Christina Almeida always had an entrepreneurial spirit. From a young age, she wanted to start her own company - at the time, selling water bottles. Little did she know at the time how toxic plastic water bottles are.
Fast forward to this year, and with her Master’s graduation around the corner, Christina’s newfound passion for sustainability has now caught up with her business ambitions.
Her father and grandfather both having launched successful businesses, it is safe to say the entrepreneurial spirit runs in her family. It was time for Christina to follow in their footsteps and launch her first business venture, Pildora. The name - Spanish for ‘little pill’ - is a tribute to her grandfather, who nicknamed her as such.
A sustainable events company
Almeida launched her company about a year ago. Initially designed as a sustainable events company, it organically developed into its current form.
The course Almeida followed at Parsons School of Design was created for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. “They taught me to identify a problem and to design a solution around it, which becomes your business model,” she says. The course focused heavily on sustainability, which has influenced and shaped her brand vision over the last year.
“Pildora is a global events company centred on sustainable fashion Almeida says. According to Almeida, fashion designers and new brands are usually very hostile to each other, but on the sustainable scene comradeship rules. For her, sharing a common set of values brings designers closer, making them more willing to help one another. Her goal is therefore to foster that sense of solidarity by building a network and a community for conscious designers.
“We produce creative content around sustainable fashion and designers that is beautiful, informative and on-trend,” says Almeida. Pildora’s mission is also to eliminate the stigma around sustainable fashion and to give its designers a true platform for their products.
In addition to daily original content promoting such brands and events, Pildora will soon be launching its own marketplace. “The marketplace is set to launch in six months and we hope to sell internationally within a year,” Almeida adds. Her ambition is to become the “Etsy of sustainable fashion”.
The designers will be carefully selected to avoid any ‘greenwashed’ products - those that look green on the surface but actually have very little ecological focus. Pildora has designed its own rating system to approve brands which will be featured on the marketplace. “It’s a system based on transparency,” Almeida adds.
Pildora has evolved since it first launched, but the company hasn’t forgotten about its origins in event production. Almeida says that although it is not the primary focus anymore, Pildora will continue to produce high-end sustainable experiences. These events give Pildora a platform to promote not only its brand but its partners, which to Almeida is “critical for working together and creating meaningful change.”
“Our content and events are vehicles for change. Online, Pildora leads people to shop consciously without sacrificing on style. At our events, we create networking spaces for industry leaders and innovators to come together, initiating real impact while enjoying unforgettable experiences”.
A Human Centred Design approach
The company takes a Human Centred Design approach - a management technique focussed on the human perspective in each situation - to developing its experiences, integrating art, music, dance and fashion its content. From recyclable bamboo plates and reclaimed wood decor, to a composting station and Package Free Shop gift bags, everything is carefully crafted to ensure sustainability at every level of their events.
“These are networking spaces where impactful industry leaders can come together and initiate real change while immersed in unforgettable experiences,” Almeida explains. “Incorporating sustainability into the beauty of our daily lives happens gradually: we approach sustainability and change from a place of acceptance, not judgement”.
Pildora celebrated its first year anniversary on February 7th, kicking off New York Fashion Week by hosting the #FASHIONABILITY event. The event brought together an eclectic audience to experience sustainability through the arts. They honoured leaders in the fashion and entertainment industry that work to create a positive impact while leading eco-friendly lifestyles.
The philosophy behind sustainability
To Almeida, there is a lot more to sustainability than meets the eye, a deeper philosophy. She explains this through Pildora’s three step philosophy around sustainability:
“Firstly, the reconnection to self - achieved through meditation, yoga, religion etc. Secondly, the reconnection to others, to human beings analysing your relationships, looking at people in the eye, energies between human beings and so on. Lastly, the reconnection to the earth and looking at your ecological footprint,” she says.
According to Almeida, it’s impossible for people to understand step three, until they go through the first two steps. “How do you expect someone to care about the planet when they do not care or understand their relationship to themselves or to other humans?” she asks. “It’s a whole process in itself that really starts with being aware and conscious. Then you can start moving into looking at your shopping habits, your wasting habits.”. Almeida practises what she preaches: she practices yoga almost daily and meditates to connect to herself.
To Almeida’s, sustainability isn’t just a trendy marketing term. She launched ‘Sustainable Sundays’ on Instagram, a mini series where she posts weekly about any new steps she has taken or new products she has tried in order to make her everyday life more sustainable. “I’m learning”, she vows.
For her, it’s up to everyone to take action and make little changes. However, it need not be intimidating.
“I think the easiest thing is to get rid of is always the water bottle - definitely stop buying plastic bottles. Buy yourself a stainless steel Kanteen water bottle that you can take with you everywhere,” she says.
In the same vein, her second piece of advice is to use stainless steel straws. “And finally grocery bags - I always recommend reusable bags. You can buy mesh bags from either Package Free Shop or from Whole Foods. Just buy fabric bags that you can take with you to the store. A lot of places will actually give you discounts if you use their bags,” she concludes.