Based in China, the former model, yoga teacher, and entrepreneur shares why sustainability is her way of life. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS.
Her modelling career whisked her to a foreign land, but it was her newfound love for yoga that gave her good reason to stay. Based in China, Nika Katerynchuk isn’t just your average social media influencer strutting her stuff on WeChat and Weibo, she also founded her own activewear brand nudepeche from scratch. Inspired by our relationship with nature, the sustainable label features fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, with each clothing item preventing up to 25 plastic bottles from ending up in landfills.
We chat with the 22-year-old Ukrainian entrepreneur to understand why sustainability matters and how we can all make a difference in the little ways.
What’s in a day’s work for you?
As the founder of a start-up, I design, manage operations, PR, and customer relations. A typical working day includes meetings, sending out orders, and organising yoga events. At least once a week, I execute marketing events and photoshoots. To expand my brand’s reach to different platforms, a lot of time is spent on growing my community.
As a yoga practitioner, social media influencer, and entrepreneur, what is the most fulfilling part about your job, and what’s the most challenging?
The best part is connecting to like-minded people and inspiring each other. My community pushes me to become a better person and lead a more fulfilling life. The most challenging is my transition from modelling to running a business. It’s been tough balancing work with life and personal relationships but thankfully, I have a supportive partner.
What led you to start your own sustainable activewear brand nudepeche?
I was passionate about making a difference, living a meaningful life, and spreading awareness on sustainability. Having practised and taught yoga, I found myself drawn to the harmony of body and mind, as well as our connection with nature. I couldn’t find many sustainable yoga wear options in China and decided to start my own. I aim to create minimalist and timeless pieces that are made ethically and can pair with anything in your wardrobe.
Did your own yoga practice inspire it?
Definitely! Yoga philosophy is my inspiration for life. Yoga teaches us to live in harmony with nature, as well as to desire less and use what we need—the key to a sustainable lifestyle. My everyday practice reminds me to stay grounded.
How can we live more sustainably in our daily lives?
Less is more. To find happiness, we need to change our mindset and stop thirsting for more material goods. If you lived simply and mindfully, you would be much happier.
Can you share some eco-friendly tips?
If most people put effort into these three aspects of their daily lives, we would make a big difference—buying recycled or second-hand clothing, riding bicycles instead of driving cars, and eating less animal-based and processed foods.
What does wellness mean to you, especially in the face of an ongoing pandemic?
Wellness is the balance between our mind, body, and spirit. Exercise is a great way to incorporate wellness into your life and that’s why I love yoga—it aligns my mind and body for the day.
Aside from working out, meditating, reducing stress, and laughing are all great for overall wellness. With the ongoing pandemic, it’s more important than ever to be kind and considerate to others, eat nutritious meals, and exercise.
Having worked and lived in China, can you share how the wellness scene looks like in the country?
Chinese people prioritise their health to lead a good life. Morning jogs and group exercises are common practices in China. I often see the elderly engage in tai chi and dancing. Yoga has also grown in popularity, especially among the younger generation. Since moving to China, I have also learned about the body’s connection to the day and time, as it is practiced and studied with meridian philosophy.
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