“I always go where my heart tells me to go. If I would let my head make all the decisions I would probably not be where I am today. I always tend to follow my gut feeling even though I don’t know what it will lead to. In the end, I have this feeling that I will always be where I am supposed to be.”
Swedish Anja Forsnor, health editor of ELLE Sweden, blogger, author and founder of the Grounded Factory tries to live her life to the fullest and with a great deal of awareness. Recently, she has pursued a dream about staying in California for a few months enjoying time with her little daughter and fiancée, while still running her yoga mat business back home in Sweden.
She shares her life journey with 11,000 plus followers on Instagram and her blog, and we are happy that she and her partner Iman from Grounded Factory came all the way from Sweden to take part as creative partners in our first ever Look Good | Feel Good | Do Good event in downtown L.A.
With a “Strike a pose” photo booth, gorgeous organic yoga mats and an engaged and excited spirit they were part of bringing the Good Life Designed vision to life. The life style event with meaningful content, networking and inspiration was a new way to show what Good Life Designed is about, and we are so happy that the Grounded Factory team felt the love and power of bringing together strong women and likeminded brands…and want to do something similar back home.
Before she heads back to the Stockholm winter, we talked to Anja Forsnor about designing her life as a mum, creative blogger, nutritionist and entrepreneur.
I want to do it all and often make sure that I can. I feel that people often complicate life and things more than necessary. Life is here now and it’s up to you to make the best of it. I have always dreamt about traveling after we started a family and here we are now, in California. The best months ever!
I always go where my heart tells me to go. If I let my head make all the decisions I would probably not be where I am today. I always tend to follow my gut feeling even though I don’t know what it will lead to. In the end, I have this feeling that I always will be where I am supposed to be. I don’t worry too much about things, I’m sure it will be the way it is supposed to be anyway. I guess I can say that I have faith in life and the journey I’m on.
How did you make it work to take three month off to travel?
My fiancé was planning his 3 months parental leave during the winter and so we figured that we could spend it somewhere nice and sunny instead of Sweden. I studied in San Diego, California 8 years ago and always wanted to go back and show him my little paradise. Luckily he fell in love with the place as much as I – we are really enjoying life over here. Mexico has always been a dream for me so we decided to go there for two weeks, a vacation from the vacation : )
How did you figure out what you wanted to do in your life?
I always have a hard time answering this question, because I still don’t know what I want to do in life. My motto is: If I’m happy with where I am today, then that’s exactly where I should be at the moment. Life always takes different turns and directions and I don’t know how my life will look in 5 or 10 years.
Has your professional life been part of a plan or dream?
I never really have a long term plan, I always go where my heart tells me. I never knew what my education as a nutritionist would lead to but somehow I felt that was something I wanted to try out. When I started to blog for ELLE it sure was a dream to combine my passion for writing and lifestyle – and I’m so glad that I now can call that my job. And ever since I was a little girl I have dreamt about some day writing my very own book and I am very proud that I have done that.
How did you get the idea to start Grounded Factory?
I started GF together with my partner Iman. When we couldn’t find a yoga mat that ticked all the boxes, we decided to create our own dream mat. We wanted a yoga mat that you want to have rolled out in your living room all the time, but at the same time, we never wanted to compromise the quality or sustainability.
I tried yoga several years ago without ever really getting hooked. It wasn’t until I got pregnant that I really felt the need for yoga in my life and took two yoga pregnancy courses. It was the best thing ever! I love yoga because that is the time I feel the most connected to my body. I get the chance to listen to every little muscle in my body and I can always tell how I truly feel after a class. Sometimes it feels like yoga knows me better than I do.
Anja (right) and her business partner Iman at the event in L.A.
What has been the biggest challenges starting your own company?
It was a big jump since none of us had worked with a product before, or had the experience of how you start and grow a business.
The biggest challenge is that you never have the answer. Every week we are faced with something that we don’t have a clue about, and yet somehow we seem to figure it out. We learn so much, and to run a company is the best business school ever. It is also challenging to start a company with someone else, but I would never want to have it any other way. Being two makes everything much more fun and worth doing!
Do you have a mentor to turn to for advice or support?
Not in the professional way, I always turn to my fiancée and my mom, whom both have years of experience of running their own company.
What is the best advise you can pass on to others?
Jump and take the risk! Someone once told me the motto ”What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”. If you ask yourself that when you are in doubt or facing your next challenge, you would probably know the answer.
Has there been any time where you felt “why did I do that”?
Sure, all the time. Isn’t that what life is all about? I’d rather do things and learn something from it, than regret that I never gave it a chance.
What do you do if you feel overwhelmed and stressed?
I turn off my phone, shut down the computer and take a walk or a yoga class. I also find it very relaxing watching Netflix and just shut everything else out.
What drives you?
The feeling that I’m doing what I’m suppose to be doing. That I am at the right place and that I am happy with how I spend my days.
How do you define success?
Success for me is the same thing as happiness.
Sweden is very progressive when it comes to gender equality. Have you had any reactions while staying in US?
We have talked a lot about the differences between women in Sweden and women in the US, when it comes to pregnancy, maternity leave and parenthood. I can’t believe it is so expensive to start a family in the US with all costs for daycare, schools and everything. I get the impression that most women have to choose between carreer and family in the US, but in Sweden many successful businesswomen and CEOs are also mothers. When it comes to the fathers in the US, most have never even heard of paternity leave. I feel very blessed that I get the chance to raise my family in Sweden.
Read more about Anja Forsnor, the mats, and check out her photos and stories from our first value based lifestyle event Look Good | Feel Good | Do Good
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