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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
News blog5 July 2023Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

‘Success is getting people to change their lifestyle to be more sustainable’

An interview with 33 Under 33 entrepreneur Teona Mango

Secrets of Success Teona Mango 33 under 33

On the Promoting Enterprise portal, we are talking to the entrepreneurs on the 33 Under 33 list. This Secrets of Success initiative aims to shine the spotlight on a selection of successful young entrepreneurs, documenting their stories in an effort to inspire others to consider entrepreneurship as a career path. Today it is the turn of young Macedonian Teona Mango.

Teona is from Macedonia and she has a BA in Politics and International Relations from Queen Mary University of London. Her heroes are PANGAIA founder Miroslava Duma, Greta Thunberg, Steve Jobs, Allbirds founders Tim Brown & Joey Zwillinger, and the broadcaster David Attenborough. She considers both of her parents and people from her local community to be her mentors. Her parents are also the source of her entrepreneurial spirit.

Tell us about your business

Beyond Green is an online destination for eco-friendly lifestyle and sustainable fashion. A place where fashion can exist responsibly so that you can enjoy the application, the artistic moment and the love of using it. The purpose of Beyond Green is not just to sell eco-friendly products but to educate and honestly promote things that are ecological and sustainable and can make a difference by using them. A brand that is ecological and sustainable in all aspects, from sourcing and production to marketing and sales, we are using materials that have been ethically sourced and that are bio-degradable, recycled or fully recyclable. Each and every person involved in all of our processes is fairly paid, we strive for minimal and zero waste packaging.

Where did you get the idea from?

My main motive was ecological anxiety. Reading and seeing what is happening to our environment and planet and how negligent and ignorant we are towards it, was giving me anxiety and I often found myself worrying about where this is heading. Back in 2020, due to the global pandemic, I returned from London to my home country - Macedonia. Living there for a longer period, I noticed how little people cared about sustainability and living ecologically, but what I also noticed was the lack of sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives on the market. This gave me the idea to start a brand that would sell eco-friendly and sustainable products. The first product that I launched were shopping tote bags made from linen, which turned out to be our all-time best sellers. Since the interest in eco-friendly and sustainable products was high, soon afterward we launched a few more sustainable and eco-friendly products such as: 100% biodegradable phone cases, reusable water bottles, bags for produce, candles made from bees’ wax, etc.

How old were you when you first decided you would start your own business?

My first attempt at business was when I was 11 years old, back then amongst girls my age a bracelet brand called “silly bandz” was super popular - girls used to stack dozens of them on their hands. I found out about the bracelets during a family trip to the US, and since those bracelets were not available in Macedonia I got the idea of importing a few hundred bracelets and selling them to my friends and other people at school. Long-story short - it did not turn out to be a profitable business, but I did manage to cover the expenses of the business idea. It was a great first experience of what it means to start your own business but also for me to realize that starting a business and making it profitable is not as easy as I thought it would be.

How did you get it off the ground?

It took months of researching and learning about production, materials, finding manufacturers, etc. Once I decided on what material the bags would be made from and who would produce them I started working on building the website and the online shop. The launch campaign played a big role and the fact that I used my social media audience to advertise my brand and product was a great help, and is how I got my first customers.

Who did you turn to for help?

My parents, boyfriend and friends. From asking what their thought were on me starting this business, to showing them the first prototypes, to asking them business related questions and advice on all sort of work related issues I came across.

Secrets of Success Teona Mango 33 under 33 trump card


Describe some of the obstacles you faced as a young person starting out in this business.

Finding sufficient funding was an obstacle in the beginning, my business idea was self-funded and as a 20 something your funds are very limited. Thankfully, for this I had the help of my parents. Another obstacle I would say was figuring out how a company works and all the legal aspects about it, from opening a company, to taxes, to imports all that. It took me a while to understand it and I am still learning something new every single day.

How do you define success?

Success is very subjective, for me personally it is returning customers, positive reviews about Beyond Green and the biggest would probably be getting people to decide to change their lifestyle to be more sustainable after seeing/using our products.

What was the most challenging aspect of setting up your business?

Finding materials that are 100% sustainable. A lot of materials I came across, even if advertised as sustainable and green, were not fully sustainable. The majority of things I found in retailers and manufacturers that were shown to me as “green” and “sustainable” alternatives turned out to be classic green washing. It took a lot of time and research to figure out which materials are actually sustainable, how to detect green washing, sourcing of materials, etc.

What has been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?

Meeting so many people that are passionate about sustainability and making efforts to be as sustainable and eco conscious as possible. And seeing people (complete strangers to me) use my products.

What are the future goals of your business, and how will you go about achieving them?

Our future goals are introducing more sustainable products in our product range, attracting more international customers and having our products placed in physical stores. We are currently working on ideas for upcoming products that should be launched by the end of 2023. We also recently enabled world-wide shipping and we are now working on a marketing strategy to attract more international customers.

What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs out there?

Work on something you are passionate about, don’t be afraid to takes risks but also accept failures. Entrepreneurship is hard and takes a lot of work and dedication, but in the end it’s very satisfying knowing that you built it and made it yourself.

Follow and learn more about “Secrets of Success: 33 under 33” via the app and the Youtube SoS 33 under 33 playlist. 


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