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THE JOURNAL

A sustainability entrepreneur on the art of doing more with less

Selina Donald is trailblazing a new way of doing events. As the co-founder of the events company The Bulb, she and her London-based team are proving it’s possible to be creative, exciting and environmentally responsible. On an individual level, Selina’s day-to-day shows us how one person can remain aware of their impact on the environment, structure a day to allow for space, and make conscious choices in life and business.

Having been a vegetarian since she was a child, she realised sustainability could also be applied to her career after years of working on large scale events and witnessing how unsustainable creative industries can be.

Propelled to make a change, she and her business partner Ruth Weldon started The Bulb in January 2016, an events agency that’s “sustainable through and through”.

“Being aware is the biggest thing. Environmental change starts with the individual.”

“So many brands are sustainable,” Selina says, “but then their events or marketing campaigns will be completely unsustainable. We want them to know there is a way to do it that really reflects their company values.”

Fast-forward to 2017 and The Bulb is the first events agency to become a B Corp – a global group of businesses (of which Bellroy is also one) recognized for their positive social and environmental impact.

“B Corp is about inspiring businesses to be the best for the world, rather than the best in the world.”

For The Bulb, that means doing more with less. Every detail in production of their events is conveyed through a lens of sustainability – from replacing paper with technology, to finding better solutions for food waste. “Being aware is the biggest thing. Environmental change starts with the individual,” says Selina.

A DAY IN THE LIFE

First thing

I live with friends in the heart of Hackney and usually get woken up by my cat at around 6am. I’ll go for a run along the canal most mornings. I find that running a business and sitting on a few different boards means my head is quite busy, so exercise really clears my mind for the day.

When I get home I make a coffee-smoothie for my housemate and me with oats, banana, peanut butter, coffee, cacao and almond milk.

I usually spend an hour every morning reading The Guardian, The Daily Good, and various blogs, and think about what we need to post on our social media for the day.

A Journal Image
A self-proclaimed bookworm

Morning

Before I head out for the day, I make sure I have my Macbook, Bellroy wallet and a book. My general rule in London is that it will take an hour to get anywhere, so I dislike not having something to read when I’m commuting. I try to stay off social media and use that time to get some reading in.

We usually have a mid-morning coffee and go through our diaries. We also have a "get shit done" spreadsheet. Then we sort of divide and conquer for the day – I manage new business and marketing, Ruth manages our clients and event production. When people are starting their sustainability journey, it's important to introduce ourselves and make sure people know about our shared synergies.



  • A Journal Image
    Selina makes daily notes in her diary
  • A Journal Image
    Milly wakes Selina up at 6am

Afternoon

We usually have meetings with new suppliers, clients, or people coming up with new technologies that could be interesting for our events.

For me, the most exciting part is coming up with the creative concept. During this stage of the process, Ruth, myself and our team will brainstorm what would be the “wow” moment, how we will make the event shareable on social media, how we will make it relevant, and how to get the message across so that people have an experience they will go away and talk about.

Evening

My evenings vary day to day. I mentor several women who are starting their own businesses, so I might meet someone for coffee. There are also various boards, committees and networks I’m a part of and we were recently awarded a place on the London Key Person of Influence for Climate Change Accelerator.

I also see the most incredible life coach, so I may have a session with her. She has really helped me look at things differently, which is really helpful when you are running a business and trying to do a million things at once.

When I have nights to myself I might go to an exhibition or on a date. I am also really lucky to have a brilliant circle of friends in London who do equally brilliant and inspiring things, so I generally try to catch up with friends or speak to my family.

Happiness is going out with friends for food and coming home and having an hour or more to read and relax.



TIPS TO RUNNING A CONSCIOUS BUSINESS

Think before you do

I'm naturally more of a doer rather than a thinker, so training myself to sit and think things through rather than just speeding ahead has been a hard but important thing for me to learn.

Have space in your day

A year ago I would work 14 hours a day, but now there is structure in my day and I make sure I have time out in the evening. That’s been a really good thing for me as a person. It can be hard for me to switch off; I think London is a huge sea of opportunity and there is so much going on that it is hard to keep track... but it’s definitely the place for me.

Do what you can

At the moment the whole world seems to be on this crazy journey with things like climate change and shock politics. But I think it is really important that people understand these things are happening, but also realise that activism is something anyone can do in their own way. Just because some people are in power, doesn't mean they have all the power.

“I think it is really important that people understand these things are happening, but also that activism is something anyone can do in their own way. Just because some people are in power, doesn't mean they have all the power.”

Get a glimpse into more creative lifestyles and design insights here.