Every now and again, you’ll read an interview so full of energy and passion that it’ll shake you up. This is one of those interviews. Make yourself a peppermint tea and get ready to hear all about Maroa, a true multi-potentialite, founder of MAROA
A girl after our own hearts, Maroa is a ferocious traveller gleaning inspiration and creativity from her adventures. Let’s jump in!
(all photos in this piece by Sara Louise Mahgoub)
HOC: Maroa is your eponymous brand, what has your journey been from being just you, to being this wild brand?
Maroa: That’s a good question. I can’t say exactly when I went from just being me to being this wild brand. Because many times I still feel like just me. And I think that is important. Staying humble. But the journey feels like a life time. I learned so much about myself, humans in general (and how we are so indifferent and different at the same time), entrepreneurship, travelling full time and life in general.
This all started in my early 20s because I felt an insuperable need to express my creativity. Every day I started to see more clearly that a big part of me wanted to create something wild and kind of incomprehensible.
I think that finding a way to do this is the hardest part, not actually being creative in itself. In my case, the way I found out was by experiencing how I DON’T want to live my life. Hitting rock bottom in my personal life is what pushed me to really think about the way I was living and how and with whom I spent my time. Without any personal growth and development, read: adversity, I don’t think you can be a real contribution. That’s just pure psychology.
So, creating this brand is a way of challenging myself – thats what makes it vibrant. It’s been two years now so still in the beginning, but what I find the hardest today is actually keeping the wildness. I constantly try to remind myself that it was all because of that fire within, that fearless girl – that this all happened. Because it’s easy to be free and less self-conscious when you don’t tell anybody your dream. When you actually put it out there for everybody to see, you easily scare. And then the creativity disappears.
HOC: We especially love your rawness in your New Year memo where you talk about the brand often being a big creative mess. How important is it for you to create real content and can this be challenging when running a lifestyle business (where everyone expects instagram perfection)?
Maroa: Thank you very much! Yes, of course. Instagram takes a lot of time and today your followers expect real content from you all the time. And why shouldn’t they – I do, myself! The instagram perfection has been a largely discussed topic for a while now and the criticisms is mainly that you don’t show what’s real.
I think this started out in a good way, but now it’s just destroying the inspirational community instagram started as. Shaming and policing someone’s appearance in social media where the reach is so tremendous (of course it’s not fortunate offline either) is not promoting a healthy lifestyle and a better world. If you don’t have something better to post than negative statements about others, you should refrain. Instagram should be able to remain the inspirational universe it is. Constructive criticism is of course allowed, but at the same time – we can all benefit from being a bit nicer and don’t look for flaws everywhere we go.
This gets me fired up because I think the creative community on Instagram is so big and inspiring. When I started using Instagram as a working tool for my brand, I quickly discovered that I needed to create content that was inspiring to me too or else I felt like a phoney. Easier said than done in our efficient world, but that’s also why I don’t post so much in some periods. For that matter, it’s important to emphasis that feeling inspired by someone is completely different than copying them though. I admire personal accounts that give so much of themselves to the community, but that’s the beauty of being diverse. It’s not fun if we’re all the same.
HOC: You are clearly a vibrant creative, what does your creative process look like?
Maroa: Firstly I make time for the creative process to start. Through the years I’ve learned that if I make time for it, my creativity will grow and blossom. If I don’t – it will feel non-existent.
This was hard in the beginning because I felt restless and apprehensive, and didn’t understand how to deal with it. This changed when I started to travel regularly, often 3-5 weeks at a time, and really saw how my creativity would grow.
I always returned back home motivated, refreshed and super inspired. For creatives like myself I think feeling stagnated is the worst feeling. You become indifferent and that is a destructive circle. Everybody needs to find their ups and downs in the creative process, but to me being surrounded with negative energy and apathy is really the worst enemy.
As soon as I feel it taking over – I plan to get away. If only for a weekend or so. And often alone, to really challenge myself to find the creativity within me.
From there I let the creativity come out in the sense that feels right at the moment. Either in drawings, writing, pictures or conversations. The last one is more important than I thought. Having a great team to bounce ideas and really feel comfortable talking about every little aspect and crazy thought is vital. After this floating process, we start to drag it down, make it more definite, and create the magic in real life.
HOC: What does the team at MAROA look like? You seem to be a true multi-potentialite ; founder, model, writer, designer…
Maroa: The team at MAROA is a composition of artistic, innovative and bold souls who represent a range of creative fields, such as fashion design, pattern making, film production, script writing, web design, digital marketing and creative writing. I am so honoured to be the creative director and really love the passion and courage within the team. Each project we strive to live outside the box and create art together. That’s key.
