Aidee and Monica San Miguel from VOLVERde

Episode 76: Passing Down Abuelita’s Susty Traditions to the Next Generation with VOLVERde

We have the pleasure of hosting Aidee and Monica San Miguel, the hermana duo behind VOLVERde, a sustainable e-commerce business. Their mission? To reclaim and promote the eco-friendly traditions practiced by their abuelitas and parents, and integrate these practices into modern Latino households. Their journey is not just about sustainability, but about connection, cultural heritage, and the power of community.

The Birth of VOLVERde

VOLVERde was born from a simple yet profound realization: the sustainable practices they sought were already embedded in their cultural heritage. Aidee and Monica found it challenging to access sustainable products that resonated with their cultural values. This gap in the market was their call to action.

“We found ourselves buying different products from different brands that we loved and we just felt like, okay, how come there’s nothing for us in this space?” Monica explained. A simple text exchange between the sisters sparked the idea of starting a sustainable e-commerce business tailored to their needs and values. Thus, VOLVERde was created, filling the void for accessible, culturally connected, sustainable products.

The Deep Roots of Sustainable Living

Sustainability isn’t just a trend; it’s deeply rooted in our daily lives as Latinas. Aidee and Monica reminisced about their childhood memories of their abuelitas’ sustainable practices. From repurposing gym t-shirts as cleaning rags to turning chicken leftovers into new meals, these actions were never labeled as “sustainable” but were simply a way of life.

“Our abuelita was the queen of leftovers. If she made caldito de pollo one night, the next day, she’d make flautas from the leftovers,” shared Monica. These practices weren’t driven by modern sustainability goals but by a deep-seated respect for every resource.

The Influence of Marketing and Assimilation

However, there’s also an acknowledgment of how marketing and the push to assimilate into the “American dream” have led many from their community to abandon these traditional practices. The allure of convenience and the association of single-use products with success overshadowed the sustainable traditions ingrained in our cultura.

“I think it’s so crazy how much was lost in that generation. Our parents were trained to kind of live that American dream and say, I made it, by using all these products,” Aidee reflected.

The Role of VOLVERde in Reclaiming Traditions

VOLVERde aims to counteract this by not only providing sustainable products but also by highlighting the cultural stories behind them. They partner with women-owned businesses and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) brands to ensure that their products are not only eco-friendly but also culturally significant.

“We talk about the stories and where these products come from. It’s so important to us,” Aide emphasized. This approach not only promotes sustainability but also fosters a sense of pride and connection to our roots.

Educating the Next Generation

A key theme in our conversation was the importance of passing down these traditions to the next generation. Aidee and Monica both shared personal stories of how they’re teaching their children to live sustainably. Whether it’s using cloth diapers, which have been passed down through multiple children in the family, or setting up compost systems, they’re instilling these values early on.

“For us, it’s about being a present and empathetic parent while also preparing our children to live sustainably,” Monica shared. This holistic approach ensures that sustainability is not just about reducing waste but about fostering a deeper connection to family and cultural heritage.

The Future of VOLVERde

Looking ahead, VOLVERde has exciting plans to continue growing organically while remaining true to their mission. They are launching new product lines in collaboration with talented artisans, bringing beautiful, sustainable, and culturally resonant products to their customers.

“We partnered with a Chicago Latina mom who is a textile designer to produce a new line of sustainably sourced, handcrafted textiles,” Monica revealed. This new line blends modern aesthetics with traditional craftsmanship.

Join the Movement

VOLVERde is more than a business; it’s a movement to reconnect with our cultural roots and live more sustainably. By supporting VOLVERde, you’re not just buying products; you’re embracing a way of life that honors our ancestors and protects our planet for future generations.

Follow VOLVERde on Instagram at @volverde and visit their website at www.volverde.com to explore their range of sustainable products and learn more about their mission.

Aidee and Monica’s journey with VOLVERde is a testament to the power of cultural heritage and community in promoting sustainability. As they continue to grow and inspire others, they remind us that sustainable living is not just about reducing waste—it’s about reconnecting with our roots, honoring our ancestors, and ensuring a better future for our children.


Episode Show Notes

In this episode, we are joined by sisters Aidee and Monica San Miguel, founders of VOLVERde, an online marketplace of carefully curated, beautiful, effective, low-waste products for your body and home sourced from a variety of responsible brands.

The conversation delves deep into the importance of sustainability, especially within the Latine community. Monica and Aidee share their personal backgrounds, their sustainable practices rooted in the traditions of their abuelita, and the motivations behind launching VOLVERde. They also discuss the impact of consumer culture on traditional practices, how they are instilling sustainable habits in their children, and the significance of reconnecting with one’s roots. 

The episode highlights the importance of familial storytelling and preserving cultural traditions for future generations.

In This Episode, You’ll Hear:

  • The long-held sustainable cultural traditions that inspired VOLVERde and the significance behind these traditions
  • Why Latinos are unconsciously environmentalists
  • How one can reclaim the sustainable traditions our abuelitas taught us
  • How we can teach our children about becoming responsible citizens of our planet

Follow VOLVERde!

About VOLVERde

Aidee and Monica San Miguel from VOLVERde

Aidee and Mónica San Miguel are the co-founders of VOLVERde, an online marketplace of carefully curated, beautiful, effective, low-waste products for your body and home sourced from a variety of responsible, diverse brands. Their goal is to make it easier to discover sustainable product swaps, shop responsibly, and minimize plastic waste. They are intentional in their focus on the Latinx community, given their cultural connection to re-use and the disproportionate burden from plastic pollution, toxic products, and climate change. All of their products are sourced from women-, Asian-, black-, brown- or indigenous-owned businesses.

Aidee is one of the Co-founders of VOLVERde. She studied electrical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before starting VOLVERde, Aidee was a design engineer where she worked on projects for a nuclear power plant. Aidee is a mom to her 1 year-old daughter, and when she has spare time she loves reading, going to concerts, and watching science fiction.

Monica is the other VOLVERde Co-founder. She studied economics and public policy at UCLA and Princeton University. This piqued her interest in travel and learning about other cultures, especially from the African and Latin American diaspora. She’s spent her career as a product and business leader in financial services. She enjoys live music, planning last-minute adventures, and spending time outdoors with her two kids.

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