A Journey From Challenges to Choices…

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What does PLA mean to you? A simple answer would be, of course, great soap: natural fragrance, unique texture, and a good cause behind the brand’s inception (see our first blog entry to know more if you haven’t already).

For current MBA student Daria Mostowa, who went passionately into this venture no more than a half year ago, PLA is about aspiration – an aspiration for challenge, positive energy, and choice.
Born and raised in Poland, Daria has always loved a challenge. At 17 years of age, she decided to pursue her mountain climbing hobby joined a youth mountaineer club. Teamed up with four other climbers, Daria challenged herself to Mont Blanc – the highest peak in Europe – in the very same year. She was the only female member on the team. All being well, 300 meters away from the summit, however, weather changed violently and a snow-storm hit. Unable to advance, the team was trapped on the spot. As the life-threatening wind roared on, the team had no choice but to cling to the ground and wait… It was hours before the storm subsided, and the team extracted safely.

After the initial failure, Daria returned to Mont Blanc the following year, and reached the summit successfully.

Being a challenging and enormously rewarding venture, the mountain climbing experience taught Daria positive thinking, and encouraged her to seek more positive “energy” from life. Having obtained a finance degree in university, Daria worked for a major international bank’s branch in Poland. The work was well paid and, in its way, full of challenge. However, Daria realized that the heavily profit-driven, pressure-cook environment failed to resonate with her values for life.

Looking for more, Daria started to travel extensively. During the course of a decade, she was well travelled in over 30 countries across the European, Africa and Asian continents, often in backpack style. It happened to be that Bali, the small Indonesian island, was the place where she met with a good cause, and generated the idea for PLA.

While making efforts to empower the Balinese women with more choices for their lives, Daria herself was on the move to broaden her choice as well. In 2011, Daria came to Vancouver, Canada to pursue her MBA studies. In this demanding program, she needs to scale many barriers including mastering English in a business setting, and various cultural shocks (do note that in Poland, people network in a different way than in North America – they would never ask “how are you”!). In this brand-new challenge, Daria find herself empathizing better with the Balinese women, and become even firmer on her belief in individual choices.

Big ideas, it’s all in the soap.