Amsterdam-born and raised eco-conscious business owner and entrepreneur Everlyn Liu on why sustainability matters and how to efficiently wind down when you’re in need of peace and comfort.
Everlyn invites us to her beautiful home where she shares her space with her partner and two adopted cats, cosily hiding in the wardrobe amongst the wool jumpers and fuzzy scarves, reminding us of the approaching winter season.
The conversation starts and we now get a chance to ask the big question – what was Everlyn’s journey like towards becoming an entrepreneur?
“I’ve always felt the desire to create something. Even since my student years, coming up with business ideas and trying to solve certain problems was a very exciting process for me. Later on, working in a corporate environment taught me a more critical approach towards other businesses – business models, work processes, mission and vision statements were all the things that sparked my curiosity and soon enough I was able to use my knowledge to consult others.”
There were times when I would go directly to the owners or CEOs of different companies to help them improve certain things within their businesses. I was always confident in my ideas and would get really upset if they didn’t implement them” – Everlyn says following with a burst of laughter. “My colleague once said, “if you think you know better then you should do it yourself.”
“Back then, I didn’t have the courage or enough knowledge to start a business. It would take me a moment to get to the place where I had nothing – literally nothing – left to lose, only then I took the faithful step and started Straw by Straw.”
Everlyn’s dance and theatre background is evident in the way she carries herself, with grace and elegance. Years of auditioning and unanswered emails taught her a lot of perseverance – “as a dancer, I took every chance I could get to show off my moves – that’s something I can laugh about now but you have to do whatever it takes to present yourself out there. Being vulnerable ended up opening doors and networking opportunities, the next thing I know, I’m sitting in the room with the best musicians and producers in the country.”
However, being a successful performer required sacrifices that Everlyn was not prepared to give up at that point. “The entertainment industry is harsh, you’re either dominating it or barely surviving – I chose to walk away from that but all the lessons learnt along the way are still with me. Entrepreneurship can sometimes feel like a dance in itself, you write your own music and perform the moves through your business.”Sustainability is at the core of what Straw by Straw represents as a business. It’s important to Everlyn that she also implements eco-conscious practices in her personal life. “I’m a self-proclaimed fashion lover and enthusiast, however, the negative impact that the fashion industry has on the environment is appalling. I’m doing my best to re-wear and recycle the majority of my clothes, if I’m in need of a fresh piece for the wardrobe I turn to second-hand and vintage shopping. The ’60s and ’70s were my favourite decades for fashion” – says Everlyn with a spark in her eyes. If you’re looking for the best bargain pieces Vinted is her go-to place (check out Everlyn’s account here), also Le Popup in Paris.
As we are preparing for the photo shoot, our focus shifts to the beautiful Forest Green linen bedding, filling Everlyn’s bedroom with lots of cosiness and charm. “The quality of this linen is amazing – I’m a big fan of the fabric already as it’s known to be durable and also keeps you warm at night.” – she smiles and gives the linen sheets a few long strokes with her fingertips. Our linen bedding palette is inspired by the Nordic landscape and all the elements of nature, Forest Green was Everlyn’s choice of colour and we are curious to find out what drew her to this particular shade.
“My bedroom has to radiate peace and calm, which is what I’m sensing from these bed linens. It also goes well with the terracotta walls, the combination immediately warms up the space and makes it feel like my little oasis.”
Wellness and self-care are widely talked about these days, we ask what looking after oneself means to Everlyn – “eat well, drink water and get enough sleep, if you manage all of that then also take the time to have a laugh and lots of fun. Self-care is important and should be taken seriously – especially if you have a demanding job and need to be productive daily. Personally, I enjoy dancing and started taking classes after work. Also, I take my rest very seriously, over time I’ve invested in some high quality linen bedding and it’s proven to aid my sleep so much.”Another nighttime ritual that Everlyn swears by is having a skincare routine. “I take it very seriously” – she giggles and prepares to share all secrets to her flawless complexion – “oil cleanser, foam cleanser, toner, essence, serum and an overnight mask. It’s my time of the day to show myself some love, it’s something that makes me feel beautiful, not in a superficial way, but in the way I take care of myself.”
As the evening transitions into night, we have one last thing to ask. “If somebody is lacking motivation in the colder months of the year, or simply wants to get things done, I have a cheat sheet they can follow” – Everlyn answers, as though she’d been expecting it. – “Write a to-do list and allocate some time to finish each task. When you’re in the ‘flow’, do not use social media to break your focus, mute all notifications and make work a priority at that moment. Lastly, take breaks – have a walk to clear your head and come back to it once you’re ready, most successful people know how to be kind to themselves and take care of their bodies."
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