Oflavia Veranez: Using tech & tea to find peace

ro/an yoga illustration ofla meditation with tea

Increased screen time has become inevitable for a lot of us. Being unable to do the things we normally do in-person, we’ve become even more glued onto our screens. While it’s important to note the negative side effects of too much screen-time, there are also positive things that can be found through the looking glass that are our screens.

And who better to talk to about using screen time for our own betterment than multi-talented wellness app developer Oflavia Veranez (also known as Ofla). She is a creator, UX/UI designer and entrepreneur who splits her time between Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. We talk wellness apps, her experience as a woman in tech and establishing her own tea brand. Here's our Q&A with Ofla: 

On on-screen wellness

What are your top 3 favourite new wellness apps on the market? 

Forest

I love Forest’s simplicity and it has definitely helped boost my productivity. Forest sets a timer to help you enter ‘focus mode’ during which time you have to stay away from phone. While the timer is set, Forest plants a virtual tree on your phone. Using your phone and leaving the app while the timer is running will cause your tree to die whereas running the timer undistracted will allow the tree to grow. I also love the fact that the company partners with a real-tree-planting organization, Trees for the Future. 

Omvana

I have been working on Omvana for over a year now. What I love about Omvana is the variety of meditation exercises it provides, including mediation for parenting, work performance, sleep, visualizations, confidence building and more. Omvana also features structured courses and talks by mentors with amazing insights for all types of meditation students.

Relax Melodies

This app has collections of ambient audio tracks that you can easily mix and match to produce beautiful sounds. I love to leave the app on the background while meditating, journaling or generally calming my mind. Relax Melodies now has a larger collection of meditation tracks and even bedtime stories.

On unwinding

What do you do to relax?

I enjoy re-watching Friends, having a cup of tea while reading a book, and using essential oils.

How do you switch off?

A quiet 10-15 minutes moment in the morning has been my way to switch off. I sit still on my couch, watch the sky over my balcony, listen to the noises outside, and allow thoughts to enter my mind freely without fighting them while sipping on warm water or tea. 

Do you do yoga / favour a certain type of exercise? If yes, do you have a fave studio?  

I do yoga and pilates. My favourite studio here in Kuala Lumpur is The Flow

Favourite place for tea in KL? What about HK?

Tanah dan Air 坔茶舍 is my favourite tea place in Kuala Lumpur and I love Basao tea in Hong Kong.

On being a go-getter

Tech is known for being a male-dominated industry- how has your experience been as a woman? 

I am fortunate to be working for a company that promotes gender equality—though I noticed that the tech team was heavily male-dominated when I joined. For the first year that I worked at MindValley, I was the only woman working on the meditation app, one of only two women in the product design team. I believe that having more females within the tech industry can empower different ways of thinking and problem-solving. I sincerely hope that there will be more female representation in tech and beyond in the future.

Any advice for women wanting to break into the industry? 

Identify a community within your area and learn about the experience women have working in companies around it. Educate yourself on the value that diversity and gender equality can have on the workplace and the community as a whole.
I would also advise women to diversify their skillsets. For example, if you are looking to be a UI/UX designer, other than learning to map out wireframes and design interfaces, you learn how to conduct a workshop, analyse data and conduct user testing. That would make you a more valuable and desirable employee.

How did you get the idea of starting your tea business?

For me, drinking tea with friends represents connection and a sense of peace.
When I first started working, my colleagues and I would often have tea-time in our office as a way to better understand each other. It was a nice way of connecting with others, unrushed, talking while sipping on a hot tea. I also remember visiting a cafe in Union Square, San Francisco where I felt truly calmed and relaxed, from taking in the store design to drinking the tea itself.
These experiences solidified my love for tea and the kind of feeling I want to provide to other people, which eventually led me to start my tea business, perfectlytea.com alongside my two partners, Vivienne Piong and Lee Cindy.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned since launching the business?

What I have learned so far is that entrepreneurship can be glorified without recognising the hardships it can bring. It is not hard to start a business when the excitement level is high, but there will be difficult moments, tough conversations, and hard decisions to make along the journey where it seems easier to quit than continue—and this is something that everyone should understand from the outset. That is why understanding your values, intention, and foundation when starting a business is crucial.

🌼 🌼 🌼

Our chat with Ofla reminds us that wellness doesn’t only come from hitting the studio and moving. Technology has made it accessible and easier for us to build better habits which allows us to spend our time in more meaningful ways. Thank you to Ofla for sharing her tips and wise words.
Visit Ofla’s website here to learn more about her work.
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