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March 05, 2021

How we're supporting equality this International Women's Day...

International Women's Day (8th March) is a day to celebrate women's achievements whilst calling for greater equality. To celebrate this week and do our part for the planet, we'll be donating $1 from every order to a cause of your choice that supports women with i=change. We'll also be doubling our impact and donating $2 per order on the 8th. Track our impact here.
 
Here are the projects we are supporting from the 7th to the 13th of March:
 
Protect a woman: $50 provides a hot meal and a safe, comfortable place to stay for one night with Women's Community Shelters.

Educate a girl: $1.50 pays for a day of high quality education for a girl in a Calcutta slum with Her Future.

Stop child marriage: $5 enables 50 women to participate in a meeting hostel to discuss and learn about critical issues affecting them and their communities, like ending child marriage with The Hunger Project.
 
Shop for change here.
 

Interviewing Empowering Women In Our Community...

We wanted to highlight some of the incredible women making positive changes in our zero waste community. Here are the powerful things they had to say...
 

Danni - Founder of Dirty Hippie Cosmetics

Dirty Hippie Cosmetics is a zero waste & toxin-free personal care & beauty brand.

International-Womens-Day-Interview-With-Dirty-Hippie-Founder
 

Q: What does success mean to you? 

A: I have revisited this question quite a few times as both myself and my small business have grown the past six years. I decided very early on, and have kept coming back to the overarching belief, that success simply means impacting the world in a positive way, whatever you may be doing. To myself more currently though, it means growing a sustainably geared local business that can support a flourishing team of diverse and amazing people, whilst also creating and dispatching beautiful, earth conscious products to our equally amazing customers. 


Q: What are your ‘go-to’ self-love practices?

A: I am a HUGE fan of skin care and self worship through skin care rituals (obviously!) but I also like to include stretching and meditation based movement practices in my daily routine as I have found they tend to help me release the most amount of stress after a busy week. I have recently moved into practising more primal expression based Yoga, along with discovering the world of Da Xuan through my partner who has been practicing various movement crafts the past twelve years. I must also admit that I would go a little mad without gardening or tending to plants, and I may or may not have a few too many around the DHC office and lab space!
 

Q: What was your tipping point, (your ‘I can’t take it anymore’ moment) that inspired you to spark change and launch your brand? 

A: This moment for me was definitely when I suffered a rather serious health upset in my mid twenties (caused by the birth control pill Yasmin) that made me decide to look more closely at the ingredients lists of each product I was both ingesting and applying topically. I had been taken away from my previous career path during this rather intense period and found myself with more spare time to explore my natural passion of creating skin care rituals for loved ones. Two years and a tonne of human testing later, in the Winter of 2014, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics was born. We aim as a 100% family owned, hand-made brand to offer quality, toxin free, sustainably geared products at affordable prices - always.


Q: What was the biggest hurdle you faced whilst going against the grain and offering zero waste beauty products? How did you overcome it?

We've had quite a few hurdles along the way but our biggest has been getting our raw materials and packaging delivered to us more sustainably here in Australia.
 
It often takes quite a few email chains back and forth with raw materials and packaging suppliers before we are able to negotiate that our materials be delivered in recycled boxes where possible, and also to not have any additional packing materials that often include bubble wrap, plastic orStyrofoam included with the order. We have managed to negotiate plastic free dispatch for roughly 70% of the items delivered to us so far, so we really feel we have helped make a huge difference in the supply/demand chain as we have grown in volume as a small business. I have particularly noticed that the majority of both Australian and global small businesses have moved to plastic free dispatch the past 12 months which has been amazing to see. 


Q: What is your life mantra in one sentence or one from someone else that you embrace? 

A: "At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can." - Frida Kahlo 

This one really resonates with me and I feel it is even more pertinent now given the current global climate. 


Q: What 3 tips would you give business owners about doing business sustainably?

