Anna vividly describes navigating life as a co-founder of a successful, sustainable fashion brand called Hēdoïne as ‘a never ending juggling act’ that can ‘leave your mind feeling like a bustling city at rush hour’.
Q: How has it been since moving to New York?
A: We jumped right into New York life. We live between Manhattan and Rhinebeck, which is up in the Hudson Valley, and it is really a great balance.
And I mean, it couldn't be more contrary. We have the concrete jungle here, which, you know, it's vibrant and energetic, and then you have an actual jungle out there.
I mean, if you take the train up to the Hudson Valley, like for 30 minutes, it's just a completely different world.
It’s water, its nature. And nature is taking over there. Especially in the last few weeks. It's been raining and it's just green and it's very, very calming and soothing.
Q: It’s amazing that you get to experience both of these environments— that balance between city life and nature. In moving across the world, how do you build your own personal haven in these two spaces that you have?
A: I've moved all my life. I grew up in Germany, but then went to high school in the States and then I spent some time in Singapore and London and different cities in Germany. So I really love and embrace it, because I think it widens your horizons.
I think overall, creating your personal haven involves a very thoughtful approach about curating a space that resonates with your individuality and that nurtures your wellbeing.
I think there's a few key aspects to establishing a foundation. Firstly, it's crucial to find a space that aligns with your lifestyle and your preferences. So whether it's a cosy apartment, or a spacious loft, or a house on the green, the environment should really reflect your taste and what provides comfort to you.
Next is to prioritise creating an atmosphere that really promotes relaxation and creativity. And for me, that's selecting furniture and colours and decor that evoke those positive emotions that stimulate inspiration.
And further, regular decluttering and organising not only enhances the aesthetics of where you live, but it also contributes to a sense of tranquillity.I mean, you will find a lot of plants in our house and scented candles and reed diffusers in almost every room [laughs]. I'm literally obsessed.
Then finally, I think a personal haven probably goes beyond just the physical space. It's really about engaging with the local community and exploring cultural offerings and establishing a routine that balances work and life and relaxation and exploration.
And that's been essential for me in New York and Rhinebeck to really feel home. Having a daily routine that involves physical but also mental stimulation is definitely essential.
Q: I love everything you just said! And as co-founder of Hēdoïne, navigating what is sure to be a very hectic schedule, how do you make sure you’re taking care of your mental health? What are some of your wellbeing practices?
A: Yeah, navigating a fast paced world and co-founding comes with a whirlwind of responsibilities and time demands. So it's a never ending juggling act and it leaves your mind feeling like a bustling city at rush hour. When we started off, it was a bit of rush hour all the time. And I think that's probably needed during the first few years— we've been doing this for over six years now.
Over time, I developed practices to nurture my wellbeing, and that remains a priority, which I think is really key to sustain such an environment for such a long time. So, you know, amidst all the deadlines and the cortisol rushes and the high pressure situations, I always appreciate the art of stepping back.
It's that, or sometimes I just go to the gym and listen to music and lift some weights to just sweat and get it out. That physical engagement of your body is really essential.
I do have a dog, which is such a joy and it really pushes you to go out and be in nature whether you like it or not, whether it's cold, or at night. The dog needs to walk. And it's really soothing. It's a great ritual. It’s reconnecting with nature and embracing the present moment. Yeah, just enjoying those laptop free moments.
Q: Thinking about nature— can you tell me a bit about why you’ve chosen to make sustainability such a focal point for Hēdoïne? And maybe how that sustainability journey, in a broad sense, relates to our own personal wellbeing?
A: At Hēdoïne, sustainability is not just a buzzword. It's really a commitment to crafting a better future.
So far, brand sustainability means reducing our environmental footprint by using eco-friendly materials and ethical practices throughout the production process. It means creating durable products that stand the test of time, contributing to more conscious living and a less wasteful fashion industry.
I think personally, sustainability aligns with my values overall. It's really about leaving a positive legacy for the generations to come by prioritising sustainable practices, showing respect for the environment and acknowledging that our choices today impact the world tomorrow.
So, I mean, for me, personal wellbeing and sustainability is really intertwined in a beautiful dance.
When we make mindful choices for the planet, we often make choices that benefit ourselves and our surroundings. So adopting sustainable habits encourages us to reconnect with nature, with the practice of mindfulness, and live very intentionally. And I think that's just a circle of positive influence— we care for the earth and the earth gives back to us.