Top eco-influencer Jennifer Nini of Eco Warrior Princess endeavours to bring you the latest in green intelligence. Whether you’re interested in ethical fashion, zero waste living or learning more about being a conscious consumer, Jen and her team promise to deliver content that matters. In our exclusive interview, Jen lays it all on the table. Ever wondered what inspired Jen to start Eco Warrior Princess, what she looks for when shopping for new products or what broken item disappointed her the most? Read on to find out.
What inspired you to start your blog?
I was raised in a socially conscious and politically active household. On a mission to start a fashion business, I travelled to China in 2008 with my then business partner to check out some garment factories. Some of what I saw shocked me (unhappy workers, long work hours, sad piles of garments on the floor, quality assurance breaches), and I returned to Australia transformed and determined to vote with my dollars. I have always kept a journal and was a closet writer; my then-boyfriend now-fiancé Ben encouraged me to start a blog. He felt strongly that the world needed to hear my unique voice on these topics. Family and friends also started to encourage me and I saw it as a sign. In 2010, after the death of Ben’s youngest brother, we left Melbourne and moved to regional Queensland so that Ben could live closer to his family and work through his grief. I decided it was the right time to start the blog. “Eco Warrior” signifies my new life in the country and “Princess” to signifies my old life in the city.
Which post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
That’s a tough one because I’ve written so many posts over the seven years since I began the blog. The ones that stand out:
A critical think piece about fashion bloggers because I felt that fashion blogging, which had once been a legitimate form of style expression, was quickly becoming a farce.
A post where I stand up for myself and for other women. It also gives you an idea of the kind of person I am – headstrong, rebellious, feminist and confrontational when I feel a sense of injustice.
This post is a perfect example of how I use my dollars to vote for the kind of world that I want; and how I act when I’m incensed by corporations.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I don’t think there’s any. While it’s nice to get reader comments, sometimes I write to express my thoughts and sometimes the subject matter is heavy. I don’t always write to get feedback. Otherwise, Eco Warrior Princess becomes another website that panders to an audience rather than saying something of any serious value.
What’s your biggest challenge as a blogger?
I began Eco Warrior Princess as a blog, but it is evolving to become a media business leveraging a small team of writers from across the globe. The challenge now is to find ways to monetise that is in line with our mission. To continue doing what we do, we need to find sustainable methods of monetisation to cover operating costs and expenses such as wages.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a blogger?
That my voice matters. When I started the blog, it felt very lonely writing about ethical fashion and sustainable living. In those early years, it really was just my family and friends who were reading Eco Warrior Princess. But now I know I really wasn’t alone and there are people who feel just as strongly as I do about improving the state of our world.
Share a couple of your favourite blogs. Why do you like them?
I am a practicing minimalist and The Minimalists’ blog posts speak so much truth about consumerism, debt and clutter. I recommend listening to their podcasts too for a good dose of inspiration and tips on how to live a more purpose-filled life.
Can you tell us about a product you’ve owned forever and why it’s important to you?
I own a grey fleece hoodie with an image of Michael Jordan and the number 23 printed on the front and back. It belonged to my first boyfriend who played basketball and had given it to me as it no longer fit him. He died of an aneurysm the following year. I was 16. It’s special to me because he was special to me and it reminds me of how precious life is.
What is important to you when you’re buying homeware/kitchenware/clothing/etc?
First, do I need it? Then if I confirm that I do, I ask myself: Can I find it second hand within the time frame allowed? If so, I’ll start searching. If I need the item immediately and I know I’ll have to buy it new, before I purchase I do research to answer the following questions: What’s it made from (sustainable materials)? Was it ethically made? Who made it? Is it built to last?
Can you tell us about the last time something broke and disappointed you?
Indeed. A pair of ethically-made “sustainable” sneakers. After only 20 wears the sole cracked and the rubber started to come away from the organic cotton. I was extremely dissatisfied and of course provided direct feedback to the brand.
What vision do you have for your blog over the next 10 years?
To become a media business that redefines what it means to live sustainably and to cover the topics that really matter in a way that people prefer – intelligently, analytically and honestly.
What do you love most about being a blogger and what drives you to keep going at it?
I’m an altruist idealist. I have a vision for a greener, fairer, kinder world, and although difficult at times because I come up against so many roadblocks – fear, ego, trolls – I know my “why” and it’s what pushes me each day to keep going.
Images courtesy of Ben McGuire and ecowarriorprincess.com.