There’s no doubt we’re in a watershed time in human history. We must start changing our habits of consumption, for our own survival, and the survival of the planet. But while it’s never been more critical to make change, it’s also never been easier. When it comes to conscious and sustainable brands to buy from, we have an embarrassment of riches, right at our fingertips. And we don’t have to compromise on quality or (as is relevant to my interests and presumably to you, readers of a design blog) aesthetics to do it.
My friend Monique Hemmingson’s new book Wild Kinship is testament to this. The book itself is a perfect example of its own premise; aesthetically it’s a thing of beauty to look at (including gorgeous lifestyle and landscape photography by Ilk’s Erin Cave), it’s the product of a small and independent New Zealand publisher, Beatnik, and the entire project aimed to eschew – as best it could – print media’s traditional high carbon footprint. Wild Kinship has been printed in small batches, on recyclable paper, using vegetable inks, and the team calculated and paid back carbon credits to offset the project’s total travel emissions. It’s not perfect of course, but that’s actually a key takeaway from Monique’s book – doing something is always better than nothing.
Author Monique Hemmingson
Monique actually started working on the book concept a couple of years back, when she still owned her Mount Maunganui café Wild One Wholefoods. At the time, she was working with scores of conscious brands and was constantly inspired by their devotion in a difficult industry. She could see that they had a wealth of knowledge and some amazing stories that people could really benefit from hearing – fellow business owner or not. The seed for Wild Kinship was sown.
Wild Kinship: Conversations with Conscious Entrepreneurs is a collection of 28 interviews with the New Zealand and Australian founders of ethical and sustainable brands. Brands who are forging progressive paths and changing the world in their wake – from clothing designers and tiny-home builders to potters and permaculturists. Including Kowtow’s Gosia Piatek, Kokako Coffee’s Mike Murphy, and GoodFor stores’ founder James Denton.
Victoria Aguirre and Carl Wilson of homeware brand Pampa
Jacob and Georgia Faull of organic baby brand Nature Baby, at their flagship NZ store
Al Thursfield, founder of The Daily Bar
New Zealander Hannah Jack, making product for her all-plants skincare brand
Co-founder Michael Zagoridis at work at Pocket City Farms, bringing permaculture to inner cities.
Andrew Morris and Amanda Callan of Church Farm General Store with their two boys
The conversations are honest, intimate and ultimately very inspiring – personally and professionally. It’s packed with ideas and advice, not just about sustainable business, but also about overall wellbeing, about community and connection, about balancing livelihood with lifestyle.
An incendiary read, whether you want to start your own conscious small business or pivot your existing business, or just understand how you as an individual can take the power back and change your own habits, to improve your own life, the lives of others, and the life of the planet.
Wild Kinship: Conversations with Conscious Entrepreneurs is $60
See more and buy direct from Monique herself, here.
Follow Monique on Instagram here.