Meet Shay, from Caliwoods - NZ's home of eco goodness.

We interviewed Raglan based girl boss Shay Lawrence, the founder of CaliWoods. Surfer, travel-lover, and a kiwi trying to inspire more sustainable changes.

Caliwoods exists as a social enterprise standing for Planet, people, purpose, selling quality eco products.

Tell us a bit about how you found your way towards  Caliwoods. How did you get into it, and what were your first pieces?

I started CaliWoods when I got back home after traveling to some of the most isolated parts of the ocean. It was seeing plastic pollution in places that were otherwise so beautiful, so pristine, that motivated me to really put all my energy and time into creating some change. 

The scale of the pollution hit home, it’s something you can’t really un-see once it’s followed you for months on end around the pacific ocean! Everything from dolls to old school yoghurt pottles and broken sandals littered the water and beaches…I also knew from my University studies that this was just the tip of the ice berg. The bigger problem was on the microscopic level where, after these things break down a little, we are dealing with micro-plastics which easily enter the food chain. Ending ultimately on our dinner plates. 

When I came home I found that starting a business was the best way to earn an income, be my own boss and create change on a larger scale than I could do myself. This is when I started looking into Social Enterprise which is effectively how to mingle purpose and impact into business. I started under Sunday market gazebos with Reusable Straws (and explaining to people what they were!) and we now have a full range of eco products.

 

What are some things you need to have around you to feel inspired and happy at work?

Personally, I need excercise and regular ocean time to feel normal. These things can be pushed aside temporarily if I’m super busy but at the end of the day it’s what makes my body feel good and puts my mind into a clear, focused state. It’s also key to be impact focused. I like to know that the things we are doing each day are leading to something positive for the business and the planet. 

Shop the Caliwoods range here.

For someone reading this who wants to become a eco-warrior do you have any tips on how to get started?

Absolutely. A few easy steps to get started looks a little bit like this:

  1. Start small - only tackle one thing, one habit, at a time. If you go all in too soon it’s like a hyped up diet ! Bound to fail and potentially less in shape, or in this case living less sustainably, than you were from the get go. 
  2. Find a buddy or a community - your friends and family might not be convinced yet but you know that we all have to start making changes to get things on track…the world won’t wait any longer. Find a friend with similar values, join a FB group and follow a few eco instagram pages. It makes you feel part of the movement and keeps you up to date and inspired. 
  3. Switch off in nature - and I mean fully switch off. Leave your phone at home and go roll around in the warm sand on a beach, walk to a waterfall in a forest, run around naked…whatever floats your boat. If this is out of reach, don’t look at your phone on the bus ride home and admire the trees. There’s so much we don’t see and appreciate in these go-go-go times but connecting to nature makes us want to protect her. Your eco actions will automatically follow (not to mention the health benefits!). 

How would you describe your brand in 3 words? 

Impactful, audacious, leading 

 

At Flo we love to support local, what are some of your must go or hidden gems in your area/near your work? 

In Raglan I love Solscape for the outrageously great view and plant-based treats. Indi coffee have an active campaign against single-use cups so I support them when I’m feeling like a coffee. The Herbal Dispensary are making great moves with supplying the community with local produce and are totally on-board with reusables for their bulk bins and fresh juices. It’s amazing to live in such a cool community. 

Pictured: Solscape glamping tents, Raglan.

 

Love, the Flo family x


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