Sutton + Grove is a beautifully curated conscious lifestyle blog conceived in early 2016. Canadians and Vancouver natives, Jill and husband Luke created an online destination for the ethically minded that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is informative.
I had the good fortune of being able to interview Jill. Jill is an inspiration for us all. Through my brief chat with her, Jill is someone I have come to deeply admire, respect, and aspire to. Jill is the big sister and role model we all wish we had.
What does it all mean? For years, the couple that is Jill and Luke, nestled at the helm of Sutton + Grove, wrestled with what it meant to live more purposefully. They came to the following conclusion:
What is a Conscious Life?
A Conscious Life is a life that is carefully lived with an awareness and care for one’s surroundings. This includes people near and far, the environment and even our fashion choices.
- How we spend our money.
- How we spend our time.
- What we support.
- How we think.
All of these areas in our lives are shaped by how much we care and where we are at ethically. Conscious living is connected to ethics, as many topics such as recycling, buying fair trade, caring about the environment, giving back and supporting conscious fashion are usually not legal issues but moral issues.
Ethics can be a touchy subject and we do not want to seem like crusaders pushing our beliefs on other people. Our intention is to share our journey and provoke discussion, not to shame or degrade others who may view the topics we share differently. Despite the variety of ethical stances and beliefs that can separate people, Jill and I believe there are a few central issues that we all can be mindful of and approach consciously.
For example, we love to share:
- Sustainable and Ethical fashion.
- Brands and Business that are giving back to society.
- Non-profits that are helping alleviate poverty, provide education or support marginalized women and children.
We believe in supporting these brands and businesses that are attempting to do good and give back to society. Personally, we are embracing our social responsibility and doing our part to hopefully contribute to a better world. We do this by featuring these amazing brands, by writing thought-provoking articles and even sharing our DIY and thrifting endeavors.
INTERVIEW WITH JILL
Kelly: Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about Sutton + Grove.
Jill: My name is Jill Matthews, an almost thirty year old millennial from Vancouver BC, Canada. For the last year I have been running a his + her conscious lifestyle and fashion blog called Sutton + Grove along side my husband Luke. We write about different topics related to conscious living, feature brands, businesses, organization and people who are shining a light on conscious consumerism and the sustainability movement, and as of this month will be adding in a traveling aspect exploring new places and sharing the wonders we discover along the way. I’ve always been a huge fan of the fashion industry and believe in the power of expression through visuals and art whether it’s clothing, painting, photography or movies. After taking a course in Global Developments a few years back I was shook up about how connected the economy (and especially the fashion industry or consumerism in general) is to the dysfunction and imbalance in the world economy. The things I learned about drove me into a time of discovery and research to see what is going on in the world and what our part could be to helping it. From that time of discovery, Sutton + Grove was created as a way of keeping track of our journey and providing ourselves and our friends with information, cool brands and people who want to see change happen and are moving towards it in their own way.
K: What draws you to a conscious lifestyle?
J: I think it’s mainly from the realization that we are all connected and our actions, choices, purchasing habits and overall lifestyle matter. It matters how we take care of our body for health reasons, it matters how we treat other people and what the impact is on their lives, it matters what we buy and who we buy from. Because of these connections it’s forced me to be more aware of my actions, and choices and thus develop a more conscious lifestyle.
K: How did you start blogging about a conscious lifestyle? Why should people care about this?
J: It started from a time of discovery. I wanted to learn more about the world history in connection to the economy, and began to ask questions like why is the world is imbalanced, why is there rich and poor or developed and underdeveloped. I’ve grown up asking questions in life and realizing that I can and should ask bigger questions about the world has led me down a path to where I am now with the blog and my personal life. The reason I know I care about conscious living is because of what I mentioned above with how connected everything, and everyone is.
