We don’t know about you but we love doing our best to minimize waste. Good Earth Essentials began when two friends came together over a passion to create a more sustainable community. They wanted an alternative to the countless containers, but finding somewhere to shop that shared the same idea proved to be a rather difficult task. That’s when the idea of a Zero Waste shop came to life! Today, we chat with Co-Founders, Tatyana and Emily to see how balance plays a role in zero waste.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
T: I am originally from Connecticut, born and raised! I went to college in Albuquerque, NM and Charlotte, NC as well as studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain. I majored in Elementary Education and minored in Teaching English as a second language. I have always had a passion for educating and sharing my love of learning and exploring with others. I was a Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher for 3 years (where Emily and I met) which I loved. Each day brought new smiles and new adventures as well as many challenges that I loved facing with my students. I am now following my calling and passion to help create the change our planet and world needs as the Co-Owner of Good Earth Essentials, Charlotte, NC’s first Zero Waste shop with a mission to supply, educate, and encourage our community to adopt and use more sustainable and eco-conscious practices in our daily lives.
E: I grew up in a rural Pennsylvania town called Marion Center (about 20 minutes from Punxsutawney Phil’s home), and attended college at Slippery Rock University. I majored in Early Childhood and Special Education with a minor in Spanish, which I used during my student teaching experience in Mexico City. Upon graduating, I accepted a job in Concord, NC after meeting the principal at a job fair in Pittsburgh. My best friend and I decided it was time to move to a warmer state, so we did! Once in NC, I taught Kindergarten for 6 months before I knew I wanted to continue my education. While teaching Kindergarten for another 1.5 years and Second Grade for 1, I earned Masters Degrees in Environmental Education and Natural Resource Management. This led me to leave teaching in order to complete an amazing internship out in Arizona, and upon returning, I worked on another internship with Chatham County’s Solid Waste & Recycling center. As soon as I was finished with that, Tatyana and I had already decided to start Good Earth Essentials. My background in both education & natural resources has given me great insight into this field, and has fueled my passion to help make the world a better place for all of its inhabitants. While we continue to work on getting Good Earth off the ground, I am nannying for a family that has twin 1-year-olds.
What is balance to you?
T: Balance to me, means checking all of your boxes that fill your cup, so you are ultimately able to continue filling the cups of others, whether it be friends and relationships, or those in your community. When I think about my life being in balance I feel all areas of my life fulfilled in the necessary ways, and these can all look very different. I believe self care is incredibly important and many of us don’t take the necessary time to work on it, ultimately leaving us very unbalanced. Self care and finding balance is something I constantly struggle with but, it is something I work on each day, even in the smallest ways, and I know it deserves my time and efforts. I feel balanced when I am able to accomplish the goals I set for myself and I don’t feel drained or depleted as I work towards them.
E: I think balance means spreading out your energy in a way that allows you to fulfill all of your goals. This doesn’t mean achieving multiple goals every day - it means that when you look back on a week, a month, or a year, you feel like you’ve divided your time and energy proportionally over time in order to make the big picture work.
How do you achieve it?
T: Achieving balance can look different from day to day and has been something I have had difficulty with, especially as a teacher. I do my best to remind myself that I must be balanced if I want to be able to work towards and achieve my goals successfully. I myself feel the need to constantly be busy or working to feel successful, but I know that self care is just as important. I know that if I put too much of myself into only one thing such as working, my whole life feels out of sorts. For me, finding balance can be sitting and listening to music on my back deck in the sunshine, doing a high intensity workout, or enjoying a night out with friends. I try to remind myself daily that I need to do one thing to help myself feel balanced so that I can continue to persevere and push forward with my goals. Balance to me can be 10 minutes a day, or a whole day, it all depends on what you need to feel whole and happy.
E: People like us (and likely whoever is reading this!) are extremely busy, goal-oriented, and hard working. Like Tatyana said, we have to be sure to take care of ourselves. For me, that means making time to run, practice yoga, make healthy food, play with my pup, and spend quality time with my fiance. I know that my balance is out of whack whenever I put those things off or I’m not able to make time for them several days in a row. Businesses and careers are important, but they’re only one half of the scale and shouldn’t be weighing us down. Without balance (aka making time to do the things I listed above), I know I would not be even a fraction of the entrepreneur that I am.
What advice do you have for someone struggling to find work/life balance?
T: First and foremost, I would say that finding balance is a necessity when it comes to being your best self and giving yourself authentically in relationships, work, and your own happiness, this can be hard to figure out, but incredibly worth it. Finding balance is all about what fills you with peace and happiness. My advice would be to find something small and meaningful that you can do for even just 10 minutes a day to give yourself some time to breathe and reconnect with you. Prioritizing these small moments of peace will make a world of difference in the other parts of your life that require lots of effort. Even setting an alarm to give yourself those ten minutes is worth it. Remember that you and your happiness are just as important as your career and the rest of the things you give yourself to. You can’t reach your goals and be successful if you don’t take care of you and your needs.
E: My advice would be to think of something that brings you happiness. It can be bubble baths, playing a sport, hiking, going out for coffee/drinks with a friend, or whatever you want. Prioritize that thing. Schedule it on your calendar either each day or each week, but no less than that. You’ll be so glad you did! And if you think you don’t have time, then reevaluate the other things you’re spending your time on each day. For me to squeeze in all that I need to get done, I have to limit my instagram scrolling, TV watching, and other small things that just waste time.
Do you have any go-to resources or rituals that help you find balance?
T: The first thing I do each day when I wake up is open my blinds and let the sun into my room. This gives me the energy to get moving and motivated, it’s nearly impossible to see a world outside your window and not want to take advantage of it! I also make sure to get my body moving any way I can, even just some quick stretches or sun salutations to get me going. I try to work out 3-4 times a week and eat as healthy as possible, but I also make sure to let myself enjoy the good things in life, this is all about balance anyways! At night I try to wind down by reading a few pages of a book. Currently I am reading Give A Sh*t: Do good. Live better. Save the planet. By Ashlee Piper. This book aligns perfectly with the green and sustainable changes I am working on making in my life and home, it’s incredibly informative and funny, and I try to implement many of her tips and tricks throughout my life.
E: I’m currently reading a book called The Miracle Morning, and focusing on my morning routine. I know how amazing it is to get up early and get stuff done before most of the world is awake, but I’m not consistent enough about it. So far, I’ve implemented the morning routine from the book for a few days and LOVE it. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to make a positive change in their day, be more productive, and find more balance!
Now let’s have some fun, what are some random things we don’t know about you?
T: I’m an absolute foodie, I love learning, trying, and cooking new things. I ran my first half marathon in 2018, I never considered myself a runner but I absolutely loved it and would love to run another. I am a certified Yoga instructor and had lots of fun doing yoga with my 1st graders. I love photography and taking pictures, it is one of my biggest hobbies. I collect the perfect seashells from every single beach I go to and use them in simple decorative ways around my house to remember my trips.
E: I’m an avid four-leaf clover finder, I have ran 5 half marathons and have two more coming up this fall, I’m obsessed with dogs (and pretty much all animals ever), and I’ve worn my favorite pair of sandals in 20 states and 4 countries.