Today green living is a trending topic in Hong Kong.
Looking back six years ago, when Sonalie Figueiras started her own health journey, she had a very tough time finding resources and shops on green living to make lifestyle changes that would allow her to lead a life that is healthier and more environmentally conscious. She started to share the resources she researched for herself on her blog, and Green Queen was born.
Well, not quite that easily. There’s much more to the story.
In this episode, you learn about…
- the importance of discipline and grit when running a conscious business.
- how starting an impact business can happen by accident.
- why developing an App for your business comes with a very different set of challenges than building a website.
- how to communicate digitally in an honest and authentic way and grow your online audience.
- You will also find out what Green Queen Sonalie eats for breakfast and why she is not such a good millennial.
Green Queen’s mission is to encourage, support and inspire people to live a healthier life in Hong Kong and beyond.
“It took me a while to assume the Green Queen title,” Sonalie shares.
When her business partner, co-founder and best friend Tracy Turo joined her to set up Ekowarehouse, a global organic trade platform, Tracy also took a good look at the analytics of Sonalie’s blog and made a surprising discovery: With the rapidly rising number of website visitors the Green Queen website was much more than a personal blog, it could be turned into a business.
At that point, Sonalie did not know too much about Search Engine Optimisation and Keyword research, but she and Tracy wanted to learn all about it and used the Green Queen Blog as a testing ground to get the digital marketing strategy for their other impact business, Ekowarehouse, on the right track.
“This all happened by accident,” Sonalie says about the Green Queen platform.
How lucky for its engaged community that it did. People can find informative articles and resources on Healthy Dining, Eco Lifestyle, Nutrition as well as Health and Fitness on the Green Queen website and App.
When Sonalie started out, some friends questioned her choice to blog about green and healthy living. But Sonalie did not let those reservations stop her.
“I am a hyper observer,” says Sonalie.
That observational skill helped her to see the green consciousness shift that was coming and anticipate that the healthy living movement would gain momentum quickly.
Sonalie definitely has loads of passion for green and healthy living, but she does not think that passion alone is enough.
Sonalie observes that starting a business in Hong Kong is rather easy, as is making a big splash when you first launch. What comes after is much harder, the daily challenges of running and growing a business. She even admits that yes, sometimes, it would be easier just to give up.
“With Green Queen, we really stuck it out,” she shares.
Over the past few years, she has seen a lot of competitors and collaborators come and go. It makes her sad to see that a lot of new health or green businesses disappear after a short amount of time.As an entrepreneur, you need a lot of discipline and grit says @GreenQueenHK founder Sonalie Figueiras Click To Tweet
She believes in the power of great storytelling
Stories that make people connect, think and feel will gain the trust of customers and makes them responsive to your messages. She wants to touch people with beautiful stories, like this one on Tree Therapy – literally just getting out into nature to improve your physical and emotional well-being.
It is this storytelling part of her job that she enjoys most.
She loves finding inspirational stories to share with the Green Queen audience. She likes to feature people that have acted on their beliefs, like Jill Robinson who started AnimalsAsia Foundation a bit over 20 years ago to end bear bile farming in the region. Sonalie finds storytelling a more effective way to engage with her audience, instead of trying to convert readers and force healthy and green living on them.
“You need to allow people to come to their own decision,” says Sonalie.
To help them come to their own decision, Sonalie aims to provide her audience with easily accessible, relevant information. In her case, articles focus on all things healthy and green living, from dining options to eco lifestyle, wellness, fitness, nutrition and health.
Due to her heritage and upbringing, Sonalie is also very sensitive towards the various cultural frameworks of the health discussion.
She has an Indian Mom, a French dad, was born in Hong Kong, educated in the US and lived in the UK before relocating back to Hong Kong around ten years ago.
Everyone is at a different stage of their own, very personal health journey and Sonalie is very conscious of every person’s individuality and creates a space with Green Queen for people to gain access to green and healthy resources to support them to make their own lifestyle choices.
Got some time to give this episode a listen and want to hear Sonalie’s beautiful, strong voice? Scroll all the way up and press play. Then you will also hear what advice she would give her younger self, what we could all do to live a healthier life and why standing up for women in your life is so important.
- A tip from one of Sonalie’s favourite article: spend some time in the greenery. Just find a place of quiet in the nature and see how that makes you feel.
- If you want to live more consciously, pay attention to where you shop and eat. Visit the Green Queen website and get the Green Queen App or other trusted resources closer to your home to help identify businesses that care.
- Find resources and information for your own personal healthy living journey. Could your experience become a helpful resource for other people?