multiple generations. It’s for this emotional as well as physical durability that we award Lemuel MC the Most Durable award in Womenswear.
MOST DURABLE: MENSWEAR
Filson have their legacy in designing clothes and blankets to protect gold-rush pioneers in Alaska. Their material choices ensure durability across the range, and while they have an excellent reputation for their garment construction, they also guarantee their products against defects or damage in normal usage and encourage repair over replacement.
MOST DURABLE: KIDSWEAR
Monty & Co.’s practical and utilitarian approach to kidswear makes for adorable clothing that has durability at its heart. We love how the timeless and gender-neutral looks make excellent hand-me-downs. Each piece is impeccably constructed using very hard-wearing but 100% natural fabrics that only improve with age and washing. All together this means a kids clothing range that can really be expected to last.
MOST DURABLE: SHOES & ACCESSORIES
Fire hose: one of the most durable materials on the planet and the backbone of Elvis & Kresse’s hard-wearing luxury accessories. They're nearly impossible to destroy, but this brand further supports all its products with a lifetime guarantee, giving Elvis & Kresse’s incredible upcycled accessories the title of Most Durable in Shoes and Accessories.
MOST DURABLE: TOYS
It’s very hard to be toddler-proof, but it would take a significant amount of bashing to even put a dent in little miss workbench’s range of wooden toys. Made out of the strongest and most durable American hardwoods, such as birch, maple and cherry wood, we love the imaginative simplicity and natural hardiness of the chunky designs which are finished with a natural coating.
MOST DURABLE: ELECTRICALS & APPLIANCES
Transparent Sound are bucking the trend of planned obsolescence within the electronics industry by designing innovative speakers geared towards a lifetime of use. These striking products are manufactured using durable materials and parts designed to be replaced and upgraded for as long as possible. Their limited edition Steel Speaker is a 20 kg beast handcrafted by blacksmith Jonas Majors, and if this doesn’t deserve a Most Durable electronics award we don’t know what does.
MOST DURABLE: FURNITURE & HOMEWARE
We were very pleased to discover this Dutch brand who are creating furniture designed to be loved for generations. Their timeless pieces are built from solid oak without nails or screws and use wood-on-wood connections for beauty and lasting strength. Their pieces also come with an astounding 100-year warranty, earning Family W the title of Most Durable furniture brand.
MOST DURABLE: KITCHENWARE
It’s pretty hard to beat a cast iron pan for durability, but Solidteknics goes even further by crafting theirs from one piece of seamless iron. No rivets, no broken handles, ever. Drop it, smash it, throw it in the fire, run over it with your car – these pans are indestructible. They back this with a multi-century warranty. A natural non-stick surface can be maintained indefinitely by re-seasoning using natural oils.
MOST DURABLE: HEALTH & BEAUTY
Taking inspiration from the safety razors of yesteryear, Rockwell Razor merges traditional design with modern touches, such as adjustable shave settings and precision engineered blade angles that allows for a smoother, nick-free shave. The razors are either made from chromed alloy, 316 L Stainless Steel, or a combination of brass, stainless steel and chromed alloy – materials that will stand the test of time and won’t get crushed or damaged with daily use. Even their refillable single cartridge blades are exceptional in terms of durability thanks to Swedish stainless steel that won’t rust.
BEST AFTERCARE: WOMENSWEAR
We awarded Lowie the Best Aftercare award in Womenswear for their highly impressive free repairs for life policy on all Lowie branded clothing. No conditions, no questions, no hoops to jump through – this friendly, sustainable clothing boutique simply want to keep their garments out of landfill for as long as possible.
BEST AFTERCARE: MENSWEAR
It’s not often a denim brand comes along offering a free repair service on their products, and it’s even less common for this to extend to the lifetime of the garment. But this is what Blackhorse Lane Ateliers have chosen to do because they believe in a circular economy and the durability of their own products. They also run denim masterclasses and workshops to help customers who may want to make or repair their own products.
BEST AFTERCARE: KIDSWEAR
Mini Bili is completely invested in a circular approach to their collections, showing the concern they have for the future of the children they are clothing. Not only do they craft their beautiful pieces from reclaimed, vintage cloth and offer a lifetime repair guarantee, the company also invites customers to return clothes they are tired of for a 30% discount off their next purchase. These returned pieces can then be given new life, closing the loop on disposable fashion.
BEST AFTERCARE: SHOES & ACCESSORIES
For the Best Aftercare in Shoes and Accessories, we couldn’t overlook Elvis & Kresse's extraordinary lifetime repair policy. Not only will they patch up any issue that arises with your accessory over the course of its life, but they’ve also gladly fixed and tailored items just to keep them from going to landfill.
