Jonathan Tjoa Algreen, Founder & CEO, 1 People

From overcoming a personal loss at a young age to becoming a thought leader of today, Jonathan Tjoa Algreen (Founder & CEO, 1 People) is an inspiration to many. Jonathan is a serial entrepreneur and a naturally gifted leader with extensive experience in founding and building businesses across many industries with global ambitions.

Since his childhood, Jonathan had been driven by the urge to positively impact society. But, at the mere age of 13, he lost his mother and had to come to terms with it. Being the braveheart he is, Jonathan came out stronger and learned a lot about himself and life from his past experiences. Looking back from where he was to what he is today, Jonathan says that he is proud of his journey and what it has made him.

Major Influences in Life

Jonathan is one of those natural-born leaders who understood and answered his calling right from the beginning – that is – to do service for others. “Even as a kid, the leadership role came naturally to me,” shares Jonathan. So, if you ask Jonathan about his personal role model who motivated him in life, his answer is Nelson Mandela, the former South African President & civil rights advocate who dedicated his life to fighting for equality. The way Nelson Mandela became a torchbearer of bringing justice to his people, how he treated others, and united them together to drive his mission amazes and mesmerizes Jonathan. He further explains that even though Nelson Mandela was not a business leader, he possessed some of the similar crucial skills, values, and mindset that one needs to become a good entrepreneur and a leader.

But for 1 People’s Founder & CEO, Jonathan, his personal inspiration is his people, mainly his team and his partner, who stood by his side and supported him throughout his entrepreneurial journey and still continue to do so. Working with Jonathan enabled his team members to realize their own dreams and strive hard to achieve them. Therefore, Jonathan considers his team’s success as his personal achievement. Next comes Jonathan’s wife and business partner, Rea Tjoa Algreen (Founder & Chief Sustainability Officer, 1 People), whom he refers to as his guiding star. “My wife inspires me a lot as she is a strong pillar in my life and family, and I’m very grateful for her,” lovingly adds Jonathan.

Last but not least are the books that are a reservoir of ideas for Jonathan. He is an avid reader who loves to read on diverse topics, including ancient philosophers. Besides, he likes to watch videos on human behaviour, psychology, and truth.

Failures and Mistakes are a Part of Life

“If you try to avoid mistakes and failures, you stop living,” wisely remarks Jonathan. He comes from a school of thought that says one must keep trying irrespective of the hurdles. He, therefore, considers meeting challenges as a key driver for him to learn and grow. To sum up, Jonathan’s never-give-up mindset, knowledge acumen, skillsets, and valuable experience building companies and leading them have brought him to this stage.

Likewise, Jonathan implements a similar philosophy at 1 People, where team members are given the freedom to think and make mistakes. Once they derive lessons from their mistakes, team members automatically overcome the fear of failing and put 100% of their efforts into driving the company towards success.

1 People is guided by the “together, we can change the world” mission

Established in Copenhagen, 1 People is a sustainable luxury fashion brand that creates timeless pieces for conscious women who seek luxurious, stylish, and sustainable wardrobe that benefits both people and the planet. Jonathan defines the 1 People team, including himself, as a group of individuals who have dedicated themselves, their hearts, and mind to building and succeeding in this fantastic project. Undoubtedly, the team’s collective research and work are reflected in the brand’s high-quality pieces with innovative designs from ethically sourced products.

Stating 1 People’s mission statement, Jonathan says, “Our mission is to change the way business is done and make the world a better place for all.” 1 People makes this happen by selling its premium quality products, thereby creating a continuous stream of resources to support the lives of hundreds of people it has partnered with and their families.

A Close to Heart, Socially Responsible Initiative

Even today, poverty continues to be the most significant global challenge. Jonathan opines that none of us should relax until we solve this major crisis. “We, at 1 People, want to inspire other entrepreneurs and businesses both within our own industry and in general to show them how we can use our own business to contribute towards a better tomorrow,” mentions Jonathan.

Backed by the 1 People’s initiative, its team works closely with artisans and forms a circle of mutually beneficial partnerships. What’s more impressive is that a large part of 1 People’s profit is donated towards ‘Business For Planet’ and other important projects. For instance, the 1 People’s educational programme launched in 2022 provides the tools for future entrepreneurs worldwide to create socially responsible businesses. In this way, they, too, can establish companies that will positively impact the world and alleviate poverty. “We believe that businesses nowadays should be transparent about how they operate, which is why social responsibility is at the forefront of our mind and strategy,” adds Jonathan. In the future, 1 People will continue to operate sustainable, ethical, and transparent business practices using eco-friendly products that do not harm the environment.

Words of Wisdom

Jonathan has been an active part of building companies for more than 20 years and possesses experience in developing businesses from the ground up. Any advice coming from him is treasured, especially for entrepreneurs who are just trying their hand at entrepreneurship for the first time. Jonathan mentions that entrepreneurship is about navigating through challenging waters, and therefore budding entrepreneurs must regard challenges as an opportunity to grow. If they choose to build their companies, lead teams, and make a difference, they must invest themselves entirely and work consistently. Next, Jonathan recommends aspirants work on their overall personality development as employees, partners, and clients look up to leaders for motivation and reassurance.

Another valuable thought from Jonathan is about how to treat your team members. Jonathan says that team members are not there to service the leaders; instead, it is the exact opposite. Leaders who treat their team members with respect and dignity can succeed long. Lastly, Jonathan suggests finding one’s true passion because when the going gets tough, the tough get going. He concludes, “You need to have a mission, bigger than just growth and profit, one your team can relate to and want to be a part of, to create massive impact and success. This is what fosters togetherness around a common purpose and the feeling of meaningfulness in your organization.”

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