We love a business with a purpose. With a growing awareness of the way our consumer habits influence the wellbeing of our environment and the welfare of the creatures we share it with, making an ethical choice is becoming more and more important. That’s why it’s so awesome to see organisations like Flora & Fauna who make it so easy to do the right thing! We caught up with founder, Julie, to find out more about how her journey into ethical e-commerce started!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a very driven individual with a huge focus on being better. We live in a world which is amazing and beautiful, but as a society and species we need to be better when it comes to how we treat our planet, how we treat animals, how we treat each other, equality, diversity, honesty and so much more. I am a very value driven individual so this is woven in Flora & Fauna and we’re using F&F to be better and to drive change. In addition I love animals and have a lot of cats and a pig called Rosie. Luckily I also managed to snare an amazing husband called Tom, so the cat lady title is only partly true. We live in the bush, around an hour north of Sydney and love nature and quiet time. I’m also a recovering runner (I had ACL surgery recently) and love diving, skiing and doing crazy adventures, hence needing ACL surgery. Life is for living and it’s also for being the best person you can be.
How did Flora & Fauna come into fruition, and what drove you to starting the shop?
I’ve worked in retail for 25 years for small retailers and large retailers like Coles and Woolies. I’ve also been frustrated in that I’ve wanted to run quicker than the businesses I worked for are willing to run. I’ve also always seen the opportunity to be better, more responsible and more ethical. To do that I needed to go and build my own business and show how a modern retailer can be built and run. Millenials are wanting to shop and be part of more ethics driven businesses and retail is slow to catch on to that. So I created F&F to be the best version of a retailer; we’re not there but we’re on the journey and that is the core reason for being. For us profit is not the central focus, ethics is.
How do you choose brands to stock?
We look for what customers want, great brands with unique offers, brands making a difference and brands with ethics similar to ours. We like when we see brands making an effort with packaging and the community. many people can make products but only a few make products with purpose.
Do you think that ethics and consumption are inherently linked? Is this something you think is widely accepted in Australian society, or do we have a ways to go?
As a society we have been brainwashed for years to consume rubbish and that hasn’t changed, but the internet has allowed information to be more readily available. So consumers are questioning more and they are getting more focused about what sunscreen they use, what products they clean the house with and where their rubbish ends up. The War on Waste show illustrates that when people become aware of what’s happening they make changes. A great example is that KeepCup sales went through the roof after that series. People need more information.
What are just three things you’d like to see change in Australia, in terms of environmentally friendly/cruelty free/sustainable choices?
Single use plastic banned – there is no excuse for it. Bags, straws, coffee cups etc. We need a Federal ban and businesses need to then find a way. We seem to always do things half-heartedly and the planet can’t do half-hearted. Animal testing banned. We went to ban it then reneged. Again no excuse, let’s just ban it.
Any form of animal cruelty banned so I believe horse racing, greyhound racing and any other exploitation of animals for entertainment should be stopped. We believe so passionately about this that we’ve de-ranged brands that support it. I firmly believe future generations will look back at us appalled.
How can people find out more or get involved?