  1. If you offer a product for sale definitely have a look at your current packaging and dispatch business processes and see where you can ex the plastic and replace it with a more sustainable option. We dispatch all orders plastic free here at DHC using recycled newspapers collected from local businesses such as cafes and newsagents. 
  2. Try to go paperless and use 100% recycled paper where possible in the office. 100% recycled paper is available from Officeworks so no excuses! 
  3. Enforce correct rubbish sorting procedures in the workplace. Terracycleboxes are also a really good way to ensure items like ink cartridges and previously un-recyclable plastic bottles are recycled correctly.
  4. Bonus tip: Using zero waste cleaning supplies and equipment - Mix up your own cleaning supplies using the various amazing ZW recipes available on the internet. We absolutely live by Vinegar and Eucalyptus oil here at DHC HQ! 

 

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Kim - Founder of Eco Max Brushes

Eco Max creates plastic-free, compostable, and ethically made body and cleaning brushes.

International-Women's-Day-Interview-With-EcoMax-Founder
 

Q: What does success mean to you?

A: One of the aims of Fair Trade is to teach others about the importance and power of Fair Trade. When I see others embrace what Eco Max is all about I get a sense of personal satisfaction that others are carrying that message forward.

Q: What are your ‘go-to’ self-love practices?

A: This might sound a little strange but I find hand weeding my little patch of grass at home very calming, it’s my form of meditation. It gives me time outside at the end of the day just to be alone with my own thoughts. Slowly wandering around looking at the earth you start to observe tiny things you would normally not notice. Nature is a constant and its resilience and vastness makes you realise how interconnected we all are and how small our individual troubles.

I think it is so important in loving yourself to give yourself time to slowdown and just breath. In our busy lives we often forget to do that.

Q: What was your tipping point, (your ‘I can’t take it anymore’ moment) that inspired you to spark change and launch Eco Max?

A: I was more a gradual build up. I was doing merchandising and design for trade fairs and retailers, so much of what I saw was really just dust collectors and gimmick products that you knew would end up in landfill. So much plastic junk, it seemed never ending. I had a two month holiday overseas and knew that I just couldn’t do this anymore and I came home and quit. I really wanted to promote Fair Trade and plastic free products though I didn’t know how I was going to do it. The very next week I discovered elephant dung paper, which introduced me to Sri Lanka where I first saw the village version of the Kitchen Scrubber and my journey began.

As clichéd as it is, it was as if by closing one door another opened. I think doors around us are opening and closing all the time, it’s just we don’t notice them until we are looking.

Q: What is your life mantra in one sentence or one from someone else that you embrace?

A: Don’t be afraid to take the first step, it’s always the scariest but the rest just follow on.

Q: How do you support women with your brand?

A: Almost all our producers of our Eco Max Brushes are women and my whole team in Sydney are women. The making of our products provides these women with full training and a living wage. A living wage means that they can support their children and live with dignity. We started a crèche for the women in 2019 so that their pre-school aged children have a safe a secure place to be when their mothers are working as well as providing after school care and English language teaching to their school age children. This support has made such a difference to these working mums.

Covid caused so much disruption last year for everyone but the safe working methods that were implemented meant that none of our producers have contracted the virus. But I am most proud of the fact that all our women still received a wage, even over lockdown, so that some of the stress of a terrible situation was alleviated.

I also feel that as women are drivers of much of the household decisions our EcoMax Brushes provide an alternative to plastics in the home and supports them to make positive changes that benefit their family and the world.

Q: What 3 tips would you give business owners about doing business sustainably?

A: Stick to what you believe in and be honest with yourself. Often sustainability will throw up challenges that have easier options. You have to look seriously at whether you are taking an easier option for convenience and not because the sustainable option is harder.

Be open to change. Doing business sustainably is an ongoing process. There are always things you can be doing more sustainably so never feel like you have reached the end and embrace those opportunities to improve and change.

