THE 10 ANNIVERSARY QUESTIONS – JOY VASILJEV
– Written by Maja Lidegaard, A dedicated writer for The Organic Company.
As The Organic Company leaves its first decade and enters a new, a lot of experiences and knowledge has been gathered by CEO Joy Vasiljev. With a bag full of zest for life, Joy takes on the task to spread the fact, that ecology and business goes hand in hand and that you do not have to choose one from the other.
I have come to know Joy and The Organic Company during the last two months and let me just be honest, I’m quite impressed. Joy is a true ecology enthusiast, who actually makes a sustainable difference through her company and great line of organic textile products. That is why I wanted to make a small anniversary interview, to get to know some more details about running an 100 % GOTS certified company and what Joy thinks there is to expect, when it comes to be running an organic business in the future. Furthermore, I wanted to hear about her journey the last decade and why yoga has become a vital part of hers- and the company mindset.
1. Why did you establish The Organic Company?
“I just had to. I found out that I was not alone in the search for great things that were sustainable and responsible produced. I still don’t get it, honestly, I look around and I see how the planet is being ripped for all its goods in a much faster pace than it can handle. I see designers putting so much effort into bringing new things into the market, and I think to myself, why don’t they open their eyes and face reality and combine consumer needs with the state of our planet. Because today, it is almost as easy to work with organic, FSC and recycled materials as with conventional materials. I believe that we are still poor on knowledge in this regard”.
2. What were your main concerns about starting out a small organic business, in a time where sustainability was still a small niche?
“Once I had taken the decision, I did not have that many concerns. However looking back, I have met many challenges and some of them were very, very tough. If you asked me whether I would do it all over again, my reply is YES I have learned much more than any university could ever teach me”.
3. What do you believe to have been your biggest business success?
“That (a lot of) people actually take organic cotton seriously. And the major positive impact it has on the environment, the workers and our health. Not that it’s my work alone, however I definitely have contributed”.
4. What has been your biggest lesson about conducting organic business?
“There have been so many lessons. To begin with peoples skepticism towards ecology and organic agriculture and the whole prejudice that organic equals “hippie”. At the practical level, I experienced that it was somewhat challenging to be certified because of the load of paperwork and all the new routines. However, being GOTS certified is worth it. It’s where both ends meet”.
5. With the launch of the new meditation items (September 2017) you bring in yoga which is a big passion of yours, is there a link between the mindset of yoga and the way that you run The Organic Company?
“Yoga and the underlying values are my life foundation. I strongly believe in the principles and mindset of yoga, which in short are holistic, and where all parts of life are considered to have a connection. Yoga consists of: meditation, yoga exercises, healthy food, breathing exercises and knowledge. I am not a fanatic, not at all, however I do believe in coherence and chain reactions. It’s like, if you meditate, you are more relaxed, and if you eat vegetables and stay away from sugar, you feel more energetic and so on”.
6. Why do you perform yoga with your employees before every weekly meeting – does it make a difference in employee performance and job-satisfaction?
“Hi hi, what a question! I never thought of it as a “job improvement” exercise. It’s just about wellbeing, and we all love it. In The Organic Company we run very fast and we have a lot of work to do, so it was just natural to fit it in as a mental break”.
7. Do you believe that the end user knows the real difference between buying organic and conventional products?
“Some do and even more don’t. More and more do, and that is heartwarming. It makes me very grateful”.
8. What do you believe needs to be done in order to create a broader awareness about the benefits of buying organic?
“I would love, if the governments around the world would forbid all conventional agricultures. It’s killing the bees, its destroying the soil, its making the workers ill and we, wearing or eating conventional products, are gambling with the long term effects of the toxins being close to us. There is nothing good to be said about conventional agriculture. We have overcome the challenges with organic cultivation, and we do have all the solutions to go all organic”
9. What is your biggest hope for the next decade, both regarding The Organic Company and ecology?
“Good question. My biggest hope is that all companies around the world wake up and take on their responsibility towards conducting sustainable business and that they will see that organic agriculture is the best solution for the soil and environment and that we need to re-use the resources”.
10. Where do you see The Organic Company in 2027?
“In 2027, we are a role model on how to conduct great business and still be taking care of planet earth. And that we still have fun and love what we do”.