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An Interview with: The Left-Brain of Starseeds, Mateusz Zawada


Mateusz Zawada is the left-brain side of Starseeds. Having come from a background in IT and Finance, he changed his entire working reality when he realised the impact the manufacturing industry was having on communities across the world. Ready for a new challenge, Mateusz joined Natalia on her quest to bring sustainable and ethical practices to the forefront of the fashion industry.


We chat to the CFO about his desire for travel and adventure, why he loves ‘extreme’ sports and the benefits of self-care.



You were a ‘city boy’ before you began working with Starseeds; what was your old life like?

I was fortunate enough to work with sharp and very experienced people, from whom I learned a lot. I also understood the need for attention to detail and a client-focused approach - qualities that are applicable to any business and help me every single day.

We often worked long hours and on very tight deadlines to publish time sensitive reports. While the biggest part of the business was client interactions, for me, the most interesting aspect was making decisions based on hundreds of variables.

I have to say I did enjoy my previous job, but helping to create a company from scratch is even more exciting.


What was the moment that you decided to change your lifestyle?

I believe it was a sum of three parts. First, I was inspired by what Natalia already achieved and believed I could help her in growing the company.

Secondly, I enjoy learning new things, not from books but from working on different projects. The decision came when we were traveling, and taking a step back from my day-job made me realise I could use a completely new set of goals to chase.

Lastly, while traveling I saw how much developing countries rely on manufacturing and understood that the small price tags we have in Europe mean someone else in the manufacturing chain is cutting corners; be it health and safety or fair wages.


Did you have any fear or doubt when you decided to make the leap?

I think I might have dived in headfirst! There was a steep learning curve, but I was happy with that. After all, going into finance I knew very little about economics and I loved learning about it as I went. When I started with Starseeds, learning about manufacturing, sustainability, e-commerce and so much more gave me a rush.

When you start your own business, it is extremely challenging. Elon Musk said: “Starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss.” I completely agree with that. At the same time, if you’re passionate about something, creating a business from scratch gives you an incredible feeling.

You use various forms of self-care, from meditation to intuitive massage that works with energy. Can you tell us more about these different techniques you try and what inspires you to seek them out?

I’m a big fan of different massage types. Reflexology, myofascial massage and others all have their unique strengths.  There are therapists who can combine a few types into one massage. It’s a great way to keep your body in check without going to the doctor.

You’re a fan of skiing and diving, which are seen to be more ‘extreme’ sports – what do these mean to you, what do they bring to you mentally and physically?

Skiing and diving offer a unique feeling of freedom. Skiing is more of a physical challenge since I often push myself to ski better, trying to see what I can improve. For me, diving combines stunning visuals with ability to move freely in all three dimensions. It’s an experience that allows you to enter a world that seems so different to the one we are used to every day.


You’re a fan of travelling. Why is travelling so important to you? Can you share with us one of your most magical memories from travelling?

I have a drive to visit unique places and cultures I haven’t seen yet. My ideal way to travel is to plan only one day ahead and see where it leads me. By doing so I end up in places I wouldn’t necessarily pick if I were just staring at TripAdvisor.

My trip to West Papua this year was very special to me. I was trekking in Baliem Valley, enjoying breath-taking views and meeting incredible local people along the way. It is a truly magical place that is not connected to the rest of Indonesia by any road – only planes fly there. Complete lack of phone reception is of course, an added bonus!

What does the ‘lightness of being’ mean to you?

For me it represents the ability to conquer challenges with a calm and open mind. I will hopefully get there one day.



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