Celebrating Earth Heroes

Earth Heroes are everywhere you look—taking small steps that lead to big changes when it comes to protecting our Earth. We've talked with Earth Heroes around the world to learn what they're doing to protect themselves, their homes and, in turn, the Earth.

Earth Hero: Kelly Williams

Kelly Williams is setting the example for responsible retail. In a whirlwind career change, she opened an eco-friendly store in Australia, where she sources products, makers, and designers that are locally made, eco-friendly, and ethical. The foundation of her work and products calls upon the “cradle-to-cradle” framework we at Earth Recovery are always striving for. Kelly Williams is unapologetically driven and committed to helping people find ways to reduce their carbon footprint and live responsibly on Earth—with small changes they can make today.

Meet Kelly

Q: Tell us a bit about your life and the decisions that led you to become an entrepreneur?

A: After a 25 year career as a teacher I was looking for a change and the idea of a gift store had been in the back of my mind for a few years as there was nothing in my local area that stocked handmade and ethical products. If I was craving this kind of store, I figured others must be too. 

Q: What was the motivation to open an eco-friendly store in Australia?

A: When I shop, I spend a lot of time examining products to assess their footprint on the Earth before I purchase. I wanted to have this thinking done for my customers. I wanted them to know that when they walked out with any product that it would end up back on Earth at the end of its life. For the customers who didn’t care, I knew they weren’t going to pollute the Earth with my products. I also didn’t want to rely on customers recycling; if the products were thrown out at any point, they would break down naturally. I think of it as “responsible retail”. When you think about it, everything in a gift store is unnecessary, hence a luxury. So if we’re making, selling and buying ‘unnecessary’ goods, it’s even more important that they return to Earth. 

Q: When you talk about sourcing products, makers, and designers that are “locally made”, “eco-friendly”, “ethical”, and more. Can you talk a little bit more about these principles and how it grounds the work you do?

A: Pascoe Tales aims to source products, makers, and designers that fit into our philosophy below: 

Locally made means supporting makers in Pascoe Vale, Melbourne’s other suburbs, country Victoria, and Australia.   

Ethical means treating the planet, its animals and people with kindness, respect and concern for wellbeing.

Eco-friendly means using the earth’s resources in as natural and sustainable a way as possible, and always striving to source products made from earth friendly manufacturing practices and materials as innovation occurs. Using recycled (not simply recyclable) packaging for customers to take their purchases home is an important practice in store.

Handmade by the designer is always desired but where this is not possible, we ensure our selected designers and companies are passionate about knowing that the physical conditions and pay structures for their overseas workers are exemplary.

Plastic-free means aiming to have as few suppliers deliver a product containing or being packed in plastic as possible. For us, it is not simply enough to have a container that is recyclable but preferable that they have already been recycled or eliminating the need for plastic altogether where possible. Replacing plastic containers, packaging and products with biodegradable or compostable options is a growing innovation and will be a focus and goal of Pascoe Tales.

Animal-free. Pascoe Tales believes that no creature should be exploited or used for any human purpose as it is completely unnecessary. We will never stock items containing wool, silk, beeswax, or leather.

Q: Can you talk a little bit more about these principles and how it grounds the work you do? 

A: From time to time I feel tempted to buy cheaper products to make more profit or bring in something slightly unethical that I think might be more attractive to customers. Then there are times I feel that maybe my store should look more professional like those in a mall with more commercial looking products. When these thoughts arise, I am able to go back to the guiding principles of Pascoe Tales and it allows me to remind myself why I started this in the first place and to be unapologetic about what I’m trying to achieve. Having the principals gives me the strength to be different. 

Q: Can you talk about the importance of these in relation to the Earth? 

A: I think we need to make drastic and fast changes towards greener practices and there seems to be so much talk but nowhere near enough action. I hope Pascoe Tales is, to some degree, fighting back against growing multinational consumerism and setting an example for what shopping without damaging the Earth can look like. 

Q: What is the best part about your job? What is the most challenging? 

A: I’m lucky to live in a community that largely shares the values of the business. This is the first job I’ve had within my own community. I have wonderful conversations with the locals about conservation, the environment, and the state of the shopping environment. Creatively, I make many of the products in-store now. This was never part of the initial business plan but has become a wonderful, creative outlet for me personally. The main challenge is getting the attention of shoppers who are addicted to cheap products that come in every size, shape, color, and are available 24/7. The true cost of these products is their carbon footprint, poor worker conditions, and the sheer amount of unnatural materials polluting the earth. I get very excited by the customers who understand what I do and are passionate about shopping in my store. I want to set an example for responsible retail but it’s not easy!

Q: Where do you see Pascoe Tales in 5 years?

A: I would like to increase my customer base so I can add more eco-friendly products and become a real destination for eco-gifting. The pandemic has stunted progress a bit, but I’m positive that growth will come as more people move away from convenience and cheap products, particularly with the ever-growing awareness around climate change and the need to protect the earth. 

Q: When you are not working, what do you do to relax and recharge?

A: I find relaxation and recharge in nature and in music. I’m addicted to hiking and snorkeling and I spend virtually every weekend getting out into the countryside. There are amazing mountains and beaches within an hour or so of Melbourne. Breathing in fresh air and seeing our beautiful Australian flora and fauna reminds me why I do what I do. I’m also a musician so singing with friends or playing the flute in an orchestra feeds the soul. 

Q: What is one small step (action) that individuals can take that can lead to Earth's journey to recovery? 

A: Simply swap out one habit or item for an eco-friendly option in the home today, not tomorrow. Don’t wait. Once that’s done, look for the next swap. Before you know it, you have a string of swaps that, without much effort, reduce your harm on Earth.

Know an Earth Hero?

Look around—how many Earth Heroes are in your life? We'd love to hear from you and learn from them. 


Recent Earth Heroes

Andy Vukosav

35 year career as a professional fashion and advertising photographer. With a creative mind, a purposeful vision, and a hopeful outlook for our world, Vukosav is one of our admired Earth Heroes.

Dr. Hans Steisslinger

A biochemist who has contributed to many product launches and corporate strategies in life sciences and cosmetics. He was instrumental in brands like Dove, Axe/Lynx, Weleda, and Pond’s among others.

Eva Marie Walle

Founder of Herba Solaris, Eva Marie Walle captures enchanting shapes, touching scents, and fascinating colors for her herbal teas—resulting in beneficial effects on the body, mind, and soul.

Tara Vincenta

30 years of experience and leadership to projects from schematic design to construction administration. As Principal and founder of Artemis Landscape Architects, Inc., she is best known for designing award-winning, diverse landscapes.


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