The Heroine’s Journey of Monica Muriel Zurita

What is the best thing that I love about my work? I love everything about it, it is honestly a dream made true. First of all I run an impact business that allows me to work to make the world a better place each day. Then I can design fashion and textile products which has always been my passion. I am in contact with sustainability and social innovators and I meet lots of different people. I also have freedom, supportive partners and a great team that I love and feel energized working with. Do you know when you are so in love with someone that you do not understand how others aren’t? That is how I feel about my work, I do not understand how come everyone else doesn’t want to have it.

What is my idea of happiness? I believe happiness is an attitude. It comes from inside. There are those rare moments in which absolutely everything is perfect in your life and you look at it from outside and appreciate them. But most of the time life has ups and downs and sometimes there are really a lot of downs. You will not avoid the roller coaster, how you deal with it is what will make you a happy or an unhappy person. Whatever is going on in your life, even in the worst moments,  if you are thankful for the good parts that remain, you will stay happy-ish and eventually you will resurface.  

What is my greatest fear? I am a mother of two, my greatest fear is for anything happening to them.  Then, of course, bad things happen to anyone else I love, including myself. War, climate crisis, failure and rats.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I hate losing my temper and saying bad things to the people I know, It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it is in a full volcano mood

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? I mostly admire companies because I think ultimately it is all a team effort, I love the Kering Group, Ecoalf,  Stella McCartney and all of  the Bcorp movement…

What is my greatest extravagance? I think I am not very extravagant, although I have some obsessive compulsive tics…maybe that counts…

On what occasion would I lie? I read once that everyone lies a big number of times a day, imprecissions, polite lies, well intended ones…So I guess by that count I lie every day.  If we are talking about big lies, there was a period of my life in which, for personal reasons, I lied a lot, at the time I thought there was no alternative and I was always looking for the right time to come clean. I found out two things, first, there’s never a right time, second it is not worth it. It changes everything about your self concept, disconnects you from others and eventually your truth is your truth and it is better than any lie. There are only two kind of lies I think are worth it: magic stories we tell to kids and sometimes “fake it till you make it” 

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Sometimes it is tough being a small business, I would love to pay more to my people or even have someone to take care of the things that I am really not good at (things like remembering passwords for the bank, remembering what was that paper that we needed to fill in for I don’t know what, dealing with the nitty gritty processes for logistics…)  But we are too small for that, so I deal with that kind of stuff and I hate it. 

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? The day we opened our first store in Shanghai was amazing. Also when we recorded and launched our Successful by Nature campaign, the first inclusive fashion shooting made in China. And when we signed our first big NEST contract, numbers were bigger which was really nice, but also the impact (water savings, carbon savings) were huge.

If I could, what would I change about myself? My nose…And a tendency that I have to put myself last and then get pissed off with the decision I have made when it is too late to change it.

What is my greatest achievement in work? Survive. We went through COVID in China with retail stores open and we didn’t fire anyone. We also survived the aftermath of it all and kept growing both in revenue and in impact

Where would I most like to live? After two years without leaving China and seeing family and friends I think I am ready to say that the place I would most like to live is back home in Madrid, but I guess it is more about people than place.

What is my most treasured possession? Some clothes I have that my grandmothers sewed for me (with my first designs) many years ago and the first Zurita dress I had. Some drawings from my kids. A few jewellery pieces with a special meaning: from my graduation, my engagement ring, pieces that belonged for generations to our family..

What is my most marked characteristic? For good and bad I am stubborn, sometimes it becomes resilience and perseverance and it is great and sometimes is…well, just stubbornness

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? In Shanghai the fabric market. In Madrid the Matadero art zone and gardens

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city? In Shanghai, unfortunately it just closed: M on the Bund, it was more than a restaurant, it was a community, an institution In Madrid, la Carmencita, it’s a restaurant almost 100 years old where the tables are old sewing machines and writers and philosophers used to meet

What books influenced my life and how? By the River Piedra I sat down and wept,
The method 15/33, Make your bed

The thing about those three books is that somehow they “found me” in different dark moments of my life. Randomly in a bookstore, as a gift or literally in a box in a friend’s house. The first one helped me understand love. The second reminded me that what we think and what we feel are two different things and that in complicated situations we must hold what we think to be able to listen to what we think and analyze our resources. Making your bed was the funniest, our company was under attack, and I randomly found the book and opened it by a page that said: Never back out from a shark. It probably saved us.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? My fiance and I exchanged songs for years and we have a folder with all of them, there is really a bunch of everything from Silvio Rodriguez and Joaquin Sabina (Spanish singers with just a guitar) to Extremoduro (rock) to  Paul Kalkbrenner and Gorillaz (house…) to Juan Luis Guerra (Salsa) to some classic music. But there is a story behind each of the songs and I would spend my last day on those memories. 

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Scarlett O’hara from Gone with the Wind. I know it’s kind of weird as she is kind of spoiled and cruel. But she is also strong, passionate, advanced for her time and ultimately a survivor. My whole life I have seen how sometimes strong women are perceived as mean, how they are somehow cursed, because the world look at them (at us, maybe) when there is a burden to shoulder but then they are criticized for that same strength

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? My mother and my grandmothers and many women like them made a huge effort to raise their families in adverse conditions. People that lived by the quote: where there’s a will, there a way and succeeded not only financially, but morally and on the most important parameter: Happiness.  

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Casablanca. It is history, it is love, it is music, it is war  (so relevant these days) It was a low budget project that somehow became one of the best movies ever just by the strength of the plot and the actors involved. It is a reminder that we always have a choice in life and a chance at doing something great

What role play stories in my life and work? Stories are critical for life and businesses, humans get connected by emotions and stories are critical to connect us with those emotions. We use them to explain our sustainable solutions, we use them at the brand to explain that we are all great girls, all successful women in our own sense and we use them in life for love and laugh

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me? An absolute truth, you don’t like your job, look for a new one, you don’t want to live in a place, move, you don’t want to be where you are, make a plan to be somewhere else, you are not happy with your life, change it. You are responsible for your story, you own it.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? I am very lucky to have a family of fans, both my elders and my kids, that are still at that age that see me as a superhero. My fiancee believes I am some sort of genius (but I think the same about him) . My partners in crime are Hamid and Marta (my co-founders) and the rest of Zurita partners. Marie and Chloe, my right and left hands at Zurita and NEST and Sandra and Sampurna who asked from afar to join us without ever meeting in person.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2022?

Danone PdePaola Aristocrazy Ecoalf

Veritas

Bimba y Lola Disney 

El Ganso

Mayoral

Platanomelon

What project, in 2022, am I looking forward to work on? I am really enjoying our expansion in Mexico and some big projects in which we are helping big companies on their journey towards sustainability through innovative textile solutions

Where can you see me or my work in 2022?

www.wearenestsolutions.com

www.wearezurita.com

#wearezurita

#wearenestsolutions

And at our Shanghai studio

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? I hope it personally means….well…let’s imagine here the emoji that is laughing and covering its mouth. Now, seriously I think both personally and professionally means to LIVE in big capital letters, because age is just a concept as long as you have passion for what you do

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story?

Nieves Cifuentes, Joanne Wood, Michelle Garnaut, Silvia Calvo, Anna Badia, Carol Blazquez, Alina Franco Asna, Sonia Flotats, Emma Aguilera

How can you contact me?  At linkedin 

linkedin.com/in/monicamurielzurita

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