To follow on this months Wellbeing, Health + Fitness theme, we caught up with Brooke Meredith from A Conscious Collection to chat about how she started the magazine, what her personal health and fitness strategy is and what her advice would be for women with busy schedules trying to live a balanced life.
Name: Brooke Meredith
Ok, so first things first - How did it all begin and what was that light bulb moment when you decided to start A Conscious Collection? + Did you have any?
A Conscious Collection came about in the most organic way. At the time (late 2014) I was going through some major health and lifestyle changes as a result of a few food intolerances and lifestyle choices. After months of feeling fatigued, foggy and bloated, I turned to a naturopath for help. He opened my eyes to the wonderful world I’m exposed to now, with whole foods and holistic healing, I had never even considered, nor been exposed to in the past. From there I used my new-found knowledge to change my eating habits. I began to experiment with more whole, natural foods and fell in love with the lifestyle that made me feel amazing – and so began the journey of A Conscious Collection, initially launching as a blog to document my learning’s and share my recipes with the online community.
My background is in design, so my love for print has always been strong. Through this journey I found my other love; Wellness. From there I enrolled in a nutrition course and not long after completion, I decided to create ACC magazine that would allow me to use my skill set to create a publication that offered both quality - in both forms of design and wellness. A huge gap I saw in the wellness market space.
What have your biggest pinch me moments been?…
Ahh, there has been so many amazing milestones along this journey. I think receiving my first print order was my biggest pinch me moment. I had always wanted to work with magazines from a young age, so to see all the hard work come to life and hold a physical copy of my own magazine was an amazing feeling. I created ACC from the ground up, with no prior magazine or editing experience so it felt and (still feels) quite surreal that people actually read it. Haha.
I’ve also had the pleasure of working with industry icons such as Elle Macpherson, it’s incredible to work with someone you admire so much in business and wellness.
And on the flip side what have the most challenging moments been?…
I think for me the most challenging part was our growth and expansion. I mean it’s an incredible thing to grow, and that’s what we all strive for but I didn’t expect our growth to be so rapid once I changed our blog platform to a working magazine and take it full time. I wasn’t prepared and struggled to keep up with our work-load.
I went from Brooke the graphic designer and wellness writer to wearing many, many hats. Sales, production, photography recipe developing, writing, marketing, editing, designing, finance, stockist management and distribution. You name it, I did it. 1 because I didn’t have the time to hire as we were growing so quickly and two you are in start-up fase, cash flow is vital - it’s the reality. I definitely have seen the burnout that comes from not having enough support around your growth.
You're such a busy woman in general - who inspires you?
Is it bad that I thrive off busy? Haha. People who love what they do and work hard inspire me. I’m so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing creative’s and entrepreneurs in our industry, each unique in their approach and each inspiring in their own way.
And as a business woman it's always important to have a support network by your side - who are yours?
Absolutely. I always say you need your top 3.
One, a friend who gets your work load, who is there to listen, who understands when you have to bail on dinner last minute due to work and never questions it. She’s the girl that will have your back no matter what. Cry with you when you need a shoulder, and bring you wine on those nights you are still in the office at 11pm.
Two, a support in your business, where you can bounce back and forth ideas, and help make those important decisions.
And three, a partner / family member who unconditionally loves you. Who you can vent to, strategies with and cry with when those times get tough, and celebrate with, when you are kicking ass! There is no judgment - they see you at your best and worst and will always be there no matter what.
Looking back on your career to date - what would your advice be for budding like minded entrepreneurs …
Outsource your weaknesses or the things you don’t like doing. You can’t do them all and that’s ok. It frees up the time for the things you are good at, and the things you like to do. In return you will build your brand faster and smarter, setting yourself up for long-term success.
Now, on to some health and wellness questions that I personally want to know about! What is your personal strategy when it comes to health and fitness? Do you have the exact same routine weekly or do you mix it up? Are you hard on yourself when you skip a workout or have a splurge day?
My schedule is all over the shop, so as much as I would like to have a routine. I don’t. I use to be really strict with my diet and exercise routine, now I’ve learned to listen to my body. Engage in moderate exercise, daily. Sleep-in more over getting up at 6am for th gym, and do you know what? Since slowing down I’ve actually seen better results on my body. Sometimes trying to fit too much in causes more stress and harm to your body.
Every one is different, and everyone responds to food and exercise in different ways. It’s about finding what you love to do that’s sustainable and what works best for your body and your schedule.
Do you organise your meals and workout calendar in advance weekly?
I like to have a rough idea of what I’m eating as I tend to do a big grocery shop and prep on a Sunday. My workout calendar is loosely penciled in if I have to book into a pilate's class it usually means I’ll stick at it. :)
And what would your advice be for busy women with fast paced lives who struggle to fit fit fitness into their schedule (e.g me!). Do you have some key tips?
I think it’s important to remember you don't have to block out an hour each day. I mean, who has an hour when life is busy? Start with 30minute windows and find movement in your day-to-day schedule.
Walk to get your lunch, or walk to collect your post. It’s amazing how much you can actually achieve in the workday if you are conscious about moving your body.
Then start working 30 minute blocks into your diary. As time permits work it to 45 minutes. If you schedule it in your calendar like it’s a meeting, and lock out the time, you are more likely to commit.
Why is organisation so important to you?….
Organisation is the key to success when you are running a business like ACC. We work months in advance so we have to make sure all our partnerships are finalised, content, and creative is in order to begin production.
What are the top 3 ways you organise your life?…
1. Set to-do-lists. I love a good list and helps me keep track of where I am at. ( Try Asana for an online task management system, you’ll be addicted)
2. Keep it tidy. Keeping your desk, home, office tidy ensures you can think clear, and helps to stay organised.
3. Keep a detailed calendar and sync it with your computer and your phone. Our whole team has a google calendar synced with each other so we are all across every meeting, every deadline, every holiday and whereabouts of our team to make sure our communication is seamless.
Stationery wise - are you a….Diary Lover / To Do List Lover / Calendar Lover / Sketch Book lover - or all of the above?!
Oh gosh. I’m so all of the above!
What is the one thing you are notoriously disorganised at?!…
Our recipes that go in each issue. I still create and shoot these and I tend to throw something together two days from print. It drives the team nuts. #truestory
Describe your workspace in 5 words.
White, open, industrial, relaxed, full-of-product
What essentials would we find at your desk?
Face mist, perfume, note note pad, drink bottle and bottomless cup of peppermint tea.
And finally - the fun part - what are your plans + goals for A Conscious Collection in 2018?
It’s been a huge start to the year already and we are excited to see where the rest of the year takes us. Hoping more growth, bigger issues, wider distribution and more amazing collaborations with incredible brands and inspiring interviews.
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FOLLOW Brooke Meredith
The Conscious Collection and @nrahmichelle