Life roles: Spring of 2021 - senior and soon-to-be honors graduate. Founder of EHA, the best student company (cordless design lamps) in 2020 that today has grown into an international business. Enterprising Learner 2020. Daughter-sister-friend.
Model: Lotta Photo: Penelope Russak
Lotta, you’re about to graduate from high school and enter adult life, so to speak. What makes a 19-year-old happy in our society and what makes your heartache?
Naturally, I cannot speak for all young people but, based on my recent experience, what makes me especially happy is how much support is given to youth enterprise and how young people are encouraged to discover themselves. Running my own company, I’ve had to ask for a lot of help and advice and I have always ended up meeting amazing people. They think along and propose solutions I never would have thought of myself. I was really surprised about how helpful people around us really are, even when there’s no personal gain insight. All you have to do is dare to ask and you will be helped.
What frustrates me is how much people still criticize one another. Although on the surface it seems that tolerance and equality are valued more and more in society, mutual understanding has somehow been left to the side. I believe we need more two-way communication as amending and changing value judgments constitutes an arduous process. This way, unpleasant conflicts and misunderstandings that hinder social development could be avoided.
You are one of the founders of a successful student company that is now taking sturdy strides in the international market. Is going beyond Estonia - conquering the world - a natural step for today’s youth or does it take a special self-confidence gene? Where do you draw your self-confidence from?
Young people today have been raised in a fairly open society. I think, conquering the world for us is a question of when rather than whether. We’ve been taught to see the big picture and that’s also the reason why so many young people are trying to find solutions to global issues.
Of course, you’ll need self-belief and zeal to conquer the world. The greatest inspiration for me personally is my friends who have a boatload of ambition and who are already finding ways to realize their dreams. They always help me find new challenges and, indeed, give me the courage to test myself. On the other hand, family is important of course - for me, especially my mom who supports me with each and every endeavor, with no exceptions. Surrounded by these awesome people, I know how to value myself more as well and I believe in myself.
Your lamps are made from recovered wood. Waste recovery certainly constitutes a current trend but, making your own purchase decisions, how much do you pay attention to what a particular brand stands for and whether a product is environmentally friendly?
To be honest, I feel that I should pay more attention to that. Unfortunately, many brands use environmental friendliness as a mere advertising stunt and in real life do not stand for the values they claim are essential. I fall prey to this type of advertising just like anyone. Be that as it may, my goal is to attain a “recovery level” that I would be happy with at least when it comes to clothes. Fortunately, my mother and grandmother have kept many cool things from their own youth and I often add items to my wardrobe from there or shop in second-hand stores. I buy new clothes from small businesses, rather than support their endeavors as well.
What do you think our lives will look like when you’re 50, 31 years from now? Will we as people physically get together at all, will artificial intelligence do all the work for humans, and will we still have real food?
Recommended by a friend, I recently listened to history professor Yuval Harari’s lecture on new religions of the 21st century. It was very interesting and gave me a lot to think about in relation to technological developments and the future of humankind. It would be really difficult for me to imagine what our rapidly developing society could be like in 30 years - like Harari, I think right now we don’t even know the right questions to ask about our future. It is a fact that advances in technology and science constitute the most crucial factors in societal development now and, most likely, we will depend on these advances more and more in the future. If or when artificial intelligence will understand us just as well as or even better than we ourselves do, we must accept corresponding changes in our day-to-day life.
Most representatives of older generations will read this article - what is your message from the young to the older? How could older generations support you, young people, today?
Listen to and trust young people’s opinions. Of course, we have less experience, yet at the same time, we were raised in an entirely different - freer - environment. Owing to that we also have a more open worldview and value judgments. I think that in cooperation we can find many smart solutions that will make all of our lives more enjoyable.
Model: Lotta Photo: Penelope Russak
Let’s hope your graduation ceremony and the party will indeed take place. How important is jewelry for you in the case of events like that and in general?
I’ve always liked jewelry. Jewelry pieces that are important for me all have a story to tell that matters to me. Jewelry that I have received as a gift or that I have bought for myself to celebrate a special occasion. Even when I was little, opening a gift, I often found a piece of jewelry and those are my favorites now. For example, I wear this silver chain for important exams or performances and my pearl earrings when I want to feel feminine and self-confident. One of my favorite parts of every morning is choosing the jewelry to wear - it sets the course of the day. I plan to buy jewelry to celebrate my graduation, like a thank you to myself for all my hard work. Then I’ll have another story “saved in a piece of jewelry”.