Today we get to learn more about Lina the founder of SOOALA.
SOOALA is a company specialized in importing local products and handcrafts of Madagascar. They mostly work with poor communities of women, who are single mothers, women trying to be financially independent to get away from abuse or simply wanting to make a better living for their future. They started 10 years ago with the mission to support them in these journeys by opening a small workshop with tools at their disposal so they could come and weave so the crafts could be sold locally, then internationally in 2014
What inspired you to start your company?
What really inspired me to start my own Company was to this burning desire to be helpful and make a difference in people's life. I immigrated in a great country full of opportunities and just thought to myself; I have this incredible shot at introducing Madagascar's arts & crafts and products to the North American market and mostly, how amazing would that be for local artisans to get regular orders at a price they wouldn't even dreamed of before, (skipping a lot of middlemen can actually make a huge difference on artisans' revenue). Not only that, I realized that doing so, artisans could actually make a more sustainable living by dropping other ways to make money - like burning the forest to sell charcoals or practice slash and burn agriculture. But, the other thing was to contribute put the light on Madagascar's incredible biodiversity through our skincare line, and share the legacy of 100 of years of beauty secrets and routines that are close to nature. It's really another important thing for me. I want to do my part in re connecting people with natural products, simple ways and the incredible feeling of making a positive impact. I also love to bring a piece of the legendary stress free and peaceful lifestyle of this great Island.
What has been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur in this space?
The most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur for me, up until now is to be able to share my culture through my business and positively impact my community.
What is a surprising lesson you learned along the way?
With the step back, it's actually a great surprise. It is to witness that I am capable and resilient. I would not thought such thing from myself a second before going on this journey.
Who do you turn to for motivation and inspiration?
I mostly turn to my entrepreneur peers when I need inspiration and/or motivation - though I don't necessarily know them for a very long time. I just think that turning to like minded peers is important and makes you feel less alone; (yes, entrepreneurship can be lonely sometime), especially when you don't have a significant other, sharing your passion and purpose!.
What is a quote that you live by?
Kind heart, fierce mind and brave spirit - I don't know whose that from though!.
Do you have any advice for people who want to start being more conscious consumers?
Yes, definitely!. It doesn't have to be perfect, you just need to start with little things.
What are some small steps you do in your daily life to be more environmentally friendly?
Well, I tend to stay away from plastic packaging, I recycle as much as I can. I don't over buy things (cosmetics, clothes etc.) I pay attention to the energy I use and when I buy stuff I tend to look into were it has been made and how if the information is available.
How do you practice self-care?
My selfcare journey is still at its very early stage, I am still learning to take care of myself. I usually take the time (on purpose) to do something I like. But lately, it's also through working out and stretching.
How do you want to be remembered?
I think I would love people to remember me as someone who always did try her best to help, support and also someone kind and caring.
What’s your favourite book of all time?
My favorite book of all time is "Start with your WHY" by Simon Sinek. Totally changed my perspective.
Thank you so much Lina! You are so talented and inspiring!
To shop all SOOALA products click here!