Interview with Alden Wicker, Founder of EcoCult

Alden Wicker is the Editor in Chief of EcoCult, a site she started just over a year ago, and has since provided tons of useful information for New Yorkers seeking out sustainable and green resources throughout the city. She is a writer and researcher dedicated to the cause, and her smart and sassy articles imbue readers with a lovely dose of health, happiness, humor, and humility. I got a chance to ask her some questions about her work, hobbies, and inspiration. Here's what she had to say:

What is EcoCult all about, and how did it start?

EcoCult is my attempt to showcase all the wonderful facets of sustainable living in NYC: the fashion, food, beauty, and events that make life more fun and stylish. I started blogging about the sustainable lifestyle as a hobby right out of college. I joined the editorial team at the startup LearnVest and improved my writing skills, but I couldn't devote much time to my blog. Still, I noticed that there weren't many sustainable blogs out there that were stylish and fun, instead of judgmental and granola. So I quit my job, shut down my blog, and relaunched as EcoCult in June of last year. 

You must be constantly researching, organizing, and writing, how do you keep yourself motivated and on task?

I'm a naturally curious and creative person, so what keeps me motivated is the list of 100+ ideas I have written down that I really must write about soon! I post pretty much every weekday. I have a list of general tasks I need to accomplish. I have lists of designers, and beauty brands, and green NYC stores I like. I also have a daily list of tasks I try to accomplish every day, from checking my Feedly, to diving into my traffic numbers, and perusing the NY Times for relevant stories. Evernote is a God-send. 

What are some major sources of inspiration for you?

The NY Times magazine T is so gorgeous and smart at the same time. Sometimes I think, "WWTD?"  I love following conventional fashion bloggers on Instagram to see what they're wearing and pick up photo tricks that I can translate into sustainable fashion. 

Have there been any obstacles in your journey with EcoCult, and if so, how have you overcome them?

Well, there's the whole "How do I make money on this?" problem. I still freelance a lot on the side about completely unrelated topics. I've written before about the special money challenges I face because I want to support small, emerging, sustainable designers and makers and stores. But I'm picking up more and more advertisers because they think my blog is beautiful, and it has a unique voice, and they like that. 

What or who can always make you laugh?

Pretty much everything and anyone. I'm a laugher. My friends know I'm laughing with you and not at you!  

What do you do to de-stress?

Read the New Yorker and snuggle with my kitty, Pancho the Coolest Cat.  

Who are some female role models you admire?

Joanna Coles now at Cosmo is such a cool lady. She's smart and driven, and I want to be just like her--with my own little sustainable lifestyle empire over here. Also, my aunt, who has such a zest for life, a wonderful marriage, and a tight-knit group of lady friends. I want to be her when I grow up. 

What kind of support system did you have when getting EcoCult started, and what kind of support system do you rely on to maintain your work?

I didn't quit my job until I knew I had some freelance work in my back pocket and some savings, too. So other writer and editor friends have been really useful. And my boyfriend has been a Huge Help. Whenever he meets an editor or writer, he's like, "Have you met my girlfriend? She's a great writer!" He helps me plan, set up, and run my events for the blog, and does some graphic work too. And when I have my low points, he's always like, "You're doing awesome. Keep going!" 

What were you like when you were younger? Have you always had an interest in being green?

Recycling and being nice to the environment was just always something you did in my family out of common sense! I would tramp around in the woods on our property, and my mom would tell me about the damage four-wheelers had on the undergrowth, for example. But what really propelled me into being a die-hard environmentalist was a.) the hippie camp I went to in North Carolina. That's where I learned about over-packaging and pollution and vegans; b.) the hippie private school I went to in Maryland. That's where I learned about political agitating; and c.) the environmental studies class I took in high school. That's where I learned about all the ways we are seriously messing up the planet. 

What are three of your favorite things about living in NYC?

First of all, there is so much healthy, easily accessible, tasty food everywhere! I love the creativity and diversity here too. I get so energized coming away from a dinner with ten people, for example, where there are seven nationalities represented, ten different careers, and an age span of twelve years. It's never boring. And public transportation, baby.