Sustainable Small Business with Moji Igun

Jun 24, 2019 | by Maia Welbel

Moji Igun is the founder of Blue Daisi Consulting, a company that provides services for small businesses who want to be more sustainable but aren’t quite sure where to start. Her mission is to help businesses identify where their business and sustainability goals align and create strategies to achieve both.

Blue Daisi officially launched in January 2019, but Moji had been garnering her passion and expertise for years before that. She says she knew she wanted “to help save the planet” since she was a kid, but didn’t know what that looked like as a career path.

Moji studied mechanical engineering as an undergrad, and although most of her classmates went on to work for big consulting firms or factories, she was never attracted to that path. She volunteered for Americorp after graduating, and ended up entrenched in the nonprofit world.

This year, not only did Moji launch her own business, but she also uprooted her life in Madison and moved to the Pacific Northwest.

Our own Maia Welbel talked to Moji about her unlikely career path, her spontaneous cross-country move, and how she found her way to a job that is helping save the planet.

Do you still use the skills you gained studying mechanical engineering?

Totally. It’s not in the conventional way—I’m not using thermodynamics on a daily basis—but I am definitely using the problem-solving skills and the experiment making skills to form hypotheses both on the business side and in sustainability science.

What exactly do you offer with Blue Daisi?

Right now I have three different levels of service. The one that I am most pushing right now is the one-hour strategy session, where we get on the phone and chat about what your short and long term goals are and what sustainability things you want to try. And then we figure out where those things align with what I do.

Say a business wants to figure out ways to reduce how much they are spending on resources, but they don’t want to cut corners by getting something that’s cheaper quality—I try to figure out if there is a way that we can reduce cost systematically. For example, I see a lot of restaurants that have paper products, so I will see if they can switch to reusable products. That might be a bigger investment up front, but it lessens the amount they will spend on resources over time.

How did you become an expert in all of this?

This is something that I think about all the time. I’m always thinking about how businesses can be more sustainable. And it really comes from trying to create the businesses that I want to shop at or buy from. So as a person who tries to live a low-waste lifestyle, I am constantly looking at businesses and trying to figure out why I want to shop from them or why I don’t. I started Blue Daisi Consulting basically to help businesses get to a standard of where I would want to buy from.

This past year I also got a certificate in sustainable business from UW Tacoma. So I got to work on case studies and learn how to make a business case for sustainability.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Along with Blue Daisi Consulting, I also work remotely for a nonprofit, so I work from home or a coffee shop most of the time. I wake up around 6AM and work for the whole morning with the nonprofit. In the afternoon I get some lunch, maybe come home and actually make something depending on how much time I have, and kind of reset. Then I’ll shift gears into Blue Daisi where I’m usually doing a lot of administrative and financial work—client work is not that much of my time right now—just building systems, creating newsletters, interviewing people for my blog, and writing contracts.

Where did the name Blue Daisi come from?

The reason I spell Daisi differently is because it comes from my middle name. I’m Nigerian so my middle name is Oludaisi, and when I was younger I couldn’t remember how to spell it and my mnemonic device was “daisi with an i.” So when I was thinking of what part of my name or personality I wanted to put in I thought that was kind of fun. It’s nature-related but also personally related.

What keeps you motivated while you’re working on your own?

I’m a huge introvert so I actually love working by myself, that’s not the hard part. But staying really organized is important to me. My paper planner is like my baby, I take it around everywhere and I use it to break things down into nice little chunks. If I have ten things on my to-do list for today and I do eight of them I can be like “okay, it’s fine if I stop now,” and save it for tomorrow. I can also see what my week looks like at a glance and if I’m overwhelming myself or if I have more time that I need to be doing things. The only way I will remember to do anything is if it’s all written down in one spot. It’s all scribbles but it makes sense in my head.

What made you want to move to Seattle?

I really have no good answer for that. I visited Seattle with my boyfriend a few years ago. We actually took the train all the way from Madison so it was a 36-hour journey. We were just tourists for the weekend and I was just like, “I like this city, I could come back or maybe even live here.”

Then when we went back to Madison we were looking around, and it was early spring and still pretty cold, and we were like “I think we should just do it, I think we should move.” It took us about a year and a half to figure stuff out with work and make it make sense financially, but once we decided it was a done deal. We both work remotely from home now.

What’s your favorite thing to cook at the moment?

My favorite thing I can make without looking at a recipe is a shiitake mushroom risotto using the veggie broth I make from my food scraps! (You can try this recipe here!)

Ingredients:
A splash of olive oil
1 large shallot (chopped)
2 cups shiitake mushrooms (sliced)
A splash of soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free diets)
A dash of dried thyme
1 cup arborio rice
A couple splashes of white cooking wine
3-ish cups of veggie broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. Swirl the pot around until the oil coats the whole bottom.
2. Add shallot and saute. Add some salt and pepper.
3. Add sliced mushrooms and soy sauce. Cook until mushrooms are browned.
4. Add thyme and rice. Stir to coat the rice in all of the previously added ingredients.
5. Add white wine and let the alcohol cook off (you shouldn’t be able to smell the wine when it’s ready).
6. Add a cup of veggie broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Then, lower the heat to a simmer and slowly add the rest of the broth in 1/2 cup increments. Wait until most of the broth has been absorbed before adding more. This should take about 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Thank you so much, Moji! For more on Blue Daisi Consulting and Moji check out bluedaisi.com and on Instagram.

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