Are you living what you dream? Tess from Ames Collective took a couple of huge punts in life to realise where she is today. First, she moved from coastal WA to the Gold Coast on the other side of the country and second, quit a high profile job to work for herself. Her bold and brave moves are what inspires us to also take the steps to do the same. It involves taking a chance on yourself - and to believe in your dreams enough to make them a reality. Tess founded Conscious Coast where she educates people to live a more conscious and sustainable life, so you can see how and why we love her.....Also, her skateboards are sick !

You are originally a Margaret River girl (down South in Western Australia) - why did you move to the Gold Coast?

It was one of those pinnacle moments in life, I guess. I had lived in Margaret River for 20 years (my home, my paradise) and then Perth for 2 years. I knew Perth wasn’t where I wanted to settle and there wasn’t quite enough opportunity in Margs for me. It was quite serendipitous actually – I went around Australia in my uni holidays and spent a few days on the Gold Coast. Got back to Perth, rang my parents and said ‘So I’m packing up shop and moving across the country’. 3 months later, car full to the brim with my life, I arrived, not knowing a soul!  

Being brought up in the country must have had an impact on the way you live now and how you aspire to live – tell us about the influences you’ve taken from when you were growing up?

Absolutely! I consider it the biggest blessing of my life. My parents raised me to be overly conscious about everything I consume as an individual, and the impact that we as a people have on the environment. I was raised in the middle of a beautiful forest near the beach, where we had an awesomely lush veggie garden out the back and water tanks to sustain us year round. My parents were always so kind to the environment and made sure to educate us about sustainability and conscious choice. The amount of David Suzuki documentaries I watched growing up didn’t really leave a lot of variation for the lifestyle I would live. I have always been a ‘greenie’ but have only recently immersed myself in serious practice and education about plastics in our environment. Understanding that there is no ‘away’ when it comes to disposable plastics and the materials we are consuming, is paramount in our efforts as humans to preserve this beautiful earth we have been gifted.

You hand- make and paint skate boards now – but weren’t always doing that. Tell us what you did before and how your life transitioned into what it is now?

Yeah I recently flipped my life on its head. I had been in the same career for 10 years, and just left to run my business full time. My former 9-5 life was in Marketing for Resorts all over the world. It was my dream career, and for 10 years it satisfied all facets of what I thought I wanted – travel, luxury, corporate environment. The job taught me so many things; it gave me confidence in my abilities and provided me with a platform to learn more about running a business. I had been running ámes on the sidelines for the past 18 months, but when I launched the Soul Decks side of things it absolutely blew up. I loved my full time job, but there were aspects to it that just didn’t suit my soul. I need to create, inspire, love. Everything I am is poured into my business and the way I market the brand. It’s the purest essence of me, and that’s why I love doing it. Now I can wake up to watch the sun rise, do yoga on the beach, surf, get my hands dirty, spend time with people who inspire me, and pour a bit more time and love into conscious coast which is another huge passion of mine. I’ve always been of the mind that if we aren’t affecting positive change in our environment, then we are not in line with the universe.

How are the skateboards made and what are they made of?

Right now they are made of good wood approved structural ply that is sustainably farmed. I have just established a really good relationship with the guys at the recycled timber yard and am waiting for some reclaimed oaks to come in so I can experiment with using hard woods. That is really important to me, and something I am of course super passionate about. I really want to shy away from creating demand for a product when I don’t know it’s history. I want to know where the timber has come from, who’s cut it, how it was farmed, where it was reclaimed from. Every single part of the skateboard construction process is done by me. From sourcing the timber, to cutting out the blanks, to sanding the timber back, doing the artwork, lacquering up and assembling the deck. Dirty Hands and a Happy Heart!

You also run conscious coast – what is that about?

Conscious Coast is basically a outlet for me to educate people on my eco tips to live a more sustainable and conscious life. I harp on at my friends and family about their unnecessary uses of disposable plastic (bags, water bottles, packaging etc) and making conscious decisions about the effect we have on this beautiful planet. I have been so inspired by people like Tim Silverwood and the Coustea family (all such active environmentalists). We frack our own backyards and pollute our rivers, blow up our mountaintops, all for an hour of electricity, when we could simply take whats falling free from the sky. We are the change we have been waiting for, and I am really passionate about getting people on board with making better every day choices, but also staying educated on the current threats facing our environment. There is no planet B!

What are the future plans for conscious coast ?

I was involved with Responsible Runners and Responsible Cafes launching on the Gold Coast and I really want to get more active with that. It feels as though there is a real resurgence of people fighting for the raw rights of our environment and really getting passionate about it. I want to meet like minded people so we can really educate the young crew on where their morals should lie, to understand that a mutual respect, love and appreciation for our earth and its waters is paramount to the survival of our planet. There are so many awesome foundations and organisations around raising awareness about disposable plastics and the environmental issues we face in this day and age. I want people to jump on board the paradigm shift and involve themselves in the conscious movement of the simple life. I guess it’s more about a movement than having an actual goal for conscious coast. I am craving to effect change, to inspire people to alter their every day choices, to get people caring! IF conscious coast is just one avenue where I can do that, then hopefully it will bring awesome opportunities my way.

What do you think you can tell people to realise their own dream life situations?

You know, my whole ethos is about being a conduit of creativity. It sounds totally esoteric and hippie, but the more creative mediums you can bring to your life the better! I worked really hard to get to a place where I can life the absolute dream life, and I feel so overly blessed, but that’s just my situation. I am a big believer that the only thing stopping you from living the life you dream of, is yourself and your beliefs (how ‘hippie of the heart’ of me). My biggest piece of advice is ‘Dream and Do’. You can either be a dreamer and searching for that elliptical goal, or you can make it happen. Just make it happen (new Nike slogan?? Haha). Live the life you dream of!!

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Photos + interview produced by thebharanieffect - our talented photographer is Maclay Heriot.