From doodling during lectures to creating inspirational designs and sustainable merchandise, we caught up with Tess Reid this month to learn about what she has been up to after her time with the Gili Shark Conservation project.
With her passion for art and design combined with her enthusiasm for conservation efforts, Tess found a way to combine both and created the incredible ‘Species Speak’
Who could imagine that creating a few quirky doodles during lectures would develop into a beautiful sustainable business that contributes to International conservation organizations while inspiring customers to make changes to protect and conserve our planet?
Well that is exactly what happened for Tess.
After sharing her doodles with close friends, Tess was encouraged to use her talents with design to share conservation related messages to the world.
” My very first drawing was actually of a shark and was based off of the education I received during my time with you guys. It is meant to call out society’s perception of sharks, as “human-eating villains.” My sarcastic approach is meant to open those people’s eyes. These designs often feature various animal drawings with satirical commentary in an attempt to humanize the animals, calling to attention that we are animals ourselves”
How It All Started…
In early 2019 Tess took the first steps to creating merchandise that would communicate environmental issues to the world. After battling with logistics and balancing starting her own business with her volleyball carrier and studies, Tess accomplished her dream and launched a webpage and online store. And so ‘Species Speak’ was born.
Species Speak has a great selection to choose from, including tees, hats, stickers and tote reusable shopping bags. Amongst the most popular designs is the ‘get ur shit together humanity’ tee
“I wrote it originally relating to the way humans are contributing to climate change, and how we need to make BIG MOVES to save ourselves. However, the t-shirt seemed to be translated into a lot of different messages for a lot of different customers. Apparently, humans need to get their shit together in a lot of different ways.”
We asked Tess which design was her personal favorite; “I think my favorite design is “Buffabros.” I find it hilarious how American fraternities are portrayed, especially because my brother and father were frat guys. Of course, I love making fun of them for this, and to humanize buffalos this way just cracks me up.”
Not only does Tess work hard to inspire change through design but she is also supper enthusiastic about ensuring that her products are sustainably made. In her “Thrift series” Tess created a line from pre-loved clothing which she purchased in secondhand clothing stores around LA on which she screen printed her designs creating 100% unique and sustainable pieces each time.
Tess is a young woman with big dreams and great determination to achieve them. We asked her what she felt about everything that she has accomplished after leaving the Gili Shark Conservation project ;
Tess: A Woman With Big Dreams And A Great Smile!
“I feel a sense of purpose, and I feel right where I should be. That is so rewarding. I get to watch people smile when they see my work, I see their eyes open to animal rights, and I get to share my art with new people.”
Tess’s Favorite Conservation Organisations…
With the income made by Species Speak Tess donates a portion towards her favorite conservation organizations including WWF, Sea Legacy, Wildlife Alliance and Gili Shark Conservation. With hundreds of organizations across the world we were curious as to why Tess chose these four in particular to support and here is what she said;
“WWF are one of the most well known conservation groups in the world. This is exactly why I knew they had to be in the lineup. Because of their wide reach, they have a huge influence on animal conservation all across the globe. I believe they can be a real contributor to the big changes we need to make internationally.
Sea Legacy, which is a smaller conservation group run by two National Geographic photographers, Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier. I chose Sea Legacy because I felt really connected to the cause, which is founded in the belief that art ignites change. This is a message I try to translate through Species Speak. They deal exclusively with sea life, which I feel deeply connected to as well.
Wildlife Alliance, which is another smaller organization run mostly through Asia. This group does not get a lot of exposure worldwide, but has seven incredible projects they are constantly working hands-on which include ending wildlife trafficking and restoring rainforests in Cardamom. I really believe in their projects, but think they need more exposure in America and help.
Lastly, I had to add Gili Shark Conservation! This group started it AALLLLL for me. Everything I learned about conservation started during my time in Gili Air with the shark conservation team. The people involved with Gili Shark Conservation are some of the kindest and warmest people I’ve ever met. They have my whole heart, and I want to continue helping this amazing cause in every way I can. Hopefully, I can make it back there soon.”
Pursuit Your Dreams
We for one are super proud of our fellow Shark Warrior. Her hard work, determination and courage have allowed her to not just dream big but actually pursue her dreams in such a beautiful way.
Tess expressed to us her eagerness to continue spreading the message of Species Speak and inspiring people to make changes not just across America but eventually on a Global scale. It is her dream that with the growth of Species Speak she can be a bigger contributor to conservation organizations and efforts to make a real difference in the future.
It has been truly wonderful catching up with Tess and we wish her the absolute best of luck and all the happiness in the world for her future!
Help us to support Species Speaks today!