"BEYOUROWN" INTERVIEWER JOY VASILJEV

BEYOUROWN is a digital media news company dedicated to inspiring women in business. Led by Founder, CEO & Contributing Editor, Samanah Duran, BEYOUROWN's growth & evolution is down continuously to deliver a fresh perspective from a broad community of the most affluent, influential and entrepreneurially trailblazing women today.

In December 2018, they interviewed Joy Vasiljev, founder, partner and designer of The Organic Company.

BYO: What does a typical day look like for you?

Joy: I always start my morning with breathing exercises and meditation. So a little family time, help my children out the door, and then I cycle through Copenhagen to The Organic Company office. On Mondays, we have mindfulness at 11. I guide, as I am a mindfulness guided meditation teacher. This to ensure well-being in the office and because I love it.

BYO: How is The Organic Company financed?

Joy: Self-funded. I started with my savings, passion and a lot of hard work. Today we are 3 partners, Rikke, Peter and myself. Love my partners and love our collaboration. We also start all board meetings with mindfulness and meditation. People tend to be amused by this, but it works so well and when we start the actual meeting, we are focused and present. I can only recommend this. And 3 of us love The Organic Company; our growing sustainable business baby.

BYO: Can you tell us more about your brand DNA and ethos at The Organic Company?

Joy: Our DNA is to bring design, quality and organic cotton together. Organic, because conventional is not future-proof. We cannot continue to destroy the earth, our water reserves and our wealth. The better the product, the better people tend to care about it. This goes hand in hand with an ecological way of thinking.

BYO: We love how you also support local Danish companies by collaborating with them, which has been the best project work so far?

Joy: Helle Vibeke Jensen (hebiinu.com), she and I share the same passion for Japanese lifestyle and Danish design culture. We have developed a relaxing robe together. She is one of my favorite designers to work with.

BYO: Can you give us 3 helpful tips for launching an organic textile business?

Joy:

  • I recommend thinking beyond the products and thinking about the scale of the impact your business will have.
  • To take responsibility and make the next generation proud of you and your company from a sustainable point of view.
  • To give an example of something concrete, I will share The Organic Company's three launch principles: Meet a need. Solve a problem. Raise a category.

We will never add another color/product unless we meet above. These principles should apply to all businesses, new and existing. The world doesn't need more trash, cheap products you can't wait to throw away and fast fashion. We need less and better. Next, to the above, I suggest going organic, it makes a huge positive difference for people and the planet.

BYO: Who is involved in the team behind you, The Organic Company?

Joy: On a day to day basis we are seven women who run the office and some lovely student workers as well as freelancers. I love my team. I couldn't do it without them.

BYO: Where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?

Joy: A much bigger company, much more positive impact and more conversations. We are on a mission here. We need attention to the largest and most polluted as well as toxic crop in the world. It is all around us and does not help us. Conventional cotton should be banned, it is so bad for the earth, the workers and our health. As in really bad.

BYO: What strategies do you have in place as you look at expanding The Organic Company?

Joy: More focus on the storytelling part. More communication. More collaboration.


BYO: Can you tell us what areas you have fought in professionally?

Joy: All of them. Being an entrepreneur is about learning, learning, learning. The first 2-3-4-5-6 years were chaotic and yet I managed to build a brand. With passion you can reach the moon! A good friend of mine, Soulaima Gourani, once told me that overnight success takes seven to ten years, she is so right.


BYO: Did you ever have any other mentor? If so, how has this helped you grow?

Joy: Anne Skare Nielsen, who is a futurist, author and keynote speaker, has taught me so much, and perhaps most importantly, to trust my gut. I still use a lot of her quotes like "the future is about smaller and better" and that "today you can't achieve any goal successfully alone".


BYO: What outlets do you use to market The Organic Company?

Joy: We use medium to high-end and we have two parameters to choose from. Organic and design. In the retail market, we have design and department stores as well as organic stores.

BYO: What methods do you use to build your own support network?

Joy: I network a lot. I attend important lectures, networking meetings, workshops and seminars almost every week. It's a balance because I also have to work, but networking, you can hardly do too much. You have to build and take care of your network. And when you do, you have a lot of ambassadors and help within reach.


BYO: What do you think are the common misconceptions about the retail industry and how do you use your platform and voice to educate people more?

Joy: The biggest misconception is thinking that your purchase doesn't matter. Your purchase is your vote. If you want a better world, start buying ie. organic and cutting back in general. In our communication, which is our opportunity to inspire, guide and share a lot of knowledge and ideas. That is on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.


BYO: What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?

Joy: Focus on responsibility for our shared planet. Focus on sustainability and also getting our planet back into balance.


BYO: What's the best piece of business advice you've received to date?

Joy: Staying focused.

BYO: What's the #1 critical lesson you've learned in your career so far?

Joy: Not listening to my gut.


BYO: How do you create an even and balanced work and private life?

Joy: I made a deal with myself from the start that I wouldn't work all the time.

BYO: The highlight of your career so far?

Joy: I've made it so far. We are a brand. We are a team on a mission. Our mission has been right from the start and is to prove that a responsible company can be a good business. And the bottom line numbers are black and in 2018 (year to date) we're seeing a 29% sales growth compared to all of 2017. I know we've inspired and enlightened a lot of people to less and better, which in this case is organic quality products.

BYO: What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?

Joy: When people come for business advice and for advice on how to be more environmentally friendly.

BYO: What challenges have you seen presented during the growth of The Organic Company?

Joy: A lot, for example when your business grows you will hire. And then you have to see which area you need the most (because you can't hire a lot even if you need a lot of hands). And that is a practice unto itself. And then, once that's decided, you start looking for your new colleague, and that's also a practice in itself. And finally, when you hire and then it may take six months or more for your new colleague to be of real help. It is a challenge, it has been since the first appointment and it still is.

BYO: What's a great article or book you've read recently?

Joy: I just read 'Kafka On The Shore' by the Japanese author Murakami for the second time. I rarely read the same thing twice, but most of Murakami's books are worth it. Love his way of writing and the depth of his books, philosophical in a readable way.

BYO: What other leading entrepreneurs and trailblazers do you also admire and why?

Joy: Many actually. I meet a lot of entrepreneurs and I am so impressed by all the good ideas and the passion. The people I admire most are visionaries and good people, entrepreneurs or not.

BYO: Top 3 Podcast channels you should listen to?

Joy: I'm not much of a listener when I walk, cycle or run, I never have anything in my ears or podcasts running. I always listen to the city, the silence or the life around me. Once in a while, I listen to a news channel, Zetland and their podcasts and once in a while something mind-expanding like Simon Sinek and the like. Otherwise, I prefer silence or meditative music (like singing bowls).

BYO: How do you measure your own conditions for success?

Joy: When I can feel people listening and hearing what I have to say about taking responsibility and doing better for our planet.

BYO: What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?

Joy: For me it's freedom. When you have a cause or a passion, it means everything. Listen to yourself, dare to be different, stick to your inner voice and gut feeling and still be respectful of other people, animals and our planet.

You can read the original article on www.beyourown.org