Safi Graauw (26) calls himself a Sunday kind of guy and feels lucky to be doing what he enjoys. He fell for the world of clothing – “I don’t like the word fashion” – and next to running his own platform Cavemen with friends, he’s a high school maths teacher, writer and earth scientist.
Juggling two completely different jobs and projects is something many of you can relate to. So our interest was sparked, and we wanted to find out how Safi handles this job-study sandwich. Let’s hear what drives him to teach twelve-year-olds the secrets of maths.
You run a personal style business but you’re a part-time maths teacher as well. What’s the deal?
Safi: “I come from a family of teachers. The joy of getting kids to a next level of understanding physics and maths is unmatched. And coming from them, it’s the smallest gestures that I really appreciate.”
Why is teaching important to you?
Safi: “I’m convinced that change starts with the next generation. These kids might become leaders and make big decisions. As a teacher, you have the responsibility of giving them the right package and tools to start out with.”
So what’s your typical work week like?
Safi: “I’m doing a research master in earth sciences. Sometimes I’ll skip on lectures to run to the office where I work on film concepts and inspirational talks for the Cavemen platform that I run with Christiaan. In my spare time, I teach maths at different high schools.”
Any other hidden talents or things you love doing?
Safi: “If you would call it a talent… I’m into practicing my newfound guitar skills with my friends lately. I’m not the smooth campfire type, I prefer to play happy songs – not love songs! I like travelling, with just a backpack, and I have a thing for writing… I hope to publish a book some day.”
How did you come up with the concept of Cavemen?
Safi: “When I grew up, I used to play nerdy strategic games. They were set in a fictional world, and that’s what intrigued me. Thirteen years later, I created a new world for myself. It involves a group of dapperly dressed and poetic men wandering around in nature. We narrate their story through fashionable film editorials that we call Chapters.”
Proudest moment of 2015 so far?
Safi: “I gave an inspirational talk at PechaKucha on the role of creative people in communicating sustainability. I shared my vision on how we treat our environment to a crowd of five hundred. The response afterwards made my day – and I realised that contributing and inspiring others is what makes me happy.”
What do the ladies prefer… You as a fashion-forward entrepreneur or the sensitive maths teacher?
Safi: “Haha! Well, I’m not the boring and structured grown-up you’d expect an entrepreneur to be – and I’m not the super sweet man-poodle math teacher either. The women I like, would probably like both my childishness and endless patience.”
You had a quote painted on the back of your leather jacket. What does it say?
Safi: “The grass is greener where you water it. It’s a quote that applies to all aspects of life. What you focus on, and put energy into, grows. Whether it a career dream, being a great spouse or simply ace a math test.”