I met Vihra last year, at an event about sustainability, where I was giving a talk and Tierra Verde, her company for sustainable goods, had a booth. I’ve been a fan of their products ever since they opened up. And now that I know Vihra personally, I am even more keen to recommend them, because I love supporting companies when the humans behind them are kind, stand behind their values, and put their money where their mouth is.

Vihra Dincheva for Contrabond

Later, I interviewed Vihra for an article in “Cosmopolitan” about menstrual cups. She is an expert on the topic, as well as a woman with a lot of personal experience in reusable hygiene products, so her opinion was invaluable. You can read the article here, in my portfolio.

So why I am I interviewing Vihra again, this time for the blog? Because she is one of the people who can charge me up with just a few voice messages. You can “hear” her smile even over the phone, and her words are just as inspiring. I like working with people who know why they’ve chosen their path while walking with purpose and passion. Being around humans like that pushes me to do more both personally and professionally. In my eyes, Vihra is exactly this type of woman and so I was longing to introduce her to you. I hope that our conversation will have a similar effect on you as well and, once you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your feedback.

– How did you start believing that you can create a successful business, selling sustainable products in Bulgaria?

I lived abroad for 13 years and made the decision to come back to Bulgaria very consciously. My goal was to help build a better social environment for both others and myself. So it wasn’t a question of where I would open my business – I knew it had to be in Bulgaria.

 Also, I couldn’t imagine having a company that was about anything other than helping the sustainability movement. It has always been crucial to me, both personally and professionally. Besides, I wanted to offer an alternative, so my two goals met and Tierra Verde was born. Everything came together very naturally so that my beliefs, values, and partners started working together in harmony.

– If you could pick one thing that all of us in Bulgaria should change about our behavior, inspired by plastic-free initiatives, what would it be?

This I can answer quickly – not eating in plastic. Plastic packaging, plastic bags, any plastic. Let’s start with the packaging, if bags are too hard, but it’s important to understand that every food packaged this way harms us. To go shopping with awareness and choose to buy in bulk or cook more, instead of getting packaged foods. To give food its life back and to give ourselves back the life that real food creates.

– What do you say to people who think, “One swallow doesn’t make a summer?”

People who think this way obviously don’t know the other swallows in the flock (laughs). I am lucky to know many other swallows and I see clearly that even though we may be a minority, our numbers are growing. This inspires confidence in me that change will come. It’s also delightful to work with people who are motivated by the same values. So it’s not just the one swallow.

If you don’t believe me, go out there and mingle, you’ll see that in Bulgaria there are incredible people, doing meaningful things in a conscious way.

– How do you think we can take care of ourselves as women, while being mindful of the climate crisis?

Taking care of our femininity is the most natural thing and does no harm to nature. What brings destruction is this brainwashing that commercials produce, when they persuade us to use products that are neither good for us, nor for nature.

In short – whatever is bad for human health, regardless of whether we’re talking about men or women, is also bad for nature’s health. It applies to cosmetics but also other everyday products.

When it comes to personal feminine hygiene, there is a certain choice we can make with awareness – going for reusable menstrual cups and pads. I’ve been using them for years and have therefore personally experienced the benefits for both myself and nature when single-use plastic pads and tampons don’t flood the landfills.

My advice is to choose natural products, packaged in a way that doesn’t pollute. As a footnote to the previous question, I believe that personal choice is tremendously impactful. It’s not difficult to be a part of the solution, instead of the problem. It only requires awareness and an alternative. The alternatives are already on the market, so we only have to pick the one that’s best for us.

– Recently, I spent an evening thinking about what the perfect world would look like for me. So I want to ask you the same.

Hearing this question I wondered, “Is there such a thing as a perfect world?” Perhaps what comes closest, in my eyes, is a world of mutual respect. Where each of us treats ourselves, others, nature, and the differences between us with respect. Where we accept, without judgment. I believe that when we embrace respect and acceptance, then we take good care of each other and can be authentic.

In a perfect world, we would be conscious of our inseparability from nature. We are all connected, both with each other and with nature as a whole. So if nature and humans as a species are doing better, then each of us, as individuals, would also be doing better. Everything is interconnected and in the ideal world of my dreams, we’d live according to this principle.  

What did you think of our conversation? Do you feel like you now know Vihra at least a little bit? What did her words inspire in you? Let me know in the comments 🙂