22nd May 2024

Shining the spotlight on local, sustainable initiatives

Originally from Canada and an expatriate, Kasia has plenty of creative ideas when it comes to getting involved in ecological projects. After a baby and a pandemic, her desire to help others was too strong not to embark on an entrepreneurial project. What steps did she take to set up her own business? In this article, she explains her journey. Happy reading!

Meet Kasia

My name is Kasia and I’m originally from Toronto, Canada, but have lived in Luxembourg since 2010. I started my career in communications and went on work in marketing in the tech industry before becoming a freelance writer for several local magazines and websites.  

I’ve always been passionate about nature and have volunteered for sustainable projects in my free time, helping to launch the non-profit Cycle Luxembourg and the zero-waste shop OUNI. I am now also part of CELL, a non-profit focused on ecological transition. 

The idea of creating a business

As an English-speaking expat originally based in Luxembourg City, it took some time to get to know the country and discover all the amazing local businesses and initiatives that exist. I realized that many projects are quite ‘hidden’ due to language barriers, or a lack of marketing and I wanted to help others discover them as well, especially with the rising interest in sustainable living.  

I envisioned a beautiful and minimalist print magazine that put equal emphasis on in-depth storytelling and photography, something that readers could enjoy reading over a cup of coffee away from the chaos and information overload of the digital world. 

Although I started working on the idea to create Neighbour Magazine in 2018 with a talented photographer, Lugdivine Unfer, with a toddler and a baby I had little free time to devote to it. After the lockdown in 2020 I decided to leave my job to dedicate myself to launching the project full-time.  

The stages of business creation

First steps

I took my first steps towards creating the business in 2018, when I took part in the Impuls training from Nyuko. This was a very valuable opportunity to share my idea with others, get constructive feedback, network, and understand the basics of setting up a business.  

When I was finally ready to launch my business in 2021, I carried out all the necessary administrative steps before focusing on creating a very strong visual identity for the brand. I worked with Kinlake, a pair of designers who have a talent for creating beautiful brands, and they were able to translate my vision into reality, by defining the colours, fonts, visual style and more. Then I found Lisa Tsumakova, a social media expert, who managed all the social media communication and later became a business partner. 

Putting together a magazine for the first time

Although I already had some skills and experience in freelance writing and digital marketing that was relevant to the project, I had to start from zero when it came to figuring out how to put together and market a magazine. From learning how to find sponsors, to deciding which paper to print on and how to place an order with a printer, to working as an editor, to ordering a barcode and getting an ISSN number, to setting up an online shop, I had to learn each part of the process on my own, step-by-step.

This also meant that despite having a certain timeline in mind, many things took longer than I expected. It’s definitely a good idea to have a flexible deadline for the initial launch! 

I knew which projects and topics I wanted to cover in the first issue, and commissioned writers and photographers for each, finding people through word of mouth. It has been very important to me from the beginning to really get to know the people behind each story, and the most amazing part of this process has been seeing the relationships that have been created during the in-person interviews and photo shoots for the magazine. These have taken place in all sorts of environments, including a greenhouse, a backyard workshop, on a hilltop, next to beehives, in a recycling centre, and more. I’ve been very lucky to work with a team of writers, photographers, designers, translators and proofreaders who are both passionate and very talented, and this has made the whole editing process a lot of fun.


I mainly bootstrapped the first year of the business, investing an initial amount of capital to get started. In order to finance the first issue of Neighbour, I launched a crowdfunding campaign on Ulule, which I shared with friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately, I was a bit too impatient and only let the campaign run over the month of August (when the whole country is on holiday), so I didn’t reach my funding goal before the deadline. Although I’m proud of the support and attention the campaign attracted, I would definitely take the advice of Ulule and run a longer campaign next time!  

Despite this, the crowdfunding campaign allowed me to find my first readers, many of whom continue to actively support the project today, as well as my first sponsor, UBS. Thanks to them, I was able to finance the printing of Issue 1 – Reconnecting, which came out in November 2021. Later issues were financed through a combination of corporate sponsorship, issue sales and a small grant from the Oeuvre Grand Duchess Charlotte. 

If I started over again, I would have dedicated much more time to building partnerships with sponsors, applying for funding, and creating a larger crowdfunding campaign. As entrepreneurs we can be very optimistic and impatient to get started, but building a solid base is very important, even if it means waiting longer to share our vision with the world. 

Kasia’s advice to future entrepreneurs

I would recommend that even if you have a clear idea of what you want to do and are ready to get started, take a step back and see if you can involve more people in your project. Working with others means that you can count on the collective intelligence and energy of a team and go much further without burning out. 

Kasia and her bank

I am a customer of Spuerkeess and although I find their online platform and app very easy to use and their services and communication very efficient. It was also great to meet my account manager for the first time and learn that he is a fan of the magazine! 

Nyuko has signed a partnership with Spuerkeess, in order to foster entrepreneurial spirit and strengthening the bank's position with company founders from the start of their businesses. More info in our article: https://www.spuerkeess.lu/en/blog/experts-corner/nyuko-fostering-entrepreneurial-spirit/.