Trust your own judgement, it’s your business, your passion and your vision. Sustainable business is new for some people and you will be told, often in subtle ways, that it’s not possible, but only you know what you are capable of and what is possible.

 

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Cathy - Oma & Chief Product Tester

You don't have to look far to find female heroes. Cathy is my mother in law, our whole GFZ team calls her Oma (Flemish for Grandma)!

International-Womens-Day-Interview-With-Empowering-Women
Oma with Ellie's girls Harper (left) and Gracie (right)

 

Q: What does success mean to you?

A: Success to me is being comfortable with exactly who I am and to be truly thankful for everything in my life.
 

Q: What are your ‘go-to’ self-love practices?

A: What I like to do best 'for me', is to go for a walk along the coastal pathway, enjoying the beautiful place where I live. Hopefully in a few more weeks I can up my "self-love" by being able to run instead of walk! I also enjoy reading a good book.

Q: What is your life mantra in one sentence or one from someone else that you embrace?

A: My life mantra is one that I have embraced from Celtic Christians and St Patrick. In all I do everyday I ask - "Holy Three Encompass Me".

Q: How do you support women in the community?

A:

  • I belong to Anglicon Mother's Union of Australia. Our group supports women in our community, throughout Australia and worldwide through donations and daily prayer. MU helps women throughout the world to get an education, obtain a loan and start a small business. This raises them out of the cycle of poverty inequality.
  • I have also helped Quota and women's shelters by being part of arranging gifts and necessary toiletries for those women living the the streets or victims of domestic abuse.
  • Helping children to have a better chance of succeeding in life is really one of my passions. To this end I support a child through The Smith Family, give to The Aboriginal Literacy Foundation and volunteer at the Chappie (School Chaplain) Breakfast at my local primary school.
As you can probably see, helping women overcome disadvantages and giving their children better opportunities in life is very important to me. I am very grateful that the women and girls who are special to me all embrace the world with confidence, knowing they have the chance to become whatever they wish to be!!

 

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Harriet - (@natural_harry)

Plant-based recipe creator & sustainable living advocate

Natural-Harry-Sustainable-Living-Advocate
 

Q: What does success mean to you?

A: Healthy mind, body, soul and relationships. 

Q: What are your ‘go-to’ self-love practices?

A: Dry body brushing, moisturising with my body butter (recipe in HOME by Natural Harry), eating food as minimally processed as possible, drinking plenty of water, laughing with friends whenever possible and swimming. 
 

Q: What was your tipping point, (your ‘I can’t take it anymore’ moment) that inspired you to spark change and advocate for sustainable living?

A: I didn't have one as such. I have been aware of waste and our impact on the environment from a very young age, thanks to my parents educating me early on. It has been a gradual learning, full of gradual change in habits. I am not there yet but I will keep going until I am! 
 

Q: What is your favourite sustainable tip/swap?

A: Shopping for your dry ingredients at a bulk whole food store and your fresh fruit and veg plastic free. Nipping waste in the bud! 
 

Q: What is your life mantra in one sentence or one from someone else that you embrace?

A: Eat whole food, as close to its natural state as possible and look after yourself. But don't be a goose about it! 
 

Q: What 3 tips would you give business owners about doing business sustainably?

A: 
  • Consider your packaging and sending, can you minimise it? Can you make it from recycled, compostable AND reusable? 
  • Where are your suppliers based? where do your products originate and what are their impact on the environment? How can you improve this? 
  • Where can you get customers involved in reducing the waste from your business i.e. a swap system

 

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Empowered women, empower women. Thank you so much for sharing your powerful stories, advice, and turning points with us this International Women's day ladies. You are truly inspiring and we can't wait to see how you'll continue to create positive change in the future.

​On that note: How can you empower/inspire those around you to live more sustainably? Please know that your actions (big or small) make a massive impact on those around you.

With love,

Ellie & the GFZ team xx

 

 


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