I experienced my first case of anxiety in 2013, when it manifested itself physically as uncontrollable blackouts.
A conversation with a neurologist started to wake me up to what was potentially happening in my body. In an attempt to take back control, I read Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar, turned to Google for DIY natural cleaning recipes, and so the domino effect continued.
Researching diet and chemicals was just the start of a total life overhaul for me – in every single sense – and a new journey of (re)learning.
The biggest influence for the birth of The Clean Collective has been new information, not the stuff we’re brought up with or that we learn in school. It’s the information that’s hidden just under the surface, but thankfully, becoming more readily available and validated by research every day.
When I began the process of reinventing my consumption and lifestyle habits, I found myself turning to blogs for the information and online shops for the solutions. I couldn’t find it all in one place. And after time, as my research deepened, I realised the ‘toxin-free’ solutions that were stocked on the shelves of some natural stores weren’t as toxin-free as they claimed to be.
As I was double-checking every ingredient on natural websites against my own research, I felt that there was a gap in the market for something different; something more authentic that was truly toxin-free and eco-friendly, that brought everything together all in one place, and that put its money where its mouth was in driving tangible health and environmental solutions.
I’ll never forget the moment The Clean Collective dropped into my mind.
I was working as a Digital Strategist for a Fortune 500. I loved the work in lots of respects – it’s like solving online puzzles each day which fuelled my inner geek – but the product didn’t align with me. I wanted to put myself in service of the causes that I really cared about: the health of people and the planet.
It took 18 months of research and finding my superhuman business partner, Georgia, to bring The Clean Collective to life in October 2017.
And in the 18 months it’s been live, we’ve experienced our dreams come true. We have a beautiful team driving our mission forward; we have the strictest ingredients and materials policy in the county; we’re the fastest-growing retailer in our industry.
Together with our Collective community of customers and partners, we’ve already removed thousands of pieces of plastic from the ocean; and we’ve offset Australia’s Christmas wrapping paper consumption through our tree-planting initiatives. And that’s really only just the beginning.
On a personal level, my life is very different to the one I was living six years ago.
Blackouts are well and truly a thing of the past and I can say, hand on heart, I’m healthier and happier in this lifestyle than I’ve ever been.
If I could leave you with just one learning from my own experiences, it would be to be open-minded about the information bubbling under the surface; and to always, always trust your body and your gut. You know you best – if something feels wrong, investigate the why, where, what and how. Don’t ignore the warning signs.
And if something feels right? Well then, throw yourself into it. Heart, mind, body and soul.
About The Clean Collective
The Clean Collective brings the information and the solutions for living an eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle together in one place, communicating the truth that both our health and environmental epidemics are caused by same problem. The consumption habits and lifestyle that have been adopted around the world is killing us and killing our planet, and it’s our responsibility, as a collective, to drive real, tangible change through our everyday habits and actions. We’re here to help you on that path and show you that no action is too small to make a difference.
Charlie Thompson is the Cofounder and CEO of The Clean Collective, Australia’s strictest toxin-free shop and savviest source of zero-waste solutions. The Clean Collective was founded on the belief that no action is too small and even the tiniest change, when made together, can result in a huge, champagne-popping difference to the world. You can join them on Facebook (@cleancollective) and Instagram (@thecleancollective) for tips, tricks and solutions to healthy and eco-friendly living.