The eco-friendly, pre-loved and vintage retail space moves to Islington
Made for the eco-conscious people of Newcastle and beyond, The Conscious Exchange has made a big decision to pack their Lambton bags and open up shop in the bustling suburb of Islington.
Having opened their doors in Lambton in February 2020, there was no way to prepare for their first year of business alongside a worldwide pandemic. But not only 12-months on, the local brand has grown from their cosy space in Lambton to a much larger space in Islington alongside plenty of new projects including a dedicated workshop space, the launch of Baby Come Back the label, and a new clothing exchange program.
“It was all this excitement when we first opened, and we were just so keen. We had all this opportunity and had these fresh eyes but then COVID-19 hit. I remember feeling pretty deflated. We were absolutely devastated and thought this could have been the end of the business for us even though we’d only just started.
“We were really lucky because we had that shop local movement. We had a lot of people supporting us and we were getting a lot of online orders which helped us stay afloat during those six weeks we closed. Somewhere along the line, I had this crazy idea in my head that we just needed a bigger space,” Emma said.
After finally getting their hands on the keys to the new space on the 27th December 2020, the fresh look for The Conscious Exchange launched on Maitland Road in Islington on 16th January 2021. Just a short three weeks to completely refresh the old space into what you see now; a relaxed, refined, and curated space.
Continuing with their roots, the new space includes pre-loved and vintage clothing and accessories, vintage homewares, eco skincare essentials, nature-based play products, and much more. Expanding its range of brands, The Conscious Exchange stays true to its core philosophy; providing an exchange of consciously thought-out products to enrich one’s life.
“We’ve definitely expanded our products and brands. We still want to make sure that we’re still getting as much from Newcastle or as close to Newcastle as possible first. We’re so spoilt here in Newcastle because there are so many creative people doing really cool stuff that may not necessarily have the means to open their own retail space but might want to stock a few things.”
Moving into the Islington space gave the girls a dedicated space to hold workshops, classes and hire the space out to other like-minded businesses wanting to hold their own intimate workshops. One of their biggest reasons for having this space was to allow Kendall from These Golden Daze to pursue her sensory and nature-based play workshops.
“Commencing in early February, the first round of Nature Play Sessions are intended for children aged 18 months to 3 years of age and will target developing skills of vocabulary, fine-motor skill, problem-solving ability and critical and creative thinking. As always, a strong connection to the natural environment will underpin all the activities and various natural elements such as flowers, seed pods, grains, rocks, and other foraged items will be used throughout.
“My goal is to engage kids in enriching, open-ended play with nature at the core, whilst supporting parents in continuing this style of learning at home,” Kendall said.
Moving into the new fashion pieces developed collectively by Emma and Jorden, Baby Come Back the label is all about creating unique one-of-a-kind pieces that are as sustainably made as possible.
“We’re all about sustainability here and we only want to make and sell things that are good for the planet. We started talking about how we could do this in the most eco-friendly way, and we decided to use vintage fabrics that were already there and make them into new pieces,” Emma said.
Giving vintage and pre-loved fabrics like old bedsheets or tablecloths a second life by creating new pieces without anything going to waste, Baby Come Back the label has dropped its first collection featuring beautiful pieces for young ones including short and tee sets, dresses, and blouses.
“The beauty of what we do is that all the pieces are unique and one-of-a-kind. Once the fabric is gone, it’s gone. That can also be really hard because people can fall in love with a certain fabric print and we just don’t have anymore. But it’s exciting knowing that it’s limited,” Jorden said.
Rounding out their new projects for 2021 is their clothing exchange. Whereby, shoppers can bring in their quality preloved and vintage pieces in exchange for a store credit to be used towards purchasing other items from The Conscious Exchange’s pre-loved and clothing area.
“We’re offering a clothing exchange option now which is what I wanted to originally implement when we opened at Lambton but COVID obviously made us rethink that. Now we have this space we actually now have the time to do it. Basically, you can bring your quality preloved and vintage pieces in, maybe 10 to 20 pieces at a time. The pieces will need to be laundered, as well as in good condition, and made with natural fibres.
“We exchange them for a store credit. It’s just this whole wardrobe exchange option where you swap out beautiful pieces in your wardrobe that you might not love as much anymore for pieces you really love. I always want our collection to be beautifully curated so that shoppers know they can find quality pieces,” Emma said.
Alongside the girls’ new projects, the space currently stocks a constantly updated range of Baby Come Back the label pieces, as well as natural bath and body products from Petit Papillon, natural kids sensory and play products by These Golden Daze, baby essentials from Kiin, locally made soaps from Soapalicious, scrunchies from SAINT, dried florals from Flowers by Sophia Jean, handmade ceramic pieces by UP Pottery and so much more.
“I guess we really want to get a bit more emersed in the community this year with more community-based workshops. For instance, Kendall is working with the City of Newcastle for the 26th January with a family fun day at Richley Reserve,” Emma said.
Whether you’re moving towards a more sustainably conscious lifestyle, or you’re already there, drop into the store (or online) or event just keep an eye on their up-and-coming events and workshops and show the Conscious Exchange some love.