Sustainable Pioneers – Luiza und Mandie

Sustainability pioneers with a vision of a mindful future: an interview with the founders of Press Factory

Founded 23 years ago as a pure fashion PR agency, today Press Factory has developed into a 360-degree communications agency specializing in sustainable and value-oriented communication. In the following interview, founders Mandie Bienek and Luiza Philipp recap their journey, the challenges and the philosophical and practical reasons that led them to take the path of sustainability. They provide insights into the German economy and share valuable tips for companies that would also like to follow this path.

Lukas: Why did you choose the path of sustainability?

Mandie: There was no other path that we could reconcile with ourselves.

Luiza: When my children were born, I asked myself what kind of world I wanted to live in and what I wanted to leave behind for my children. For me, sustainability is about how I live, how I treat others and what I consume.

Mandie: My journey to sustainability started for health reasons. I was doing a lot of spirituality, yoga and meditation. After Luiza’s trip around the world in 2014, we thought about whether we should continue with Press Factory at all or invest our knowledge and expertise in something meaningful like sustainability.

Lukas: Where does the German economy currently stand in terms of sustainability?

Mandie: There is a movement that understands that our lifestyle has an impact. However, many are still in a comfort zone and accustomed to affluence, which makes the energy transition and sustainable agriculture more difficult. We need to learn to make choices in harmony with the well-being of the planet, even if it means sacrificing prosperity.

Lukas: What was it like in 2014 when you took the step towards sustainability?

Luiza: In 2014, the topic of sustainability was still in its infancy. Many people thought it was too early to specialize in it. A lot has happened since then. There are many sustainable start-ups and more courage in society to get involved in sustainability. Nevertheless, we need to rethink our consumer behavior and focus on values other than profit.

Lukas: How did the transition go?

Mandie: It was a tough journey. We had to reduce our team from 40 to 14-15 people and lose a lot of customers. The move to the Weiberwirtschaft was a blessing as it is one of the leading organic building real estates. We have changed the way we work, used less packaging material and made more conscious decisions.

Luiza: Teamwork has changed a lot. It wasn’t easy, but now we feel like a family. For us, sustainability starts with interpersonal relationships.

Lukas: Was it difficult financially?

Mandie: Yes, we said no to a lot of big brands, which meant financial cuts. In 2015, sustainability was anything but sexy, it was dismissed as eco and esoteric.

Lukas: What tips do you have for agencies that want to work sustainably?

Mandie: Say no to clients and check who is behind them.

Luiza: Be brave and listen to your gut feeling.

Mandie: Have your own opinion.

Lukas: How can a communications agency improve its green footprint?

Luiza: With simple things like sustainable cleaning products, waste separation and energy-saving light bulbs.

Mandie: Avoid plastic and unnecessary physical mailings. Emails also consume a lot of energy.

Lukas: What role does mindfulness play in your corporate culture?

Mandie: After ten years, we realized that sustainability, the way we started out, doesn’t work. Because sustainability would mean that tomorrow we would completely stop everything we do and just stroke the grass. What we have understood, however, is that sustainability starts with the individual. That means taking responsibility. Mindfulness helps us to understand the consequences of our decisions.

Luiza: That sounds so big, but anyone can do it. Anyone can make this decision, anyone can be mindful and anyone can be sustainable. It starts when I go to the supermarket and stand there and think, okay, what am I going to buy now, what do I actually need?

Press Factory shows that the path to sustainability brings challenges, but also immense fulfillment and success. Mandie and Luiza are role models at a time when mindfulness and responsibility are shaping the future.

by Lukas Wanninger