From furlough to sustainable business owner during COVID

The best business ideas come from seeing a gap in the market and thinking of a way to tackle it.

Rhianne Jacklin 24, set up The Forager’s Cottage during the first 2020 lockdown.

She said: “I founded The Forager’s Cottage after becoming frustrated with the ‘fast-fashion’ approach so many big brands seem to take to homewares.”

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

On a trip to the tip Rhianne was shocked at what items were being thrown out of people’s home.

The wheat fields bread bag

She said: “It’s pretty astonishing not just how much there is, but how new a lot of the things are.

“I thought ‘this has to change’. But where to start? I’d been baking a lot, but wasn’t always able to eat a whole loaf before it went stale.

“I searched for a way to keep my home baking fresher for longer but everything I found contained plastic.”

Rhianne designed a bag that would keep bread fresh, that was made from natural and organic materials. The Fairtrade bread bag was the first product line for the sustainable homeware brand based just outside of Chichester.

Rhianne Jacklin

Everything on the website has been designed and developed by Rhianne from concept to completion.

She said: “This means an awful lot of work goes into everything we sell, and there’s a relentless focus on the sustainability of every aspect of our products - from sourcing sustainable materials to procuring plastic-free packaging.

“Much of the work I do myself - so I can often be found in my workshop carving our wooden ‘heirloom’ items using timber from Sussex sawmills.

“Or I’ll be at the computer refining designs with artists I’ve discovered online and commissioned because I love their style. The artwork on our organic cotton products is a great example of this.”

Rhianne loves to reinvigorate ‘traditional’ values and sell high-quality, built-to-last pieces.

She added: “There’s a balance emerging in our range - from plastic-free everyday items to beautiful one-offs to treasure.

“With care, we hope our products can all last a long time. Using less is the most sustainable thing any of us can do, after all.”

To view the full range, visit