French entrepreneur Pierre-Emmanuel Boiton founded Baola, a luxury, art-inspired Swiss seating ball, following a spinal injury, which he sustained whilst jumping off a cliff on holiday. After such a lifechanging experience he has focused on finding his true passion in life whilst helping others overcome and prevent back issues.
Therefore, Baola’s mission is to combine workplace wellness (spinal health) with thoughtful, inspiring design. Perfect for the startup office, corporate office or the home office whilst also fitting in wonderfully in any living space in the home as a piece of art.
Baola collaborates with artists across the world to create stunning seating balls that bridges functionality and comfort with art and design. They are proudly designed in Switzerland and made entirely in Europe, with materials sourced exclusively from European textile artisans.
Finding your passion can come at any time of your life, however, Pierre-Emmanuel had a real eye-opening moment with his own experience and wanted to offer a few tips on finding your passion and making it a reality!
How did you work out your why?
I’m a strong believer that things in life happen for a reason. I have always been very curious and creative, which has seen me launch a fair few projects over the last 10 years all answering different consumer needs.
Back in 2009, I worked with a friend in Indonesia on an application called “Flow” to help people share their moments and memories, just when Instagram launched. A few years later, I launched one of the first robot investing companies in Switzerland with some friends, and a little later on I created an application called “Qweeky” to help friends meet.
However, even with all my previous ventures, what helped me find my passion and today, bring me the most satisfaction is Baola, a luxury, art-inspired Swiss seating ball designed by artists that helps keep your back healthy and posture right. This all came to me from an accident I had back in 2013 when I sustained a serious back injury from jumping off a cliff on holiday. This accident changed my point of view, my why in life and in business and it was the starting point for creating Baola in 2018 – it has been a true motivation for me ever since.
How do you build a mindset for success?
If I’m honest, I don’t think I built something specific for this. I do believe passion is the most important thing to succeed. If you don’t have passion, your idea/project/Startup will never resist the challenges you will undoubtedly face when running a business. The passion makes it somehow “smoother” when you face those challenges because you can see and feel what you are trying to achieve at the end of the day.
What inspired you to strive for the life you’ve achieved? i.e What made you want to be where you are now?
I have always been looking to express my creativity with a service or a product that can help others and I have achieved this with Baola. I say this because not only do the seating balls help keep your back healthy while you sit doing your work, watch TV or exercise but it also brings true joy in terms of its look – it really is a piece of art.
They really help with posture and keeping you physically strong, while also building up strength so hopefully what happened to me, won’t happen to others.
In addition, with Baola, I have the chance to work with some wonderful artists that I truly admire, which also means that owning a piece of art is becoming more affordable for the consumer.
If you could only pass on one life lesson what would it be?
Always be curious. I think this is something you carry with you all your life and that spices up your life at any age. Never lose that curiosity.
What practical steps can people take daily to sculpt their success? i.e morning routines? Learning? Networking?
I have a notebook where I write down every idea that comes to my mind, most of them are just dreams that will most likely never happen but I think it is important to write those ideas down.
Also, I share new ideas with my wife whenever I have them, which is almost daily. She is a great sounding board and to be able to ‘pitch’ new ideas to her helps me understand if they have potential or not.
In all the previous projects I launched before Baola, I wanted success quickly but I realised that it doesn’t work that way. For Baola, I did things differently. I decided that I wanted it to be a small project that I can comfortably build over time. This kind of thinking has helped to remove the pressure and allows time for progress to be done correctly and in a timely manner. I like to look at it as instead of seeing a giant mountain in front of you, you are seeing some little mountains that feel more manageable. Creating a successful business is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.
Our why as a teenager may be very different to that when we are 50, what are the fundamental foundations for a great life?
Do things that you truly believe in, never do things that you might regret later. When we started looking into producing Baola, sustainability and ethics were important to us from the outset. We wanted to make sure that we knew where Baola is produced and by whom. For example, it is important to us that horrific supply chain issues such as child labour or grossly underpaid labour would not be involved in the production of Baola.
We found that producing in Europe could be a real challenge. For starters, we realised that almost all Swiss balls that you find in the stores are made in China. Since the beginning we have been producing our Swiss Balls in Italy and our covers are made by an artisan in the Czech Republic. And two years later, I can say this was the right decision and I am proud of our moral standards and ethos. I wouldn’t have thought about this so much when I was a teenager but today this is essential to me.
If you would like to check out Baola on Instagram you can do here: https://www.instagram.com/baola/.
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