JASMINE MAYHEAD - Founder of Ethical Made Easy

A brief introduction into our love affair with Ethical Made Easy and how we became such close friends with the founder - Jasmine Mayhead:

Like all modern romances, this was born out of a comment on Instagram and the need for a likeminded group of friends. Jasmine had just started her account @ethicalmadeeasy and her posts were so relevant to us that there was an instant attraction to being in her orbit. At the time, we knew very little about Jas but what we did know was that we shared a dream for a better world and that if someone who spoke as eloquently and passionately cared about the same things we did then she was sure to make a difference that would be felt the world over.

Before we deep dive, let's paint the picture. Who are you and how did you get here?

I’m Jasmine. I grew up on a flower farm in New Zealand so being surrounded by nature is something that’s been pretty engrained in who I am from my formative years. 

Whilst at University, I decided I wanted to explore more of the world outside of what I knew across the length of New Zealand so I took six months off University to save for the adventure and then packed my bag and boarded a plane to do a semester exchange in Barcelona. 

On the way there I stopped for a six week exploration around South East Asia. I was in Cambodia where I’d discovered a bag I really liked. 
All the Tripadvisor reviews and blogs I read told me that you’re supposed to barter the price, so I bartered a bag from $35 USD to $9USD and left really proud of myself for the bargain I’d just scored. 

That following night whilst staying in a hostel I decided I wanted a night in so as I was doing the infinite scroll of Netflix recommended I decided to watch a documentary called The True Cost. It was that day that my life changed, as I couldn’t unsee what I’ve just watched. I couldn’t turn a blind eye to an industry I’ve consistently bought into. 

 It was looking at this bag that I’d purchased, realising I had no idea where the cotton was grown, where it was dyed, who made it, and in what conditions they were treated, that I knew I wanted to do better. 

 To learn more about where the things I buy come from, and to ensure to the best of what I could, that for anything I spent money on the people who made it, and the planet were cared for in the process.

From there, I created an Instagram account called Ethical Made Easy with the goal being to make ethical fashion easy for me to find and support in one place. The rest has snowballed over almost five years from a big dose of curiosity and persistence that a better world is possible.

We're very value-aligned (otherwise you wouldn't be here!) but what are you doing to change the world and why?

I believe in a world where everyone is treated fairly. Where we give back more to the planet than we take. 
A world where business can be used as a force for good and a world where we don’t need to put the word ‘ethical’ in front of fashion in order to be able to say “I know that the people who make the things we sell were treated fairly in the process”.
Ultimately, we’re setting out to make shopping ethically, easy. 

 We do that through our online store where you can discover an incredible range of brands from Australia and New Zealand all in one place. 
We’ve also got a global directory where you can filter by location and support brands closer to home (wherever that is for you), and through our journal that showcases a range of difference ways that we can tread more lightly.
I'm helping people build sustainable wardrobes that work for them. While that may sound a bit shallow, we all wear clothes and I just want to help everyone have a wardrobe that works for them and build it in a sustainable way without harm to the planet or its people.

In your line of work, what are some of the challenges you face and what is your strategy/coping method to tackle them? Insert One Red Hot Resilience Tip.

I’ve watched so many friends close their businesses over the last five years, and every time it’s incredibly heartbreaking. The amount of sacrifice that people put into an idea, the amount of energy, the sleepless nights - it never gets any easier.

A close friend of mine Kate Hall (@ethicallykate on the gram), pointed out a bit over a year ago that majority of us who work in the sustainability space, don’t actually work sustainably. We’re so in the thick of it because we believe that a better world is possible, that we begin to lack that work life balance. And as a result, we burn out. 

It’s a heavy space, when on the daily you’re learning about the latest greenwashing initiatives taking place, larger brands not paying their factories, the fires and factory collapses, the sexual assault and the misconduct that occurs, the lack of people’s right to unionise - let alone adding in the IPCC reports and anything climate related and it’s easier to just throw your hands up and go back to something a little easier.

So for me it’s just been a matter of reminding myself when it all feels a bit too much, that I might not have been working as sustainably as I’d have liked. 
That I need to pull back, fill my cup back up, so I can keep going.

My partner also said to me to never make big businesses decisions when I’m tired, and that’s helped far more than I’d like to admit.

We like to think we're pretty DTE, what is the one DTE thing you'd say about yourself? (Get your head out of the gutter - we mean Down To Earth). i.e how do you stay grounded/real.

I feel like I’m a pretty simple gal through and through. Having grown up on a flower farm, from a young age I love being outdoors and helping others to achieve the things they want to do. Whether that’s helping to paint barstools pre-launch of a friends bar, helping with picking flowers or weeding whilst I’m back at home to help the family out. I love the feeling when many hands make light work, and then afterwards you’re able to pause and celebrate together on what you’ve just achieved.

The internet rules the World these days, we can't live with it and we can't live without it. What is your relationship with Media (both digital and social) like and how do you manage it? Be honest.

I’m so incredibly grateful for the community we’ve created through social media, and the friendships I’ve made as a result. Some of my closest friends have come from simply discovering someone on Instagram so I think in that regard it’s incredibly powerful, but it also has its downfalls.

For me personally my relationship with social media fluctuates every week if I’m being completely honest. I’ve definitely found unfollowing accounts that don’t bring me any sort of joy, or education really helpful for my mental health.

Venetia La Manna created a movement called #offline48 where she encourages people to completely turn their phone off on the weekend. 
It’s been over a year since I first came across it, and I can really notice a difference come Monday morning when I do it. Even if it’s just deleting social media apps like Insta on a Friday afternoon and not downloading it again until Monday. About two months ago I bought this in across Ethical Made Easy as well. We’ll never post anything on the weekend, which sure might be back for business, but I feel is so much healthier for my mental health and that of my team. Having time away to reflect and pause really helps when you come back. And the likelihood is, you’ve missed nothing much anyway.

There is so much going on at the moment, and sometimes nothing at all. What has the last two years taught you and what are some of the tools you have built to get through it?

It’s taught me how important family is. It’s taught me how important health is. It’s taught me the importance of having savings for the things you truly can’t predict. 
It’s taught me how importance connection is, and community. It’s taught me that life is more than work, and that the things that are mostly free (nature) are also the most rewarding.
It’s taught me how privileged I am, and how important it is to do the work and use your voice to help others. 
It’s taught me to pause. To appreciate the simple things in life which is something I hope I’ll continue to remember as strongly as I do now in the years to follow as we step into this new ‘normal’. 

In terms of tools so to speak, I came across an app called Tangerine where you’re able to put in a checklist of sorts each day for the things in life that you value which has really helped me. I find now if I’m feeling a bit off, it’s usually because I’ve skipped a couple of things that in the slower time I realised were super important to me so having that as a place to check in each day has been super helpful. 

Time travel isn't an option (yet) but if you could go back and whisper sweet-nothings to your younger self - what would they be?

- What others think of you is never as important as what you think of yourself

- Take more photos (with you in them)

- Stop trying to play the next five moves on the chess board. Be here now. This moment right now is all you truly have.

We love connecting with other inspiring people/businesses - who would you like to see answer these questions?

There are so many incredible business owners who I’d love to see on here. Mitch from Yuki Threads and James Bartle are both doing some really incredible work in the fashion space, really showcasing what it means to be a business in Tomorrow’s World. Another standout for me is Frankie Layton, the founder of The Dirt Company who is giving the laundry detergent sector the shake up it well and truly needs. Another standout for me is Frankie Layton, the founder of The Dirt Company who is giving the laundry detergent sector the shake up it well and truly needs.