When my daughter was born, I became obsessed overnight by what products I was using around her. From the chemicals in cleaning products, to her food containers, to the clothes she wore and how they were washed. They say a new mum does better research than the FBI, and nothing could be truer. Google became my new best friend. This was where the idea for my company — La Maison de Masson — stemmed from.

Ayla and 18-month-old daughter Louene

What does being sustainable mean to you?

I read a quote recently which went, “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” And this sums up the importance of sustainability to me. I don’t want to leave the world a worse place for my daughter and grandchildren and I worry that we will only realise how important sustainability is, when it’s too late for our beautiful planet Earth. That’s why it is so important as a consumer to purchase from companies that focus on sustainable practices. The more people who purchase these products, the more other companies will be forced to change their practices for the better. Whether green, eco or sustainable, all of these words indicate a company that is trying to create products that meet the needs of the present, without compromising the lives of future generations.  

How easy is it in the UAE?

I find that the term ‘sustainability’ can scare people. Some believe it is an all or nothing lifestyle. However, there are so many seemingly small changes, which can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint. On average, each UAE resident uses over 450 bottles of water a year! Imagine if we all traded plastic bottles for a water filter, what a huge impact that alone could have on our environment. It is possible to live sustainably, wherever you live in the world, as long as you have the will to achieve it. Sustainability is simply a state of mind.

What steps do you take?

We don’t pretend to be a zero waste household, but we do our best to choose companies and products that are sustainable in some form or another. We purchase our fruit and veg from organic farmers markets, we avoid plastic packaging and we reduce our carbon footprint by opting not to buy vegetables that have been shipped half way around the world. We buy organic, Fair Trade clothing as much as we can from lovely local UAE home-grown brands. We have a water filter, so no more plastic bottles in the house. We try our best to ensure my daughter’s playroom is filled with beautiful handmade wooden toys. We recycle everything! We carry reusable tote bags wherever we go, and we also use reusable bags we purchased from Spinneys to weigh our fruit and vegetables also, a great initiative from them for only 3dhs.These are all small changes we made in our lives one by one, but each one of them brings me so much joy, to know that these things are so much better for my family, and the world around us.

4 Easy steps to start living more sustainably:

  •  Buy your food locally

Organic farms are all across the UAE, and their produce is far more fresh and nutritious than what you will buy in a supermarket. Also there is no plastic packaging and no carbon footprint from being shipped across the world.

  • Purchase a water filter

It actually worked out cheaper for us to have a water filter and free flowing drinking water, rather than buying plastic bottles every day.

  • Eat less meat

One of the single biggest things you can do for the environment is to consume less meat, due to the impact farming has on fuelling climate change. Having meat as the ‘side dish’ and not the main part of your meal is a great way to rethink the volume of meat you are eating, especially if being a vegetarian is too big a change.

  • Sustainable travel  

We are in the process of purchasing a bicycle with a baby seat. For small trips to the shops and the playground it will reduce our reliance on the car and make for a fun trip for both of us.

La Maison de Masson is a sustainable boutique for parents and babies. Every product follows a ‘Three S’ rule: it has to be SUSTAINABLE, whether in the way it is produced, or the materials used; it has to be SMALL, meaning from a small, local business that is adhering to ethical practices; and it has to be STYLISH.

Read more:

See how this Indian expat family lives a sustainable lifestyle in the UAE

8 ways to lessen your eco guilt (even while living in the desert)

How to throw an eco-friendly kids’ birthday party in the UAE