We love seeing young kiwis doing cool stuff! Here's one of them. Jess began Collective Leigh from her bedroom a couple of years ago. What is Collective Leigh? Well... a bit of everything really, a design studio & hub of great content. We've done a bit of work with Jess, founder of Collective Leigh over this past year. She has a great story so we thought we'd share it. Here's a recent interview.



Tell us a bit about yourself/how you started Collective Leigh

I was born and bred in the Waikato and am now living in the beautiful Mount Maunganui. I have a huge passion for seeing individuals create a life for themselves that they love which is really where Collective Leigh began. After going through some life-changing challenges I learned to adapt and I wanted to make the best out of a bad situation. Everyone goes through tough life sh*t, that's life but what they do about it is what counts. I had watched a lot of stories growing up of people who had it tough and the story was always about them because they did something positive about the situation they were in. I always found these stories incredibly inspiring. When my time came, I thought "right, this is the time to flip the situation".

With this, Collective Leigh was born. It all started out as an art print business (at the time called Palm Designs), then after a 4hr round trip drive with my cousin to an Ed Sheeran concert we got excited about the potential this could have. After many (like A LOT) of brainstorms, we developed the idea of creating a platform for individuals who have or are wanting to start a business - pursuing their passion. Our dream with this was to inspire and share stories Collectively - this is how the name came about, with our family name being Leigh.


Who inspired/inspires you in this space and why?

I am inspired by so many different things. People - I really admire those who turn a crap situation into a positive. My mum, teaching me to dream big and that these dreams can come true if you set your mind to it. Nature - growing up in NZ has had a huge influence on this. And privilege - This may be an odd one but I feel incredibly blessed to be born in New Zealand where we have freedom, power, easy access to water, safety, and so much more! This inspires me to make the most of this opportunity that I am in (well that we are all in if you have access to be reading this).




What does a typical day look like for you at Collective Leigh?

A typical day for me. Wake up around 5:45, make a coffee, do some work in bed, go for a walk along the beach. I have a contracting role with an incredible beauty brand (30hrs a week) which allows me to work from home, so I will often do some Collective Leigh work in the morning before starting work around 8 or 9. I finish up around 3 or 4, then get back into CL work for the rest of the day. The work I am doing for CL ranges from client projects (all things graphic design and social media), creating resources for The Hub, creating some marketing material, or admin.


What advice would you give to someone just starting out in their business journey?

Advice I would give someone starting out in their business journey... Stay curious. Listen to podcasts, read books, network, and just be willing to have a growth mindset.


What does your life look like outside of Collective Leigh?

Being outdoors and spending time with family and friends. But honestly, that is about it. Collective Leigh is my passion and if I ever have a spare moment you will find me doing something on that.


What does the next five years look like for Jess Lawson?

The next five years... I mean we never really know what tomorrow will look like but I hope that the next 5 years involve living abroad, traveling, avoiding winter, and growing Collective Leigh to be one step closer to my dream.