07 Apr Melanie Lock // Eco Kin Series
Someone asked me recently if I was a Yogini (they assumed I was). Our wellbeing centre offers Yoga, my partner Benny is our Yoga Teacher - and I was like “hell no”. I don’t go back to work to relax. You’ll often find me cooking dinner at home, answering emails and wrangling children all at once.
Tell us a little about yourself and your values?
I am a Naturopath, business owner, product developer, public speaker, herbal tea enthusiast, meditation teacher and mother of 2 wildling boys. I’ve been in the Health Industry for more than 20 years, and living in a coastal town on the mid-north coast I know how important it is to become an advocate for your local community and for your country. I believe that Australia boasts some of the world’s best organic products and that’s why we only source from Australian companies when it comes to our business – The Hollow Store. We choose companies who are innovative and forward thinking when it comes to environmental ethics, and values. We are interested in ethical branding, fair-trade, and we are mega supporters of small local entrepreneurs too. We love the ‘story’ of people and their passion for their product. We call our community “our tribe” because we believe that they are – and this sentiment extends nation-wide too.
What does living an “eco-friendly fashion” mean to you? What does this look like in your life?
Some years ago I watched a documentary of impoverished women in Asia working tirelessly in poor factory conditions sewing clothes for a popular Franchise selling ‘economical fashion’ in the West. I was aghast at the terrible conditions and exhausting hours the women were subjected to. The most disturbing moment was when the women were told how much money people paid for the individual items in the West. These women could barely fathom that amount of money – an amount that could feed their family for a month at a time, and an amount far greater than their monthly wage. It was a shocking revelation and one that has stayed with me. These women were working in extreme conditions for just enough money to feed their children. As a mother myself, it crushed me. Nothing makes me happier than to support home-grown talent in fashion. Some of my favourites are in areas like Bellingen and Byron Bay. And even if it’s not Australian-made – I seek the benefit of putting my money where it matters. Just recently I stumbled upon a Mexican fashion importer in the industrial estate in Byron Bay. It’s a small modest shop-front, and the owner travels to Mexico frequently buying directly from women in small communities which is ace. She also helps fund a women’s refuge too. This is a win:win. I loved the clothing (of course!), and I loved that my money was being put to a better cause. Every time I wear an item from her shop now – I think of those Mexican women. I hope they know how happy it makes me feel.
How do you make sure you are being a Conscious Consumer?
I look for the story. Where is this made? Who by? How far has it travelled? Has it been traded fairly? Where is my money going? Has someone/something suffered in the production of this? How is it packaged? I am always more interested in the narrative of a product. My consumer-mantra is “tell me more”. This is a principle I apply to my own product sourcing at The Hollow Store. I don’t want to buy a Fijian coral necklace that has been made in China, by a company un-interested in ecological sustainability and not re-investing in the community from where it’s resources came. It’s a symbiotic process and one I respect ethically, environmentally and professionally.
What are some of the things you do to slow down?
Well let’s start by saying that I rarely slow down. I don’t want anyone creating an ideal that I am juggling all these things in a harmonious way. Though what I’ve noticed is that small acts of mindfulness and exercise are medicine to me and result in me being in a much more productive and happy head-space when it come to my professional and personal life. Someone asked me recently if I was a Yogini (they assumed I was). Our wellbeing centre offers Yoga, my partner Benny is our Yoga Teacher – and I was like “hell no”. I don’t go back to work to relax. You’ll often find me cooking dinner at home, answering emails and wrangling children all at once. I do try to commit to some private Yoga practice before work, I jog in the morning – not to look a certain way but to feel the sunrise on my face, and I love to hike when I get the chance. As I have aged I’ve lost the need to compete and sculpt my physical body. I am more about breath, intention and ritual – there’s a kindness that comes with these, and thank goodness!
What do you think are the biggest obstacles and challenges for people wanting to slow down and become more conscious/responsible as consumers?
This has to be the holy grail of questions because we’re all so time- poor. Social, familial and professional expectations are bruising, and productivity is difficult to avoid. Technology is a blessing and a curse for those reasons. It’s an age of the ‘hustler’ and I think we are at large exhausted – especially as women. I have to check in with that myself. I often hear women in clinic saying that if “they had more time they could ….. “be more fit, more relaxed, healthier”. And sometimes we’re all guilty of waiting for the ‘right time’ when everything will finally settle down and we can start to do the things we’ve been yearning to do, but that time doesn’t really exist. Life is fast, so you have to force consciousness into your day – even mindfulness, rest, restoration. Schedule it into your diary – the consequences are dire, and we are seeing the ramifications of not doing so unfold in the health industry. Our bodies are not indestructible – they are completely capable of breaking down. It’s no surprise to witness the incidence of disease and auto-immune dysfunction increase exponentially with oxidative stress and anxiety.
Do you have any advice or tips for people wanting to live slower, more sustainable lifestyles?
I think the easiest and most practical ways are to anchor into simple acts of wellbeing. Creating rituals is about pushing back against the busyness of life’s distractions (technology and our careers). Can you plant a herb pot that you can tend to? Having space to dig your hands in the dirt, pull out a few weeds as you walk past, and water each day is a metaphorical ritual of care. You can also use the herbs and vegetables/greens in your meals? And the cycle of nurture -to- nourish feels very good. Can you make a tea-ritual of an evening? While coffee is about being fast and increasing productivity, tea can be an act of deliberately slowing down. The process of touching and appreciating the tea blend, the unique dance of herbs as the pot brews, and the slow act of sipping and appreciating the tea can be one few rituals available to us on a daily basis. Making small changes to your day like waking 1/2 an hour earlier for your own self- care. Read for 10 minutes, stretch for 10 minutes and maybe even pat the cat.
Making small changes to your day like waking 1/2 an hour earlier for your own self- care. Read for 10 minutes, stretch for 10 minutes and maybe even pat the cat.
How can people find out more about you and your work?
You can find me in person at The Hollow Store most days. I work by supporting and guiding people with their health enquiries in-store, and then much more in-depth within my consultation room. We specialise in Australian and Local business who create outstanding ethical organic products which you can view on our website www.thehollowstore.com.au. Our IG (@thehollow_store) is a great way to see our business personality shine, and FB too (thehollowstore). From this central place of social media you can venture out into the world of Melanie Lock ND BHSc which is my own personal/professional work as a woman and mother in this very busy, frantic world trying to hold some stillness in the waters around me.