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The Udada Project

Welcome to the third story of Creativity Bites.

It is with great pleasure that today I introduce you a special project: Udada.

A project about community, support, collaborations and creativity.

No wonders that this melodic word means sisterhood!

Founded in the beginning of 2020 by Francesca and Federica, two lovely sisters from Milan, Italy, the Udada project focuses on the power of storytelling. It's the importance of sharing experiences and learnings, of being open and honest, of loving ourselves and accepting our strengths and weaknesses that makes Udada a community worth being part of.

Udada is a movement that mostly targets women, in fact, it was created as a safe place for those who need extra comfort and psychological support, a place they can rely to. It is also open to all the men who stand by them every single day and who can contribute in showing a good example to others.

I hope you'll like its story as much as I do. Happy reading! 

Finally I can talk about a project mostly dedicated to women and run by women! Girls, I am so happy to share your story! Could you tell us a bit more about Udada and how did the idea come to your minds?

Francesca: For me Udada has been a dream for at least a couple of years before we could actually concretise it. I had multiple ideas on my mind but I could never prioritise them until in Milan we had our very first lockdown, back in March 2020. My sister Federica started creating jewellery and I started baking pastries as well as focusing more on my passion for Design, among other things... like being a mom.

Suddenly we began wondering "How many women out there are experiencing the same situation?", "How many are finally listening to their creative inner voice and dedicating some time to themselves?" But also, "How many more unfortunate cases are there, where women are stuck at home in difficult conditions and need help?". And that's when it hit us: we have to do something about it!

Federica: After completing my studies in Psychology, I realised how patriarchal our society still is nowadays... in Italy as well as in many other countries. A lot of work still needs to be done. That's why we hope that Udada can contribute in a positive way by creating an open dialogue with those who face the same difficulties and share the same struggles. 

Sadly, that's true. I bet a lot of women already thanked you for what you do every day. Well, here's another one: Thank you for standing up for such a good cause!

Getting to know you two better... Where do you usually seek inspiration? How do you find new profiles to contact and add to your community?

Francesca: Well, some of the profiles we share are already close friends of ours, or friends of friends who have somehow reached out to us. Though, Udada is open to everyone!

When we think of new activities or services we would like to offer to our community we start by contacting all those women who are more or less already close to our network, online and offline, and by listing down all the necessities they might have or think of. Obviously, Social Media help us as well, everything is faster and amplified online.

Federica: When we first created Udada's IG page, one buzzword was frequently coming to our minds: network. Within this powerful network - a "pink community" if you may - it's not only us looking for members to join or for activities to focus on, it's the stories of the women we know or meet. It's their personal paths that speak to us. 

If could pick a feminine icon, who would it be?

Francesca: I can think of different icons but not of a preferred one - especially if I think of this project. I love strong women in general, the ones who always make it on their own. I believe each one of them is a true source of inspiration.

Federica: I have to admit the icons who actually inspire me every day are the women who collaborate with me and, without any doubts, my big sister. 

Udada is a community of strong beautiful women who support each other and stand together for great, beneficent causes. Can you give us an example of how can new members contribute to the project?

Francesca: Part of the idea behind Udada is to plan events in person, where any contributions or donations can be collected and then sent to selected beneficent organisations. At the same time, the main goal of the project is to unite women, let them inspire and support each other, and help them stay connected. 

Unfortunately the pandemic did not help us last year and it limited us to online interactions only. The silver lining though came over Christmas: we managed to organise a beneficent flea market and we donated the collected budget to a few special institutions we are in contact with. We are very proud of this initiative and its success!

With the new year, it's time for us to start again planning events and activities as well as to meet with new organisations and try our best to support them. Speaking of, Federica has thought of a great idea! Right now it is still a work in progress but we hope to release it soon!

Federica: As my sister just mentioned, an important part of the project is to connect its members and to showcase their talents in order to support good causes. We believe that this could be simply done while arranging aperitivi, flea markets, pop-up shops, open air activities, and so on. For instance, we managed to meet in person last summer and practice yoga in the park all together. Being surrounded by nature and many beautiful smiles made it such an enthusiastic experience! 

We also hosted a sale via Instagram, where Udada was the sponsor and "Amiche per Mano" ("Friends holding hands"), an association we support, was the receiver. No need to say that we are always open to new collaborations, therefore if any of you has ideas, feel free to reach out to us via IG or our website to discuss them.

Which are the initiatives you're most proud of or fond of so far?

Francesca: This is a difficult question as we are proud of everything we do within the Udada network :) The project itself was officially launched last July and the first initiative we did in person, as Federica described, was a Yoga session in the Park with one of ours Udadas, Neige (@yogaavecneige). Being able to share the same interest and gratitude with all the ones who attended it was marvellous. That's when we realised: Udada is actually happening! 

Could you anticipate us your vision and your goals for Udada in 2021?

Francesca: Well, the main objective will always be providing support to whoever needs it and asks for it. Especially once the pandemic will be over and we will be able to move on, we want to be there for all our Udadas.

At the same time we would like to keep providing other services, those ones focused on the physical wellbeing, for instance, and continuing with our training classes. We believe in the power of sports!

Federica: Let's hope that the current situation will evolve and be easier on all of us!  We love interacting with our network and meeting them in person. There's nothing better than planning and brainstorming together, sharing passions and ideas.

Here's a more personal question: in between you two, who's the creative one and who's the more rational one?  

Francesca: Usually I guess I am the creative one in life... although if you think of Udada specifically, Federica is is becoming more and more proactive. She's the one waking me up in the morning with a bunch of vocal messages, telling me about her ideas and thoughts! It's a passion we share and it's beautiful :)

Federica: Months ago I would have answered you, without any doubts, that Francesca is the most creative one. Though right now I think it's both of us. I am discovering a creative side of mine I didn't know I have and I am definitely more aware of my skills. 

Indeed, very inspiring! Now, I know that you two are also working on many different things besides being the founders of Udada. Could you tell us a bit more? 

Francesca: Well, yes, both of us work for our family business (and firm). On top of that, personally I have decided to focus more on my passion for Interior Design. I have been attending courses, documenting myself, testing different tools and getting inspired for a couple of projects I have in mind.

Federica: I am a Psychologist and I work within the field of Learning Disabilities. But of course I also have other passions, and I have to admit I can barely sit still :) I work part-time at our family firm and whenever I have the time I focus on a new hobby of mine: jewellery making! You can find my creations at my new profile @aris-creazioni.  

If  you're interested in taking part in this project and you would like to follow Udada's development and future initiatives, reach out to Federica or Francesca at @udada on Instagram or via their website 

*Pictures courtesy of @udada* 

Interview by Sybilla C. Bertolaja, January 2021

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