Tabea Oppliger is the visionary and pioneering spirit behind the social business KitePride. Since 2014, her husband, pioneering partner and CEO Matthias and their three kids have been living in Tel Aviv.
Q . How did KitePride come to be?
…Tabea O… The idea of a social business initially began with my family and I moving to Israel in 2014, but KitePride itself was actually not put into place or became a working business in Tel Aviv until 2017. It originated from a Swiss kite surfer who knew about our cause of making old and broken new and beautiful which is the nature of the people we work with. She founded KitePride but felt like she couldn’t take it to the next level of making it a business which is where we came into play. She knew we could make that happen so she handed it over to us, and here we are today!
Q . How do you view ethical/sustainable/green practices and how do they relate to you?
…Tabea O… I make sure I buy clothes for my family that are ethically made and fair trade, and for all my American readers out there check out “How many slaves work for you”
Personally I try to reduce the use of plastic bags to a minimum and recycle anything I can. Also I purchase food which is locally grown and in season and fairtrade.
At work, it obviously is something close to our heart because it is a huge part of what we do at KitePride. Instead of trashing kites, sails, parachutes and wetsuits, we upcycle them to be used again. We want to make a difference by reusing something to make something new which cuts down on pollution. We use someone else’s trash as our treasure to create jobs for those who others consider trash.
Q . Is what you do an occupation or a life love?
…Tabea O… It is a life love. I don’t have a choice because it’s such a deep part of me.
My biggest heartache is that people aren’t free. That leads me to my biggest passion which is to see them living in total freedom as is their right as a human being. That is a desire that never stops burning inside me. Never will.
- Emma Lazarus
Q . What was a major turning point in your life?
…Tabea O… That would have to be the moment I met a victim of trafficking face to face. She asked to kiss my infant daughter. She began to weep because she had all three of her children taken from her. I could see the pain in her eyes and hear it in her voice. That is something that will stay with me always.
Q . What is some practical advice you would give to anyone following in your footsteps?
…Tabea O… First of all you need a team to make it happen. That is non-negotiable. It is absolutely impossible to succeed without a committed team around you. I would next say start by talking about your passion and see who captures the spark. That is where you find your team. The ones who catch the spark of your vision and are on fire about it with you. Lastly, I would say do what is in front of your feet with what you have and don't go looking too far. The big picture can be overwhelming. Take one step at a time. Good things take time. Don’t rush the process.
Q . Do you consider obstacles as opportunities to quit or to grow?
…Tabea O… Always an opportunity for growth. The word “quit” is not in my vocabulary. It is so vital that you surround yourself with people who see obstacles the same way so that you can push and encourage each other. No time for excuses or negativity.
Q . Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
…Tabea O… My whole goal is to inspire others to be the change they want to see in the world. And personally, I want to have opened more KitePriders in different cities on the globe so that we can help as many people to freedom as possible.
Q . What goal do you have for your vision and for those carrying your vision?
…Tabea O… People above profit. It's always about people. Those on my team must have that same mindset.
Q . What would you want to be most remembered for?
…Tabea O… That I loved and lived. Fearlessly and selflessly. But most of all, that I added value to everyone who crossed my path. If I can accomplish that, then I will feel I have been successful. It is what we give not what we get that makes us a champion.
Q . Who would you want to play your roll in a movie about your life?
…Tabea O… My daughter Liora. She is mini me and we have a very special bond. I would hope that I have lived a life that deeply inspired her and that she would want to emulate.
Q . What was your biggest achievement last year?
…Tabea O… Oh wow great question. I wrote a book! The book is titled #nofilter. The book is literally that - how I do life with no filter. It includes family, husband, raising kids and changing the world. My book is all about the hows, the whys, the ups and the downs without any filter. The hashtag #nofilter is not just a hashtag, but a lifestyle and a calling. I loved writing the book as it allowed me to recap, reflect and hopefully inspire. For me, the book is more than a book, it’s an invitation, addressed to you. To inspire you to challenge what you know and remind you that crazy ideas can become a reality. The book is simply an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself in your sphere of life, something that could change the course of history.
Q . What is the takeaway message of your book #nofiler?
…Tabea O… For me, the book was more about telling the world that hey, as individuals we can each harness our awesome strength and make an everlasting impact. After reading the book, I would want people to walk away feeling inspired, rejuvenated and challenged to become themselves with #nofilter and to discover their own unique gift and simply begin with what is in their hands; making a dream a reality.
... Q . How are you managing to stay afloat during this pandemic?
…Tabea O… Ha what a question! As mentioned in my book, my husband is my pioneering partner who rallies together with me. It is an interesting dynamic working with your husband but this time has allowed me to release him to go full force businessman and in return, he has released me to become a mother first - caring to my three beautiful (sometimes challenging) kids. As well as this, I believe in seasons and timing. This period of uncertainty has required me to let go (which is hard for a perfectionist). Having built such a strong team I am able to step back and trust that they are doing the incredible job that they are doing. But...I am looking forward to traveling again and life returning back to normal :)