We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristina Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cristina, what inspires you?
Nature in its rawest form has long been my main inspiration. Since I was young, I had admiration for the natural world and how perfect it all works together. I love to see nature the way is meant to be. I often remind myself that us humans are part of that perfect world, we are nature. We must learn to coexist in a sustainable way to ensure not only our survival, but also the precious creatures that make up this wonderful planet.
After being able to experience nature in its most preserved form while scuba diving in the Galapagos islands, I was reminded what nature was like without the disruption of plastics and fishing lines that littered the oceans and beaches of the places I’ve frequented. Through Pauji I have been inspired by the resilience of nature and how through its sustainable resources we may rid ourselves of our plastic dependency.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Pauji Outdoors is proud to be a sustainable brand that focuses on curbing the use of single-use plastic. We are excited to use sustainable, renewable and biodegradable materials in all of our products. Our main product is the bamboo cutlery set that brings all your cutlery essentials to keep it plastic free when you’re out and about. It is the perfect tool for staying prepared to refuse single-use plastic. Pauji’s mission is to help create new habits that reduce the use of every-day plastics that don’t get recycled. Our customers know how important their daily habits are and how one person can truly make a difference. Specifically, plastic forks, spoons and knives are items that won’t get recycled. They are too small and contaminated for recycling facilities to process. Instead they end up making their way into our landfills and oceans everyday. By offering an eco-friendly alternative, Pauji Outdoors has helped our customers create less waste.
It has been a hard working, yet a very fun journey for me.
The company itself has two years running, one of them being the pandemic year. This was a big challenge for us since markets were a huge part of our business, but recognizing that sometimes life’s challenges are often life’s biggest learning opportunities lead to expanding our e-commerce presence. We hope to soon be back touring local events and spreading our message.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Miami is a very diverse and fun city! There are so many awesome things to do. If a friend was visiting for a week I would take them to Oleta Park for kayaking or paddle boarding on the lovely Miami Bay. Followed by lunch at Love Life Cafe , the avocado toast there is delicious. At night, we would go to Wynwood for dinner at Thatch Miami and for a beer at JWakefield Brewery.
On the next day we would go for a bike stroll around Midtown, Wynwood and the Miami Design District to check out the Miami art scene along with a scoop of ice cream from Nabati. I love this spot because all their treats are dairy-free and sustainable. I would also take them for a picnic at South Point Park to do yoga and set up a slackline to enjoy the beautiful Miami weather.
If my friend is up for it, we would also drive about 40 minutes north to Lauderdale by The Sea to snorkel and free dive at the reefs up there. The reefs there have so much life and they are near the shore. You can see the prettiest fish and sometimes even sea turtles. On our way back down to Miami, we would stop for lunch at the Yellow Green Farmers Market and eat my favorite Venezuelan Empanadas from Parguito Gourmet. They are amazing and they have something for all types of diets. You can’t have a trip to South Florida without checking out the everglades, so another bike ride at Shark Valley loop would be on schedule. This bike ride by Tamiami is one in a million. You get to bike around alligators while they enjoy their natural habitat. Just make sure to keep a safe distance and stay in the bike path. Our last day would definitely be a relaxing beach day at Key Biscayne Beach. We would bring our cooler with refreshing snacks, beach racquets and call it a day.
The list goes on! South Florida really has endless possibilities.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Wow! There are so many amazing people that I am extremely grateful for their help and support throughout this journey and throughout life. Let me start with my amazing family. My parents and siblings have been key support figures throughout the entire process of starting the company. They showed up to almost all markets and made sure I stayed encouraged and motivated. My Dad is responsible for planning my first trip to Pauji, an indigenous town near the Amazon Jungle. This place made me fall in love with the wild natural world and pushed me to keep exploring and learning about our planet and eventually led to starting Pauji Outdoors. Life always does a full circle. I am also thankful for my group of friends for being there to help in any way possible and also for showing up to most events to show their support. I am thankful for organizations like the Sea Shepherd and 4Ocean for inspiring me to do my grain of salt in preserving our planet. Valeria Hinojosa, (also known as Water Thru Skin) because through her blog, I fell in love with ways to become more sustainable and make my lifestyle greener. The list goes on. I feel everyone I have met throughout this journey has added to it in some way.
Alexander Kafure @alexkafure Maria Pla @delunar_ @vinotovinyasa