Women Who Launch: Green Living

Delphinia Tam-Lower, 36 and Militza Maury, 34
Founders, Green Living

[Delphinia (mom (2) + lawyer)] + [Militza (mom(2) + fashion designer)] = entrepreneurial success formula based on friendship and a mutual passion for eco-friendly living. 

The story of two friends who met over the internet and shared a passion for living the simple natural life. Many months of  homemade experimentation and kitchen adventures brought them to discover plenty of simple, earth friendly recipes that they wanted to share with others. This is the short story of Delphinia and Militza.

About Delphinia. Delphinia is a UK law graduate who walked away from a cushy job offer at an established law firm, and started her career in advertising and brand consultancy instead. In recent years, Delphinia has taken on the role as the distributor for her mother-in-law’s all natural baby skincare brand, Four Cow Farm.

About Militza. Militza is an American backpacker who was on a backpacking adventure around Asia. Midway through Australia, she ran out of money and decided to get a job as a fashion designer for a local Australian fashion house. That was ten years ago.

Somewhere along the way, their paths crossed in Singapore about two years ago. Today, both Delphinia (Del) and Militza are based in Singapore; and working partners of an initiative they started called Green Living.

How did you meet?
Del: Like all great relationships, ours began on the internet.
Militza: It started when I was out sourcing for products for my blog, Little Green Dot. I was at a store and saw the Four Cow Farm products on the shelf. I wanted to get more information. So, I wrote to Delphinia. Since then, we struck a friendship and have been catching up with each other every few months.

What started the idea of Green Living?
Del: It started as a series a workshops where Militza and I wanted to help others start on living a simplier, greener lifestyle. Personally, we went through a lot of learning and experimenting when we started doing this; and thought it would be a great idea to share what works and what doesn’t.
Militza: Green Living is a response to what Del and I were experiencing in our own lives, and feeling that there must be others out there we could connect with. And wow, were we right!

What is it like working with a friend?
Del: Fabulous. You cannot underestimate how important it is to find someone you click with, but also one who compliments you and challenges you at the same time. Sort of like a marriage! It makes ideas better, delivery better, it forces you (both) to do better, and think bigger.
Militza: I’ve had experiences in the past that hasn’t worked so well. But working with Del is great. I believe the difference here is we have a mutual sense of mission. We laid down a solid foundation to build on, and that is – we wanted to help people find happiness and a sense of fulfillment through living a more connected and simple life.

What advise would you give to others about starting a business venture with a friend?
Militza: It is important to be pragmatic about it. Identify your roles clearly, set measurable goals for the company that you are both aligned with, and work out (in advance) how you would handle situations that arise. A clear understanding of working relationships is vital.

How do you determine your work roles?
Del: It was easy for us. My work (at Four Cow Farm) has given me a wealth of information and good base of knowledge. Plus, like any lawyer, I naturally do loads of research on things that intrigue me. So with Green Living, I am usually the one presenting the facts and information.
Militza: For me, I am always experimenting and make all sort of home-made concoctions. So with Green Living, I conduct the DIY demonstrations.

How has Green Living evolved since it started?
Del: Our first workshop was on 15 March 2011. We started with 6 attendees.
Militza: Since then, we have conducted over 15 workshops and connected with over 400 workshop attendees (in total). Apart from public workshops, we have also started to do corporate workshops as well.

What challenges do you face?
Del: Green Living started off as an idea to share what we’d learn to others – all the knowledge, recipes, tips and ideas collected over the years. Now, as our audience base is growing, we find ourselves running a business instead. Our main challenge is time – finding time to juggle everything else in our lives and having a clear vision of what we would like to achieve with Green Living in the future.

In your opinion, are Singaporean women and families open to eco-living?
Del: Yes! There is a huge interest and desire to live greener. We have people of all ages and backgrounds at our workshops.
Militza: Absolutely. We have not spent a dollar on marketing or advertising, yet people have found us because they were out there looking for ideas and information. While they may find our solutions – like cleaning the kitchen with vinegar – a bit crazy at first, they are open enough to go home to try it. And once they do, they are hooked. We have members in our Green Living community who have been with us since our early workshops.

What are the most common barriers people face in adopting a greener lifestyle?
Del: Not knowing how and where to start. And sourcing for items. There is a lot of information available in Singapore. You just need to know where to look.
Militza: I think it’s about breaking down misconceptions. People have the extreme view that living a green life is as if its all or nothing. We have a more inclusive view. We are interested in the everyday choices we make with food, home and life. There are lots of inspirations that you can bring into your life without needing to subscribe to only one way of thinking. Little changes and choices made can add up and have a huge impact.

Given our busy and hectic pace of life in Singapore and most have maids/helpers, how easy (or hard) is it for Singaporean families to simplify and be more eco-friendly in their life?
Del: Very easy. That is our main message and experience at our workshops, which is that it looks complicated, serious and expensive – but it’s not! In fact, it’s simple, fun and very inexpensive. It is all about knowing the tools and tricks, what works and what doesn’t. The workshops we conduct provide people with the information, and make it easy-to-do for families.
Militza: I always tell people who feel overwhelmed to begin with one simple change. That’s it. You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) turn over your entire life at once. At our Detoxify Your Home workshop, we teach a lot of different green cleaning recipes. Our Window Cleaners and Febreeze replacement are really popular. So if someone just begins there, that alone will make a difference.

Who inspires you?
Del: My mother-in-law. She is in her 60s, yet she has such a great attitude to life. She is passionate about what she does and lives to her fullest potential. Her drive, commitment and passion behind what she does for her farm’s baby natural products, Four Cow Farm, is so inspiring to me.
Militza: I am inspired by all the people who come to us because they want to make changes in their lives. Despite being tired, overworked, busy and frustrated, they still take responsibility for their actions and strive to learn more. This motivates me to stay current and help them succeed.

My 3 quick tips for a greener home & living are…
1. Going simpler, paring down, stop buying what you don’t really need.
2. Think creatively – what you can reuse, use differently or do differently?
3. Get your kids and husband involved. Teach each other, try new things and see what works.
1. Challenge yourself to cook, make or try something new every month – a vegetarian burger, make homemade cheese, steep an infused vinegar…stay curious and creative.
2.Surround yourself with people who are living a positive and inspiring life. Seek them out, join groups or start your own (that’s how we did it)!
3. Start everyday feeling grateful. That sense of gratitude for the simple things in life give us a sense of perspective and can affect the choices we go on to make in our day.

How do you practice eco-consious living in your own daily lives and households?
Del: My family has veggie days at least twice a week, and eat meat sparingly outside of that. We compost as much as we can, and we are big apartment herb growers.We reuse everything and think very carefully about what we buy and being into the home. We always bring our own bags wherever we go.
Militza: With my family, we talk a lot about gratitude and enjoying the small, simple things. We talk a lot about litter and being responsible. We always have whole fresh fruits and vegetables in the house. We also make lots of things together and spend time outdoors exploring and enjoying nature.

If you had to play your part in saying the planet in just ONE way, what would it be?
Del: Buy less. Choose what I buy more carefully and buy stuff I love. Then, make the rest!
Militza: Spend time with my family making green eco-friendly recipes together.

Thanks Delphinia and Militza ♥
To find out for about Green Living and upcoming workshops, visit their Facebook page.

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