Pip is the owner of two beautiful businesses Inlight Ceremonies and The Conscious Playground. But before this spent 10 years as a social worker, working directly with clients in the adult mental health, youth homelessness and international development sectors. Pip and I sat down to chat about operating authentic business's, her essential oil journey and her daily rituals.
You own two beautiful businesses Inlight Ceremonies and The Conscious Playground. But before this you spent 10 years as a social worker, working directly with clients in the adult mental health, youth homelessness and international development sectors. How has your previous employment shaped the way you approach your own business ventures?
Connection has always been at the core of what I do. My approach to life is always about putting people first, so that really shows up in both the type of businesses I run and the way I run them.
My years as a social worker reinforced in me the importance of never making assumptions. Every person is different, and comes with their own wealth of experiences and beliefs. If you can put your preconceptions aside, and meet them where they’re at, then that’s usually a place where rewarding and honest relationships can grow. Today, even though I’m dealing with people from a totally different backgrounds from before, the same rules still apply.
When starting out, many of us create values based off previous employment experiences or businesses we aspire to. Since becoming your own boss, what values were important for you to implement and are there any biz practices you make sure to stay clear of?
Authenticity is a big one for me. I don’t ever talk about something I haven’t experienced myself, and I don’t share anything that I haven’t yet worked through or processed. I have to really believe in something, to my core, to stand behind it. Living in Kenya, having no electricity and lack of access to resources, was an environment that bred creativity, innovation, and autonomy. When I came back to Sydney, working in organisations that didn’t necessarily align with my passion or values just didn’t feel right. I had to honour that. I’ve found a way to still be of service to others, whilst also staying true to my values and doing what I love.
The second is self care. The term is thrown around a lot in the nonprofit industry, and is encouraged due to the high levels of stress and burnout. The thing is -- it’s never taught. I took it upon myself to find tools to help me feel grounded and calm in the midst of chaos. I found the greatest support in my daily rituals, which I’ve only refined and further implemented over the years. That’s played a huge part in where I am today.
I try not to glorify being “busy”. I am determined and motivated and love what I do, so it’s also important to me that I also make time for rest and play. I’m mindful about time spent in front of a screen, which means I’m OK if my social media following takes a little longer to grow.
"If I’m honest with myself, what I do isn’t hard. Being a social worker is hard. Being a nurse is hard. Being a doctor is hard. Dealing with childhood trauma is hard. Overcoming addiction is hard. Now, I get to be a part of changing people’s lives but in a different way".
Operating two businesses would be a tough job for anyone, but two businesses with two very different offerings is a whole other thing. Is it difficult to manage a service based AND a product based business, and how do they operate differently?
There will always be challenges in running a business, and certainly with two, but perspective is everything. There are definitely times when things feel difficult - it’s just me and so, like most small businesses I do all the accounts, marketing, social media, scheduling and teaching the workshops, following up with customers and collaborators, writing and performing ceremonies, the legal paperwork (and my social work background didn’t prepare me for any of those things)!
BUT if I’m honest with myself, what I do isn’t hard. Being a social worker is hard. Being a nurse is hard. Being a doctor is hard. Dealing with childhood trauma is hard. Overcoming addiction is hard. Now, I get to be a part of changing people’s lives but in a different way.
I’m around couples at one of the most important moments in their lives, and I watch people’s lives transform when they begin to take care of themselves using natural solutions. When you see that happen, the stress of the everyday seems to fall away.
The Conscious Playground is really centered on living more with less, how did your essential oil journey begin, and in what ways has it impacted the way you navigate life and work?
I’ve had a yoga and meditation practice for the last 7 years, and this lead me to become more aware of the impact that toxins and chemicals can have on our body, our health and the environment. I went to an essential oils workshop about two years ago, and the pieces of the puzzle just came together. They provide a vehicle for me to check in with my body and mind and ask what I’m needing, instead of relying on external sources. It’s so empowering to be able to reach for natural solutions that work so harmoniously with the bo
What were your main motivations when expanding your product line at The Conscious Playground, and how did you decide which products you would sell?
I’m always looking for products that encourage a sustainable way of life, and that look great, but often struggled to find products that did both. So the ideas for The Conscious Playground product line were born out of my desires, and when I ran the idea past family and friends, I realised I wasn’t the only one who was looking for these things. I decided to combine my love of design and branding with environmentally conscious products and they’ve been so well received, it’s been incredible.
Tell me more about your essential oil rollerballs, what went into crafting the blends, and how did you go about designing the labels?
As my essential oils community grew, their needs and priorities became more apparent. My customers are busy but also desperate to incorporate natural solutions into their daily routine. I focused on the top seven health concerns I hear most, and identified the oils that best addressed these issues. I did a lot of research into how the different oils work together and began blending. I kept notes as I went, testing the blends and ratios on myself for a couple of months before landing not the final combination. I learnt a lot about the subtle energetics of working with essential oils through my aromatherapy course, so I have to be in a good head space when making the blends. It’s mindful, intentional work.
I contacted a graphic designer I found on Instagram and gave her my somewhat challenging brief -- a clean, simple, and minimal design and most importantly, no excess packaging! (I can’t stand all the paper and cardboard that goes into the bin). The name, ingredients and instructions all had to be on the 5x7cm label. After countless drafts, we nailed a concept that we were both super happy with. It was fun!
What is your absolute favourite thing about being a wedding celebrant, and what motivated you to take this career path?
I think we’re in an age where the concept of ceremony has been lost. As a celebrant, there’s a unique opportunity to create a personal and meaningful experience for a couple and have them share it with those they are closest to. Throughout the ceremony, we’re reminded that the ability to love is the very best part of our humanity. What unfolds is unifying and transformative and it’s such an honour to hold space for that.
I decided to do my celebrancy course when I was living in Kenya. I knew I was moving back to Sydney and would continue with social work and while it wasn’t clear to me then, I wanted something to balance out the heavy energy of social work. As soon as I did my first ceremony, I knew I loved it. Word has spread and now, I’m booked up to a year in advance and get to be a part of the most important day of couples’ lives. I feel very lucky.
"Throughout the ceremony, we’re reminded that the ability to love is the very best part of our humanity. What unfolds is unifying and transformative and it’s such an honour to hold space for that".
Do you have a morning routine? How do you like to start your day, and is there any rituals you live by?
Um, yes. It used to be embarrassingly long, but I’ve learnt to refine it. My day will always start with a grounding ritual - diffuser on, smudging with palo santo, frankincense on my third eye and temples, and meditation for 20 minutes. From there, some sort of movement, whether it be a soft sand run, a walk, yoga or a reformer pilates class. That’s almost always followed by a swim at the beach. If there’s space, I write my morning pages (a brain dump to help create white space), and pull out my to-dos for that day while I sip on a warm tonic of either warm water + apple cider vinegar + lemon, or bone broth + collagen.
Finally, I’d love to know a woman who inspires you.
Just one?! The first person that comes to mind is Leila De Bruyne - she is a friend, and the co-founder and director of Flying Kites, the school I used to work at in Kenya. She’s an absolute force to be reckoned with, her vision for her organisation is so clear, and she changed the way I think about orphan care in developing countries (this article will change things for you, too). She’s an incredible writer, totally magnetic and and so fun to be around.