So, I don’t see myself as a multi-potentialite. Yes, I’m the founder and face of the brand, but that’s just a small part of the puzzle. When I see MAROA from an outsiders perspective, I see inter-disciplines in real life. And for that to happen, you need to be able to reinforce your strengths and admit your weaknesses. Creating a safe space for this has been so important, because when you allow people to fail they will eventually find their passion and talent. Humans can’t be good at everything, that’s physically impossible and will destroy you in the long run. Of course this is very easy to say and more challenging hands on. But by starting with myself, finding out my talent and strengths – I got more confident. And when you get confident in yourself, you can manage to admit your weaknesses. I also saw that by allowing the creative souls around me be a part of my creativity, we made it so much more. We managed to put it to life and create MAROA.
HOC: We love your travel section. Tell us a secret about an amazing place to work from that you might not have thought about?
Maroa: Thank you so much! Travel is my baby, that’s why all my travel guides are called Travelbaby. From the top of my head, a secret amazing place to work from that I didn’t think of – must be Orpheus Island – a secluded island in the Great Barrier Reef. I have two ideal work scenarios; either big city life or a secluded island. Depending on the mood and what I’m going for.
But I saw a video from Orpheus Island a few weeks ago and it blew me away. A perfect, sunny island escape that offers the tranquility you need to work, but still magnificent nature to explore in between your work sessions. Serene beaches and laidback luxury accommodations. On my bucket list!
HOC: What’s inyour capsule wardrobe / beauty essentials when you are packing light?
Maroa: In my suitcase you will always find a Vintage Levis 501, a white crop top, my favourite sneakers atm, a hat/beanie and gold hoops. Then I’m ready for everything. In my beauty bag I always carry Weleda Skin Food, Nars Creamy Concealer, Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Glossier Coconut Balm Dotcom and Honey Bronze Body Glow. Never travel without these beauty essentials.
HOC: What challenges have you overcome in building your brand? Your mission statement talks about being ‘free’ but doesn’t having a business (and all the taxes and paperwork that come with it!) a bit of a bind?
Maroa: Absolutely not! Our core value about being free doesn’t mean everything should be easy and perfect all the time. It means that you should do what your heart desires. Because that’s a genuine, liberating feeling. A lot of the times the heart desires many hardworking, challenging things – and that’s your real test! Is this something that is worth all the problems and hard times or does it make you quit? That’s always a go-to for me when I start new projects or try something for the first time.
But I don’t say it has always been like that, understanding this has been a challenge. In the beginning I thought that it was a reason I encountered problems while building my own brand. Maybe I’m not good enough? Maybe I don’t have what it takes to build a brand? These kind of thoughts would buzz around in my head all the time, and many times I was ready to just leave everything behind.
But when I started to read a lot of books, both business wise on how to become an entrepreneur etc. but also about self-development, focus and where to use your energy, I soon managed to create a little working tool for myself. I use this to date, and will probably do so as long as I’m creating something. Everything comes with problems in life, if something is problem free you’re not challenging yourself enough. That’s my life hack when I want to move forward.
HOC: What trends should we look out for in 2019?
Maroa: This summer is going to be so much fun, I’m super excited! Not just because this is the most thrilling season in fashion, but also because this year you can combine some many trends that I loved through the years and still be on top of the fashion game. Look out for earth tones – they are back in a big way. From sand to tan and cream. Let’s get down to earth!
And you can just forget about minimalism this season – be as extra as possible. Yes you heard right! All dolled up in layers, frills and exquisite fabrics in golden colours like marigold and butter. Do you, be unique. This is your moment to shine!
HOC: What are your feelings on the increasing need for the fashion industry to promote eco-friendly practices and reduce waste?
Maroa: This is crucial today. One of the largest industries in the world have to bring awareness on this topic and strive to create fashion in the most sustainable ways, both in materials and suppliers. If the industry sets a good example, you slowly teach customers that quality clothing made with respect for the planet will cost you a bit more, but in the long run benefit you and the world so much more.
A good example is the swimwear brand Tropic of C. They make all their products from discarded fishing nets and other landfill waste – 100% recycled material. That is so cool! Looking gorgeous at the beach while loving and respecting the planet – I can’t think of a better combo.
HOC: Let’s wrap up with a classic question: The ’10 years ago’ challenge is all the rage on insta at the moment, what advice do you have for the 2009 you?
Maroa: Keep moving forward. If something negative happens, it will probably change your life in a positive way – you just don’t see it yet. Believe in yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Even though “everybody” is doing something, it doesn’t mean that this something is the right way for you. Take risks and follow your creativity. While you are doing it, keep the ones you love close and share your journey with them. Nobody is really happy – alone.
But I think you can always learn something from your past. Looking back I loved the easy-going, slightly more relaxed me in 2009, so here’s to shaping that vibe in 2019 and beyond.
Gather more of MAROA’s vibes online at MAROAOfficial.com
Follow the team’s adventures on @maroa_official and @maroaim