Minna / Founder of Embrosé
I want to start charing more inspiring women’s stories here on the blog. I hope these stories can inspire YOU to follow your passions and make your dreams come true. In today’s interview we get to know Minna Vähäsarja a little better. Minna is the founder of the most beautiful web shop Embrosé where you’ll find all things good for body and soul. We talk depression, dreams and how to make your business dreams reality.
Hi Minna and thank you for your time. Feel free to tell us all a little bit about yourself.
Hello Ida! I’m glad you wanted to interview me, that’s a great honor. I really admire your work! This is the hardest question! I’m just a regular 27- year-old girl living in Helsinki who decided to try living her dream! I have studied marketing, business and fashion. I love tea, dogs, yoga, art and bright colors. I dream of traveling around the world and having the freedom to work when and where ever I want to. Last winter my intuition told me to start my own business, do what I love and to work towards my dreams.
What is the story behind Embrosé? How did it all begin?
I graduated two years ago from fashion and clothing studies. After the graduation I figured out that I’m not that into the whole fashion industry. I love clothes of course, but when I learned that the fashion industry is one of the most harmful industries on the planet, I decided I that i didn’t want to support that. There are already too many clothes for the planet to handle. I researched in ecological and sustainable ways of living and this became my passion.
I have been searching for myself over the last few years and tried to figure out what I really want. It was a really long and frustrating process and some days I believed that I had no purpose in life. I went to numerous job interviews and was never the first one. I felt that I wasn’t good at anything. Now afterwards I see that I just hadn’t found my thing.
Last winter something happened. The pieces just fell together and my intuition told me what I really want to do. I wanted to combine my love for sustainability, marketing, beautiful products and helping people. I have personally felt that yoga, meditation, reading self-improvement books and taking care of myself have been the best ways to deal with my anxiety. I wanted to bring these products to my assortment so they could make someone else’s day a little better. This is how Embrosé was born and I couldn’t be happier of the decision. It did take a lot of patience, but it was all worth it.
What does the name Embrosé stand for?
About five years ago I wrote a fashion and lifestyle blog called Minna Rosé because I love the rose color (and the wine, haha!). The name became really important to me during the years and as Embrosé contains the word rosé, it also sound similar than the word embrace. The professional name of Embrosé is actually Embrosé Life & Co, which is almost like embrace life. This is something that I want to encourage everyone to do. Life is a beautiful gift and I hope everyone to realise it!
What are the best things about starting your own business and creating a brand you love?
The happiness and the joy I get from it everyday! Of course, there are moments of frustration and stress, but the joy overcomes it all. This kind of joy is something I haven’t felt in years, or maybe ever, when you can do literally something you have always wanted to do. It feels so good, that it doesn’t even feel like I’m working! Also, the motivation is so much stronger when you run your own business, than when you work for someone else. You are fully responsible of all the results!
What was the hardest part in making your business dream come true?
Of course, there is a lot to do - especially in the beginning. All the boring paper work, running on errands and carrying heavy boxes. I’ve done almost everything myself and some days I’ve wished for a few extra helping hands. Besides all this I’ve still felt that it’s all been worth it so far.
Also, getting the loan for starting up the business was really hard. I worked really hard for it and got negative answers from three different places, but in the end I got the loan! I’ve learned that there are a lot of things I don’t have any impact on, even if I wanted to, for example when it comes to technical difficulties and shipment.
The most challenging part was when my boyfriend got sick during Spring. It’s been really hard for both of us. Some days are tough as I really need to be there for him and I can’t give the business much energy. I try to meditate often and stay positive in order to not get too stressed. Yet, some days it’s easier said than done. Thankfully the business has given me so much energy and happiness that I can deal with the negative thoughts.
Name three things from the Embrosé web shop that you can't live without.
Karita Sainio - Hyvin Eletty
This book is one of my all time favourites! It is a beautiful and modern guide for sustainable living, including beauty, fashion, food and home. It opened my eyes for many things, especially plant based nutrition. The pictures in the book are also very pretty!
Sisters & Co Super Seed Facial Formula
I love the rosy smell of this oil. It gives a little luxury to my day and makes my skin super soft. My mum, cousin and few friends started to use this right after I let them try mine!
Tisserand Orange Essential Oil
I have a whole range of essential oils in my home and use them everyday. I love their multi-functionality! Orange essential oil is personally really important to me as it brings me joy, relieves anxiety and soothes.
How do you source all the products? Everything seems so perfectly thought of.
Before I buy anything to the assortment I do some research on the brand. Especially how ecologically and sustainably their work is. I only buy products that I really believe in, that work and bring joy to myself. I personally love to buy beautiful things that I just want keep looking at and that is why I also wanted to bring products to the assortment that look visually lovely.
I mostly source products from small brands who produce their products in small batches and use high quality natural ingredients. It’s really important to me and supports the sustainable line of Embrosé.
Name one everyday routine that has helped your own mental health.
I have been fighting depression and anxiety for many years. I try to meditate every day. I read self improvement books every day before bed. I also write a daily journal (The Happiness Planner) that helps me to train gratitude and to clear my head. I also love doing yoga few times a week! Recovering from depression is a big journey that needs also professional help.
I have big dreams and believe everything will work out. This has helped me through difficulties in life. There will be darker times in everyone’s life, but I’ve learned that they’ll always pass. I needed to accept that the darker parts also are a part of life and that there is still so much beauty and joy in the world!
Let's manifest a little. Where would you like to see Embrosé going in the future?
As I told, I love to dream big and I really hope Embrosé will grow within the next few years. I want to expand the assortment more, sell bigger selection of brands and also offer different services in order to help more people. At some point I also really want to produce Embrosé’s own product line!
To begin with, the smaller dream for me is to work with Embrosé full-time. I believe that will happen soon! I would love to have a few employees in my team and also start selling abroad. One day I might open a small boutique in central Helsinki!
I know a lot of talented women entrepreneurs and freelancers who I’d love to cooperate with in the future somehow. I also want to take part in charity work in even bigger scale.
Thank you so much for your time Minna! One last question. What is your one advice to other ladies out there who would like to start their own business and make their dream reality?
This is really cliché: you just have to make the decision to start. Start before you feel you are ready. Think about what you love to do, what you are good at and how you can help others. Start to read about the practical steps you have to do for setting up a business. Do small things everyday and start early so you don’t need to hurry. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I would aslo recommend to read the inspirational book Unelmahommissa by Satu Rämö and Hanne Valtari.
At first I didn’t set any deadlines for myself and the company. I feel that way worked best for me. You will always face some difficulties and things you didn’t think of. That being said it’s really hard to estimate how much time everything will take. This helped me to not get too stressed and work in my own pace.
And the most importantly: remember to enjoy every second!