What it means to run an “Intentional Business” during COVID-19 and beyond with Sofiya Deva

An intentional business model is something we may need more of in the coming months

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While it may seem like a pipe dream to launch a new company amidst a global pandemic, it’s exactly what Sofiya Deva is doing with The Same Sky. It’s a business model she describes as intentional, which is something the world may need more of in the weeks to come.

Intentional can seem like a curious way to describe a business, but, according to Deva, it’s the foundation of success.

It’s a brand that has thus far appeared to feature a feast of elegance, warmth and color. Designed for women that march to the beat of their own drummer, the launch line—The Intuition Series—features intricate scarves, cropped Haori-inspired jackets, and a mini capsule of essentials—and every piece feels like a work of art. Like a vision board brought to life, it’s the exact goodwill escape many of us can use right now.

Marketing executive turned social entrepreneur, Sofiya, is no stranger to consumer trends or building a brand that truly connects. 

I sat down with her to better understand how intentionality can be a secret weapon, and what the vision for her lifestyle brand is.

Why be intentional? What does that mean in a business context?

I think intentionality is actually the secret craving behind the growing interest in minimalism. We don’t just want less stuff; we want more meaning in our lives. 

And generally, what’s trending in the marketplace has its roots in our needs and dreams as human beings. So it starts there for me. Recognizing that I want more in my day to day.

What I buy, where I shop, how I dress, how I gift—I want all these small acts to be more conscientious. In practical terms, like fair wages and treatment for the people who produce them. But also in a more soulful sense, where I want the brands I interact with to double as storytellers that affirm diversity and inclusion.

And I don’t think I’m alone in that.

In a business context, we see this as a growing interest in and emphasis on purpose. Being profitable isn’t enough anymore, there needs to be a deeper sense of identity and direction if you’re going to stand out and evolve with the changing tides. 

For me, intentionality and purpose are very connected because I believe how you do one thing is how you do everything.

So for me and my team, we have a purpose of building a smaller, stranger world, but we also have an ethos of intentionality that means we bring presence and purposefulness to everything we do, whether it’s product design, vendor relations, or creating a sustainable supply chain.

Sometimes it means doing less, or moving more slowly, but ultimately it means that we put a piece of ourselves into our work, and it’s richer for it. And of course, that also humanizes our brand and inspires our community to invest in our success.

You mentioned your purpose is to bulld “a smaller, stranger world.” Tell me more about what that means.

A smaller, stranger world really encapsulates for me this vision of recognizing our interconnectedness without erasing the magic of our differences. 

More concretely, we’re on a mission to connect communities of artisans with broader markets through e-commerce. So far, we’ve connected with artisans and craftsmen in India (Jaipur and Bangalore) and Pakistan (in the Chitral region), but also are in talks with folks in El Salvador and Guatemala. 

When we’re working with artisans, we want it to be a true collaboration. How can we create something that honors the tradition, as well as contemporary tastes? How can we learn from and give back to the communities that make our products?

We may not even always share a common language, but if there’s respect and curiosity, we can create beautiful things together, and nurture lasting relationships. 

What’s next for This Same Sky? How do we follow the journey?

We’re officially open for business this fall, but will be teasing out lots of great, behind the scenes content between now and then. Those who sign up for email updates ensures you get access to a gorgeous guide to intention setting so you can begin to harness the power of intentions in your own life too. (Trust me, you’ll want to print this out and pin it on your vision board!)

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