After more than a year of being largely confined to our homes, a lot of people are thinking about their lifestyle and surroundings, and how they can impact both their own mental health and the planet.
So the timing is perfect for Laurie Barrette and Stéphanie Mandrea's beautiful and inspiring Minimal: For Simple and Sustainable Living (House of Anansi Press, translated by J.C. Sutcliffe), which shares the authors' - who are known as the founders of the chic Montreal eco-brand Dans le Sac - insights on creating a planet-friendly, soothing, and sustainable lifestyle and aesthetic.
Packed with DIY project ideas, practical tips for reducing waste, and utterly drool-worthy photos, Minimal is a must read whether you're motivated by love of the planet, the 'gram, or both.
We're excited to speak to Laurie and Stéphanie today about Minimal for our True Story nonfiction series. They tell us about the importance of making the zero waste message relatable and approachable, about juggling the pressures of new families and a book project, and how they adapted Minimal in the wake of the pandemic to reflect changing attitudes about the home.
Tell us about your new book and how it came to be. What made you passionate about the subject matter you're exploring?
Laurie Barrette and Stéphanie Mandrea:
Our book is the result of the minimal zero-waste lifestyle that we both have been living for several years. We want to encourage others to make more eco-responsible choices on a daily basis, to preserve our beautiful planet, and to be both beautiful and green. We offer tips, beautiful photos, and DIYs for daily inspiration.
Is there a question that is central to your book? And if so, is it the same question you were thinking about when you started writing or did it change during the writing process?
LB & SM:
Throughout the writing we thought about how we could make it easier to understand this way of life while rallying as many people as possible to it. We wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to be fulfilled and happy while reducing our consumption.
What do you need in order to write – in terms of space, food, rituals, writing instruments?
LB & SM:
We need to be in a good writing mental state to write well and be inspired, and don’t believe that writing can be forced. It's a creative process that requires concentration, but a touch of letting go, too. We get into the mood by burning some incense or diffusing essential oils, with no electronic distractions, and let ourselves be inspired by the writing process.
What do you do if you're feeling discouraged during the writing process? Do you have a method of coping with the difficult points in your projects?
LB & SM:
We both started families, a joy and a challenge when writing a book. Adjusting to this new life initially slowed us down, but also gave us perspective. Between us, we were able to divide up the writing and include our personal expertise, experiences, and inspiration.
What are you working on now?
LB & SM:
The pandemic has forced us to reinvent ourselves and to pay closer attention to our community. We have adapted the book to reflect a current trend: the art of creating a home that resembles us. And we will continue to create inspiring content and products to encourage people to reduce their waste and rethink their lifestyles. The translation of our book into English opens up a whole new audience and we are very excited about this opportunity.
Stéphanie Mandrea and Laurie Barrette are the founders of the Montreal-based eco-brand Dans le Sac, which makes reusable and sustainable products that can be easily incorporated into daily life. Their goal is to make a difference by proposing simple, effective solutions that respect our health and that of our planet. Since its inception, Dans le sac has become a YouTube channel, an online store, and an incredible web platform for new discoveries and inspirations of the moment. Minimal: For Simple and Sustainable Living is their first book.