BEST AFTERCARE: TOYS
Three months after Christmas, half of kids toys are broken or unusable. We were really impressed by Orchard Toys' commitment to keeping spare parts for their games and sending them out for free so the game can live on. An extra nice touch is that they encourage a donation to a kids hospice to those using this free service. It’s this kind of thinking that we want to encourage.
BEST AFTERCARE: ELECTRICALS & APPLIANCES
Most appliance manufacturers used to make their machines to a certain baseline standard with build quality the first priority. Over the years, one by one, even the most reputed companies have lowered their standards. Meanwhile, Miele are still raising their own lofty bar. Their warranties extend up to 10 years for premium appliances, and their award-winning customer service team has over a hundred dedicated engineers throughout the UK. If you need guaranteed, tried and tested quality, Miele are our number one pick.
BEST AFTERCARE: FURNITURE & HOMEWARE
Finlayson’s Jesus Range duvets and pillowcases, crafted from soft and durable linen, has been awarded the Best Aftercare in Furniture and Homeware for their surprising and astounding 50-year guarantee. We’ve never seen a warranty this robust from a linens brand, and we’re excited to see if this will encourage other brands to offer similar (or better!) policies.
BEST AFTERCARE: HEALTH & BEAUTY
Rockwell Razor stand behind their razors with their exceptional lifetime guarantee, cementing their products as heirloom-quality. They will accept razors back if they're not up to a customer’s satisfaction, and they will even cover shipping costs within the 30-day grace period. Free exchanges are standard for razors that arrive with any sort of defect, whether it’s a manufacturing flaw or cosmetic imperfection. In the event that a razor is deemed damaged due to neglect or misuse, Rockwell’s generous policy involves sending out the appropriate replacement parts for free with the customer only covering shipping costs.
MOST REPAIRABLE: SHOES & ACCESSORIES
Solovair’s range of shoes are all made from high-quality, durable materials and Goodyear leather welted to withstand even the toughest use. However, we were most impressed with Solovair’s sole repair offering; in the event that the soles finally meet their untimely demise, a pair of sturdy Solovair soles can be purchased for a local cobbler to replace them.
MOST REPAIRABLE: TOYS
Wishbone Design Studio have taken truly impressive steps towards making their collection of sustainable bikes, wagons and rockers as repairable as possible. From the earliest stage, products are designed for disassembly with spare parts readily available alongside simple instructions and lifetime customer support. The components are carefully standardised, meaning no discontinued parts or the need for specialised tools. We love how this encourages home repair, and we hope to see many more brands inspired by Wishbone Design Studio’s impressive ethos.
MOST REPAIRABLE: ELECTRICALS & APPLIANCES
AIAIAI’s customisable TMA-2 headphone system allows users to repair, interchange and upgrade parts from ear pads, speaker units, headbands and even cables. The end result is a personal pair of headphones unique to each user, whether they may be a professional DJ or the casual listener using it for their daily commute. They also offer a three-year warranty in a sector that usually cuts off at one.
MOST REPAIRABLE: FURNITURE & HOMEWARE
While you might think it strange that a rubbish bin should be up for an award, we guarantee you won’t find a more repairable, functional item. Brabantia craft all of their bins from 40% recycled materials, and they’re designed to be taken apart and recycled at the end of their life. On top of their 10-year guarantee, their service shop stocks replacement parts and offers repair services inside and outside of the warranty.
MOST REPAIRABLE: KITCHENWARE
With nearly 75 years of experience manufacturing long-lasting toasters (and the customer and independent reviews to back it up!), Dualit know that repairability is the future of kitchen appliances. All of their products feature a modular system, meaning each component is designed to be replaceable and recyclable, so you’ll never have to throw away the entire appliance.
MOST SUSTAINABLE: WOMENSWEAR
Ally Bee craft conscious knitwear that meet the highest standards of ethics and animal welfare. Some of their superfine merino and cashmere yarns carry a rare Cradle to Cradle certification meaning that the whole process, including the end of life, have been designed to ensure minimal disruption to the planet. Their mill uses renewable energy and British Alpaca is one of their preferred yarns as the grazing of these animals causes the least disturbance to the soil. Their beautiful pieces are made using traditional techniques and each one comes with a three-year repair policy.
