Spiff is growing. This time, we’ve been lucky to get our hands on South African born Tanya, currently living in Oslo, Norway. With her passion, talent and skill set, there is no need to explain why we are so happy to have her onboard Team Spiff. Please enjoy our brand new interview below, and don't forget to join our waitlist and Spiffy community by clicking here!
Full name: Tanya Hirst
From and current city: Johannesburg, South Africa, currently living in Oslo
Education:Bachelor of Journalism
Occupation:Product Designer at Spiff
Fun fact about yourself: I am an introvert disguised as an extrovert because I talk when I’m nervous!
Hi Tanya! Welcome to Spiff, but also…. Welcome to Norway! How’s your experience here so far?
It has been such fun! I was lucky to arrive right in the midst of summer, allowing plenty of amazing weather to enjoy while exploring (and getting lost) in the city.
I’m gathering as much advice from Norwegian friends and colleagues to help me prepare for a winter like I’ve never experienced in my life, with snow!
What about Spiff, how did you end up with us?
I found Spiff by chance when I was looking for companies in Norway that I would like to work for. When I went to the site and got stuck into the blog, learning more about Spiff and their mission made me feel a strong connection to the brand and product. I knew that I just had to be a part of it!
What do you love the most about your new life in Norway?Living in the city and not owning a car. One of the biggest stressors living in JHB is having to drive to and from work, in awful traffic. Or having to drive to go out, or across the city to see friends or family. Here I can just walk, or hop on public transport, and not worry about where I’m going to park, or whether my car is safe. So freeing!
Any interesting challenges or differences when you compare life in Norway to South Africa?
Naturally, I am constantly comparing life here to what it’s like back home. I think my biggest challenge living here is a weird sense of guilt, in a way, because I wish that I could just copy and paste some of the most basic Norwegian privileges into my country because I know that they would solve key issues facing the majority of South Africans.
Can you tell us a little bit about the journey you have had, and what might be waiting for you in the future?
I had never left South Africa before moving to Norway. It has been a crazy experience and quite a drastic change to my life in more ways than just geographically.
Having grown up in South Africa, I am fully aware of how incredibly privileged I am to be where I am today. Graduating high-school, having a degree from a prestigious university, now successfully living abroad - a reality that many back home will sadly never achieve because of circumstance.
Long term - my South African heritage reminds me that I have a responsibility to take what I gain from my experiences here and reinvest in my own country in the future.
Short term - TRAVEL!
We absolutely love your art and designs, and now you are working as a product designer for Spiff! When did you start developing as an artist?
I do love art and design, I always have. I started out as a Graphic Designer and I know that my skills and creativity have a lot to add to my Digital Design career going forward. I’m always hesitant to say out loud that I can draw or create art, because I can’t do it on cue. I have to be in the mood or have a lot of time to spare, otherwise I just hate everything that lands on the page to the point of frustration that puts me off drawing for ages.
What do you hope to do for people with the Spiff app?
I believe that Spiff is leading the way towards demystifying the intimidating world of finance. I hope to be a part of making that experience simple and frictionless for users. To help make Spiff fit seamlessly into their lives, putting any issues and frustrations with saving and investing far behind them.
How would you describe your relationship with money?
I’m pretty good with money...but I don’t invest in funds because I don’t understand them, and I’ve honestly felt too intimidated to ask. My partner and I own a property together, which is our only investment at the moment.
On a day-to-day level, I handle our finances and all the budgets. I keep an eye on the way we distribute our earnings towards monthly expenses and savings.
Do you save and/or invest money today?I save money regularly, towards short-term goals like travel and things we need (or might need) for our home. Investment wise, as I said, we own property as our main investment at the moment.
How will Spiff improve your life ?
I know that having Spiff will take the hassle out of trying to find the best financial products for my saving and investment needs. I can’t wait to be able to create savings plans for various needs all from the comfort of the Spiff app. I feel relieved knowing that I don’t have to go to various financial service providers to try and wade through all the products that are responsible for intimidating me in the first place.
What does empowerment of women and equality mean to you?
Equality, for me, means that I can feel safe. Not sheltered like a “delicate flower”, but safe.
It may sound weird to use the word “safe” to define equality but here it goes:
It means that I can feel safe in expressing my thoughts in a social or professional setting, knowing that they won’t be shot down, disregarded or twisted because I am a woman.
It means that I can feel safe financially because I know that my earning potential is not judged by my gender, but on my ability to add value.
It means feeling safe in my decision not to have children or get married without being judged or being told that I will change my mind when I am older.
It means feeling safe walking down the street or into a public space knowing that whoever I interact with will see me as a person and not an object. Knowing that whatever the interaction might be, I don’t have to diffuse it with a smile out of fear that it could end badly for me.
If this sense of safety were a reality, these scenarios wouldn’t exist as problems in the lives of women.
Best and worst part about working on a startup?
Best part, flexibility and work-life balance. It really boosts my creativity knowing that I am not a production monkey, and that self-care plays a huge role in my ability to perform at my best.
Worst part, I don’t know if I’ve been here long enough to have a WORST part, but right now maybe it’s the uncertainty and not knowing 100% what the future holds.
Most surprising thing about living in Norway?
Hmm, I think the people are the most surprising! So reserved and quiet, but super friendly when you need help. I think the introvert in me resonates with Norwegians, not making awkward conversation in the tram or in the supermarket is like heaven for me. However, being a foreigner, sometimes I do need help and I feel too awkward to ask!