ELK TALES: Kate Dalton
This season we are celebrating Identity as our own curated narrative; personal stories that define the things we cherish, desire and are inspired by.
Kate Dalton has a story that incorporates healing, health and self-empowerment. As the founder of organic tea brand Mayde Tea and wellness hub Mayde Space, Kate uses naturopathic medicine, iridology and lifestyle coaching to bring about positive change.
Kate invited us to her Byron Bay home and we sat down to share her experience on how holistic living, environmental consciousness and Mayde Tea defines her sense of Identity.
How does your creative life define your sense of 'Identity’?
I’m really big on living simply. I love having minimal things that are high quality. Consumerism is something I feel strongly about, so my motive behind this is the environment. Living simply also helps my headspace – my mind feels so much clearer when I'm not overwhelmed with choice!
At Mayde Tea each recipe is crafted mindfully, using the highest quality ingredients, and blends are created for the most common ailments. I believe our range has something for everyone, and I'm mindful of avoiding overwhelming people when I introduce them to the range.
Our accessories are made to last – our tea infuser is made of stainless steel, so once you buy one you have it for years – which means it has a much smaller environmental impact. I always create things that last, which is something that I personally value as a consumer. I don’t follow ‘trends’ too closely and love classic pieces – and similarly, our branding is clean, minimal and timeless.
Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
My good friend Kat Parker is an incredible photographer and I’ve always admired her work for her use of space, natural textures and lots of light.
When did your journey with plant-based healing and natural living begin?
It began when I was about a year into university, studying naturopathy and nutrition. I was pretty unwell at the time, so I started experimenting with herbs to nourish my digestive and nervous system. I had such incredible results!
I started giving the blends I was making out to friends and family, and when I realised this wasn’t feasible for me as a uni student, I decided to register a business name. That was over 5 years ago, and it’s been the greatest thing I've ever done.
Being able to share the magic of herbal medicine is my absolute dream. Since then we’ve secured over 300 Australian stockists, opened a shopfront and outgrown a few warehouses!
What part does food, health and wellbeing play in your sense of 'Identity’?
It plays a huge part. I'm a Naturopath and Nutritionist because I love herbal medicine, nutrition and the influence they have on our health. I believe in natural medicine wholeheartedly. It’s what has helped me get from being really unwell in my late teens to feeling like had a complete restart on my health.
In saying this, I don’t put too much stress on what I eat or how I live because of course stress is also a huge determinant to your wellbeing! I don’t feel the need to label my diet choices, and I definitely don’t punish myself doing exercise I don’t enjoy. I just feel great when I eat a balanced whole foods diet, walk in nature, do pilates, meditate and surround myself with people that make me feel energised.
For those looking to become more in tune with their 'Identity' and sense of self, what piece of advice would you give them?
Meditation has helped me with this a lot. I used to be a really fast-paced person, and I had a habit of focusing on all of my stressors. I decided this wasn’t who I wanted to be. I chose to start yoga and meditation to help me slow down, and this has allowed space to be in tune with who I am, and if it aligns with who I want to be. So, my advice – I think just sitting with your thoughts of what your passions and desires truly are, they’re already in there, but allowing yourself to slow down in this fast-paced world will do wonders for finding your sense of self.
Mayde Tea is also delivered in recyclable packaging, can you tell us more about this process?
Ah, a favourite topic of mine! As an individual, I'm really focused on the impact I have on the environment. So, there were always going to be hurdles relating to this when I decided to start a business! I remember getting deliveries of absolutely all of our supplies in enormous bags of plastic. It literally made me not want to run the business anymore because it just didn’t sit well with me.
I called our suppliers and asked them to change their method of packaging. Some of them were really open to it, and some weren’t. So, I needed to find some new suppliers who had aligned values, which was time consuming, but it was so worth it for my own peace of mind.
Plastic is a part of our lives, but because every piece of plastic ever made will exist in the world forever (scary huh!) I put a lot of focus on how to minimise it the best I can. We use little cushioning pillows made of puffed cornstarch to fill the boxes we package the products in. This means they can go in the compost and will just dissolve. If we are sent bubblewrap with our supplies, we’ll always reuse it (and hope it’s then re-used again and again), and other times we will use scrunched paper between fragile items.
The glass jars that our tea comes in are made beautifully enough for you to keep. Some people either refill them, use them for pantry items or as a flower vase. The other packaging we use for our tea blends is a cardboard box which is easily recycled.
Your Instagram is filled with stunning architecture and interior design. What are your favourite pieces in your home?
I’m lucky enough to have a house filled with Addition Studio furniture, objects and wellness products, amongst some other beautiful pieces I have picked. My partner is the wonderful creative behind Addition Studio, so he is mostly to thank for our stunning home!
My favourite piece is the dining table – it’s made of American Oak, and the legs are designed offset, so they cast a shadow that represents a sundial. We also happen to have a wooden shelf in the kitchen that fits a row of our Mayde Tea jars perfectly. That’s my favourite corner of the house by far.
When you are down in Melbourne, where are your favourite places to stay, shop or eat?
Chin Chin is my absolute favourite restaurant! I haven’t spent enough time down there, I do remember a few years back wandering around the city for hours until my feet hurt, the shopping is amazing there. We have some beautiful stockists in Melbourne, so I must get down there more often.
What about your hometown of Byron Bay, where are your favourite spots?
The General Store for Brekky or lunch, and Shelter or DUK for dinner.
Wategos is the most beautiful beach to surf and swim.
A little west of Byron has some stunning bush walks (Miyon Loop is my favourite!)
Federal is a cute little town in the hinterland with one cafe which makes the most delicious lunch!
We live in Bangalow which is the most adorable little town, it reminds me of Berry where I spent a lot of my high school years.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I meditate twice daily, move my body in some way every day and surf as often as I can. I love routine, and if I stick closely to this, I feel pretty grounded. My ideal relaxing day would be going out for breakfast, surf, and then sit in the sun with a picnic and a book.
What is your favourite piece from the ELK 'Identity' collection?
My favourite is definitely the Tablier Dress! I love the square neckline, the deep pockets and it's possibly the comfiest dress I own. It looks really cute layered with a tee underneath.