MOST SUSTAINABLE: MENSWEAR
There are many brands making T-shirts, but The White T-Shirt Company is the gold standard of transparency and sustainability. With a zero-compromise approach towards quality, ethics, and style, their wardrobe essentials are all GOTS-certified, Oeko-Tex 100 and Green Cotton approved, and ethically manufactured from field to door. The extra durability due to the quality of fabric and finish further enhances their eco-credentials, as it ensures less waste and pollution associated with repurchasing shoddy alternatives.
MOST SUSTAINABLE: SHOES & ACCESSORIES
The numbers speak for themselves: 1,513 sq metres of fabric was kept out of landfill last year and 5,547 metres of rope re-purposed. Flowfold has always been invested in sustainable methods from the humble beginnings of its prototype wallet made out of sailcloth scraps. The materials they use are the strongest, lightest and most resilient fabrics on the market, rigorously tested to withstand years of abrasion and damage from natural elements and ensures these products won’t end up in landfill.
MOST SUSTAINABLE: KIDSWEAR
Billygoats & Raincoats wins the award for Most Sustainable Kidswear with their mission to rescue discarded festival tents destined for the landfill. Every year in the UK, festival goers abandon more than 20,000 tents; Billygoats & Raincoats salvages the usable material and re-purposes it into colourful, eco-friendly outerwear for children. Being 100% made in the UK also makes a huge difference to the overall carbon footprint.
MOST SUSTAINABLE: TOYS
Wooden Story has worked incredibly hard to bring sustainability into a sector dominated by plastic and shoddy design. Their wooden toys use sustainably sourced wood, natural dyes and beeswax. Refreshingly, all the packaging is also biodegradable, recyclable or reusable. The items themselves are hardy, heirloom quality with a timeless charm. We also like that they encourage imaginative play.
MOST SUSTAINABLE: ELECTRICALS & APPLIANCES
It could have challenged in any category: Fairphone are the one and only company striving to make mobile phones both ethical and durable, reducing impact from manufacture through to end of life. Their materials are meticulously sourced – the 40 different elements required coming from, where possible, low-impact zones with a strong emphasis on worker conditions. One of the only modular phones on the market, its six pieces are easily removable and replaceable by hand. If you do decide to upgrade your phone, just send the old one back to Fairphone by freepost and they’ll recycle it.
MOST SUSTAINABLE: FURNITURE & HOMEWARE
The clue is in the name: Sustainable Furniture UK care deeply about their impact on the planet. Every part of their manufacturing process and supply chain is carefully considered. Not only are their pieces ethically sourced and built to last a lifetime, the brand actively supports organisations championing reforestation and taking action against illegal tree logging, such as Trees for Trees and Perum Perhutani. We especially love their dedication to using reclaimed timber, which not only recycles otherwise defunct wood into beautiful new furniture, but also makes the pieces more hard-wearing as the timber is more seasoned.
MOST SUSTAINABLE: KITCHENWARE
Designed to be the most eco-friendly espresso maker on the market, ROK have created the perfect alternative to coffee makers that require disposable capsules, pods and filters. By using only kinetic energy to power it, the Presso cuts down your waste and provides a smooth and easy extraction. Its mechanical nature and solid design means that planned obsolescence is not on the cards and this item can go on doing its job indefinitely.
MOST SUSTAINABLE: HEALTH & BEAUTY
The vegan certified OrganiCup menstrual cup is the perfect alternative to wasteful tampons and sanitary pads that end up in landfill. We’re adding another award to medal-clad OrganiCup, thanks to their commitment to saving the environment and long-lasting design. Their efforts even extend to their packaging with instructions printed on the inside of a recycled, biodegradable carton and a storage pouch made from 100% organic cotton.
MOST INNOVATIVE: WOMENSWEAR
Riley Studio use cutting edge eco-fabrics, including rPET, made from recycled plastic bottles, ECONYL®, which is infinitely recyclable, and Q-NOVA®, made from otherwise non recyclable waste. Combining recycled cotton in with their organic stock, they are able to further reduce their footprint. So far they have saved nearly 1 million litres of water. The clothes themselves are impeccably constructed, unisex and seasonless – bucking all the trends of fast fashion.
MOST INNOVATIVE: MENSWEAR
Patagonia have been working in this area for decades, but we feel they deserve the innovation award for their tireless pursuit of better options for their clothing. Not only are they at the forefront of the latest ethical and sustainable material use, but they have also taken an active role in uncovering the impact of garment production and use. Their funding of research into micro-plastics for example has driven awareness and change across the whole industry.
