Hi! We're Green Manatee

…and we are a sustainable and eco-friendly online shop selling wedding favours & wedding gifts. We’re based in Cardiff, in sunny (err, often rainy!) South Wales!

Green Manatee was formed by us – Jo Shaddick and Zoë Binning.

Jo lives near Cardiff and is the owner of ByJo a company creating gorgeous eco-friendly, sustainable and handmade stationery.  She’s passionate about paper, perfection and the planet and when she’s not designing stunning wedding stationery, she can often be found with her husband and teenage daughters touring the Welsh coastline in her campervan, swimming and drinking rum (errr not all at the same time!)

As a family who enjoy spending time in the outdoors, particularly near the sea, you’ll often find them cleaning beaches or litter picking closer to home. They’ve been working hard over the last few years to avoid as much packaging as possible (particularly plastic) in the weekly shop. Jo will readily admit that a trip to the local fruit & veg stall or zero waste shop can be the highlight of her week (after creating a detailed meal plan to ensure that there is no waste!). Her husband is slightly less excited by her ever growing collection of glass jars that can’t be recycled ‘because they might be useful one day’.

Zoë is also from Cardiff and after growing up over the bridge in Brizzle, hot-footed it back to Wales to start a family and myriad businesses.  She has a background in retail design and wedding planning, is the Welsh wedding expert; often appearing on BBC Radio Wales; creator of the wedding planning podcast  The Icing on the Cake  and is also a wedding venue consultant.  She is the co-owner of Wild Roots Kitchen & Bar an ethical and sustainable wedding & event catering company.  She lives with her little family on the edge of the Rhondda Valley and can either be found swinging kettlebells, digging in her allotment (with varying levels of success), sitting in her hammock with a gin or park-running with the family and their loony overgrown puppy, Loki. The whole family is determined to reduce their carbon footprint and despite a massive love of cheese, they bit the bullet in 2019, became vegan and are forever experimenting with weird and wonderful new recipes!

Together we are determined to change the way that British couples think about and plan for their weddings!

Over the years, we have both had that nasty knotty feeling in our stomachs every time we see the amount of disposable ‘tat’ brought into every wedding and thrown out at the end.  Most of it is poor quality and breaks before its even made it through the day (don’t even get us started on garden games!) and the huge amount of glitter, single-use plastic and waste just puts our teeth on edge and has put us both in a moral quandary.  We love the UK wedding industry, but how can we reconcile our own personal journeys to reduce single-use plastic and become more ethical and sustainable in our own shopping decisions, when we advocate for an industry that day in, day out does the complete opposite?

After discussing this together on a number of occasions, we knew that it wasn’t enough to no longer think it was acceptable, we had to do something about it!  No-one else seemed to be, so clearly it was going to be down to us.  Never gals to turn down a challenge, we got started thinking about ways to provide ethical and sustainable shopping solutions for UK couples who are planning their weddings and seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and make greener choices BUT not compromise on quality, style or design.  After all, everyone still wants their wedding to be beautiful, stand out from the crowd and be an incredibly special day – and not everyone wants to do that with lots of brown paper and twine.

We wanted to call our wedding gift company Never Hug a Manatee (for the reasons for that one, pop over to our other blog post on the subject!) but we realised that was one hell of a mouthful and so Green Manatee was officially born!

We can’t wait to share this exciting journey with you all and promise to keep you up to date on all of our decisions, ideas, thoughts, mistakes (we’re definitely going to make some of those!) and successes (hopefully we’ll have lots more of these!) along the way.

Lots of love & huge green manatee hugs

Jo & Zoë x