Published on August 6th, 2018 | by Andrea Bertoli
Your Sustainability Story: Laura Välik of Eternal Sunshine Jewelry Company
We’ve launched a new feature here at Important Media that encourages our readers to share their personal sustainability story. You can send in your story to have it featured on one of our sites by filling out the form here. We look forward to hearing from you! Today’s Sustainability Story is from Laura Välik of Eternal Sunshine Jewelry Company.
|Tell us about your company|
|I founded Rimongod OÜ (the name is combined of two Estonian words RING (circle) + MOOD (fashion) in 2013 when I opened a redesign and vintage fashion shop in Tallinn. Redesign was still a fairly new idea back then and due to little profit (and other setbacks) I had to close the shop in the middle of 2014. It was a moment of personal heartbreak for me since I strongly believed in the idea of redesign (as a part of our sustainable future).
However I decided to keep my small business going, fulfilling custom orders and also working in other areas (writing) in the meanwhile. My ideas about redesign fashion have changed but my faith in sustainable design only grown. Now, after a year-long research and testing period, I have come out with my first pairs of eco-conscious earrings under the name of ETERNAL SUNSHINE. I soon have another eco-conscious project coming out as well. So I’m glad I decided to keep the company!
|Tell us about your background|
|I think I have always had a strong inner desire to evolve, to do better and go further. To see, to get to know, to learn and to put it all into practice. I think this mindset is a gift from my grandmother – a truly exceptional woman who had an exceptionally progressive mindset – she never stopped working on herself and on a better future for all of us. At the same time she was incredibly humble about it. I still have a lot to learn from her – from her life and the time I was lucky enough to spend with her as my grandmother.
This inner desire has with time also transformed within me into the desire to participate in creating a sustainable future where we could responsibly co-exist with nature and all other Earth’s life forms. Because that would just be a grown-up thing to do. I think every little project matters in this vision. I’ve seen in my own life how a single conversation could become a catalyst for positive events unfolding several years later!
So it is not merely a cliché that every little thing matters but for me a truth by experience. There was actually a point in my life when I was so surprised to truly realize that not all people have this same inner desire – to do better and go further. It still surprises me in people. I think this inner desire is also my source of inspiration – in the sense that I’m constantly driven to seek out inspiration all around. I’ve found it in everything!
The natural world around us, human mind and relations but perhaps most of all the Cosmos. There is just undeniable magic in existing on a circular rock rushing through space after a fireball, the Sun. And the human mind is now also playing a part in this magical story – astronauts for example. How they are willing to let go of everything and dive into the darkest depths of Cosmos without ever knowing what expects them out there or if they are giving up their very own existence along the way, just to go one step further, to give humanity a possibility to learn and become wiser. This is the kind of mental journey that inspires me! And I think that in discovering new horizons, new ways for the humanity to move forward one project at a time, we could all become radical astronauts!
But I also try to be aware of the fact that very often in our ordinary everyday lives, it is much easier to get uninspired than it is to get inspired. So for me it is very important to keep the focus on being inspired – to seek inspiration and to inspire.
|Tell us about your future|
|Perhaps my biggest business related goal is to sell the idea of eco-conscious consumerism, even though lately much discussed in media, it still needs to be sold to the consumers. This is my experience both as a consumer and as a business woman or as simply someone strongly interested in the field. I think it can be done one project at a time, one writing at a time, one design at a time, one person at a time. And it is a slow process with great potential. Consumers have tremendous power in changing the future for the better.
Of course I aim to sell a certain amount of earring pairs too. But it is slow fashion, each pair takes quite an amount of time to make and quality over quantity is my principle. In the future I plan to add new designs and a set of different products related to the same ETERNAL SUNSHINE concept. I would like to develop the concept further too – by dwelling into deep topics such as our inner choices and eco-consciousness. Since being eco-conscious is of uttermost importance, I’m also working on these aspects of the business that could be more greener. For example I`d like to get all next shipments from suppliers in 100% plastic free packaging. I’ve also discovered that ETERNAL SUNSHINE earrings have a more controversial audience than I initially thought, so I’ve become tremendously curious about who exactly are the people who choose such untraditional cosmic earrings! I’m currently thinking of how to exactly collect the feedback and in which way to present it.
I`m soon coming out with another project which is more inspired by the animal kingdom and aims to shift focus to our connection with nature and other beings on this Earth. In a fully eco-conscious manner of course.
Another thing I hope to do is to write a lot more on the topics related to my projects – as I said, I believe the idea of eco-consciousness is in essence that which needs to be still sold. And the truth be told, I have a lot of ideas. But one step at a time. One project at a time.
|What strategies were most helpful for you as you grew your green business?|
|Creating and appreciating personal contacts, either it be a supplier, a friend, a customer or someone who did not like my idea initially. Appreciating all contacts means not shutting down any doors that might open in the future! At the same time it doesn’t necessarily mean working together with someone who currently has a completely different vision.
Getting creative is also a great strategy! When there isn’t a lot of funding, then that teaches to be very creative. I`ve discovered for example that people who do not believe in good and affordable options, will never see them, even if their right in front of them. Going spontaneously looking for left-over plywood in a yacht craftsmen workshop, looking for natural paints online in Spanish when I still didn’t speak Spanish, spending months to find affordable eco-friendly packaging only to find it on a very random visit to a small paper shop.. There were so many times when I had to restart the whole thinking process and it was psychologically quite difficult. I think it felt as if returning to square one, not having gotten anywhere and simply having wasted a lot of time. But it is not true. Restarting the thinking process with all of the already gained knowledge is still moving forward. And this is precisely the moment one should not give up and continue, if one still believes in the idea. I did still believe in the importance of creating my project as eco-conscious as a I possibly could. Restarting a thought process is in essence part of creativity – a tool for moving forward. While continuing with stuck solutions could be a serious setback.
|What are your favorite tools for success?|
|Knowing when to involve help is important! Trying to do everything alone and at once can get very overwhelming. If there is no possibility to involve help, then it is important to give time for oneself to develop the project.
Stubbornness is one of my favorite personal strategies! Believing in ones own idea is what makes others believe in it too!Fresh food (a lot of veggies and fruits and berries) and exercise are important! Without a clear mind it is impossible to do anything truly well.
Constantly learning from others, their stories, successes and failures. But also learning about oneself – it is very important to know what motivates me, what causes me stress and what it is that I truly want.
|What do you wish you had been told before starting your business?|
|That it is going to take longer than I expect. To forget instant gratification! And to keep on believing in myself and the idea!|