Monday Muse - jasmine
Introducing the wonderful Jasmine, founder of Ethical Made Easy (an ethical brand directory that makes living ethically, easy) and Common Intent where she specialises in digital marketing for ethical businesses. This is one woman who doesn't know how to slow down! I first met jasmine online, through instagram, I'm pretty sure we started talking when she reached out to introduce her online platform EME and pretty much hit it off from there. I loved how full of life she was with a great no fuss approach. She wasn't ashamed to admit she wasn't perfect, and was so excited to celebrate the small wins! She has created an incredible community celebrating and sharing businesses that care about the environment and all the people they work with in their supply chains. I hope you love reading through her interview and as always are as inspired as I am by this incredible women!
I really love your approach to ethical fashion, you take such relaxed approach and I never feel intimidated or as though I’m not doing enough. You make it achievable, approachable and most of all easy! So in saying that, what inspired you to start Ethical Made Easy? And why do you think it’s so important to have a platform like yours?
Thank you; that’s definitely been my aim since I started! For me, Ethical Made Easy began when I first left the waters of the familiar New Zealand and Australia and ventured to Cambodia, before landing in Barcelona to finish one of my degrees on a university exchange.
Here’s the full story (it’s a bit of a lengthy one so grab a tea or a shiraz):
When I first got to Cambodia, I was your typical fast fashion fanatic, and my favourite past time when I was there was haggling. I could haggle til I got souvenirs for the whole family without spending more than dinner that night would cost me. Although I would never dream of repeating these mistakes, I’m not ashamed of them, as if it weren’t for them I would never have watched The True Cost, and the ethical warrior inside me never would have been woken up.
From Cambodia, I moved to Barcelona where there was a H&M, Zara or Mango on what felt like every street corner. Whilst at university, I took papers on Supply Chain Management, Sustainability and Change and Impact Investing. Having learned what I did during these courses, I realised that business could be done a different way: without exploitation. After this realisation, the thing I struggled to find was one solid place that told the story of the companies seeking to make a change; one place that solely showcased brands that were ethical and doing good in the world; one place that held my very laid back, linen-favoured look.
So, on the day of my last exam, I was lying on a friend’s couch I’d moved onto for my final week in Barcelona, and decided to open an Instagram account called Ethical Made Easy (to make ethical fashion easy for me) and for the last three and a half years it has just been me trying to put one foot in front of the other and remain on this challenging but extremely rewarding path.
In terms of why I think a platform like EME is important, I truly believe we are all at different parts of our ethical journey. In saying this, what’s ethical for me may not be for you, and this is the beauty of EME: we want to cater to all values, all budgets, and all perspectives. We try to be as inclusive and open as we can be and we want everyone to join the little fam we’ve become.
I‘ve tried to create a space that caters for people at all stages of their journey. For me, I spent four and a half years at uni completing a double degree (and needing to take a semester off to work to fund my exchange to Barcelona), so I know what it’s like living off a student wage whilst trying to still live ethically. I guess for me, that’s never been something that’s changed, so I try and meet people where they’re at, wherever that may be.
Ethical Fashion has definitely been a hot topic over the last few years (which is amazing) and I don’t see things changing. Why do you think it’s important to have conversations around ethical fashion? What’s so important about having these conversations?
I think it’s so important just to connect the dots! For so long I’d just focus on the cost of something, never once stopping to consider where the fabric came from (or what fabric it even was), nor who made it in the first place. I think a lot of other people can relate to this as well. I think once you connect the dots, it’s really hard to see a shirt for $5 (or cheaper), and not question where it was made.
When I say connect the dots, I basically mean to retrace the steps all the way back to the intention behind that garment. Why was it made? Who was it made for? How was it made? Were the materials sourced ethically with environmental values at the forefront? Were the people who made it paid and treated fairly? How can I use my purchasing power to change any bad answers to these questions? My change was Ethical Made Easy, and I really hope it can be the start of other consumers’ changes as well.
What is your waste pet peeve and what do you do to change it?
Oh that’s a good question! Do drivers merging into lanes without indicating count?
Takeaway coffee cups are the height of my pet peeves. I despise them with my entire soul - can you tell? I either bring my reusable cup, a mug from my office, or if I’m really stuck I’ll actually force myself to slow down and have my coffee in. Running two businesses means I often have a million and one tabs open, so being forced to pause just based on one habit I’ve forced myself to have means I actually find a lot more joy in doing it rather than rushing from one thing to the next with my long black in hand. I’m not perfect, I do have slip ups, but it is so dang easy bringing a reusable cup, and more often than not I save 50 cents for bringing my own cup, which is great for the budgeter in me!
What is one thing you would like to see more of in the fashion industry today and why?
I’m sorry but I’m going to cheat a little bit and list my top three:
Ethics as a non-negotiable, as a compulsory part of a standard business model, along with; Diversity and inclusion of different shapes, ethnicity, and genders; and Sustainability principles. Take note H&M.
If you could pick three people, dead or alive, to spend an afternoon with, who would they be? And what would you choose to do?
I once read a quote that said “everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t”, so this question has really stumped me.
