Lou's Story

Finding My Voice

In 2009, after my daughter was born, I was hit hard with postnatal depression. During those dark days the fear of vulnerability, self-expectation, and relentless anxiety consumed me. I lost me; feeling like a stranger in a body that I had no emotional energy to care for.

My depression was a message that something needed to change. It meant embracing vulnerability instead of fighting it; knowing that it’s ok to experience and allow uncomfortable feelings - instead of pushing them away; and trusting I’m the best mum for my daughter. For all my perceived flaws and limitations, I’m a valuable human with a lot to give.

Something beautiful would come from this painful experience. I found my authentic self, my voice and a grit and conviction to live the life I was born to live.

So, in 2014, I founded The Collective: a social enterprise inspiring happier, healthier communities grounded in mental wellbeing. My dream of running a retail store selling stylish preloved clothing, furniture and homewares – which fosters true community spirit- came alive.

We are committed to making a real difference in our community– as a platform to talk about the things that matter most and supporting mental wellbeing with 50% of our profits from donated items going straight to The Mental Health Foundation of NZ.

My enduring hope is that The Collective is a safe and welcoming space where everyone feels they belong and are important, and leaves feeling joyful and inspired.

We invite you to join us. Share your preloved items. Live sustainably. Talk often. Be real. Volunteer your time and skills. Contribute to change. Because it feels good. And it looks good.

Lou Clarke