Interview with Sophie Zepnik, Co-Founder of hejhej-mats
Sophie Zepnik, thank you so much for joining us today! Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and your brand hejhej-mats?
I’m Sophie, 27 years old, and I co-founded hejhej-mats with Anna Souvignier in 2018. We were doing our master’s degree in sustainability management in Sweden at the time and had the idea for hejhej in an art exhibition. A Turkish artist was denouncing yogis*inis, because many think that they live particularly sustainably – but no one thinks about the yoga mat itself. Anna and I felt caught, because we have also never thought about it. So the idea of a closed-loop yoga mat, made from recycled materials and recyclable at the end of the product’s life, was born. As of now, there are various yoga products that are all designed closed-loop.
What was important to you in building the sustainable brand hejhej-mats?
Sustainability and closed-loop design is the core of our brand. Moreover, hejhej was created in Sweden and therefore a Scandinavian style can be found as well. For us it is particularly important to build a real and transparent brand. The core of our company is sustainability and every little detail of a product is questioned. This is exactly what we want to convey with our brand. Recently we launched our new product, a closed-loop yoga bolster and released a short documentary video about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcJCdthYqCc&t=12s. The video shows our sustainable and transparent approach and aims to convey to people what is behind the brand hejhej.
In your opinion, has the pandemic changed anything in the area of sustainability?
I believe and hope that the pandemic has brought more sustainability into some people’s lives. People hardly ever fly anymore, avoid unnecessary car journeys, and make do with simple but great things. You now have time to get informed before you buy a product and maybe you will treat yourself to a really sustainable and high-quality product, because you might have a little more money left over. I hope that some people thereby understand that you can also take these positive aspects into the future and that conscious consumption becomes an option for more and more people. Brands are perhaps taken into account a little more again and transparent communication is therefore particularly important.
What does it take to activate customers and employees and get them excited about a brand?
Anna and I, and in the meantime all three other employees, fully support hejhej’s values. Credibility and transparent communication are therefore, in our opinion, the most important things to inspire people about the brand. We are our own target group, are passionate about sustainability and yoga, and can thus build an authentic brand, which is an important factor that also simplifies the whole process.
Last but not least, we’d love to know what your favorite childhood brand was and what it is today.
The Bunny Felix was my favorite brand in childhood – beautiful how he traveled around the world, that inspired me even then. School bags, pencil cases, cuddly toys and books were therefore all from him. Today it’s sustainable brands like Patagonia, Mymarini or dariadeh.
Sophie Zepnik, thanks for your insights and all the best to you and hejhej-mats!
Photo Credits: Maria Bayer