In the aftermath of lockdown, a love story unfolded – one between Homewood, Mother Nature and her people. It all began when forced factory shutdowns and the loss of income that it brought, left Homewood with no other choice but to think outside the box and find creative ways to keep their company afloat. This was when the Amanzi Conscious Collection was born.
Working together with Avocado Vision, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) and the Working for Water programme (WfW), Homewood identified an issue that required a swift solution – that of Invading Alien Plants (IAPs) in South Africa.
Considering the destruction that these plants cause in the form of soil erosion, reduced cattle grazing land, intensified fires and floods, the siltation of dams and estuaries, the drying up local water catchments (removing up to 6% of South Africa’s water) and the reduction of water quality (causing the mass extinction of indigenous plants and animals), Homewood decided to take action and came up with the idea of sourcing local IAPs in order to reduce their reliance on importing woods such as Oak and Ash for their solid wood furniture.
This move naturally led to the creation of their Amanzi Conscious Collection and has currently seen the removal of around 120 water-thirsty IAPs from indigenous environments. It has also supported the creation of hundreds of WfW jobs with the manual labour needed to clear up hectares upon hectares of alien vegetation – not to mention direct employment at Homewood (around 70 jobs) and jobs from sawmilling (around 60 jobs). Furthermore, it has allowed Homewood to offer high-end solid wood furniture that literally doesn’t cost the earth. Since travel costs are greatly decreased, the custom furniture company can offer more competitive pricing for this collection and also reduce their carbon emissions at the same time.
With the merging of quality and eco-friendliness, Homewood’s Amanzi Conscious Collection has been an absolute hit, consequently creating a strong demand for alien invasive plant biomass which has helped inject more money into the activity of sustainably clearing invasive trees.
Two woods, in particular, stand out from this Mother Nature-friendly collection: Cottonwood and Blackwood. These alien woods have been extremely popular due to the fact that they offer the best marriage of cost effectiveness, beauty and durability.
Homewood founder, Ian Perry, discusses what he loves most about these woods: “I love Cottonwood due to the colour variation and the wonderful ripple you get in the grain. The ripple causes an unreal sheen – almost like a hologram once we finish the sanding and oiling process. It’s like a ripple in the fabric of time itself!”
Of Blackwood Perry says, “What’s NOT to love? It’s busy, the colours are out of this world and the story that’s being told is just so vibrant. Every time an item in Blackwood comes off the crafting line and gets oiled, I have to just smile and admire it.”
To see these woods in action, visit your nearest Homewood showroom and get a first-hand feel of their eco-friendly tables and chairs!
If you’d like to support Homewood in their efforts to save Mother Nature, you can shop any of their customisable furniture and ask for it to be made from woods available in the Amanzi Conscious Collection.