When I started Cocoon back in 2018, Besma Whayeb was immediately on my radar. She’s one of the must-know trailblazers in the UK ethical space and the ultimate #GirlBoss – running her own successful ethical fashion and lifestyle blog Curiously Conscious, launching a platform for ethical influencers and working with some fantastic brands along the way. I was lucky enough to catch up with Besma to find out more about her life, career and top tips for living a more ethical life.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
Hi, I’m Besma! I’m an ethical fashion and lifestyle blogger, and I’ve been writing my blog Curiously Conscious since 2014. I live in London, and I like to document new and different ways of being more eco-friendly. I’ve covered everything from bamboo toothbrushes to eco hotels!
What inspired you to start your blog, Curiously Conscious?
I started Curiously Conscious in 2014, when I was living in Paris. I was living in the city as part of my degree, and during my time nestled in a tiny sixth-floor flat in Montparnasse, I began to explore the French way of doing things; buying fresh food from the organic market next door, bringing my own bags to the shop, and buying investment pieces over fast-changing trends. It led me to document my more conscious choices, and get really invested in a more sustainable way of life.
With the amount of fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogs on the internet, did you encounter any challenges when starting your own blog and sharing a different perspective?
It’s been a long journey – and at the start, I think people didn’t quite get what I was talking about. My parents used to ask if it would be easier for me to simply focus on fashion – and not turn away big brands and better paid opportunities – but I just couldn’t do it. Sticking to my values has certainly paid off, as ethical fashion, beauty, and lifestyle are now mainstream topics!
It’s also why I started the Ethical Influencers platform – so bloggers and influencers similar to myself can connect, find a place to belong, encourage each other, and also work with brands who share their values.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement has been to take my work into self-employment. Since the end of 2017, I’ve been working for myself, and while there’s ups and downs in work and finances, I wouldn’t change it for the world!
What is the first thing you would recommend people change when looking to lead a more conscious life?
There’s a few things I would recommend. First – take a look at what your normal routines are, and see what’s unsustainable and easily changeable. Could you carry reusable shopping bags around? What about a reusable coffee cup? How about on payday, saving your money for a beautiful investment piece in your wardrobe, rather than a low-quality fast fashion item?
The second recommendation would be to decide what your main focus is – do you want to reduce your carbon emissions? Or perhaps only make purchases from businesses that have fair labour practices? Once you know what you stand for, you can make an effort to stick to your values, and find the best places to follow, shop, and enjoy.
What are your favourite ethical brands at the moment?
Oh, so many! I recently worked with Yala Jewellery, whose pieces are incredibly beautiful, and support Kenyan artisans. REN Skincare, because they’re making efforts to use recycled materials and clean up plastic from nature. And Oxfam – I’m excited to get involved with their #SecondhandSeptember campaign!
What are your plans for the future?
Right now, I’m holding back on any more entrepreneurial projects, and instead working to grow both Curiously Conscious and Ethical Influencers. I’d like to create more content to support my readers, and the E.I. community, as well as put on events for people to connect in person.