by Lola
Lola, the founder of My Shade of Green dreaming about her green business

It is destiny calling…

Those who know me well joke saying that I was born to be a green business woman, and I think they might be right.

I used to spend hours crafting jewellery
I used to spend hours and hours crafting jewellery

The entrepreneurial bug bit me when I was very young, I was merely 6 or 7 when I started my first business, and of course at the time, i didn’t even recognise it as such, but now I have to admit it was a very fun and profitable enterprise.

At that age, I loved to craft jewellery using glass beads, (and I still do). I made necklaces, bracelets, anklets, I could spend hours and hours in the lazy summer afternoons creating new combinations.

I would keep a few and give away a good amount as presents to my family and friends, but I was a prolific crafter and I always had plenty of “stock” left over which was the seed for my lucrative side-hustle.

Looking back in time, I think that first business model was the closest thing to perfection that I have ever seen…

Don’t believe me? Let me explain…

A little girl in a pink dress eating an ice-cream.
Ice-cream can be a strong motivator for a little girl
  • The business consisted in selling the overproduction of jewellery that I had created in my free time. And I did it during our holiday at the beach.
  • My customers were tourists enjoying the day by the sea. They were relaxed, happy and willing to spend their holiday money so they found this little girl selling jewellery on a bench, very cute and amusing.
  • I got all the materials that I needed or the money to buy them from my parents as rewards for the good school results, or as birthday presents, so unknowingly they became my first angel investors.
  • I then took care of the whole creative, production, marketing and sales processes, without even realising what I was doing.
  • For me, it was all profit…on one hand my hobby, turned seasonal business, allowed me to spend time in one of my favourite activities, and on the other, not having costs on my part, I could pocket the whole revenue!!
  • And it was a win-win situation also for my venture capitalists, who received their return on investment in the form of a few hours of quiet time whenever i was busy creating my unique pieces.

In case you are wondering what I did with the money, well…I was just a little girl and I did not understand much about finances so I just used the cash to satisfy my obsession at the time: ice-cream!!

A few years went by…

And I started developing a passion for nature and the environment. I was a teenager by now and my interest was so deep that I became obsessed with building and running a recycling plant when I grew up.

Imagine a 15 year old wanting a recycling plant!

A glass recycling plant
Glass recycling is very important to save valuable resources

I remember getting many weird looks and comments about how unusual I was but honestly I couldn’t care less. I have always been unusual and anyway I was too busy converting everyone around to the doctrine of the 3R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. And my next biggest worry was convincing my parents to let me join Greenpeace and spend my vacations protecting the oceans in their emblem ship the “Rainbow Warrior”.

One could say that I drove my family and friends a bit crazy!

As I became an adult, life took over and drove me in other directions. I never got to build that recycling plant, nor did I sail in the Rainbow Warrior (which was for the best because as I discovered years later, I suffer from a serious case of sea sickness). But I did in fact join Greenpeace as soon as I turned 18 and I have been an active environmentalist ever since, trying to live the best I could according to my beliefs.

Do you believe in destiny?

I am not sure if it was destiny, or the universe, or my own dreams waking up and knocking on my door, but the fact is that after a 30 year long detour, the chance came up to have another go at my young dreams.

So, about a year ago I decided to leave my comfortable career in the corporate world to do something more meaningful with my life.

And yes, this time around, I am a more seasoned, educated and pragmatic adult, who is convinced that we can make a difference if we put our mind to it.

But the big question still remained in how to get more meaning out of my life?

And after months of reflection, soul searching and a few panic attacks for thinking that I had taken the wrong decision and ruining my future, I had some kind of epiphany.

I wanted to do more, I wanted to achieve more impact than I was currently doing with just my individual contributions, and I wanted to help solve problems. So what better than entrepreneurship to achieve all that? Oh yes, of course, green entrepreneurship. But lets not get ahead of ourselves…

There is another way

A person drawing a diagram of sustainability being at the crossed-area of environment, society and economy
We will only achieve sustainability when environment, society and economy live in harmony

In my eyes, one of the biggest problems has always been that the environment ends up losing every battle against the economy.

For decades we were made believe that there is only one way: the myth of eternal economical growth, and we were told that to achieve that goal we had to sacrifice nature and use up all our resources.

Thankfully now we know better, many of us don’t believe those lies any longer and we are aware that the economy does not have to be the enemy. On the contrary, our best chances for a real sustainable future will come when the environment, society and economy work together, permitting us to prosper and live in harmony with nature.

Am I idealistic? Big and loud YES!!! but life without ideals would be very boring and empty and besides I truly believe we have the power to shape our reality. 

That is when I decided that the way to bring meaning to my life while helping solve a big problem was through green entrepreneurship.

And here i am now, envisioning my future business, working day in and out to make sure it is eco-friendly and social but also economically sustainable.

Of course I want to make money and achieve financial independence with it, but there is so much more to my dream. 

What I really want…

Is to see how my work leaves a positive mark, and has a much bigger impact than what I do today with buying second hand, reusing glass jars or upcycling jeans. And don’t get me wrong, every little thing counts and I will of course continue doing them.

How does that sound for a plan? Crazy, utopian, hard work? Probably all of them but if you decide to stay with me, you will get to hear all about it!

For starters, here you can learn more about what I am considering to make my startup sustainable. Let me know what you think about it.

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