Eking Out A Conscious Living
It all began with an idea of a feather floating aimlessly in the wind. Not wanting to be part of an aimless pack in society anymore, Supatriana Supaat decided that it was time for her to adopt a more focused and conscious lifestyle.
I felt that many of us, myself included, are like this feather – we are going where the wind blows, leading our lives based on what people and society expect us to do. So this whole idea of Livconsciously actually came about from that. It’s about living your conscious life based on conscious choices, decisions and options, and based on your own values and truths. I wanted to nurture a community of conscious consumers and producers and to try and protect the environment as well as vulnerable communities.
Triana (as she’s fondly known to her family and friends) is very passionate about passing on this new awakening to the rest of society. She feels that collective action is needed in order to save the world, especially when it comes to environment degradation and the overconsumption of mass products.
Whenever the environment is being exploited, poor people also get exploited – they are most at risk and are unfairly treated. When we buy things without thinking and aren’t being socially and environmentally conscious, we add to this exploitation of the environment and people.
Also, there are so many people doing good things who are having a challenging time competing with big players on an unequal playing field. Sometimes, they have to compromise on their causes to compete, like bringing down their prices or even contemplating mass production. But at the end of it all, you're not really helping people and your products will be affected. I think it’s sad and unfair when a social entrepreneur has to start compromising his or her own values of why he or she started the business. So I was inspired to think about how I can try to address these issues.
What better way to do this than to embark on a social entrepreneurship journey? One that married profit with sustainability and social impact. So the 44-year-old left the corporate world – one that she had been in for the past two decades or so – and spent the last year working tirelessly to see her idea through fruition. Triana wanted to create a platform that will allow her to not only change consumer mindsets but also advocate the causes and products of other like-minded social entrepreneurs.
We believe in collaborating with partners who are aligned with our causes. They are already doing good work so we will feature them and showcase their products. So we adopted a three-pronged approach. First, we provide an e-commerce platform where you can easily find and support products or initiatives that create social impact, ranging from protecting the environment, empowering vulnerable communities and championing other social issues. Second, we feature stories or initiatives on social and environmental causes. Third, we take action by supporting a community of people who will rally together to raise funds and support awareness on specific causes. Livconsciously will also put up a certain percentage of our profits to support some of these causes.
Ultimately, Triana wants to build a brand that will churn out positive results, both socially and financially. It’s about paying it forward, but with some costs involved. It may sound ambitious, but Triana is confident that consumers will see the bigger picture.
When you buy the products on my platform and take part in some of these initiatives, you are multiplying the social impact. For example, if you buy a fair-trade product, it directly helps a poor and marginalised community in Southeast Asia. If you buy things which are eco-friendly, like a reusable cup, you’re helping to cut down on the environment exploitation. So it’s about changing mindsets, consumer behaviors and lifestyles. You have to start small. Hopefully, the consumers know that they’re doing good by buying items from my partners who are already doing good. Then you can create a do good community and get more ideas. That's when you can spearhead more initiatives to help more people.
But are Singaporeans ready to live consciously? This term is a big thing in the Western world but isn’t it still a relatively rare concept here? Well, according to a Nielsen study, four in five Singaporeans are willing to pay for products that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly. And it’s this revelation that gives hope to Triana about the direction her business is headed towards.
There is actually a sustainability and conscious-living mindset here. It’s gaining traction in Singapore, especially among the young and people in their 30s and 40s. There is a market for it but maybe people just don't have the time. So this is where Livconsciously comes in. We will offer that value to consumers who want to support social impact initiatives and hopefully, build a socially-conscious community.
Stay tuned for more about Triana's social entrepreneurship journey.