In 2008, I travelled to China on a mission to start a fashion business with my then business partner. What I witnessed there was the catalyst for my advocacy for ethics and sustainability in fashion. I had been raised by politically active parents so unionism and fighting for workers’ rights were concepts I had knowledge of. Social justice had been woven into the fabric of my life very early on so using my voice and my comms skills to raise awareness and advocate for others made perfect sense, I would talk incessantly about what I learned.
In 2010, my partner Ben’s youngest brother had passed and we decided on a tree change, moving from Melbourne to a Queensland town where I would initially be living in a tent on his parents’ two-acre vacant property. Ben and some family and friends had been encouraging me to start a blog to document all my political and social justice ramblings and the move gave me an opportunity to explore my interests in environmentalism too. So I launched the WordPress blog and called it ‘Ramblings of an Eco Warrior Princess’ and started documenting my thoughts. I never thought anyone would read my words. I didn’t think anyone cared about the things I cared about.
But I was wrong.
In 2012, Peppermint Magazine reached out and interviewed me for a feature on up and coming green voices. It was the first time I, and Eco Warrior Princess, would be featured and I would get to share my story. I met founder and editor-in-chief Kelley Sheenan a woman who I admired for her contribution to the industry – and who has become a friend over the years.
Since then, we’ve been featured in other magazines, newspaper publications, blogs, websites, YouTube videos, books and even on podcasts. We’ve also been media partners for fashion shows and have been invited to speak at events.
The biggest change came in 2016 when I made the decision to turn the blog into a multi-contributor media platform as I couldn’t keep up with the growing following and our increasingly global audience. It was time to grow the team and bring in fresh voices and talent.
From the outset, I paid our team of writers, including all trainees even though the common thing to do with an online startup like EWP is to hire unpaid interns and attract a heap of writers wanting to submit free articles. Walking the sustainable business talk, I knew that was not the business model I wanted and I decided to pay everyone –even if I wasn’t making an income. In fact, I only started paying myself a minimal income last year!
Everything is put back into the business, in paying our amazing team of writers, and preparing for phase two of EWP.
As one of the pioneers of environmental blogging, I was doing it for the love of it, I was part of a grassroots effort pushing for change and substance in fashion convos, promoting the good work that brands were doing and using social media as an advocacy tool. I wasn’t interested in discount codes, getting my ‘personal brand name’ out there and always felt (and still do feel) squeamish when I have to model and get my picture taken. I was a reluctant business woman- just ask my partner Ben.
Anyway, when I reflect on how ethical fashion, sustainability and climate change have become mainstream topics nowadays, I do a fist pump because those early years were quiet indeed. Now everyone’s on the bandwagon – and I’m thrilled!
Sometimes I get annoyed with the greenwashing and with people who take on ideas as though they were the first to discover it (um, my 60+ year old mother was raised on the land, making straw ‘ethical’ bags when she was a teenager and was composting in the Philippines, so these are not new ideas people lol) but for the most part, I am thrilled with how far we’ve come in 10 years and I’m already excited about what the next 10 are going to look like.
Thank you for your support and being a part of our journey. We appreciate all of you!
– Editor Jen ox
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All images of EWP founding editor Jennifer Nini photographed by Ben McGuire.