Callee Ackland discussed how her commitment to a zero-waste lifestyle developed into Bestowed Essentials and Hippie Haven. Interest in sustainable products came to Callee in 2016 after a purchase of hand-made soap. From then on, Callee stayed mindful of the ingredients and sources of the skincare she used in her daily life. She gave herself one year to develop her soap-making business full time, which is now Bestowed Essentials.
A sustainable lifestyle was a standard to Callee who grew up in places that gave her a different relationship to sustainability than people growing up in other parts of the country. Once she watched Netflix’s A Plastic Ocean, her approach towards her business and life shifted. We briefly discussed why audiences should be aware of companies and sustainability, such as the marketing tactics trying to transfer responsibility away from larger brands. Consumers have power in how and where they consistently spend their money.
Callee brought attention to the fact that everyone can participate in change. She reassured that everyone’s best effort can look different. If you decided to bring your own bags for groceries, and your neighbor switched to more sustainable brands, both impacts compound. Callee shared that “…every one of these different actions does add up.” Continuing on, Callee explained her observations on why recycling is part of the pollution problem, the purpose of mutual aid, and knowing how to make a change in your own community.
South Dakota’s community is one of the main influences of Hippie Haven, a retail store & community space with seemingly endless opportunities for social impact. One of the opportunities is a donation drop-off for the indigenous-led organization Camp Mniluzahan. Callee shared insight around the organization’s efforts in the community being an example of mutual aid.
Callee’s community connections are also the reason she went from selling her products in the back of her van to being stocked in 200 stores. Even more so, she reminisced on the lesson that entrepreneurs don’t need to do everything alone, and shouldn’t try to. She explained how the business eventually scaled enough to require a second level of management, and how she deals with managing people while being a visionary.
During the pandemic, Callee’s ventures experienced disruption, but found ways to pull through. Callee shared what it’s like being the recipient of grants from Stacy’s Rise Project and the Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. Besides assistance, Callee found discipline and adapting useful in her journey, and we both spoke on the grit that comes with a lack of resources.
Hippie Haven is also the name of Callee’s podcast. A major part of the podcast is to speak about sustainability topics in plain English that is accessible for the general public. Soon the podcast grew into much more, but it’s all part of Callee’s approach to impact. She gave advice about her approach and shared she’ll be adding the nonprofit Zero Waste Business Alliance as part of her impact.