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Paola is the founder of Saving Mermaids: a small, sustainable brand. With Saving Mermaids, Paola wants to show that sustainability can be fun! She makes hand-tied macramé bottle holders with reusable bottles so single-use plastic bottles can be history. Got curious? We spoke with Paola about her brand and her sustainable lifestyle.
Saving Mermaids has a great story. How did you come up with the concept?
For my graduation project, I wanted to combine my passion for the sea and surfing with sustainability. Therefore I designed a travel book for surfers filled with assignments, because these people are already a lot in contact with the sea they can contribute easily to sustainability. This book shows how easy and fun it can be!
For this book, I needed pictures so I organized a shoot that took place at the beach. I brought a reusable bottle as a styling prop and during this shoot, I found fishing nets on the beach which I took with me. While shooting I decided to tie these nets around the bottle to spice it up. I actually really liked the outcome and took it to school the next day. But let me tell you, my teachers found it outdated. But still, I was really proud of it, I mean: it was a cool way of reusing a bottle instead of using plastic bottles. There were a number of people at school who thought the same and asked me to make this kind of bottle holder for them too. From a joke, it became my brand!
Don't do nothing because you can't do everything.
Where does your love & passion for the sea come from?
Oh that's hard to tell where that started, I have always loved the sea from an early age and always choose the sea over the swimming pool. As a young girl, I played hockey and always went to hockey camp. One day, a friend came to me and asked: “Shall we go to surf camp?”. You can imagine how excited I was, so we decided to go. That week was amazing and I have been working at that camp every summer ever since. This summer job makes me feel that everything comes together while working I am always close to the sea. It really feels like home to me.
As we’re following your journey (@harmhippiebus), we see that you're traveling around in a van for quite some time. How did you come up with this idea and what makes it so special?
Fun story! During my work at the surf camp, I met my boyfriend and we share the same passion. Traveling in a van has been a dream since childhood. So when I met my boyfriend and things started getting serious I quickly made him aware of this dream. I told him: “So, this is my plan for the future: In five years I want to live in a van, I don't know about you, but that's my dream." And he responded: "Let's go".
What this kind of living makes so special to me is the feeling of freedom, as cliché as it may sound. I can travel anywhere I want with this van and I meet a lot of new people. At first, it was our plan to travel for six months, but we realized that this is our way of living. So we continued doing this. It has been our dream for a long time and it is still our dream.
We can imagine that when you’re living in a van, you need to think of creative solutions when it comes to daily duties. Can you share your top 3 sustainable lifestyle tips with us?
Take it from me; you don't need much stuff. Reuse as much as you can, it can be very simple! When we go shopping, we bring our own bags. When we go hiking, we always take our own bottles with us. Those kinds of things are really the least you can do, but you still contribute.
I try to use things that take up as little space as possible and to live sustainably. For example, I use shampoo bars that I make myself. With one bar, I save three plastic bottles and it lasts at least 35 washes. A super economical product. I also brush my teeth with tablets instead of tubes, so I don't use plastic.
When we go to the beach, we take a cotton bag with us to collect plastic. It's easy, so every time you are on the beach and you see plastic, pick it up and clean it up. Why ignore it when you can pick it up? It takes little effort and you still help clear the beaches. Don't do nothing because you can't do everything.
What are your favourite FC picks and why?
My favourite item is definitely the Nina Maxi Dress. I happen to have some weddings this summer, for that, I want a long dress that is cheerful. This is my favorite item because it's super festive and also has that 70s vibes. The Nina Maxi Dress is made of Lenzing EcoVero, which is a sustainable version of viscose. I also think this is very important and a nice bonus.
I am also a fan of ruffle blouses, like the Josefine Blouse. You just look good right away. The Josefine Blouse can be used for any occasion. You can style it both neat and casual. The blouses also have very nice details, such as the golden hardware.
I also love the Azure Maxi Dress with the Sassy Sardines. I love wrap dresses and the details in the print are really cool too.
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