My Diba Day… My EVA Day…

Today, marks the day of two legends. Nelson Mandela and Eva Johnson, both born on the 18th July. My grandmother would have been celebrating her 89th birthday today. So as we celebrate ‘Ma Diba Day’ we will be celebrating ‘My EVA Day’ #MyEVADay as well as our one year Anniversary of the ForEVA Straws, my first born.

This was not mentioned previously but THE FOREVA FOUNDATION was initiated early April 2018, the foundation is a small non-profit foundation started to raise donations, sponsors and funds to go towards Giving Back. A Give Back initiative in the name of Eva Johnson the one who lived to give. The one who taught me what it was to give, the one who taught me the importance of being selfless.

On the 27th May 2018 we managed to feed 100 beautiful souls in Diepsloot, Johannesburg. For the month of June to July we are running a nan and purity drive for Doors of Hope orphanage, Johannesburg. In the first week of August we will be sponsoring a young females motivational talk in Durban, hosted by ex Miss South Africa Finalist, Iman Sheik, for young girls who attend Hillview Secondary School (one female learner per grade will be selected) as well as some young girls from Newlands East, Durban. For the month of August and September we will be raising funds for SANCCOB in Cape Town who is doing an amazing job rescuing penguins and they are in the process of building a new penguin hospital.

Today, the 18th July 2018 we have the honour of collaborating with, Piatto, Bites Media, Onxy Entertainment and Rivers Foundation. We are giving back to the New Generation School in Vlakfontein. We managed to feed over 900 children at the school. What an absolute honour.

This is exactly what my grandmother was about, this is exactly what she taught all of her children and grandchildren. Give, help, assist, all the time, where you can and even where you cannot.  There is no better satisfaction than to be able to assist someone with something that they do not have. The feeling is pricelist. This is certainly something I know that my grandmother would have been extremely proud of.

I am humbled, I am honoured, I am blessed.

Happy Birthday Ma.. My Queen.

Happy Birthday Madiba.

The Environmental Aspect…

Just a brief bit on my ‘Environmental Journey’

Truth be told, before the 13th January 2017 I DID NOT have the slightest idea that single use plastic was harming our environmental, pre-January 2017 I used plastic straws as ‘normal’ when having cocktails and cold beverages. THIS WAS A TOTAL LACK OF EDUCATION AND AWARENESS. And I believe that this is still a major problem, in SA and all around the world and therefore so many people still use single use plastic anything. Some individuals literally do not care, as I was told by a particular lady at one of our events (as I tried to explain to her the importance of a steel straw and how we will not have any fish left in the ocean by 2050 if we continue with our usage of single use plastic) {because she just could not understand why on earth would we be selling steel straws, the lady was baffled, she looked at me like I was insane} she said ‘’My dear, I do not care about whether my grandchildren do not have or see fish, ever, I will be long dead, F*CK them’’ From that moment I knew, this was going to be hard work, like, real hard work. And for some crazy reason I was under this spell that every South African, if not all, most, would have seen what I saw. To my surprise, this journey is rather challenging. I still believe that everyone will see the light though. I do.

I am proud to say, that post January 2017 I never put another plastic straw to my lips ever again. And at first, for me, it was all about the beauty of the product, it was all about the ‘Trendy’, ‘Cool’, ‘Funky’ look I thought it had (and I still believe that it is one gorgeous piece of steel). However, now, now it is not solely about the beauty of the product, it is not only about the look, it is more about the actual seriousness of the problem at hand, it is all about the seriousness of the problem we are experiencing. Our Earth is suffering, Our Earth is seriously suffering, and we need to do something about it. We are all responsible.

Living a more sustainable life is not an easy route, it is not easy, neither is it cost effective, it is like living a healthy life (PLEASE NOTE, I SPEAK FOR MYSELF) but like everything else in life, it takes time and must be done gradually, one step at a time, one straw at a time, one plastic bag at a time, less sugar at a time, less carbs at a time, a bit more exercise (as often as possible), take the stairs (instead of the lift), every step counts, every bit counts.  I am not perfect, none of us are, but we can only TRY to do better. Make that effort, make that change, that small change, make that difference, that little difference, because every single bit counts, every little bit contributes, contributes to making Our Earth a better, safer place.

The Samples and The Company Name Saga

Part 2 – It is not ForEVER Straws, it is ForEVA Straws, my late grandmothers name, Eva. The Straws that last forever. It works. It all works.

