In May eco&more join International Professional Women’s Society as an annual sponsor! We want to send our warm thank you to founder Jeni Saeyang & her team for their ongoing support and we wanted to share Jeni’s story with you. Here’s a Q&A below, but make sure you visit the eco&more store at K11!
1 The origin of eco&more is that you want to add the eco-friendly products for Chinese customers? Do you find any changes in the past 5 years?
HUGE changes in 5 years. I love this country because change happens all the time and it happens faster than any where else in the world. When we entered the market we were literally the only green brand and most locals we talked to had doubts that anyone would see the value of green products or understand them. 5 years later, everyone is in on the health and fitness train as well as the ecological and safe products train. It has been such an exciting time to start China’s first green brand.
2 What could be the hardest part for eco&more at the very beginning?
I think we had to fight a lot of stereo types at the beginning. Being a leader in a new category is never easy. People would ask me questions like “If it doesn’t have any chemicals like bleach or alcohol how can it really clean?” There were also a lot of questions around “what is eco?” “Is it real?” but I think the hardest and one we are still trying to overcome is that we are Proudly Made Green in China. Traditionally China is not known for making good cosmetics or green products but we are here to prove them all wrong.
3 When having a baby, what do you think the baby could bring to a family?
The baby brings a sudden change to a person and a family’s life. It makes you realise that you are now responsible for another human being and it made me think about what I was doing with my life. I changed my life and started making green products because I want my baby to be proud of me and because I want her to inherit a better planer than the one I came into.
4 When you’re creating eco&more what’s the relationship between products and daily-life?
One of the things no one knows about is that when I was designing eco&more products I just gave birth to my son and I was always holding him in one arm while washing the dishes and washing him in the shower which is why all of our bottles have a conveniently designed pump and big sturdy bottle…. made for 1 handed mums.
5 Have you ever think about why does the Laundry could be the best seller?
I did a lot of research about the effect of chemicals in cleaning products when they end up in our rivers and oceans and I found that every washing machine uses 100 liters of water per wash so a lot of chemicals end up in your laundry water and into our water way which then can harm the aquatic life and us as well. I also found out that the indigenous people of Peru used eucalyptus oil to wash clothes hundreds of years ago. That’s why our laundry has 5ml of eucalyptus oil in every bottle. Its no coincidence at all that its our best seller. It was made with love and care and it was the product that I launched eco&more with.
6 Could you describe a normal day in your life?
My days are hectic. I get up. I check my day’s calendar and do a quick 10 minute planning in my head. I cook breakfast for my kids and on a good day I go to the gym for 30 minutes and off to work. I usually have 3 to 4 appointments a day. some are very business oriented and some are fun and inspirational like meeting with RARE to plan our future organic herb farms. These days I try not to work late all the time so at least twice a week I make an effort to go home and cook dinner for the family because I love cooking and because I believe that a family that eats together stays together. I also have a huge interest in arts and music so a couple of times a week I meet up with friends to go to gallery openings or see live music. It’s very important to me to get inspiration and stay creative.
7 How do you spend your weekend?
Weekends we have a lot of events and these days I take them with me where ever I go. Like last month when it was TEDxShanghai, I took my kids with me all day and they got to meet all the TED speakers and had so much fun. I think its important to adapt and make your family life fit into your entrepreneurial life.
8 Could you share some of your travel experience which is impressive for you?
Well the most impressive so far will have to be when I first met my husband and we fell in love and he decided to take us on a trip around the world starting in African and climbing the tallest mountain in Africa which is Kilimanjaro. I actually made it to the top and it was the coldest and most physically and mentally challenging thing I’ve ever done. We went from there to France to meet his mum for the first time then joined our artist friend Craig Ruddy in Buenos Aires for one month. We came back to Sydney to find out we were pregnant with our first child.
9 Will you cook at home? What kind of food do you prefer?
I cook all the time and I love cooking for friends. The more the better. I love simple food that is all about the ingredients… well simple for me means zucchini soufflé in the summer with a cold iceberg salad. In Shanghai because I’m always time short, I would order some live lobsters and just steam them up to perfection and dipped in melted french butter. I love any thing you can eat with your fingers. It’s more sensual and rustic and makes me happy.
10 How do you balance your work and family?
I think society puts a lot of pressure on us to be the perfect wife and mum and boss and a lot of it is self imposed. I do the best I can. No guilt. That’s my motto. I have good weeks and not so good weeks but mostly I make sure that when I’m at work I focus on work. when I’m with friends I focus on my friends and when I’m with my kids I give all my attention to them. living in the present moment is what I try to do everyday.
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