Best of “essence” stories: our nominees – 5 Swiss influencers you should know

Posted on 19/11/2018 by Eileen Schuch
Mondaine Essence Influencers Female Entrepreneurs Sustainability

At the recent launch of its “essence” collection made from renewable materials, Mondaine, the iconic Swiss watch brand, invited our community to join the dialogue about sustainability. For a chance to win 1 of 2 essence watches, you can submit your own story until 19.11.17, at midnight! Simply insert hashtag #mondaine_essence and tag @mondaine_watch and @coolbrandz in your blog and Social Media posts related to the subject. We have also nominated 5 fabulous women who, with their projects, make a considerable contribution in the area. Below is the shortlist of our nominees. You can support your favorite with your vote in our dedicated album on Facebook, on Instagram or by liking this article and posting the name of your selected project in the comment box. The 2 winners will be rewarded with a Mondaine “essence watch” and accompanying pouch made from recycled PET bottles.

Nominee N° 1: Sokhanita – Webforkids

The first person we would like to nominate for our best of “essence” story is Sokhanita with her project Webforkids.

Children are the future. Families are the most important infrastructure for a child: love, education, and socialization… Parents have the responsibility to prepare their offspring for life. To explain how the world works and to assure that their kids grow up into responsible adults themselves. In imparting values such as respect, open-mindedness, empathy and ambition to make the world a better place, parents make a considerable contribution to society. And we, as society, have a responsibility towards parents and their extended families. In helping to give children the best start in life, we all invest in our future. Which is why projects targeted at helping parents merit our support. Sokhanita is a full time working mum of two, Webforkids a collaborative project born out of passion and based on the principle of “shareconomy”.

The idea is for families to exchange material and share resources, lend to each instead of buying new stuff, preserve items and, in passing them on, help others. Users can share their tips and upload items for second hand sale or hire. At the birth of her son, Sokhanita realized how difficult it is for parents to navigate the meanders of the web in search for information relevant to their specific situation. While there are many platforms targeted at families, of course, her project aims at pooling information and inspiration, at creating a support network that extends far beyond the web and, in the process, reducing environmental impact and unnecessary expenditure for young families.

Sokhanita Webforkids Influencer Entrepreneur

Webforkids is a collaborative platform inviting its users to share their tips and upload items for second hand sale or hire. Imagine how easy your life as a parent could be, if you would not have to take all your stuff with you when travelling with the kids, but rent safety seats, highchair, stroller & Co. at destination? If you could also look up kids friendly hotels and restaurants, activities or a nanny by recommendation from a local? Projects like these hit the Zeitgeist of our times. Young entrepreneurs behind these projects are the true influencers we need today to shape the world of tomorrow. If you agree, vote for Sokhanita and show your support for her project!

Nominee N° 2: Nathalie – Merci les abeilles

Our second nominee is Nathalie Lafosse with her project “Merci les abeilles”.

“Qui sont-elles? Où vont-elles? Elles not des ailes… Elles font la cire et le miel…”, these are the lyrics of a famous French nursery rhyme by Pierre Lozère. But who are they indeed, the bees? Why do we seem to forget their importance in the cycle of life despite the fact that we are introduced to those magnificent insects early in our childhood already? We just reap the fruits of their work without even considering the relentless effort they put into producing their delicious honey and wax; the complexity of their organization and their true contribution to nature: pollination.

Bees carry pollen from one flower to another and in doing so help plants reproduce. Without bees, fertilization is not possible, and fruits, that are carrying seeds, cannot develop. We depend on plants as a major food source, though. Maybe you think you don’t need honey. Fine. But what about apples, pears, avocados, wine…? Time is flying, you know it and fact is, bees are dying.

Pesticide use, climate change, diseases… all these occurrences result in bees losing their habitat and us losing entire bee colonies. Beekeepers Associations around the world are concerned. However, politics seem slow to respond. France is even under scrutiny at the moment for authorizing a controversial insecticide!

It is time to act, les amis. Each and every one of us needs to get proactive. Each initiative, however small, is a step in the right direction. We nominate Nathalie and her project “Merci les abeilles”, winner of the Good Festival, for best “essence” story in recognition for raising awareness and proposing tangible solutions. By your vote, show her your support and help her drive her project!

Nominee N° 3: Sara – Sara’s Healthy Kitchen

Our third nominee is Sara Dubler from Sara’s Healthy Kitchen.

She only recently launched her blog and in the short time of its existence, she already proposed many healthy recipes. While Sara embraces cuisines from around the world and proposes easy to make dishes inspired by these international influences, she makes a particular effort to promote meatless alternatives. And that, we salute!

