Today´s guest in our blog is a lady I met around 16 years ago when we both had a room in the same guest house in Tokyo. We partied together, we went to pachinko Parlors in our Pijamas and years later had a reunion in Berlin with another dear friend. Carrie Sze is a world citizen from Australia that enjoys a #nomadlife with her #van, enjoying what nature has to offer and if it is next to the ocean, even better.
She is a marketing professional who has used her skills in different brand building activities for small and big brands. She now has decided to launch her next project, #thepromovan, which is an entrepreneurial project that allows her to mix her knowledge and professional experience, with her lifestyle and life passion.
In this modern world is it more and more usual to have unconventional work-models and #thepromovan is a good example of it.
Name: Carrie Sze
From: Melbourne, Australia
A bit about you: Free spirit who finds comfort in the ocean. Ocean lover, music lover and coffee lover.
- What’s the Promo Van all about?
The Promo Van is a combination of my skills in marketing communications and my passion project (#vanlife). The van is a brand activation tool/vehicle that businesses can use to connect with their customers to create authentic content.
Having a marketing communications career that spans over 15 years, I have developed and executed a variety of campaigns with varying budgets. One thing that has always stood out to me was the perception that only big businesses can afford to execute a brand activation campaign, which is untrue. Hence, the van demonstrates that you don’t need a big budget to create authentic connections with your customers, nor are you limited by location.
The van also provides the opportunity for businesses to give their employees a sense of adventure and mixes up their work routine by allowing them to hit the road.
Opening your mind is unattractive said no one ever.
- From where did you get the idea to create the Promo Van?
The van started out as a #vanlife passion project. I’ve always been amazed what people could do with small spaces. As a surfer, I was forever longing to find the perfect wave just right for me! The passion project ended up involving quite a bit of project management, which I loved but also consumed more time than I had anticipated. Thus, it got me thinking about how I could combine work with passion.
I’m pretty lucky to have worked with great mentors. All of them have always encouraged me to go for it. The common sentiment from them has been ‘what have you got to lose’? Being completely honest, the truth for me was pride. Now that I’ve given pride the heave-ho and have taken their advice to ‘back myself’, it’s been (touch wood) amazing where I’ve been meeting and working people who ‘like my vibe’.
My vibe involves the belief that climate change is real. David Suzuki describes the state of our society beautifully with this analogy, “we're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyones arguing over where they're going to sit.”
While I’m doing me, I’m also making sure I and the van do it in a way that leaves the planet in a better place than when we first found it for future generations.
- How big is your team and has been the biggest challenge while launching the Promo Van?
Just me, myself and I. The biggest challenge has been time. I was ‘working for the man’ while setting up the business, thus I kept pushing out the launch date, which saw me forgo opportunities. I’ve now given myself a full six months to work solidly on the business.
- Is there any recurrent stereotype you have had to deal it, as an female entrepreneur?
Fortunately, not yet.
- You are a strong advocate of sustainability and the environment, and you have traveled quite a lot enriching your knowledge about these topics, what would you say has been your most valuable experience?
It’s interesting while I’m all about promoting environment sustainability and living a low impact life, I’m also a contradiction when I travel on a big jet plane. But for me, there are loads of benefits from traveling and I also make sure I offset my travel, which I do via Greenfleet (www.greenfleet.org.au), an organisation that plants native biodiverse forests to absorb carbon emissions.
My views on travel and sustainability aligns with Norwegian environmentalist, Erik Dammann, where travel allowed him to “challenge Western values and lifestyles in order to promote a more responsible attitude to the environment and the third world." Dammann returned to Norway with the realisation that the West’s focus on competition for personal gain had more to do with social structure than human nature. He also came back with a deep respect for other cultures and with a sense of responsibility for the way they were being destroyed by the consumption-oriented Western lifestyle and world view. He perceived an immense gap between the stated values of Western society, such as justice, freedom, responsibility and solidarity, and the actual impact of that society on people in other countries and on the planet.
With all that said I would say my trip to Cambodia in 2008 truly kicked-off my sustainability journey. Even though I was confronted by poverty, it allowed me to embrace the simple life, which brought about a real sense of joy. I saw how resourceful they were, I experienced their warmth, welcomeness and generosity, and I got to know life by bicycle. The people were so humble even after all they had been through as the Cambodian genocide wasn’t too long ago, making problems in the west seem so trivial #firstworldproblems.
- What are strong work ethics for you?
Walking the talk and being human by not thinking I’m more important than another. We are all humans who bleed the same colour blood.
- What do you think it will be the most important thing you will or want to accomplish in the future?
To be able to live by the ocean and be able to share this love with others.
- How does a perfect day look like to you?
A perfect day always starts with a coffee, sunshine, a surf and conversation. Ideally, music always playing in the background.