Luisa Gastambide is the Co-Founder of Ekeni, an online market and blog that seeks to spread a sustainable lifestyle while making partnerships with artisans to help them selling their crafts and making an positive impact in their life and their communities in different parts of the world.
Luisa’s passion is to travel and get to know new cultures and peoples lifestyle and in her trips she has been touched and moved by many persons she has met. Having been raised in a tiny town in the rural area of Uruguay, she has grown to be very adaptable and understanding of different realities and ways of living.
As a diver and surfer, Luisa is a nature lover who is very concerned with maintaining our natural places untouched and protected from the “evolution” of society, and this reinforces her environmental and social concerns.
In the last 10 years Luisa graduated in Economics and Finance and developed a successful career in the financial industry in Uruguay working for international brokers as Merrill Lynch and UBS, but she is now in the process of developing her career in a more independent and meaningful way.
1- In no more than three sentences, please explain what you do
I am building an online company with the purpose of creating a community of people who work and consume consciously with the intention to create a better, more fair and more sustainable world. It will have an online market of eco-friendly handcrafted treasures made for kids by artisans from around the globe, who come from disadvantaged social environments and with whom we are building partnerships to help them preserve their traditions and ancient working techniques while getting a sustainable and positive impact over their lifestyle and community. I travel and scout for artists, and I also write posts for our travel and lifestyle blog which intends to bring inspiration to parents who are rising kids within certain social and environmental values and are concerned about the challenges this and the future generations will have to face in our world.
2- Who inspires you?
When I travel around different countries, I get the most inspiration from the local people I meet, specially now that I am scouting for artisans to partner for selling their crafts. I usually enjoy visiting rural and remote areas, where I can be in contact with nature and with more traditional and preserved ways of living of the places I visit. People in these areas are generally very friendly and open their hearts and communities for outsiders to know about how they live, their struggles, their difficulties in life. This exchange and connection is what most inspires me to work for trying to spread certain values in our society.
3- What is the biggest change you want to see in the world?
I believe that the comfort and society standards nowadays are somewhat excessive, as we sometimes believe we need certain things to have a better living and to being happier, without even stopping to think or question about its impact. I am not only referring to the impact it has in our own lives, which in many cases is huge and awful, but also about the impact it has over the planet and over the society in general. This is my main concern of the way our society has evolved, and the biggest and more difficult change I want to see in the world is a change in this mind set that is governing us today.
4- What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as a happy, humble, loyal, respectful and helpful person, who lived my life the way I felt and not the way our society standards mandate.
5- What is the most interesting new idea you’ve come across in the past year?
The most interesting idea for me has been to realize that the opportunities are just there to reach them if you are opened to the unexpected and to embrace change. Personally for me it has been a very insightful and challenging process I have been living in the last year. I was so embedded into this rat race society because I was focused in feeling “secure” and working hard for that, but suddenly I realized that all I was working so hard for had no meaning to me. It was quite painful and scary at the beginning. I struggled the last year to get back to myself, and in the process I have had so beautiful and powerful revelations about the importance of keeping our dreams alive and working to make them come true. I am still in the process of becoming a digital nomad, and trying to get a living by myself after I quit my job and 10 years career in the financial industry, but I find that even though I might feel scared or insecure some times, I am also finding a new world full of opportunities and joy I was totally missing!
6- Finally, how can people engage with your work if they’d like to learn more/help?
They can follow my company page in Facebook (@ekenimarket) or Instagram (@ekeni.market and @ekeni.lifestyle), or subscribe in the website (www.ekeni.net) to keep updated about our online market and blog launch in October 2016. They can spread the word and share about my company work in social media and once the market is opened the products will be available if they want to buy and help artisans with their purchase. I am always open if people want to contact me and we can talk more about my project and how they would like to get engaged. I enjoy sharing and exchanging new ideas with other people who have similar goals, I think that together we can make our experience more fruitful and enjoyable, while having a bigger impact.