So I am back in SA, never have I ever been so excited about anything like this in my entire existence especially as George agreed to trial run the straws in his restaurant. I had travelled to 7 different countries in the space of 2 months, I did mention previously that my bank account was just as exhausted as I was. All that was going through my mind was ‘’You need to get samples, you need to get samples, you need to get samples…”

Late 2016 I started collecting R5 coins, I have no idea as to why, I just did, and I still do it. My R5 coins came in handy! They purchased the first sample straws for the business. I combined a total of R800 (in R5 coins!) and over R500 cash and purchased my samples. A few days later the straws arrived. As soon as I got them in my hands I rushed to George to show him these babies!  Handed George the straws, he was excited and told me that he will get back to me within a few days. I was so confident and believed in this product, I knew that George was going to call me and it could only be good feedback, there was no other way this was going down (in my mind). While George was interviewing customers in the restaurant, Megan was sourcing steel straws as she knew this was going to so work.

Whilst trying to source these straws locally I found that many companies were asking me what company I was calling from, I used to respond with ‘Personal for now,’ and somehow, I felt a bit strange (a nice strange) like this was a sign *You need to register a company* So I did. I figured that if I believed that this would work I should do the right thing and register an official business. Go Big or Go Home!! has always been my way of living. Oh, did I mention, that the local sourcing of the straws was an epic fail, I literally got laughed at over the phone by many suppliers. People could just not wrap their head around my request. A lady said to me (I quote) ‘’…My darling, I have been in the steel industry for 15 years now and I have never been asked to make a steel drinking straw, are you sure you are looking for a straw and it’s not something else…’’ this was the most hilarious for me.

On the 29th March 2017, FOREVA GROUP (Pty) Ltd was born. My first ‘Baby’! ‘My’ first born. My first love. The most interesting part of this was thinking of a company name, this made me believe more so that this was really meant to be. I believe that the most difficult part about registering a company is getting the name right, the actual process is simple, the aim is to get the name right the first time.  I was busy with an assignment late afternoon on this day, I paused, went online, filled out the application form and then it was time for adding a name. I wrote a name on a piece of paper ‘BLISS BRANDS’ I gave it a moment of thought and wrote another name ‘’EVA’’ and smiles, took another moment, longer this time and then I added the ‘’FOR’’ in front of the EVA and said it out loud ‘’FOREVA’’. That was IT. The name was perfect. I looked up and smiled and said ‘’this has to be a sign’’.

‘’For EVA’’ everything that I do is for my grandmother, Eva Johnson. Always has been and always will be. I love you Eva Johnson.

How It All Started

My Journey. Part 1.

On the 13th January 2017 I was on vacation in Bali with a very dear friend of mine Valissa. I will never forget this day, I was extremely sick and apparently I had the ‘Bali Belly’. We had planned to go out for a fine dinner as our stay was limited in that city. At the restaurant Valissa had a glass of dry red wine and I settled for a Coke Zero (Did not want to chance it ‘Bali Belly’). The wine and a bottle of coke arrived on the table with a glass filled with ice and this absolutely gorgeous piece of steel. That was when it all happened, that moment, the fireworks, the explosions, the rainbows, and the absolute bliss in my mind, indescribable. It had me utterly mesmerized.

I could not understand how and why we had not seen this straw before, we travel quite often and we eat out and love experiencing new restaurants yet we had never seen this amazing product. The straw was simple, classy and elegant. It made a world of sense to me. I pulled the straw out of the glass, held it up and looked at it with this huge silly grin on my face, I just could not believe my eyes. I asked Valissa ‘’Why have we not seen this anywhere!? And is it not just so gorgeous’’ She smiled and said ‘’I have no idea why and isn’t it just so gorgeous?’’ I then asked her ‘’Do you think I could bring these to SA’’ she responded ‘’I do not see why not”.

From that moment forth, this stainless steel straw was all I ever thought about, literally.

We arrived back in SA exhausted and with an extremely exhausted bank account. The ‘’Hanging on until Payday’’ mode kicked in. I took what I thought was a genius idea to a very good friend of ours, George who is now my business partner (God sent!!). I sat down with George, extremely excited and explained this amazing product to him and how I thought it would work great in his restaurant and how I believed that it was just ‘The Future’ (In My Mind). George was impressed and intrigued and after me selling this idea to him for almost 20 mins (me speaking and George listening) he calmly responded ‘’Sounds brilliant Megz, we can certainly do a trial run in the restaurant, so where are the samples?’’ I believe that this was my first lesson in business, carry samples of what you are promoting because people are going to want to see and touch!

All I want to do is share my story as my journey unfolds.

Thank you to all readers, I really hope you follow me on my journey and experience.

Part 2, ‘The Samples and Company Name Saga’ of My Story will follow soon. I would really appreciate any feedback, questions and comments. First time blogging.

Megan Johnson