To be honest, apart from every girl’s fantasy of being able to be wined and dined by Jake Gyllenhaal, I don’t necessarily have the answer to this. It’s not that there are no people I’d like to spend a whole afternoon with; on the contrary, it’s that there are way too many and, to be honest, most of them are in our Interviews
section on the EME website. May I pass? Please don’t do a Gandalf and say I can’t!
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it you do to set yourself up for the day ahead?
I am a stickler for an early morning. Early bird catches the worm, right? In my case, early bird catches the year-round Melbourne cold, which is why I take vitamins year round.
I don’t necessarily have a set morning routine in place that I do every morning without fail, but for me a good day definitely starts the night before. I usually put my phone on aeroplane mode at 8pm, and read a novel in bed for an hour. I wake up at 5 am each day (weekends I may sleep in til 6, my body clock is ridiculously adjusted now).
In terms of the morning and my non negotiables that make me feel at my best for the day ahead, I try and read a business book for at least 15 minutes every morning, and then I pull out my Five Minute Journal and focus on three things I’m grateful for, and three things that will make the day incredible.
By then my partner’s gotten back from the gym, so we meditate together for 10 minutes and then we stop and have a coffee together. (which probably completely defeats the purpose of meditation but, well, caffeine). By 7am, I’m usually starting to work. I find my brain works better first thing in the morning.
Not only do you run Ethical Made Easy, but you recently started working with other small business in helping them with their online marketing, (including me!) which saw you leave your full time job and go out on your own. What were some of the feelings you felt when leaving that security and how did you get through them?
Oh man, pinch me! Doing what I do everyday across both businesses brings me so much joy it’s ridiculous.
I grew up working on my parent’s flower farm, so hard work was ingrained into me at a very young age, which is probably what made my typical teenage/uni jobs of sandwich artist, Maccas drive thru chick, ice cream scooper, and waitress at cafes and restaurants that little bit more bearable. I’ve grown up with parents who have always worked a day job as well as having a gig on the side, so I think working this way has just been part of who I am.
Melbourne is such a hub for hospo, so when I quit I always knew I had something to fall back on for 20 hours a week if I needed to, which really helped. I remember being incredibly nervous when I quit, more because I felt like I was letting someone else down rather than being excited for what lay ahead. But I think I knew deep down that I’d work my ass off to make it happen, and that I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable and be a little bit fearless and take a solid leap of faith.
I also think I was (and still am) extremely lucky. I have an incredible partner who’s been by my side for the last four and a half years, so he’s definitely been the glue that has held me together when things have been hard (which they have, a lot). I’ve also got an incredible group of friends and their patience has not gone unnoticed!
I know running a small business can be hard, stressful, painful and extremely scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding, exciting and fill you with such proud moments. Could you share some of these moments you have experience through your own businesses?
I’ve gotten to a point now where I pinch myself daily for what I’ve created, but by no means has it been easy. There’s been a lot of hard yakka (as my adopted country of Australia would say).
I remember in January this year, I would wake up at 4:30am and start working on either Ethical Made Easy or client work. I was so excited (yet so burnt out), and I didn’t know there could be another way.
At one point my partner saw how stressed I was - I’d been working since the early hours, hadn’t eaten or left the house and it was 7pm - that he said to just stop and have a cuddle for five minutes, to which I snapped and said “I don’t have time for a five minute cuddle”.
It was there that I realised I’d gotten the balance completely wrong. I was all work and no play. I had no time for anything other than growing both businesses, and doing the best I could for any of the business I worked with. I didn’t even have time for my partner or myself.
Enter Pru Chapman
, aka my sanity beacon. Pru helped me to get clear on what I really wanted, and the type of clients I wanted to do marketing for. Now I’m at a point where I work with clients I absolutely love, and I have the most incredible team of people helping to make the dream of EME really come to life.
It’s taken over 10 months of solid hard work, and really getting clear on my goals and what type of life I want and consistently checking back in with them each week. Now? I’m able to choose the hours I work, and when to stop. I have no notifications on my phone, and have boundaries in place that help me to finally have some of that crazy thing that somewhat resembles ‘balance’.
Best of all, now I definitely have time for a five minute cuddle!
Not only do you live out your values in your work, you also live them day to day. What are some of your ‘sustainable’ living hacks that you love?
Oh there’s so many! My mum always told me that “if you can’t leave a clothes shop wearing something, you don’t love it enough to purchase it”, so that’s something I’ve always lived by and will continue to live by as well. Thanks Mum!
Another one that I’ve recently brought in is that for anything I bring into the house, I have to rehome something that’s already in it. This means I’m slowly becoming a lot more aware of my ‘wants’ rather than my ‘needs’, and I’m not bringing any unnecessary stuff into my space.
What is your favourite piece from the new range and why?
The fold shorts
! I’m known for dressing for the weather I want, not the weather that’s present (which is completely dumb because I live in Melbourne, the city known for its temperamental weather). So for me, as soon as I saw the fold shorts, I knew they’d be something I’d wear daily. In fact, and this is no word of a lie, as I type this I’ve worn the shorts for the last four days straight. Talk about cost per wear, am I right?
I highly recommend following Jasmin's journey to discover a range of amazing brands, businesses and people who are apart of the sustainable space, you can check out her instagram HERE
or jump over to her website HERE
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