The Sustainable Hour Episode 12: Setting Up a Mindful Business with Karmen Tang

By Fanfare Label

As part of our IG live series Our Founder and CEO Esther Knight joined Karmen Tang, Founder of Another Startup Story to discuss starting a business mindfully, sustainability habits and buying cleaner beauty products. Click here to watch the full interview.

Fanfare label in a discussion on setting up a mindful business

Please tell us a bit about you and Another Startup Story:
Another Startup Story is a content and business coaching platform, helping brands through storytelling, a podcast, workshopping events and working with startups. My background was in accounting, I moved into the advertising industry. A lot of creatives struggled. There is a large gap in the market to help creatives execute their ideas.

How important is it for startups to consider their environmental and social impact?
Social and environmental responsibility is a given now, consumers are a lot more educated. Because consumers have this power, brands need to be aware of that. Not just the environment but human rights, racial equality. They need to adopt the mentality, it is not just as a company or individuals: we need to think collectively. That this is a race we are all running together as a planet.

'This is a race we are all running together...'

Fanfare label in a discussion on setting up a mindful business

You’re in Singapore at the moment. In terms of buying habits, does it differ from where we are in London at the moment?
London is much more progressive in that sense but it is growing here in Singapore. How much waste one person can produce when you’re staying at home. In Singapore there are these really cheap food stores. People have started bringing their own cup. There are these new brands called Green is The New Black, to encourage people to take more steps. How brands are taking steps. It is definitely growing a lot.

In terms of your own sustainability habits: do you have any tips for anyone?
I recently did a skin DNA test and they gave a report of ingredients you’ve been using for your skincare. That was really powerful. What I ended up doing was looking at the ingredients in everything and started shopping with more clean brands and hazardous and harmful ingredients. I looked at my toothpaste and it had SLS. I researched that and it said you should avoid it. Looking for more organic and sustainable skincare.

How do you find out about that?
There’s this website to see the emissions, how many toxins there are in the ingredients. In general, just googling what is a harmful ingredient. Especially last year in lockdown it gave time to sort everything out. Every bi-weekly Sunday I will do a declutter. I don’t shop as much for clothes so I would rather invest in quality pieces.

Fanfare label in a discussion on modern day slavery

How does wellness relate to sustainability?
These are key industries. What does conscious living mean? Inside and out, thinking about decisions and not just going through the motions. When we wake up in the morning we do the same thing like brush our teeth and how we can be more conscious about what we do. What you become and what your character is. Doing journalling and being conscious about where you’re spending your money and your time.

In terms of advice for startups within the sustainability space. There are lots of different messages going on. From a startups perspective - how can we help educate and inform customers?
Really having a transparent, trustworthy brand strategy in place. Sharing more about your supply chain, who you work with. Consumers want to know now. Consumers and Gen Z. Taking action and being transparent should be in your branding.

What is one piece of advice would you give people starting their sustainability journey?
Go through your toiletries, kitchen products. Googling their branding, sustainability. That would be my advice. And going back to the Rs - recycle, reuse, repair and repurpose. One of the main pillars of sustainability is circularity. Taking away that waste element and turning it into something new. How can the lifetime of the product be prolonged?

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