If there’s anything I’ve learnt lately is that nothing is permanent in this world. Nothing stays the same. Everything evolves, changing shape, color, even smell. The only thing that’s steady is change. It’s the only constant we can count on and yet whenever change happens in life, we always find ways to push against it, which got me thinking, if it’s such a sure thing why are we so resistant to it? Perhaps the very idea to start something completely new, something we know nothing about scares us so much that we would rather stay in a limbo than take a leap of faith. Because if that leap is just a millimetre too short we might fall and shatter to pieces and than who’s gonna be there to pick those pieces up and glue them back together? But what we don’t consider is that there’s a chance on the way to our spectacular fall, we suddenly learn how to fly and rise instead of crash. What happens then? Well, we rise to the highest of highs.
Kira Simpson, is no stranger to this feeling either. By navigating her business through several downfalls, this Aussie boss babe has refused to stay defeated by successfully pivoting what was supposed to be an ethical marketplace into an educational platform and brand directory. Refusing to be defined by the same failures she faced along the way, she has managed to find her way up while being on her way down. As a proud owner of Australia’s most well known ethical directory, today Kira has become an influential voice for sustainability and an avid environmental advocate worldwide making the The Green Hub a tight community, a result of years of dedication, commitment and hard work. The site has become such a powerful medium in Australia, which has not only captured the attention of sustainability heavyweights like Livia Firth, but has become a voice of a generation in its own right. On this and so much more, we sat down with this powerhouse to discuss her rise for the latest issue of Cool Faces of Bastet Noir.
Who is Kira Simpson?
My elevator pitch is that I am the founder and editor of The Green Hub, a sustainable lifestyle blog. But I struggle when people ask me what I do. My answer will vary because I wear a lot of hats. I run The Green Hub which involves writing and editing and the day-to-day operations of the site. I guess you could also label me an influencer on Instagram, but I prefer content creator. Because that’s what I spend a large portion of my time doing, creating photographic and written content for conscious brands. I do some freelance writing for other sites and I also have a store on eBay where I sell second hand fashion. I love having lots of different roles, it keeps every day fresh and allows me to be creative.
What’s your morning routine like?
We’re just coming out of winter in Aus so mornings have been slow. I wake up at 6am but it’s still dark so I start with a coffee in bed while I check social media and emails. Walk the dog, we live 2 minutes from the beach so in summer we’ll have a quick morning dip. Get dressed, eat breakfast, I’m lazy so the same oats or a berry smoothie every day. Then to my desk, which is in my dining room, to start my day. I wish I could say I have this amazing routine that sets me up for the day, but really, I’m on autopilot until I fully wake up after the coffee kicks in! I do pump the music the moment I get out of bed though, every day without fail.
Tell us a bit more about how the idea behind The Green Hub came to be? What was the crucial moment when you decided to turn this from a hobby into a business?
The Green Hub was always going to be a business from day one, it was called a different name back then. I started another blog in 2014, I’d been living a ‘green life’ for about a year and wanted to start sharing my tips. Back then sustainability wasn’t a buzzword, there wasn’t the selection of stores we have now helping you shop plastic free. I was already working as a freelance writer creating content for other sites so I knew I could do it for my own site and wanted to make a living blogging. A few months in I saw a gap for sharing ethical fashion brands so I decided to open a fashion marketplace sharing the brands I discovered. Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right. There weren’t a lot brands to stock, and honestly there wasn’t the need for it at the time. Ethical fashion wasn’t something mainstream media was talking about at the time, it was very niche. So I closed the shop and continued with The Green Hub as a blog and here we are.
They say with great power comes great responsibility. You have amassed so many followers who are passionate about sustainability. On the other hand there’s the business side of things. How do you balance the two when it comes to impartially reporting on sustainable and socially responsible brands?
I do take the responsibility of endorsing brands very seriously. But I am human and make mistakes, so I encourage our community to always ask questions and be critical of everyone, especially me and anyone promoting ethical fashion. When I create our brand guides, add new listings on the directory or partner with a brand I invest a lot of time in researching the brand, first looking for third party certifications and then asking what they know about their supply and the people making their products. Are they transparent and willing to have an open conversation about their supply chain and environmental impact?
I don’t expect perfection, there’s no such thing especially in fashion, everything has an impact one way to another. But I respect the brand admitting they’re not perfect but they are actively doing the work to improve their practices and find ways to have less of an impact and ensure the people working for them are being treated fairly. One of my favourite Australian brands did this a few years ago. After receiving emails from customers during Fashion Revolution, they started looking at their factories, tracing their supply chain, rethink the materials they were using. And the whole time they were open about the process, published regular progress reports, and took us along the journey with them. That is always the starting point for me.
Three things you wish you knew before starting out…
It’s ok to say no. In the beginning I said yes to every opportunity, every request, every person who wanted something from me, no matter how big and I stretched myself to thin. Saying no is important for your own wellbeing and you have more of yourself to give to the things you say yes to.
Don’t try and do everything yourself. Learn where your strengths lie and outsource everything else. I could spend three days doing my books each month, and be stressed out by it, or I can hire an experienced bookkeeper who can do that for me, and much faster!
Be open to changing your mind. Especially in the fashion industry. In the beginning I was a staunch advocate for leather, now I know it’s necessarily the most eco-friendly option even though it’s natural’. I also thought organic cotton was the bee’s knees, but have since learnt there are more sustainable alternatives. We receive so much new information about what’s sustainable in fashion, the industry is evolving quickly. We’re learning new and better ways to do things that make older models or ways of thinking obsolete. So be receptive to new ideas, ways of doing things, to learning and shifting your mindset.
Books that changed your life
Half the Sky — How to Change The World by Nicholas Kristof
Women hold up half the sky. The book shows how we can solve many of the worlds social issues, tackling poverty, oppression, human rights, if we educate, nurture, and uplift girls. The greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population.
Biggest failure/setback in life and what you’ve learnt from it?
I’ve had two business ‘failures’, the ethical fashion marketplace and launching a magazine in 2018. The magazine was the most challenging project I’ve taken on to date and I disliked almost every minute of putting it together. I love tackling new projects, pushing my self out my comfort zone and when I get an idea, I have to see it through. And I’m also really good and cutting things away if they don’t fill my cup. The shop and the magazine are two things I had to try and I’m proud of myself for trying both, and I felt very comfortable letting them go.
What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?
The Ori Dress — I adore the floaty, feminine sleeves, it’s so flattering. And if you look closely, the print is a jungle scene! I’ll be wearing this all through the holiday season.
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