MOST INNOVATIVE: SHOES & ACCESSORIES
It is rare for a fashion brand to take a hands-on approach to solving environmental problems, but Ecoalf is showing what’s possible. Their “Upcycling the Oceans” project has removed 330 tonnes of waste from the sea since 2015, and they've used it to create durable, attractive footwear and clothing. They were the first to make flip-flops out of used tyres and have pioneered technology allowing for their construction without the need for adhesive or chemicals. In a world of green-washing, this is exactly the kind of genuine progress we need.
MOST INNOVATIVE: KIDSWEAR
Founded by a trained aerospace engineer, this innovative company has a completely new solution to the current waste in kids clothing. While most kids clothing has to be repurchased every few months, Petit Pli’s clothing range stretches and expands to fit children from the ages of nine months to four years. Not only do they use recycled materials, but they are also reflective, ultra-lightweight, reinforced, breathable and rainproof, making them versatile and safe to use in all conditions.
MOST INNOVATIVE: TOYS
Wishbone Design Studio toys are not only sustainable, repairable, and durable, but can cleverly adapt into new and more age appropriate toys through simple home adjustments as children grow up. The level of thought and creativity that goes into increasing the longevity of a Wishbone product, evident right from the earliest design stages, makes this brand highly deserving of our Most Innovative award.
MOST INNOVATIVE: ELECTRICALS & APPLIANCES
The first washing machine designed to be repaired and upgraded by customers and professional repairers alike, L’increvable is designed to last for a minimum of 20 years or 10,000 hours of use. It is yet to make it to market, but if and when it does it will profoundly disrupt an industry that has planned obsolescence baked in. With a bit of luck, the advent of L’increvable will mean the decline of sealed-in, opaque appliances that cost more to repair than to replace. Great for the environment – better still for the consumer.
MOST INNOVATIVE: FURNITURE & HOMEWARE
This is a category close to our hearts because planned obsolescence is so baked into the light bulb industry. Plumen are creating longer-lasting and more energy efficient light bulbs, which crucially are also beautiful enough to overcome consumer resistance to energy efficient lighting. We particularly like that they have not stopped making their products better with a reinvention on their original design using LEDs coming out last year.
MOST INNOVATIVE: KITCHENWARE
We’ve been waiting a long time for reusable coffee cups and picnic utensils that can take the place of throwaway versions and biodegrade at end of life. So we were thrilled to discover Smidge. This brand uses natural materials derived from corn to create reusable cups and cutlery that are dishwasher and microwave safe and will biodegrade leaving no damaging chemical residue.
MOST INNOVATIVE: HEALTH & BEAUTY
Plaine Products’ range is completely chemical free with ingredients checked through the Environmental Working Group’s database to ensure they are safe and non-toxic. However, it’s their dedication to reducing plastic consumption that impressed us here at BuyMeOnce; they also encourage their customers to return their reusable aluminum bottles by providing a free return label.
WASTE REDUCTION: CLOTHING
This organisation promotes the repair rather than replacement of clothing and most importantly makes the entire process as easy as possible. Transparent pricing and convenient delivery and postage makes this company a disruptive force that we hope will encourage ever more consumers to repair their favourite clothing.
WASTE REDUCTION: ELECTRICALS & APPLIANCES
The Restart Project was founded in London and is spreading across the UK and the world. This social enterprise brings repair enthusiasts together with people who need products repaired. The idea is not just to provide a free service, but also to empower citizens to take on simple repair tasks and allow good products to carry on being useful. Every year they are save thousands of kilograms of waste.
WASTE REDUCTION: FURNITURE & HOMEWARE
Rype Office are tackling waste in an industry where even lightly used products are being rejected and trashed at an alarming rate. They are diverting tonnes of waste from landfill by re-manufacturing existing furniture to bring them up to “as new” condition. By making sustainable furniture both attractive and economically sensible, they are disrupting the space. We also appreciate their commitment to hiring people with disabilities.
WASTE REDUCTION: KITCHENWARE
Reusable and biodegradable, these food wraps by Beeswax Wraps are a durable, zero-waste alternative to cling wrap. The wraps are beautifully designed by local designers and printed on organic GOTS-certified organic cotton. The beeswax they use comes from within 30 miles of their workshop, further reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
WASTE REDUCTION: HEALTH & BEAUTY
Zao Organic believes that beauty shouldn’t cost the earth. The ingredients used for their make-up products and the elegant packaging they're set inside are extracted from sustainably sourced bamboo. The refillable component is a zero-waste solution to an otherwise wasteful industry with the added bonus of saving money at the same time.