In conversation with Jessie Alice
There is nothing more powerful than a woman determined to rise, and I was lucky enough to speak to the power house that is Jessie Alice, the co-founder of Eco Hair Ties who is on a mission to change the world, one hair-do at a time!
How, when and why did you decide to launch Eco Hair Ties? What was the lightbulb moment? It was whilst going surfing one day we were at the Point Impossible carpark and I needed a hair tie- Adam quickly made me one from an old bike inner tube we had in the van and don’t get me wrong it did the job in the water and I remember thinking that although it wasn’t the final product we have now that there was definitely something to it and that was the moment for me when the first Eco Hair Tie seeds were planted.
What does sustainability mean to you? This might not be your typical eco-warrior answer but for me it's all about balance. When I first got into sustainability it became this almost constant anxiety that I was doing the wrong thing and simple daily events like meeting friends out for coffee or doing the grocery shop became riddled with fear over whether I'd made the most ethical choices to reduce my footprint and cause as little harm to the planet as possible. I'm happy to say that the industry and myself have come a long way since then, it's much easier to make more ethical and sustainable choices and I'm not hard on myself anymore if for whatever reason I'm not able to as I'll do my own offset later which can be as simple as walking instead of driving. And that is exactly why I love our product Eco Hair Ties as we've founded this based on sustainability, style and super convenience.
It can be incredible daunting starting your own business. What do you think equipped you for it and what gave you the conviction to actually do it? There was definitely a few things at play and I'm a big believer in the universe and the power of signs, that same day out in the surf- the very first 'aha' moment was around the time that I was noticing the recent interest growing in our society to be more environmentally conscious, but I still found that there was quite a big gap for businesses to just follow that trend and it seemed like no one was really taking that leap. And unbelievably it was something that my boss said at the time which may have been off-the-cuff but she said I'd make a great business owner- I took all of this plus some more micro things that were happening as signs that this was my move to make. My final thought was that if it didn't work out I could always just get another job and be in the exact same position that I'm in now but that hopefully instead what I've done is build a business that I 100% believe in that is designed around my ethos and lifestyle that completely removes the ceiling for me when it comes to income, direction and adventure.
What were the unexpected rewards or highlights? Being able to create change and have an impact fuels my work, in previous jobs time and time again I'd see things that weren't working but there would be so much bureaucracy around being able to move the needle or the thinking around that one thing that would make peoples lives easier, the customer experience smoother and the overall brand better. Now if something isn't working I can change it and for me that is a such an empowering and rewarding thing. Alongside that I'm meeting likeminded people who are thinking about the future of our planet and I've always been a morning health crammer so if I can start a bit later and get a class and decent breakfast in before work I'll always opt to do that.
Having your own business can at times lead to self-doubt. Do you relate to this and if so, how does it manifest for you? How do you combat it? I had to 'burn the ships' and at some point you will too, early on I was constantly scrolling career websites, organising a plan b for myself and confusing the message I hadn't yet given myself permission to believe that this was going to work out. Once I made those mindset and behavioural shifts i.e. not looking for jobs, I was able to give all of my energy and focus to the business. It also sent a clear message to myself and the people around me that I was deadly serious about this and when I made that connection everything else started to fall into place much easier. I like the saying 'If you take one step, the universe will take ten'. Having said that I definitely like the feeling of duality in my life and I do have other creative ventures outside of Eco Hair Ties, I just make sure that they don't compete for my time.
On the flip side, what are your hopes and visions for starting Eco Hair Ties – how do you hope the world benefits from it? It's a lofty vision but I want to 'save the planet one hair do at a time' and I'm approaching this in two ways. Firstly I want to open up conversations around corporate responsibility and in particular closed loop business practices that make sustainability a norm. Secondly I want to get Eco Hair Ties into bathrooms worldwide, I know that it probably won't be the only hair tie that you are going to own but if it's in the mix then it's a great way to add sustainability into your daily life in a super convenient and balanced way.
What relationships have been integral to your journey? Adam! He is my life, adventure and business partner, and it's our relationship and individual skillsets that make it all possible we've travelled the world together and we're constantly leaning into new things, he's much more comfortable working behind-the-scenes but I try and get him out there when I can. There's also the friends who might just initially engage with the online posts and watch the journey unfold, and whilst it might not seem integral it definitely gives us the daily good vibes to feel like we are on the right track. And whilst I haven't got a mentor per se I'll often find myself in conversations with people down on the beach or out in the water that can offer something here and there which I always take as further encouragement to stay on this path.
Our ethos at Jasmine Alexa is encouraging women to set their own pace. How do you slow it down and set your own pace? Living in a remote spot on the Surf Coast and being invested in what the weather is doing sets it's own sort of pace, the windows of opportunity are much smaller and sporadic so essentially the ocean and winds are my timekeeper and will always have their say on how my day will unfold. I have a list of tasks that are my non-negotiables and need to be ticked off but as a universal truth for how to set your own pace? I would encourage you to have a calendar with down times that are blacked out and a self care plan to coincide with that, whilst so much of what resonates with me in this question is about slowing down you also need those days and months where you do big bursts of work and refer back to the business and lifestyle goals to make sure they are still moving forward.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own thing? It's like life- try everything, plan for success and I don't mean a detailed business plan it might just be that you are mentally prepared to have a business that is successful and remind yourself of that everyday, have a vision board and back yourself. You've got this and the best time to start your journey is now!
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Morning or Night? Morning
Books or Podcasts? Books
Beach holiday or Adventure holiday? Adventure
Summer or Winter? Summer