Interview: Monique Hemmingson talks about Wild Kinship
Monique Hemmingson is a writer and avid wellness advocate for our planet, mind and body. As a former whole foods café owner, Monique became inspired by the range of forward-thinking, conscious small business models she’d come in contact with during this venture and realised they had an important story to tell and offering to communicate with the world.
Monique is passionate about travel, design, whole foods, holistic wellness and creative entrepreneurship.
She talks to NZ Booklovers.
Photo: Erin Cave
Tell us a little about Wild Kinship?
Wild Kinship profiles 28 different conscious entrepreneurs across Australasia who have environmental sustainability at their core. It delves into the highs and lows of small business with credible business advice and offers ways in which individuals can tread more lightly and become more mindful consumers. It is also however, a book about life and love. About our communities, our livelihoods and how to find both balance and success personally, by nurturing the wellness of the world around us.
What inspired you to write this book?
During my time running my old café Wild One Wholefoods I experienced, first hand, how challenging small business can be. Due to the nature of the business I worked with a number of really incredible conscious small businesses who really inspired me in my work then and ultimately for Wild Kinship. I found that these people had really important stories to tell that everyone, business owner or not, could benefit from.
What research was involved?
Initially I wanted to get a really keen sense of each company, especially if I was unfamiliar with them, to ensure they were credible and find different angles to create nice variety. I wanted both well established and newer companies, some solo run operations, some with a big team, and with directors a range of age and backgrounds. I was also conscious of creating a product that fit the message as best I could, so began looking into this. Both Beatnik and I traced and paid back our production travel from the book to make it climate neutral, we printed in small batches on recycled paper and with vegetable inks and were mindful of every detail from the materials of the cover to stock of the paper.
How did you go about finding the various entrepreneurs who feature in the book?
A number of them I had worked with previously, other's I had followed over the years. In a few instances I thought of different industries I would like to feature and then sought out companies who ticked my boxes. I wanted to profile as wide a range of industries as possible to highlight that these ethics can translate, to some degree, across any industry, it is not restricted to certain fields. We can all be putting systems in place and be doing better in some area of our lives.
What was your routine or process when writing this book?
Directly after selling my cafe last year I begun working on Wild Kinship full time. Initially travelling around parts of New Zealand and Australia with my friend and photographer Erin Cave. We spent two weeks in New Zealand and two in Australia meeting the businesses profiled, shooting them in their home and work spaces and indulging in recorded, long delicious conversations about them and their businesses. I got home and found I was pregnant with our first baby and was unfortunately quite sick throughout the pregnancy so spent all of winter snuggled up with my pup, in my office or in bed with lots of tea and candles burning listening to the conversations and transcribing them for hours on end. Afterwards I re-wrote each piece pulling the golden nuggets out and giving some parts reference or more detail as required, followed by a few months of editing, choosing imagery and proofing layouts.
What did you enjoy the most about writing Wild Kinship?
The interviews really blew me away and I was so honoured to meet so many of the people involved. I was continuously inspired and befuddled by the huge range in stories and am so excited to share this timely content with the world. However they were pretty gruelling because of our tight time frames. We were up travelling to each location as early at 6am and finishing our day at 7pm, packing each hour full of work, day after day. I think personally though, it was the perfect timing for me, having recently sold my like-minded business, it was incredible closure from that chapter of my life and a great project to throw myself into.
What do you hope readers will take away after reading the book?
There are so many undertones throughout the book that make it appeal to a wide audience. I initially set out to give positive and inspiring examples of how people can business and consume more mindfully and ultimately better, but in the end it has covered much more then that. It is about chasing your dreams, defying societies norm, becoming creatively charged, embracing and supporting your community and really just becoming positively inspired toward this new way of life. I hope people walk away with the knowledge that their impact does count, every action we take in a day, is a vote towards the world we want to live in. So I hope people really feel that in their core and let it reflect in their daily habits.
What did you do to celebrate finishing Wild Kinship?
Life really got in the way to be honest. We had plans to go out for dinner and celebrate, but my husband was working seven days a week building our home and I was heavily pregnant by then and pretty exhausted, I think the moment passed us.
What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?
I loved Where the Crawdads Sing, the whimsical imagery it summoned and celebration of nature was really admirable. I am currently rereading A Little Life which is an incredible book that you become so emotionally entangled in.
What’s next on the agenda for you?
I have a few projects I would love to start, but am currently trying to surrender and embrace the slow and time at home with our baby girl.
Wild Kinship is available at www.beatnikbooks.co/