In this series, we delve into the works and musings of artists, fashion stylists, designers, entrepreneurs, and other creatives who continue to share their craft and inspire others to carve their own path and cultivate a sense of hope and passion.
This conversation has been edited for clarity.
Mari Jasmine is widely known for her work as a TV host, blogger, and model, but she is also the co-founder of SORA. She — along with her good friend and business partner Christine Dahl — continues to advocate sustainable living and effect positive change by creating multifunctional towels that “make a statement both visually and ethically.” Each towel is made from 85% recycled materials (containing about eight recycled plastic bottles) and in a fabric that’s certified by the internationally recognized Global Recycle Standard. As both founders are especially mindful of how their products are made, each cotton drawstring bag that carries their towel is biodegradable and made from 100% organic cotton, while the paper packaging that wraps around each towel is kraft paper made from recycled wheat straws. Even their business cards are sourced from recycled paper.
As their website reads, “As a business, and as consumers, it’s our responsibility to be mindful about how our lifestyle choices affect this planet…We believe in staying light, being grounded, while always reaching for new heights.” Here, Mari shares what she’s been up to and how their brand is moving forward in the midst of this new normal.
“I miss my friends in Manila! I’m currently in Sydney and whilst I’m so grateful to be here, this is the longest I’ve been away from Manila in over seven years. We stay in touch of course, but there’s nothing like hanging out in person and giving them a hug.
“My post-quarantine agenda would definitely involve visiting my grandmother in the UK, and my business partner whom I haven’t seen since the beginning of the year!
“This new normal has also made me feel like a kid again — living with my parents and having my mum cook for me. I’m very grateful to be able to spend this time with them.
Self-awareness is something that requires time and effort
“I’ve also never journaled as consistently as I have during quarantine. I think this was partly due to living such a hurried life, which in hindsight, was unsustainable. As much as I tried to give myself time and space in the mornings, I was always rushing to a meeting or a yoga class or some sort of event. Now I really try to start the day with a calm mind, and I take my rituals seriously. I’ve noticed that it makes all the difference and the peace of mind I have carries throughout the day.
“I also realized that I still have a lot to discover about myself. Self-awareness is something that requires time and effort!
“With all challenges there are many things to learn, and we, at SORA, have tried to be as agile and flexible as we can in this situation. We have an incredible team of four who all live in different cities and timezones, but we’re able to make things work remotely by communicating often and adjusting our schedules.
“Uncertainty makes planning and projecting a little more difficult at the moment. We don’t know what the world will look like in six months, and we’re not sure when we’re going to be able to see each other again. However, we’re adjusting our expectations, budgeting conservatively, as well as staying as agile and flexible as possible with our plans.
We’ve taken this time to slow down, take a step back, and really look at our brand values as well as our relationship with our community
“Producing campaigns and brand imagery can also be challenging at this time. However, we’ve worked with some amazing creatives that we’ve collaborated with to create content for us remotely.
“We’ve taken this time to slow down, take a step back, and really look at our brand values as well as our relationship with our community.”
“As an entrepreneur, creativity and creative thinking is part of my every day. From problem solving to putting together a campaign shoot, it’s central to what we do.
“However, I do think there’s a lot of pressure to be productive or creative during quarantine, and being kind to ourselves can go a long way. Not comparing our creative output to previous periods and doing the best we can during this time is good enough.”— Mari Jasmine as told to Carmencita S. Sioson