Canberra-based political analyst Peita Davis was inspired to open her own ethical and sustainable online design store after living in Kenya when her husband was on a posting.
During her two years in the country, she observed a cultural appreciation for locally designed and crafted objects that went on to become family heirlooms, passed down between generations.
It was something she wanted to encourage in Australia. To combat its throwaway society, to make available beautiful things that were built to last. She also wanted to show that "beautiful design and sustainability are not mutually exclusive".
So came Gingerfinch, an online design business that sources lifestyle, homewares, accessories and jewellery from across the globe, curating the objects from design studios that operate ethically, sustainably and with a focus on locality.
Peita, 39, says the products are put through a "rigorous sustainability test" before she agrees to feature them. They must be made ethically and in fair conditions from sustainable materials or recycled.
Everything she curates has an "intended function and solves a problem. Items must be as effective and efficient as they are beautiful".
Peita learnt those values early, growing up in Canberra, in Kaleen, and spending time with her grandmother "a woman of the Depression" who knew the value of things and how to get the most from everything.
"She always had a pot of soup on the stove, nothing was ever wasted," Peita said.
"Her home was minimalist but everything in it was beautiful. She always had the best of what she could afford.
"I think as I grew older, I realised what an influence she had had on me. I still have the crocheted rug she had in her house for 30 years."
Now living on the Kingston Foreshore, Peita still works in the public service while encouraging her fledgling business. She called it Gingerfinch, because she always loved birds, Australian birdsong grounded her to home, and because "my husband is a ginger".
"So, I'm the finch and he's the ginger," she said, with a laugh.
As a political analyst, Peita's specialty was the Middle East. When her husband was posted to Kenya for three years, she went for two years, from 2012 to 2014, She spent her time there travelling to the quirkier, less known parts of Narobi, enjoying finding unique items and seeing how they were made. They all had a story.
She couldn't shake what she had seen.
"When I returned to Australia, I could sense that there was an emphasis on buying into short-lived trends, no matter the environmental or social impact of that behaviour.," she said
. "I started Gingerfinch as a way of highlighting that good design, ethics and sustainability don't need to be mutually exclusive, and to encourage a stronger connection to the things we bring into our home."
She says the reaction to the business so far has been "really, really good". And while she sells to customers all over Australia, Canberra customers are given a special treat - able to opt to pick up their items for free from the Kingston Foreshore rather than pay for postage.
"It's a good way to meet my customers and they can have a coffee while they're here," she said.
- More at gingerfinch.com.au.