Jonathan Tjoa Algreen’s Inspiring Story of Establishing a Sustainable Brand in the Fast Fashion Era

Business Upside [BU]: How did you get your idea or concept for the business 1people?

Jonathan Tjoa Algreen and his wife have always been committed to bringing about change in the business world and improving the future for more people and the Earth. They thought about how they could have this influence through business in 2009 and recognized that their fundamental goal was—and still is—to alter how business is conducted. It could be applied to any industry, which is why they later established an investment company, Impact Business Investment Group, intending to foster, grow, and fund entrepreneurs and organizations driven by social impact. But they began with 1 People, a company created in 2012, whose goal has been and continues to be to transform the fashion business from the inside out. To enable more people to wear quality and sustainability without making compromises, 1 People is a luxury brand centered on people and the planet. It offers quality and Scandinavian minimalistic design to aware women worldwide.

[BU]: What was your mission at the outset?

Both Jonathan and his wife envision the company’s future as a cross between a traditional business and a traditional NGO. None of those are long-term sustainable. Traditional businesses do not consider people, the environment, or the division between the wealthy and the poor; instead, they are entirely concerned with maximizing profits. Traditional NGOs are not financially viable because they are entirely dependent on donations. None of the two present configurations has a business strategy that is comprehensive, long-term viable, and 360° aware and focused. We live in a world full of opportunities and challenges, especially when we have the means to take advantage of them. We must be aware of everything, not just small fragments.

[BU]: How do you market your business, and which method has been most successful?

From the very beginning, both Jonathan and his wife made the conscious choice to start all of their sales online. Later, on a consignment basis, they added a few physical stores. As of 2023, they are going to expand with a strong emphasis on building their wholesale division and overall physical presence to assure brand visibility in the physical arena, which is still the most significant market. Almost always, their marketing has been online-driven and integrated with PR. Their primary focus has never been outbound marketing. They favor direct communication with their community and potential customers. It is also why they created the “1 People” loyalty club from the very beginning, providing genuine value to the community through events, cash-back, buy-back, second-hand shopping, and much more.

[BU]: What is unique about your business?

Their distinctiveness stems from the fact that they are true people and planet-centric fashion brand that considers the clients, the local community, people, and the planet at the center of all they do. It is not limited to being felt through their 3-year warranty, free global shipping, and return options but also through how they treat their customers, employees, and manufacturers and their commitment to quality, sustainability, and customer service. Last but not least, they give back to the community significantly by allocating some of their cash flow to various charitable endeavors, which is crucial in a divided world where the gap between the rich and the poor widens almost yearly. Their initiative, Business for Planet, is an entrepreneur program and platform that educates, mentors, and potentially invests in “the entrepreneurs of tomorrow,” who, in their opinion, are impact-driven. It is one of these programs they support. As was indicated in point 2, they are unique in the business community in terms of what they seek to alter and present a brand-new business model that is wholly mindful of people, the environment, the planet, and profit.

[BU]: How do you generate new ideas?

According to Jonathan, he frequently gets his best ideas when alone and in deep thought, especially while strolling in nature. However, they also approach him while he meditates, which he has been doing since he was a teenager. It’s the tool that has changed his life the most, and he can recommend it to everyone. Let’s say he tries to resolve a problem, understand a difficult situation, or determine the best course of action, which may or may not need novel concepts. In such a situation, his approach typically entails several days of in-depth reflection, maybe accompanied by meditation, but the “answers” or solutions occur in the days that follow when he is not focusing on or thinking about it. That’s when the answers pop into his head unexpectedly. But the labor that comes before lays the groundwork for the answer to appear later. Because of his experience, he consciously practices this now.

[BU]: If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting in this Industry, what would it be?

It is you who makes the difference between being successful or failing in business. It has nothing to do with luck; if it did, luck wouldn’t mean much. You’re the gap between success and failure. Therefore, you should primarily focus on developing and improving yourself, including your mindset, personality, knowledge, and experience, which can help you bridge the gap and achieve success. The second piece of advice is to keep in mind that success is a route that requires help. You will require a good support system. Find people who can motivate and inspire you to continue on your road and in your numerous efforts, as well as those who are better than you.

[BU]: What do you look for in an employee?

First and foremost, Jonathan looks for specific values and personality attributes instead of focusing on expertise or abilities. While mentality, values, and personality traits are significantly more difficult to alter and require significant drive, expertise and skills may be acquired quite quickly. Not everyone has the drive to change and better oneself genuinely.

[BU]: Do you believe there is some formula or pattern to becoming a successful Businessman?

“Yes, I certainly do,” said Jonathan Tjoa Algreen. In point 6 above, he has discussed the key to success. Develop a strong mindset, personality, and knowledge. Without fear of failure, read a lot and take on a lot of challenges since genuine growth and success are built on many mistakes and failures. Sitting on the couch won’t lead to success or positive development; doing, attempting, and “diving into deep water” that will force you out of your comfort zone will. Before you succeed, you’ll need to put in a lot of work over a lengthy period. If you have that mindset, you already have one of the core traits within you that serve as the foundation for success in life and business.

[BU]: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

He asked us to witness the success of those around him, including his employees, as they grow into complete individuals and build fulfilling lives. What motivates him every day, 365 days a year, is the difference their businesses and the people who work there make in the lives of many people and the Earth as a whole.

[BU]: What motivates you to become an Entrepreneur?

The essence of leadership, in his opinion, is to serve, assist, and inspire people around you, and he is tremendously motivated to build things that can do just that. Being able to achieve this through the business platform, which he adores and thrives in, is tremendously rewarding since it satisfies his great desire to bring about positive change in the people and the environment around him. It’s very meaningful to him, which is what life is about – finding meaningfulness and contributing to others the best you can.