I can’t say that I always had the dream of creating a company focused on sustainability; it wouldn’t be honest.
I grew up in Quarteira, south of Portugal, in the 90s when it was still a village. The closest Portuguese shopping mall was in Lisbon almost 300 Km north when the A22 high-way was a mirage, and we had a mega Nivea ball in the middle of the beach. The main activity of those who lived there, at the time, was still traditional fishing.
I lived happy moments with the simplicity of diving in the sea after school with all my clothes on.
As a daughter of returnees after the 1975 revolution, I saw in my parents’ life the purest example of struggle and strength!
Both set a clear goal for their lives, to rebuild themselves and leave the future generation – me and my brother – with a better scenario than the one they lived.
I saw my father working two jobs until retirement, my mother – already with two kids – studying at night to be promoted and my grandparents renting their house to tourists long before there was an Airbnb App, and all for us.
Still, with all the sacrifices they made, my family never stopped being empathic with the pain of others. I often saw my parents “take food from their mouths” to give it to someone who needed it more.
Sustainability at that time was different, of course, on a smaller scale, but the intrinsic values were the same.
The admiration I have is massive and is in their life story that I refuge myself whenever I am struggling with insecurity or become impatient with the results I seek.
I left college, and in twenty days I was working in one of the biggest multinationals in Europe, entering a world of hard work, often painful, but like my parents, the effort would pay off.
Although was the career I choose, I have to confess that in those years, I lost the sense of mission, the sense of working towards a higher goal than the next promotion.
They say that Africa changes us and definitely changed me!
For several reasons, life took me to Mozambique, and an incredible journey, with ups and downs, but mainly took me to the point of professional failure.
I stopped being able to justify the inhuman context, mainly, I couldn’t live with myself, knowing that this was my reality and that I was part of this equation.
My job consisted of building go-to-market plans, both formal retail and informal local markets, for products mostly coming from Portugal or the United Kingdom.
In one of these projects strategic sessions, there was an ongoing debate on a product aimed for the local population where the brand consciously knew that it would cause serious health problems and yet the strategy was approved.
That was the first time that I left a meeting, a project and a career, in the same moment, only to give voice to my values.
Finding our path is not always easy, but believe me, it is worth the pain!
For a year and a half, I didn’t know what to do; I took other courses, I set myself to change my career, I even got a job as a coder, however, what I liked was business development, go-to-market strategy and products
History is not made by losers
What to do?
If my family story taught me anything, it was to fight for what I want and believe in, to build my opportunities and never let my arms down.
It’s been two years now, in which I dedicate myself to build a better world for the next generations by working with sustainable products and with MY OWN Business Avenue.
There is nothing better in life than knowing every day we do a little bit to shape the future and that all these small pieces together can make a clear difference.
Nowadays I have the same feeling as I felt on a sunny day in Quarteira in the 90s after a dip in the sea with all my clothes on where I idealized the future.