Sian Sutherland: Life is too short to blend in

May 5, 2021

I am so beyond happy to welcome the legend – Sian Sutherland, a serial entrepreneur across many disciplines and sectors from advertising to Michelin-star restaurant, film production, and skincare startup. On top of all, her attention is now focused on the titanic problem of plastic. So she and her incredible co-founder launched the Plastic Planet.

Sian shared with us the raw story of her beginnings. She was the first entrepreneur in her family and sort of a black sheep. Unlike her siblings, who had an academic future planned, she made her rocky road through life, starting with the first job at the age of seventeen. On the other side, she had an incredibly supportive family and total encouragement, which helped her become who she is today. 

We talk about the importance of failures and how they made us more empathetic, grounded, connected persons. So, Sian re-branded the term “failure” into “growth.” We need to applaud people for trying, and if they fail, we have to applaud them for having grown into that failure. 

The first business Sian launched was a restaurant. She wanted to leave her job in advertising to start a restaurant business she had zero experience with, so she simultaneously did 3 jobs for a year. After that, she finally opened her restaurant. 

This was a fantastic five-years-experience. Sian describes it as a rollercoaster. She also thinks that women are biologically adept at re-invention, so she got back to her marketing roots and started a branding and marketing agency. 

We talk about the position of naivety and how empowering is the benefit of not knowing. This is something that has played a huge role in Sian’s decision to build her next business – a pregnancy skincare brand Mama Mio. If you have a will, you will find a way. If you can run the restaurant, you can run the country.

Finaly she left Mio too, and she talks about her feelings back then. That business was a part of her identity she loved. Still, she realized she had to jump off. At the time, she was asked to consult the board of Plastic Ocean Foundation. She advised them on releasing the documentary film “A Plastic Ocean” and realized this was her next thing. 

Sian shared with us the story of the very beginning of the idea behind the Plastic Planet. They wanted to give people a choice to buy something different, become free of guilt, and start prototyping the future. 

She is aware that plastic pollution is not slowing down. Plastic Planet is initiating dialogue between important stakeholders and at the same time building a global resources library.

Sian’s message for people who are starting their business is: “Don’t find a trend, find a need, or go even further – find a movement and build a community.” She also has a question you need to find the answer to if you want to build a successful business: “How is it converted to sales?”

“Life is too short to blend in,” “Embrace your naivety as your superpower,” and many other inspiring pieces of advice from Sein are waiting for you in this episode. 

Listen to it until the end, and find out even more about how incredible Sian does her thing and still makes time for mini-breaks with friends and family.

Key Takeaways:

Introducing Sian Sutherland (00:33)

The beginning: Sian as an entrepreneur – when did that start? (04:20)

What was your first job ever? (06:26)

At what point did you come to the attitude: “I’m going to give it a go because I have nothing to lose?” (09:14)

Re-branding the failure (09:55)

What was the first business you launched? (11:03)

How did you feel when you were exiting businesses? Leaving Mio (20:04)

Emotions of transitions: starting the Plastic Planet (23:35)

What was the first step for the plastic-free concept? (28:35)

Prototyping the future (33:01)

What is your vision for the next 6-12 months? (35:29)

What are the top tips you would give to people who are starting their business? (39:16)

How would you encourage young people to just do their own thing? (43:36)

Importance of mini-breaks and holidays (49:17)

What would you’ve been doing if you weren’t doing this? (51:09)

Additional Resources:

Follow Sian on Linkedin 

Learn more about Mama Mio and Mio brands

A documentary film on misuse of plastic – A Plastic Ocean

Learn more about Plastic Planet

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