Born in Indonesia and raised in Sydney, Mel Nahas left a successful career in the music industry and launched Conscious City Guide in 2016. Since the site went live, Nahas has featured more than 6,000 events on her community-powered platform.
How did you get the idea for Conscious City Guide? At the height of the design and fashion blog era, I started a blog about conscious lifestyle called The Bharani Effect, just for fun. Every week I would email subscribers about the new interview feature, alongside a list of conscious events I had researched.
I then decided to leave my full-time career in the music industry, with a seed of an idea inspired by the conscious events I was listing in that newsletter. I put my music industry experience to work and pivoted the blog into what it is today, with the help of my co-founder Kiki Falconer.
What does Conscious City Guide offer that wasn’t already available? It unifies a fragmented market of conscious events, retreats, workshops and experiences. For example, unless you follow or subscribe to every meditation, sound bath, or regenerative agriculture school or practitioner, how do you know what’s on ? Yes, you can follow certain teachers, but where do you go to learn and more? I saw that people still needed a place that was curated for their own discovery.
What is your selection process for what gets featured on the website? It’s community powered, meaning anyone hosting a conscious event can list it on Conscious City Guide.
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How has the concept evolved since you launched? And what are your plans for the future? It started as a newsletter, morphed into an events marketplace and now it’s a platform. Add to that, we now include editorial from our event-creator community, sharing their guidance and stories about their practices. The plan is to get as many people to conscious events as possible, so that we all become more connected to ourselves, each other and the planet.
What makes an event “Conscious”? We look for events offering connection, expansion and transformation to either the self, our communities, our earth—or, better yet, all three.
How has your background in music and entertainment helped and informed what you do now? Music and the music industry are definitely a muse for me. The way music inspires and moves people, it changes them. In a very literal way, we were grateful to receive support from the Live Nation Women fund.
Beyond the events and experiences, tell me about the resources you offer and how you source and create those? We introduced articles on the site recently because we found that some people didn’t know enough about a particular event to want to go experience it.
Tell me about some of the experiences, retreats and practitioners you feature that you are most excited about and why?
Amy Yeung from 4Kinship, a Diné (Navajo)-owned sustainable artwear brand that does a huge amount of fundraising and awareness-raising for its community. We produced and promoted their Voices of Siihasin concert with Jewel and Lyla June during the pandemic, as the Dinétah were one of the hardest-hit tribes. It’s inspiring the way Amy raises funds and awareness through fashion and art.
I adore Julie Piatt (Srimati). From her monthly online group meetings, retreats at sacred sites around the world, as well as her plant-based cheese line Srimu, I am grateful to play a part in producing and expanding all of these offerings.
Mercado Sagrado is a large creative and healing arts fair that also hosts smaller gatherings, which I cherish. Co-founder Mia Luciano has created a platform that shares ancient knowledge and presents it in such a thoughtful and artistic way, it speaks to an audience who might have otherwise overlooked it.
One of our original team-members, Lenea Sims, started her own community care club for creatives seeking collective liberation called Outer Work. It’s amazing because it’s collaborative, holds its members accountable. It’s membership based, but for those who want to get a taste of it, drop-in spots are available through Conscious City Guide.
Finally, one of our first creator partners, Spirit Weavers Gathering, its founder, Mea Woodruff, has just hosted the groups ninth annual gathering, and the way she honors and builds an inclusive community is something we can all learn from.