Vegetarian and vegan cuisine becomes more and more popular. Studies prove that there is a correlation between reducing meat consumption and environmental benefits. For many, renouncing meat or animal products all together have ethical reasons. For others, years of abundance and overproduction, often in desolate conditions, have led to questioning how we consider animals, which are sentient beings, and how we consume meat.

There are many initiatives looking to develop, promote and propose alternatives. Without politicizing the topic and without going to extremes, we can probably all agree that plant based alternatives have many benefits: for our health, for the planet, for the animals… more awareness, more consciousness and better knowledge of meatless, tasty recipes are the way forward. We are lucky enough to live in a time and place that offers us choices with regards to the food we eat. It does not always have to be meat!

Sara Sara's Healthy Kitchen Food Influencer

Sara also supports local movers and shapers in the Swiss food scene. One example is her recent collaboration with Bad Hunter, the vegetarian restaurant, for whom she elaborated a series of seasonal dishes. Another, her participation in FoodHack Geneva 2017 and yet another joining Unicef in their #emptyplates campaign in order to raise awareness for the fact that there are many children going hungry because, sadly, the riches of the world are not distributed equally. While we live in abundance, others starve.

Young people like Sara, who make conscious lifestyle choices and support causes in line with their values, are influential in inspiring their peers to follow their lead. If you believe in the correlation of reducing meat consumption and environmental benefits, if you think Sara does a great job in exploring plant based alternatives and projecting her recipe inspirations into the digital space, then support her with your vote and like this post!

Nominee N° 4: Arlette – Rubbish Upcycling

Our fourth nominee is Arlette Bélat with her project Rubbish Upcycling.

We love projects that are born out of passion and Arlette’s is one of them. She loves to embrace the elements: water, wind, earth… being outside and enjoying nature is her greatest joy; pushing the limits and surpassing herself her daily challenge; the outdoors and practicing sports on the water or in the air are her passion. Naturally, she has a keen interest in preserving her favorite playground.

That is why, one day, she asked herself what to do with the things needed to practice the sports like sailing, kite surfing, paragliding… once they reached the end of their first life cycle. Throw them away? “No!”, she decided, they are not going to join the ever-growing amount of rubbish that we produce and that pollutes our environment. She gave used kites and sails a name and repurposed them under the brand “Rubbish”.

Arlette Female Entrepreneur Rubbish Upcycling

Although the items can no longer be used for their original purpose, they still offer great features: strength of material, colors, graphic design, texture… each has its own story, long hours of riding on the sea or flying in the air; times of happiness and being one with nature. In each one is the essence of past travels, crossing lakes, seas and oceans through all types of weather conditions from storms to calm, sun to rain… Each past rider, pilot or sailor is giving something back through the act of passing on their adventures in order to enable the creation of Rubbish bags and products.

Are you a passionate sports person who loves to play and compete with the elements, who recognizes that time is running out if we do not proactively support Mother Earth and reduce all the rubbish produced by humankind, if you want to support Arlette’s nomination for the best “essence story” with her Upcycling initiative, then vote for her by liking this post!

Nominee N° 5: Isabelle – Chickids

Our fifth nominee is Isabelle Tretola Grobéty with her project ChicKids.

In the discourse around sustainability, two pillars are very important: food and children. Food in the sense that a.) our planet’s food resources are not distributed equally, they are limited if not in danger, b.) existing food sources have to be cherished and preserved and alternatives explored and c.) the respectful handling of food is something that needs to be reintegrated in our daily lives and the seed for sustainability installed in our children as early as possible so that we can all work together in making the world a better place for everyone.

We find Isabelle’s project “Chickids” interesting because it responds to all of these aspects and ONE MORE: implying the local players, those restaurants that make a particular effort to introduce children to good food and the lifestyle that goes with it. Chickids is a label that distinguishes local gastronomic establishments, which offer parents the possibility to introduce their children to “kids friendly” eating experiences. Going out and enjoying a good meal is one of the many occasions to celebrate life. It helps us connect, appreciate the craft that is cooking, it also introduces children to society and teaches them etiquette.

Chickids deserves our support, because it is the platform that connects all the dots: it celebrates local cuisine, it helps parents to maintain that aspect of their lifestyle, and it introduces kids to good food and helps them develop respect for what they eat and the people who prepare it for them. It is project driven by a passionate entrepreneur and that reposes on community spirit.

If you are as passionate about food and the education of children in relation with it, if highlighting local players in the domain is as important to you as it is for Isabelle and us, if you believe that good food and the respectful, sustainable handling of it are a major contribution in the canon of all the things we can – we must – put in place to preserve our planet, our resources, our traditions, then vote for Isabelle’s “essence” story by giving this post your LIKE!




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