Could you please introduce yourself?
We are a German- French couple, Cira, 42 and Stéphane, 43 years old, with a 4 year-old boy, called Lugh. I’m born in Berlin and Stéphane is from Vannes in Brittany. He has always lived close to the ocean, versus me. I have grown up close to Wiesbaden in the middle of Germany. But once I was twenty and ready to leave my parents place I always stayed close to the magnetic forces of mountains and oceans. I have lived in Australia, Canada, Austria, UK, France, South Africa and Switzerland for a long time. Stéphane has travelled South America, Indonesia, has written one of the first reports on the Salomon Islands and lived on Hawaii. We are now in the South-West of France and in Switzerland in the wintertime.
How did you come up with the idea of GreenroomVoice?
The idea of GRV was born, when I was working as the co-editor in chief for 7sky Magazine in Lausanne. Back in the days, the board sports industry communicated a lot around sustainability in products and philanthropy. I have always had a passion for the subject. Eventually we came up with a sustainability framework and analytic tool, to have a look at the CSR management of a brand and the sustainable aspects of its products. The Transparency Tool is designed to give clarity and helps to compare what is comparable. We focus on communicating the complexities in this field, and mapping out the jungle of labels and standards, like a guide for orientation. This helps brands to benchmark their own performance and understand priorities. It also helps journalists and retail sales staff and eventually the end-consumer to have a better idea of what impact which label, material, process, etc. has, and what it is worth in comparison with other possible business practices.
On which projects are you working on right now?
Right now, we are working on organizing two events, one at Performance Days, which is a trade fair for supplying garment and ingredient brands. Here we are creating an informational guide on recycled and recyclable material and two workshops on the subject. And the other one is the OutDoor Show in Friedrichshafen in July, where we build a showcase on Circular Economy, supported by workshops and presentations. We are also just starting to test our knowledge with the interested “end consumer” – in lack of a better word! I really don’t like being called a consumer or customer, even though I am and we all represent that particular important piece of the economic puzzle. The idea is, to bring the knowledge we have gathered closer to the person who will take a decision on buying the one or the other product and therefore acting towards or against a healthier environment for many… Think about the people, animals and plants living in the producing countries and think about our kid’s future. Ideally this buying decision is based on well-researched and trustworthy information on social and environmental aspects. The shooting we did with you, Moritz, is all about communicating that content.
Is there any favorite spot/ country and why?
We really enjoy the places we spend most of our time: the beaches and forests around the Seignosse area in the summer and the Swiss mountains, when it gets rainy and cold. There I especially love the larch forests in autumn, which are golden and full of energy. And the snowboarding of course! But most important is spending time with the people we really appreciate. We have both travelled very intensively for most of our 20s and 30s and I have to admit, that I absolutely adore being home now. I have internally switched from “consuming a place” while travelling to creating my own environment and committing to a place. Seeing Lugh grow up in such a healthy and free place is cool. Of course it can be very quiet and void of input at times, compared to living closer to a real city, and even though this can be scary in terms of professional and personal development, it gives me time to digest information and be creative. For inspiration I lean on the people I work with, which I appreciate a lot! First and foremost of all, Anna Rodewald our business partner, who is based in Munich. She is a textile engineer with over 20 years of experience. She also loves being outside and has an education in perma-culture. She really makes me smile, when she talks about the worm farm in her bathroom!
In five years time, I guess that everything will kind of be the same, just a little more developed.
We also plan to create eco friendly accommodation on our land, 5 minutes away from the ocean under the famous Atlantic pine trees. This will be fun and hopefully done by then. I also work on being to be a better surfer, exchanging that snowboarding style with the elegant tiptoeing dance, that I love seeing on others so much.
Tell us something about your home.
Seignosse is a small community by the beach. The people are pretty international and often have similar backgrounds then we do. A good base. We have been a bit everywhere and always came back to it. We got the best beach breaks in Europe just out the door and especially to Stéphane that’s almost a reason that can beat any other. The ever- changing sandbanks always create good surprises somewhere. It does get crowded, but there are ways to escape. It is not always the super cool hippie town that people have in mind, when they come by in the summer months, when this place buzzes with live concerts and all sorts of social happenings. But it still is pretty perfect, if you like living by the ocean, enjoy the occasional storm and if you don’t mind hunting and rugby fans as your neighbors. In winter this slows down to be a quiet French town like any other, far away from anything. It can get a bit rainy, but we are not really here for the worst part of the year, so it’s easy to handle.
Socially it’s a bit of the same story. There is a lot of movement. Some residents are only there half of the year, others keep moving. It’s not the easiest place to make a living. Village life seems to happen between la Boulangerie, le Vival grocery store and elementary school parking lot. Seignosse definitely lacks a good coffee place to hang out!
What does a typical day in the life of Cira and Stéphane look like?
Stéphane tries not to check out the surf cams before doing yoga and being finished before 8 am otherwise the dog and Lugh will take over his mat. Then we try to get organized before its time to go back to school or go get some waves before others get on them. On a typical day I would do most of my concentrated work, like writing, etc. in the mornings, connected to Anna on skype. In the afternoon I play with Lugh, but thanks to being connected, I can kind of do my emails on the beach. When the waves are good for me, I go surfing and work around that, evening, weekend, whatever- it’s just important to get the stuff done. Eventually we go back to the beach for the sunset session. Whoever puts Lugh to bed, falls asleep next to him, and misses everything else. If it’s not me, I read, play the guitar or clean up. We don’t have a TV and never manage to see a movie, which kind of sucks.
What springs to mind for the following keywords?
– Social Media: Inspirational, time-consuming, change, new society, the chance to create.
Stéphane lost his facebook password and it’s not a bad thing since it’s all happening on snapchat, right?
– Music: Cumbia in the background. I enjoy singing and playing the guitar.
– Role Model: I feel inspired by people who act wisely, embrace change, who think and feel bigger, above and beyond their own daily routines. Not “away from”, but “towards” something that releases, rather then stresses. People that can hold the space for empathy and connectedness.
– Flow: It’s the perfect state of mind. Sometimes it comes, it feels good, it’s just hard to keep up with it.
– Inspiration: Besides Peter Handke for Stéphane who loves literature, I’m inspired by anything beautiful. Actions, animals, people, spaces, places, man made arte-facts, natural masterpieces, community, wisdom. But also challenge, fear, pain and jealousy. Whenever something is keeping my mind busy, I look closer to understand what it is and draw inspiration from that. I found that the greatest inspirational moments in my life came from a place of pain and restlessness.
– Adventure: Feeling the edge of believing in positive change. Even, if it is not always very clear or obvious. Not listening to other people’s doubts but to their hopes and experiences. Motherhood is a serious adventure, too (and I love it!)!!
Have a look at GreenroomVoice here: greenroomvoice.com