I am so proud and honored to share an extra feature this week for our conscious readers! This past week I had the pleasure to connect with British acclaimed journalist Alison Jane Reid while joining the most popular chat on Twitter for all things ethical, #EthicalHour. I was smitten by Alison’s poignant passion and determination with which she was embarking (after a long career of successes) into a new journey and more challenging territory. And I was thrilled when Alison accepted to converse with me on her life changing career shift. I am sure you’ll be fascinated too. Read on…
Alison, tell us a bit about yourself and what lead you to found Ethical Hedonist.
I have two great passions in life – journalism and green and sexy, sustainable ideas! I’ve had a singular and fascinating career as a feature writer and fashion editor since I left university. I knew I wanted to be a writer by the time I was twelve years old. I went on to train as a magazine journalist and then worked for The London Times for a decade, interviewing A list icons from Keira Knightley to the leading ladies in Sex in the City, Downton Abbey, Karl Lagerfeld, Sienna Miller, Colin Morgan, David Attenborough and David Bowie’s lovely wife, Iman, to name a few of my interview subjects. I’ve also worked for You Magazine, The Independent, ES Magazine, The Lady and Country Life. I never tire of meeting extraordinary, talented people and I love to craft pieces of storytelling that uplift and transport the reader. Now my mission is to make green ideas sexy, through founding and editing my own sustainable luxury magazine – Ethical Hedonist – the name says it all! The magazine was inspired by my life-long interest in sustainable farming. It all started with organic cake and sourdough bread. We had had the most amazing, Hogwarts style, organic bakery at my university in Wales. It was so good there would be a queue of students snaking down the street. This bakery changed my life. I started to buy organic food at farmers markets and then the passion grew into articles about ethical fashion and then I knew I wanted to start my own emerald magazine, so here we are!
Unlike other Ethical magazine and blogs, focused mainly on fashion, travel and beauty, Ethical Hedonist covers so many different aspects of living ethical. You must have a pretty diverse team working with you!
I wanted Ethical Hedonist Magazine to cover all the major topics you would find in any top magazine or colour supplement – from slow fashion to ethical banking, savings and insurance. Think of us as a Green Vanity Fair meet The Ecologist! It is a huge amount of work. I run the magazine with the amazing help of Christian Bell, a filmmaker, who also created the original website, and fixes any technical issues, plus two part-time interns, Ana Maria and Kevin, and a growing stable of specialist contributors. I would like to think readers could find whatever they are looking for on EH – from green banking and insurance – to the perfect gown to get married in and find a delicious, organic recipe to make for dinner. We want to be fun, informative and charmingly indispensable.
You’ve now started a crowd funding campaign. What goals to do have for the future of Ethical Hedonist Magazine?
Starting a magazine is insanely hard, but I am so glad I did it. After hundreds of hours of toil and tears, it is really taking off – I am reaching for the organic stars! But people do need to understand this is not a blog, it is serious ethical, publishing business. We are a quality, emerging sustainable magazine and we need to be able to pay a living salary to our tiny core team. We need to pay the editorial running costs and grow, so we can do more. Journalism is under threat from fake news all around the globe and because people have stopped paying for newspapers and magazines. People need to ask themselves what they are reading online and via social media. Can it be trusted? Good journalism is the lifeblood of any democracy and people need to understand its value, pay for it and support journalists. We need to be able to earn a living as trained, professional writers. You can take out a voluntary subscription to the magazine on our new @patreon page for as little as £3.00 pcm, or more if you can afford it. In return we offer prizes, experiences, special offers and the chance to belong to our EH Community and support each other. Ethical Hedonist needs to become financially sustainable as soon as possible, so we can support good journalism and champion organic, fair-trade and ethical business around the globe. My dream is to set up a journalist foundation, to help journalists of all ages to work at the magazine or carry out a special assignment. I know the most wonderful journalist in her nineties. She was an editor on Vogue, the year the Queen’s coronation took place. Now she is struggling to pay her bills. I would love to give her a fashion and style column once a month to help out!
Tell us a bit more about the current project you’re crowd funding, to interview Safia Minney and Po-zu Shoes on their latest Star Wars collaboration…
In order to make monthly crowd funding work for Ethical Hedonist, we want to involve our readers in our exciting feature and interview projects. That is what our new crowd funding platform @patreon is all about. So each month, we will launch a new, special feature or interview project for fans to support and literally help make, in return for giveaways, perks, a reader service and newsletter. This is in addition to all the new and updated features readers will find on the magazine each month. We are starting with a very exciting interview with Safia Minney, now MD of Po-zu Shoes and Sven Segal, the creative director, of Po-zu, who has designed this cutting edge collection of sustainable luxury shoes inspired by the leading characters in Star Wars. I love that they are using innovative new luxury fibres, such as Pinatex, as an exciting, ethical alternative to leather. I’m filming with our growing, contributing team, Elisar Cabrera, an award-winning film director, who co-founded the Raindance Film Festival, and Troy Aidoo, an award-winning videographer with a passion for storytelling around ethical fashion, mental health and black lives matter. The money raised will be used to pay a fair wage to everyone in our team.
Safia and I go a long way back. In a way we are both pioneers of the sustainable fashion movement. I was the first journalist in the UK to feature People Tree, in the mainstream media, in an interview and fashion story with the film icon, Sienna Miller, for You Magazine back in 2005. The feature created a lot of impact. Sienna told the world to buy organic knickers, and Top Shop started stocking People Tree. I can now announce that we have one pair of Po-zu Resistance Shoes, in the colour of your choice to giveaway to one lucky supporter who backs this project asap or by August 30th, with a minimum donation of £3.00 either via @patreon or our Paypal button on the homepage. This giveaway is worth up to £120. (There is no cash alternative and the editor’s decision is final). I will choose the winner at random when crowd funding closes on August 30th. When we exceed our target, and raise operating money for the magazine, I will giveaway a yoga and cookery retreat in Snowdonia, worth £400 too, kindly donated by the wonderful @KeithSquires. The yoga holiday can be taken at an agreed date in 2018 – so get involved today, join the Ethical Hedonist Set and help us change our world for the better.
Thank you Alison! I personally took the pledge to support Ethical Hedonist Magazine, I am sure all Star Wars fans out there are as thrilled as myself about this project! The Po-Zu shoes (Vegan!!!) giveaway is just irresistible! All the best to Ethical Hedonist Magazine!