Jess McLeod and her children | Image via The Conscious Space
It was Jess McLeod's warmth and genuine curiosity that left a lasting impression after our first meeting. So, when she revealed her latest business venture, it all made perfect sense. It's clear from the moment you meet Jess that she moves with intention through the world. The Conscious Space is a fitting expression of that sensibility. Mission-driven to help people and the planet, Jess has created the event to showcase brands doing good; a destination for people to explore, shop and learn a little more about sustainable, ethical and mindful brands in a welcoming, accessible space.
Skye Gilkeson | Cover image via The Conscious Space
Who have you created The Conscious Space for?
The answer to this is two-fold;
- Businesses who are doing amazing things in the sustainability/health of people and planet space.
- The general public. Anyone from any age, suburb and gender. This is a tipping point in our lives. A time when we need to start looking a little closer at the way we live and how this has an impact on ourselves, and our planet
How is your particular offering different from other indoor shopping events on the calendar now?
There are some great offerings out there at the moment doing great things for small businesses. The Conscious Space is coming from a place of learning and discovery. A super welcoming place that is open to anyone, where ever they are at in their ‘journey’.
We have a variety of activations such as panel speaker events, live podcast recordings, a bookstore, meditation space plus so many more surprises that we will announce over the coming months.
If a brand wants to be a part of the event, what do they need to qualify to join the space?
We have a criterion of approximately 10 different brand values that we need to see in a brand before we consider them to be part of the event.
These vary from BCorp certified, Australian made, strong social justice program, not for profit etc. These values are listed and explained on our website.
We appreciate it is impossible for any brand to fit all 10 so we evaluate on a case by case basis.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and where the inspiration for this event came from?
I come from a strong events background. Alongside two business partners, we launched and grew one of Australias largest events companies into an international brand.
Inspiration for this particular event came from witnessing the desire for us as a population to do more, to be more considered in our consumption. There is a definite ‘want’ to do better or differently. Just not many places that show us the ‘how’.
You can’t help but get excited about an event like this. What can shoppers expect?
Thank you. And yes, I agree. It’s a rallying of experts in their field. Something I do not proclaim to be. So attendees can expect a beautifully curated array of brands, from fashion, transport, fitness, food, education, furniture, architecture, home & lifestyle.
We want to prove that it is possible to make considered decisions without compromising our modern way of living.
You hint to a few surprises over the course of the event too. Can you give us any hints?
Hahaha, well, there may be a few celebrities making an appearance, plus we have some super fun things planned for the mini conscious consumers.
Sustainability and ethical fashion are such buzz words at the moment. Why do you think these elements are prevalent in the industry?
Well, I believe we can no longer pretend there is not an issue with fast fashion. There are some amazing advocates in the space that are doing an incredible job of educating us on the repercussions our thirst for cheap fast clothing is having. Women such as Stella McCartney, Clare Press, Sarah Wilson are bringing these issues to the forefront, we now know better, so it’s time to do better.
Do you think we’ll ever see a time when conscious brands rule over fast fashion?
Honestly, I’m not sure. Personally I’m learning to change my mindset. Yes, some conscious brands may be more expensive, but they will last longer. The philosophy of buying once and buying well is always front-of-mind.
It would be great to reach a point where sustainable brands are just as accessible as fast fashion, so it’s a level playing field and better decisions can be made.
This is our intention with TCS, to have all these incredible brands together, in one place, to get in front of customers who might ordinarily shop at Zara or H&M purely based on the fact they are more accessible. I hope we can change that.
Can you share some of your personal favourite conscious brands?
Are there certain leaders in this space you recommend we follow, read up on your reach out to?
Sure! Clare Press, Sarah Wilson, Joost Baker, Greta Thunberg, Ethical Made Easy, Future Super, Alison Larsen Rice, Alexx Stuart, Kylie Lewis, Brene Brown, Primer.
What is your hope for The Conscious Space in the first year?
I hope we can provide a platform for change. By bringing these two groups of people together, my hope is that conversations are had, connections are made and everyone leaves feeling a little lighter and positive about our impact on the world.
Can you tell us any names we might be able to see and shop, come March next year?
Sure! We are so proud to have some incredible brands on board such as Stone and Wood, Mukti Yoga Mats, One Seed Perfumes, Freedom Foods, The Rushing Hour.
We have been working away on the speaker programming also, we will be announcing this officially really soon, but we can say we have Alexx Stuart, John Polson (Blacksheepcycling), Rebecca Ray.
You are a mother as well as a business person. How much has that influenced you stepping into this space as a thought leader?
Gosh, I definitely do not see myself as a thought leader, a gatherer of thought leaders maybe? Haha. The fact that I am a mother has definitely influenced my decisions around the way I WANT to work, and I guess also now on what I want to work ON.
I absolutely adore being a mum and do not take this privilege for granted. By stepping into this space, of conscious living and being aware of decisions we make has definitely been influenced by my desire to make sure my girls and all children have a safe, healthy space to grow up and take on THEIR own dreams.
What is your hope for The Conscious Space over the next few to five years?
So many things. I get scared to say them out loud in case I jinx it. Haha. I have been so lucky to be supported by an amazing mentor Pru Chapman and the by-product of that is being aligned with a truly special group of women.
My hope is that I can continue to meet, connect and work with all these great people and brands that I’m meeting along the way. Oh, and to spend a few months travelling around Australia with the family would be good too.
Learn more about The Conscious Space here.