Once upon a time, my great gut and I were on the cover of Peppermint Magazine, which is a favourite of mine. A beautiful collection of all things eco-friendly and sustainable in the areas of fashion and lifestyle, I always find at least twelve things I want to buy and eight people I fall in love with.
One of those people is Peppermint’s founder, Kelley Sheenan. An absolute powerhouse breaking the rule that says print is outdated, and breaking stereotypes that sustainable fashion revolves around hemp pants that retail for $800 apiece that you wouldn’t be caught dead in.
Kelley’s drive to make her magazine the best it can be was obvious from the start. It is 100% carbon neutral and filled with only inspiring, creative, thought-provoking editorials and features. I wrote a few pieces and have never in my life had my articles sent back so many times for reworking – time and time again until it was just right. I was embarrassed, but in awe of Kelley’s unflinching standards. I love anyone who can kindly but firmly bring out the best in people to create a product that shines. Say hello to kick-ass Kelley!
What was the catalyst that made you start Peppermint?
I was living in Auckland and producing a very small clothes range that I sold at a local fashion market. The more I started learning about the detrimental impact of the fabrics and the ethics (or lack of) in the industry, I was stunned – as a designer myself, how could I not know those things? And obviously that meant the general public had even less information – so I decided I wanted to try and combine my background in graphic design and fashion to bring that knowledge to everyone else. But I decided it had to not just be informative, but fun and inspiring… and so Peppermint was born!
Why a print magazine, and not online?
I always believed it was important to have a presence on the newsstand, to be an alternative to the usual mindless gossip mags, and to bring the magazine and its ideals to the mainstream.
What is your inspiration?
Sounds cliched but it would be my son. I don’t want him growing up in a world where ethics, health and environment are ignored for financial gain. While I can’t protect him from it completely, I want to help create and showcase an alternative way – to show that there are options, and that these issues matter.
How did you find your groove with work and family?
It was incredibly hard for the first few years – I definitely would be the first to say that it wasn’t juggled that effectively! I used to work through the night, work frantically when he went to sleep in his pram, and snatch any spare moments I could. My ex-husband helped a lot, and some family members did too. I was a woman on a mission and didn’t give up! Thankfully now we are in a much better space, but it wasn’t easy for a long time. Now that things are flourishing (and I have more help!) I get to spend more time with my son, pick him up from school as often as possible and be there when he needs me, which makes it all worth it in the end.
What do you wish you had more time in the day for?
Time for me. Being a single mum with my own business doesn’t leave much me time.
How do you hold yourself back from buying one of every amazing thing that you feature?!
It’s insanely hard!!! It’s like a giant wish list. At least friends know what to buy me for presents…
Where do you see Peppermint in the future?
I think it will be an evolving creature… I would love to see it reach more people and grow fantastically! Having said that, my ultimate goal would one day for it to be redundant, due to all fashion being fair and sustainable.
Vegemite or Peanut Butter?
Do you really want to start me on food?! I recently started a personal blog about our lives – sideorderofglad.com – focusing on wholefood, health and happiness for kids… it’s my next incarnation (when I find time!!). If I had to choose one, I’d say vegemite. I don’t eat peanuts – they are not nuts (they are a legume) and are too high in omega 6 and also usually cooked in vegetable oils. Sorry… I’ll stop now!!! (cashew or almond butter wins every time) 🙂
Kelley is also very generously giving away a year’s subscription to Peppermint Magazine to one very lucky duck! All you have to do is answer the question “If you could start a magazine, what would it be about?” One winner will be chosen on the merit of their answer next Tuesday February 3 and contacted by email. Good luck!