• Fashion

My sustainable life, with the founder of Nash + Banks

Niccii Kugler: A journey of sustainable living inspired by nature

By Jenny Ringland

Some people are passionate about living a zero-waste life, while others focus their environmental passions in their community. There isn’t really a one-size fits all when it comes to sustainable living, and that’s the beauty of it. 

For Niccii Kugler, who is a Climate Reality Leader and the founder of conscious and ethical store Nash + Banks, annual off-grid trips to the bush as a child in South Africa “cemented how interconnected everything is” for her.

“Growing up in South Africa we went off grid each year to a wonderful natural reserve and lived really simply in a cottage with no electricity, rain water and a wild backyard to explore,’’ Niccii says.

But she says her environmental ‘aha’ moment came years later whilst volunteering for a NGO in Costa Rica.

“We learnt so much from the locals we were living and working with about the importance of the natural world, how extraordinary it is and the role we have in protecting and restoring it,’’ Niccii recalls.

Nicci Kugler

Niccii believes it’s possible to live a conscious life, and appreciate beautiful, timeless pieces at the same time

Living a sustainable life can mean different things to different people and for Nicci, her husband and two sons, it began with single-use plastic bags and cling wrap.

“I just couldn’t stand to use them (soft plastics) any more. So we stopped. The boys were also a huge catalyst. I felt a responsibility to them to invest my time, energy and my skill set into making better decisions and into shaping a better future for them,’’ she says.

“At first I ditched single use bags, plastic bottled drinks, cling wrap, razors and invested in keep-cups and water bottles, bamboo toothbrushes and other more conscious alternatives. From there it evolved  as I learned more about different aspects of sustainable and ethical consumption. In the first year or so, my husband and I made a pact not to buy any new clothes for a year and break up with fast fashion. 

“We also changed our super, bank and energy to more responsible providers. Some things have been harder to keep consistent and do perfectly 100 per cent of the time, but overall we have really shifted our behaviour over the last few years in so many ways, and will continue to do so moving forward.”

Does all change have to be profound? Not according to Nicci, she will tell you the hardest part is starting.

“That very tangible, conscious, accountable decision to look at the products that you curate your life with. That first step. That is the most profound,’’ she says.

“I’m inspired by the grassroot movements, community initiatives, youth driven initiatives that are demanding change. I am also continually inspired by the founders, artisans and innovators that I have the honour of working with. Dedicated, passionate people creating solutions that are focussed on people and our planet.”


RELATED: Caring for Country and One Another 

RELATED: Why the Future of Travel is Regenerative 

The Green + Simple Newsletter

Sign up for the best of sustainability each week