I’m based in Melbourne and my business is Ethics and Alchemy. I hand make botanically dyed eye pillows that are filled with ethically sourced crystals and organic herbs.
It’s a slow process and the slow movement is a really important part of my business: I’m a single parent and I’ve experienced a lot of mental health struggles and one of the things that I’ve learnt through those struggles is that the more consistent I am with rituals or practices, the easier it is on my mental health and the more I find I’m able to move through to the other side.
My business really came about as a way to transfer that onto others as it’s made such a big difference to me. Even making my products is part therapy for me. I choose to work with peace silk which is a non-violent silk. It’s a natural process where the moth leaves the cocoon organically, before the remaining fibres are spun into fabric. It’s a really beautiful fabric to work with and I dye it naturally with a combination of avocados, roses and hibiscus flowers, which is a long process. Using my eye pillows is a really gentle way to focus and re-connect with yourself.
Before I had my kids, I had a lucrative corporate career, but when I fell pregnant my ex-husband and I decided I would stay at home and look after the children. Shortcut to a divorce with two young children to care for and I was out of the workforce for a long time. It was a seven year hiatus and it was really overwhelming. As a single parent I needed flexibility, my corporate skills were outdated and the only consistent jobs I could get were casual, in retail or hospitality. I’m capable of a lot more and I want to give my kids a lot more.
During Covid, I lost my casual retail job which was my main source of income. I needed to create something for myself that I can sustain and that works for me, I was sick of being at the behest of someone else. Last year was a tough time but it was motivation to create something of legacy for me and the kids.
My business is very much in its infancy. Global Sisters has been so instrumental even in just getting me off the ground. The support from everyone involved is like this big hug that envelops you. There are so many obstacles but they help you shift your mindset. They take you from ‘I think I can’ to ‘I can’. They will champion you along the way and hold your hand – we carry many baskets on our shoulders and it’s nice to know you have a whole village supporting you along the way. They are genuinely there for each other and everyone wants to see everyone else succeed.
Often, as women, we think that we have to be more like men to make it in business. We think that we have to get rid of a part of ourselves – the part that I think is the most magical, valuable part of ourselves. Global Sisters recognises this and I think that’s what makes it so special.
It’s really important for my children to see me making it work in a different way, you don’t have to do the same as everyone else. If you have a dream, it doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep moving, you can make a go of it.
”Eventually, I’d like my business to empower other artisanal women to create their own self-supporting income.Amber BennettEthics and Alchemy