Maria Tan

Maria Tan

We first met Maria at our Acceptance Sale, which takes our ethos of sustainability further, by giving up As-Is items at reduced prices. A woman on a mission – whether at work crunching data for plant-based movement platform abillion or at her community initiative Back To Ground Zero, Maria is passionate about making a positive social impact and promoting sustainability. A year on, we’re checking in with her to see how her SOJAO bedding has served her since being adopted into her home.singapore female environmental advocate

“I started my sustainability journey after graduating from university, when I finally had the headspace to think about life and my role in this universe! I realised that I've always enjoyed and derived happiness from nature, but never really did anything to protect it.”

female eco activist cat lounge

I started cutting my waste, transitioning into a plant-based lifestyle, consuming more consciously and ethically, and being vocal about this way of life.

My journey was very much intertwined with my relationship with mental health - I feel like I gained a lot more clarity by caring for the environment, and it allowed me to feel so much more comfortable in my own skin.

sustainability poster mental health poetry

“I feel like over the years I’ve learnt how to say 'No’ more, and to let go of the small things I cannot control. I feel less like I need to prove something and more like I should live every single day to the fullest, even if that means doing something a little less.”

women loungewear organic cotton sustainable

Maria is wearing our Organic Cotton Women’s Loungewear Set in Olive Tee and Cloud Lounge Pants.

I love my room! It's filled with secondhand, upcycled, quirky stuff I've collected over the years and I treat it as my space to recharge my soul. I'm a very visual person so the space around me is my canvas and I tend to fill it up with beautiful objects that bring me joy.

room decor bohemian house plants

“My rattan chair is one of my favourites because I literally picked it up from the rubbish dump. My dad helped me refurbish it and gave it a new paint, and now it works perfectly fine.

female empowerment data scientist thrifted sustainability

“During the Circuit Breaker, I made my own cardboard-woven frame after seeing it on Pinterest and started upcycling materials like t-shirts and plastic bags into yarn. The dreamcatcher above my bed is made out of an old embroidery hoop, lace, and some dried leaves. So simple but I find them beautiful!”

upcycled weaving sustainability diy dream catcher

I'm a warm sleeper and I tend to sleep without an air conditioner. I've tried all sorts of cheap bed sheets (never really even cared about the material) while studying overseas, and I must say that I really feel the need to invest in everything I can to have a good night's sleep - it means the world to me.

bed sheet organic cotton sustainable eco certified

Maria’s bed is dressed in SOJAO’s Classic Mix & Match Bundle Set in Blush and Natural, with an extra Pillowcase Pair.

“I start my day by feeding and cleaning up after my foster cat, Speckles (I foster with @keepcats!). Some mornings I get some movement in - the feeling of moving to a yoga flow with my skin absorbing the warm, orange sun glow never fails to put me in a grand mood.”

Moving and sweating is a big way for me to destress and show my body some care.

organic cotton loungewear womens cat foster

After my shower, I make myself an oat latte and breakfast. I then start work at 9am sharp with meetings. My oat latte recipe is super simple! I just combine instant coffee with oat milk that’s been frothed in a French press (Pinterest hack!). Super quick and yummy.” (check out Maria’s recipe at the end of this article)

Vegan Oat Latte Recipe Simple

“Most of our mugs are from local ceramics studio, @mudrockceramics. They’re family friends and it’s always nice supporting Singaporean makers.”

“I feel very strongly about supporting local. From an environmental standpoint, buying local has tremendous benefits to the planet (my main concern is transportation emissions), and from a social view, I love supporting my local community.

produce bag organic cotton tote bag grocery

Maria pairs our Organic Women’s Organic Lounge Pants in Cloud with a thrifted top.

“My favourite go-to thrift/second-hand stores are Thrifty Trendz in Serangoon, New2U in Bugis and The Fashion Pulpit. I also love good ol' Salvation Army and Carousell. My favourite pair of mom jeans was thrifted 6 years ago at a local Salvation Army centre for $2.”

I sometimes buy first-hand items to support ethical and sustainable brands, but when I do so, I always make sure that they are comfortable and that I will wear them often. I think it’s about adopting a more mindful approach to shopping.”

organic cotton bed sheets home linens loungewear

I'm born and bred here and I want to contribute to communities in Singapore and Southeast Asia. There is also so much cultural history and interesting stories by local founders that I always enjoy learning about.


Maria’s Oat Milk Latte Recipe

oat milk latte sustainable coffee

1. Dissolve instant coffee grounds in hot water.

oat milk frother french press alternative

2. Froth oat milk in a French press.

Maria recommends using oat milk instead of nut milk because it requires significantly less water to produce. Learn more here: 

oat milk sustainable nut milk alternative replace

3. Combine coffee and frothed oat milk.


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