Victoria Jones from Saya Designs
Victoria is the mastermind behind Saya designs. A small business that utilises salvaged root wood from old plantations and creating something beautiful out of them -whilst also going full circle by planting at least one endangered tree per purchase. If you want to know more, you can check out my deep dive in Saya here.
I think one thing that's incredibly inspiring about small businesses is that you are actually able to hear their story and get to know the person behind the brand. Victoria's story is an epic one and it's one of the main reasons that this Beyond the brand series was formed. My goal with this interview, and those to come, is to dive deeper into the brand and the people behind it.
So with that, let's dive right into the first interview in the Beyond the brand series. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
What made you start Saya?
S A Y A started as a little testing ground in making things for myself. I have always been heavily inspired by the process in crafts, traditional and contemporary and been fascinated with materials, textures, shapes etc especially when they are natural and organic. Making things for myself has been fun and lead me to ask bigger questions about the who, the why and where things come from. I wanted to find a way to give back, sustainably i.e.. more than one-off gestures and I realised consistency and stability for grassroots trade was key. So, I started S A Y A as a business to create that responsibility! Researching the logging industry in Indonesia felt like opening a bag of worms, but I was determined to not let that demotivate me! I continued to ask questions and not stop till I found out ways in which to help that I found honest and had potential. I knew starting small was the way to go about these things so I did, and by reaching out right away to the community that create lifestyles on a similar principle to me I thought was the best step forwards in getting it out there! In short, I wanted to give back and support the world in which I love, sustain local craft and employment and spread the wealth, make interesting things and find a way to connect those wanting to directly make an impact.
What has been the most challenging thing you have uncovered since beginning Saya?
The most challenging thing is not letting my optimism be defeated in what I think is today's political and environmental crisis. If I focused on the negative aspects of things like corruption and existing damage done to the planet, I wouldn't have room left to help make the positive shift we all need to do in this next, post trump chapter.
What is one tip you would give to someone starting out in entrepreneurship?
Ask a lot of questions and don't take no for an answer. Create a good support network of people around you who will encourage you and be there to talk about up's and down's as there will be both.
Best piece of advice you have ever received?
Hmm, best piece of advice. One recently was something my boyfriend Rich said which was, every time you think about stopping at a hurdle, that is where someone else had stopped before and what will make you better is if you make it to the next! Also, the 'Suncreen' video by Jon Something, I listen to that now and again for a little dose of grandfatherly wisdom.
One book everyone should read?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
Where do you envision Saya in the future?
I envision S A Y A to be a platform or collective of people with similar ideas to me. Bringing together creative and unique ways to be innovative with waste materials and being able to make beautiful things. I want it to be transparent, collaborative, insightful and have direct impact on communities or natural environments.
What inspires you to do what you do on a daily basis?
This life! I see so much beauty and wonder on the planet. People I meet every day and natural landscapes show me how big and how interesting this existence is and how we can't just throw our individual experience away. I think of all the generations past us of courageous women and men living in tough times and I count myself lucky, too lucky to not put in the effort to be courageous and do my best!
What does your everyday morning look like?
Right now I am living in Bali and have made a home and community of friends here of similar paths. My every day looks quite hectic but really it isn't, I drive around a lot trying to pick things up and move from cafe to co-working space, forget to eat, get stuck behind a truck and feel frustrated, have a few showers because it's hot and when I am good to do things like yoga and meditation. But recently I haven't been so good!
Are there any other Movers & shakers out there in your world that you think people should know about?
You know, I am on the lookout myself and will let you know when I have found some. I have friends who are doing great things in their own way in the art scene or working to care for others in interesting ways. I think our generation will shortly be quite telling, the uprise of this current grassroots activism will start to show and I look forward to that exposure!
If you want your own special piece of Saya, you can check out their website here, or follow them on their socials over on Instagram and Facebook.