One of my favorite quotes is from William Wilberforce (an amazing man who led the abolition of the slave trade in the 1800s) which says; “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” Knowledge changes things, it moves us, it shapes our decisions. Because of social media, and globalization in businesses and organizations we are more connected and know so much more about the world, each other, science, health and businesses as a majority than I believe ever before. This knowledge contributes to how we decide to live our lives. You can see this in a positive way through social movements that have sprung up in the last years, or unity in environmental crisis’ like the recent hurricane disasters. I believe as a whole we as average people are stepping up and seeing that change can happen and that excites me to be apart of and encourages me to share about it with others in hopes that they will be just as excited and moved to do something too.
K: Do you feel your life in BC reflects what you choose to cover on your blog?
J: On Sutton + Grove we try to not to focus heavily on our personal lives and rather share more about the brands, organizations and people we meet that inspire us and fit well with our style and ethos. This may be something we change in the future once we are settled in a bit more, but honestly I am just so interested in meeting, connecting and sharing about the great people and businesses we come across on Sutton + Grove. We are also on the beginning leg of a trip that will hopefully last us 6-12 months so we are technically living on the road now and will be sharing our journey along the way.
K: You guys are all about reporting on ethical fashion brands, which is amazing, can you tell us about what that process looks like? How do you source brands? How do you decide which to include?
J: Well since the beginning we’ve been humbled by the reach out from brands to want to work with us and partner together to spread their product and mission with our audience. Both of us believe in honesty and transparency which for us translates through staying true to our personal style, interests and passions when choosing to work with brands. Because of this we’ve ended up turning down brand collaborations because maybe their product wasn’t something we would necessarily use / wear in our own life and other times because a brand’s message and vision behind their company didn’t fully match our ethos. Sutton + Grove is a fine balance between making it personal and inspired by our own lifestyle for those who connect with it and also between sharing as many people, brands and organizations that we come across with who are just amazing and wanting them to shine. It’s something we are constantly working out but it’s been fun and exciting so far!
K: What albums are you currently listening to?
J: I’m a Netflix binger and I recently fell in love with the show Nashville, so I have some of their albums on repeat most days. I also have old school Stevie Wonder playing and my always go to is Clean Bandit.
K: When you aren't writing about fashion or your lifestyle, what are you doing?
J: Taking pictures or snuggled up with a green tea and Netflix, easy peasy!
K: How do you take your coffee?
J: I don’t usually… I’m more of a tea gal. However, Ethical Bean sells some stellar roasts and with their coffee I’ll take it with a bit of cream and a tiny bit of sugar.
K: Who/what inspires you? (the most basic question, but always one worth asking)
J: I get inspired by random people’s stories that I watch or read about like William Wilberforce, or the Little Mermaid. But more recently I’ve been inspired by all of the other conscious blogger gals I’m connected with online. They really keep me going and challenge me to question and see things differently.
K: Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not?
J: I do mainly because I think whether it’s January 1st or May 15th getting yourself hyped and excited to pursue a goal or kick a habit is good for your mojo. It’s on you to keep it up and plan it out in a realistic way.
K: Do you prefer film, books, or music?
J: Movies by far! I know I can get into a good book once in awhile, but I’m such a visual learner so I always end up pulling solid nuggets of wisdom from some of the weirdest movies.
K: If you could do anything (besides running an incredible lifestyle blog) what would it be?
J: What I’m doing with my blog is really on track with what I would be doing if I had any other choice, apart from one thing; I would love to be further along the process timeline. I have big dreams to want to do mini documentaries where I can meet people, business owners and artisans around the world to spark compassion and inspiration to those who watch. I want to have a mini capsule line out of Sutton + Grove with pieces I’ve had in mind to produce for a little while. I want to create a connection based business sort of like a communal workspace/collaboration space. Whether all or some come to light, I’m constantly dreaming of where to go from here.
But a simple and easy answer to this question is, I would love to be a singer (and be good at singing).
K: What was the best piece of advice you received?
J: The most recent is to just start doing ‘it’ (dream, passion, hobby, etc) and to use your past self as a healthy competitor rather than others around you. It’s great to spur each other on and be inspired, but where you’re at and your progression is unique to your lifestyle, effort and experiences. If I look back at Jill one year ago and I can feel that I’ve progressed somewhere positively I’m happy!