A year ago I had the chance to meet other bloggers located in Zug and remained in touch with Natalie, the founder of Zug4You.
When she told me her daughter had launched her own online platform to sell plastic-free cosmetics, we both saw the benefits to invite her and answer some questions about her venture for OUTSIDE THE BOX.
Note to our most dedicated readers:
a surprise is waiting for you at the end of the article!
Hi Jenny, welcome on OUTSIDE THE BOX! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m Jenny and 25 years young. I was born and raised in Switzerland but presently London is home (Brexit, yikes!). I actually just left my job at a fintech start-up to pursue my own ambitions.
A millennial gone rogue some people might say…
How do you define sustainability and how do you apply this on a daily basis?
To me, sustainable living means developing an understanding of the repercussions our lifestyles have and approaching our actions with awareness. In my opinion, mankind seriously needs to become better at foresight. Just because you’re not seeing the result, doesn’t mean it’s not a reality… you know what I mean?
Of course, all spheres of sustainability are important but environmental sustainability is definitely closest to my heart. Personally, I’ve massively worked on my buying habits. For instance, my boyfriend and I have massively cut down on red meat and dairy. Excessive packaging like plastic-wrapped vegetables and fruits is equally a big no-no, and our bathroom is also entirely plastic free! Then, we’ve switched to a renewable energy provider and regularly do clean-ups.
Picking up litter in public was definitely uncomfortable at first but as it turns out you peak so many people’s interest and it’s such a rewarding experience!
What do you think is most important / most effective way to promote change on the individual level?
Many people take the approach of zero to a hundred. I’ve found that hugely demoralising and counterproductive. It’s not about depriving yourself of everything, rather adopting better habits over time and being consistent.
Like everything in the natural world, balance is definitely key.
What is Parapura as an initiative and organization, and what do you specialize in? What does the name mean?
We’re just at the beginning of our journey, but with Parapura, we’re hoping to build what will one day be the largest online destination for all your plastic free, all-natural beauty and personal care essentials. We put a lot of thought into the brands we decide to stock – essentially, we do all the time-consuming research for you so that you can shop with peace of mind. It’s all about making sustainable alternatives more readily available and tackling plastic pollution head-on!
In regard to the name, we really wanted to signify purity. We chose the tree rings for our logo because to us that represented growth and steadfastness.
What triggered you to start this project, and what have been the greatest challenges and achievements so far?
I’ve always wanted to start my own business and completed my master’s degree in Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Management in 2018. My family is hugely entrepreneurial so that seems to have rubbed off on me. I just felt like the time is now and starting Parapura couples my ambitions with my passion for the environment.
There’s still so much work ahead, but I think the greatest achievement thus far has been just going for it. I’ve had so many ideas in the past that I abandoned out of fear and ill-discipline, so I can’t believe we’re actually doing this for real!
On the flipside, I feel the greatest challenge ahead will be educating the end consumers. The catastrophes we see on TV or in the news are often so far away that bringing the message close to home is difficult.
Tell us about your blog: do you plan to share further advice and personal notes on your green journey?
I’d like to use the blog on our website as a platform to help inform our customers around sustainability and going plastic free. Moving forward, I definitely want to post more regularly but with only my co-founder (he juggles a full-time job on the side!) and I working on the business, time for writing is extremely limited at the moment.
What could you advise people who know you / who visit your online shop, to start a more responsible lifestyle?
Start with incremental changes then build from there. To begin with, go for easy swaps such as reusable makeup pads, the good old safety razor or soap bars. From there, you might want to try toothpaste tablets and deodorant sticks, and so forth. It’s all just a matter of getting used to and finding the products that suit you, so don’t get disheartened if it’s not right from the onset!
What can you answer those who say that sustainable personal care products are too expensive or too exclusive?
It’s true that the products we stock are pricier than your mass market staples. However, with good reason and within reason too. I see it this way, you can’t put a price tag on safeguarding our planet’s future. On top, you’re doing your body a huge favour too! Aside from the massive generation of plastic waste, I was appalled to find out just how many chemicals our personal care items had in them.
In the long term, my hope is that more and more people buy into products from sustainable supply chains and then hopefully we’ll see prices come down too!
Find Parapura online: