Interview with Margarita Szabo of LaAquarelle Sleep Masks


#1

The more I learn about Margarita and her business, the more I like her.

I found her plant-dyed sleep masks when I was searching for the right fit for the new Beautiful Voyager Marketplace. The titles of her masks caught my eye: Calendula, Nettles, Lavender, Hibiscus. “What is this?” I thought. And how does it work?

I’ve since learned that Margarita makes her wonderful sleep masks by hand using ancient plant dyeing techniques. I was particularly struck by this line that she wrote, "Color theory confirms that colors evoke a physiological response. The reaction to natural colors is both calming and intriguing."
I wanted to learn more about her and her business, so I asked if I could interview her here. She said yes!

Question #1: Thank you for taking part in this interview Margarita! I would love to hear a little about your background. Where are you from? Your name sounds Polish. (I am married to a Skrzypek, so I recognize the confusing S-Z combo).


#2

First of all, thanks so much for having me here on your amazing marketplace!
My name is Margarita Szabo. This surname is Hungarian (thanks to my husband), so you were very close with your guess :slight_smile: Originally I am from Russia, however, consider myself a global citizen. I`ve been living all around Europe for the past 10 years: the Netherlands, Hungary, right now UK.


#3

It’s amazing that you’ve lived so many places @margarita! You seem so young to have done so much. Very cool to know about your background and your Hungarian husband :wink: You live in London now, right? That leads me to my next question:

Question #2: When did you first start working with fabric? How and where did you begin this journey?


#4

To make a long story short: I was doing a corporate job back few years ago when I received a sewing machine as a Christmas present. I started to design clothing from scratch suprusing my family and friends. I was dreaming of having some small fashion business of my own… At that time by chance I saw a document film called The True Cost that reveals how our clothing is made, fast fashion concepts and impact. I was absolutely shocked by all what I’ve seen but mostly how bad the synthetic dyes are for peoples’ health and the planet. I started to search for alternative ways and discovered the ancient fabric dyeing techniques where different plant matters and minerals are used. The most amazing part is that many of them have even beneficial properties to our health and absolutely clean for the environment. This is how my journey with botanical dyes has started…


#5

@margarita I feel like I have to put up the photo of you and your sewing machine at this point.

It just felt too natural not to include that shot!
I love that you decided to take action when you learned something that bothered you. One of my theories is that taking action like this is very good for a person’s mental health.

Question #2: Has working to address the problems you saw in the fashion industry made you feel better?


#6

It makes me feel good about what I am doing, knowing you don`t create any harm for people and environment they are living in. At the same time, I feel there is much more can be done in bringing awareness about the fact that industrial chemical dyes can be really dangerous for our health, especially the cheap fast fashion clothing with the worst quality. We are living at the time of very high progress with the opportunities to find more sustainable and ecological friendly solutions.


#7

Tell me more about what you’ve learned about the health benefits of plant dyeing, @margarita. This sounds like something you are very passionate about.

Question #3: Why are products like your eye masks made using ancient plant dyeing techniques better for your health?


#8

I believe we would rather absorb the good properties from plant dyes through wearing things that are beneficial to our health rather than of absorbing bad properties of chemical dyes into our bloodstream. Skin around eyes is especially thin and sensitive…


#9

Question #4: What was the first eye mask you ever made? What did it look like and which plant did you use? Were there any funny stories from that time?


#10

Actually the reason I created an eye mask is that I was having sleeping problems due to several reasons; Stress, a bright and noisy environment, hot temperature in a room.
I bought ear plugs and wanted to buy a fine quality sleep mask. My eyes are very sensitive; so I needed a breathable natural fabric for the mask.
I tried a couple of masks but none of them were comfortable and didn’t give me a good sleep. They were either warm, too thin with letting the light through, not adjustable etc.
All of them were made of polyester or had external cotton/silk layers with polyester wadding inside of it that caused majority of issues.
At the end of the day I created a mask for myself. It was soft, breathable, didn`t irritate my skin, yet unique and stylish. I was soon having a good night’s sleep again.
First masks were created from fabric leftovers I had in my house, and just later on, I started to explore and play with natural dyes…


#11

That’s amazing @margarita! I feel like the best products are made to solve a real problem the creator has. It makes so much sense that I was drawn to your eye masks. You can feel that you created them for a genuine reason…I love that.

I didn’t realize that the polyester wadding inside could actually be a bothersome issue! How do yours differ from that and why is it helpful not to have wadded polyester?

Meredith


#12

All LaAquarelle sleep masks have 2 cotton layers inside: black fabric and soft plush one.
Cotton is natural breathable textile. Thanks to this your face won`t be warm, sweaty or irritated.


#13

WOW! I didn’t realize all of this about sleeping masks. Thank you so much for sharing this information, @margarita.

Is there anything else you want people to know about your company or your sleeping masks?


#14

Thank you Meredith for having this conversation! I hope your community will enjoy eco sleep masks as much as I am enjoying making it…