Take 5 with... Jenn Tsang from Sqwishful!
Another week behind us… and of course another weekend ahead! And here we are, as every week, with another 5 min break for you and a short interview with an inspiring individual! This week we present Jenn Tsang, the founder of Sqwishful, a company producing amazing entirely plant-based sponges!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, where are you based mostly?
I’m Jenn, originally from New York City. I split my time between NYC and Hong Kong.
2. What's important to you, and how do these values affect your professional choices?
As someone who aspires to a “simple life,” living in diverse, complex cities opens my eyes to the things we all have in common and the realities of our changing environments. Living more sustainably and inspiring others to do the same are personal and professional choices I make everyday.
3. Tell us more about Sqwishful itself - why sponges and why now?
I get asked a lot about why I make sponges. I tell people that it’s because I’m an optimist, and optimists need sponges too. It’s surprising because a sponge is the last thing people think of when they think of changing the world, but all it takes to transform something ordinary into a message of hope and positivity is considering, even for the first time, that small things can make a difference.
If you’ve never thought about sponges, here’s what you should know: there are basically two kinds — ones with plastic, and ones without. Plastic sponges are petrochemical-based, which means they don’t biodegrade. Imagine trillions of sponges used and disposed of each year in the U.S. alone, and over two-thirds made by the same company with little to no plastic-free options. As plastic breaks down into micro-plastic, it becomes not only a problem for those with endocrine disorders but for oceans, marine life, and our food chain.
Natural sponges come from the sea, or are made from plants like trees. They’re biodegradable and compostable, so you can add them to your home compost or gardening beds and return them to soil.
Sponges are one of those things that everybody has in their home but nobody really thinks about. Like most day-to-day things, they can either go unnoticed or be seen for what they are: opportunities for positive change. My goal for Sqwishful is to inspire us to see ordinary things differently, and to celebrate sustainability, wellness, and positivity in our everyday choices.
4. What do you think are the most rewarding and, on the other side, problematic aspects of owning your own, sustainable, business?
I love being able to do everything with intention. But that means when things go wrong, the buck stops with me! There are so many challenges, set backs, and trade-offs when it comes to living and working more sustainably, which is why it’s so important to express humility, admit to mistakes, laugh at yourself, and present transparency in the process.
5. Last but not least - who are your personal heroes?
Dieter Rams. I often reference his “10 Principles of Good Design” and his philosophy, “less, but better." His documentary “Rams" is currently screening in select cities worldwide. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching it! His ideas are more relevant now than ever.
We also encourage you to follow Jenn and Sqwishful on their socials!