Here at LIVELY, we’re constantly surrounded by swoon-worthy women that are killin’ it in their businesses. We're launching #WomenCrushWednesday to celebrate the boss babes who provide us with a constant flow of inspiration, support, and endless girl-crushes.
Where are you from? What was it like growing up?
I am one of the rare few born and raised New Yorkers! I constantly get asked, “what was THAT like? Growing up here?” Well, it’s a lot like growing up anywhere. The city is home to me. I definitely became independent a lot faster and am always quote-on-quote “on guard”. You have to be street smart to walk around this city as a kid!
The best part about growing up here was my early exposure to the arts. I have been seeing plays and musicals on and off Broadway with my parents since I was two or three. I was a dancer, I was in the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and then ultimately went to study theater myself focusing on Directing and Playwriting. There is so much amazing culture here and my parents really took advantage of that for me.
How did you get the idea to start TTYL?
When I was growing up, my parents were strict with my technology use. They wouldn’t let me to watch TV during the week or play video games, and therefore I had to use my creativity and imagination. I really noticed the influx of social media when I was in college and fell victim to the addiction of it like everyone else. After graduation while on vacation with my family, I started having FOMO for my friends back home and thought how ridiculous that was. I was the one exploring the world and I was jealous, because I felt as though I was missing out on something due to social media. That’s when it hit me. There should be a space we can go to disconnect from the outside world and reconnect with each other over shared activities from our childhoods, such as board games and coloring.
Here at LIVELY, we think every badass woman has had to take a risky leap of faith to get to where they are now. We call this our YOLO moment. What was yours?
Definitely when I quit my cushy day job about 2 months ago. I knew that I could take TTYL to a new level, but it was scary to jump into the unknown. Now I wake up everyday with more energy and fulfillment than I ever had before. I know I made the right decision.
What was it like starting your own business? Any myth busters?
As many people do when they come up with a new idea, they think about the big picture rather than the details. I definitely had the idea that everyone would immediately gravitate towards the idea and want to come, but that wasn’t the case. I worked on some aspect of the business whenever I had the chance for a couple hours a day for about a year before I started planning my events. I still get scared every time I host an event that people aren’t going to show up or they aren’t going to have fun and what I created won’t last. But I have to keep reminding myself that people are craving human connection more than ever before. Whenever I walk on the street and see almost every single person looking down, I know that the community I’m building has a place in the world.
Tell us about a hard decision you’ve had to make in your business. How did you come to that decision and what resources did you use to make it?
I feel like I have to constantly make hard decisions almost every week, because I’m still going through that trial and error stage. I recently started charging people at my events because I wanted to turn this experience into a monetizable event that I could make a profit off of. I’m still figuring out how much to charge and working on getting people engaged. My goal is to build a large community of people who will consistently attend my events every month as their method of disconnecting in order to meet new people.
What’s the best advice you’ve received from a mentor?
Focus on the time sensitive tasks first. As an entrepreneur, my to-do list is always pages long. Some tasks are simple while others I dread, like any other job. Since I’m in the events space, the tasks related to an upcoming event are usually moved to the top of my list. When I know I want to work on a long-term project, I block out an hour and sit down at my computer to think without distractions, because I know I won’t have the time or space in my day to do so otherwise. It’s all about prioritizing and I’m still learning the best ways to do that.
Do you believe in “balance”? If so, how do you find it and manage it?
I’m learning more and more in this entrepreneurial journey that balance doesn’t really exist. It’s something that you actually have to schedule into your day. To me, balance is the act of doing something for myself a couple times a week that will increase creativity and imagination. This will show up in different forms for me each week from reading a book, to coloring, to taking a walk without my headphones.
Since I am in the digital wellness industry, I am always looking for ways to find balance with my technology use. When I was in my day job and working on TTYL full time, I was completely burnt out and found that I had no time to myself. To make sure that I had time to focus on myself, I created solo experiences for myself. So each week, usually in the evening, I go on an adventure without my phone by myself and write a blog about it. So far I’ve gone to a comedy show, a concert, and a dinner party just to name a few. But sometimes it’s just journaling or going to a yoga class. Having these designated nights to myself has allowed me to create more space and boundaries in my life. Through these solo date nights, I have learned more about myself and become more grounded.
When do you feel most empowered?
When hosting my events! Nothing makes me feel more empowered than seeing my vision come to life. I love when I walk around and see people connecting and laughing in a face-to-face interaction. The best part is when the person who was most reluctant to hand over their phone in the beginning is the one who walks out without it at the end of the evening. It happens all the time.
Where do you find your support system?
My mom and my best friend are my biggest supporters. They are always there for me when I’m stuck on something or need a shoulder to cry on. My family and friends overall have been so supportive and have kept me grounded throughout this crazy ride. I am also part of The Digital Wellness Collective and The Center of Humane Society where there are people around the world working in the same space, helping people have a healthier relationship with technology and social media. Lastly, I recently joined a co-working space, Luminary, and have found a lot of great support there as well.
When was a time you failed and how did you overcome it?
When I first came up with the idea, I thought crowdfunding would be the way to go. I created a couple of campaigns and both didn’t do very well. My friends were actually the ones that pointed out that I should refocus my attention on actually putting on pop-up events so that people could come and see that the idea really works. From there, I would have more credibility and be able to raise funds more easily. Since focusing on the pop-ups, I refocused my energy to engaging more people and building my audience. If the time comes to crowdfund again, it will come.
What is your advice to women that want to start their own business, but have no idea how?
Take it one step at a time. If you have an idea that you think is awesome, start talking about it! Ask people if they would use the product or come to the event or eat the food. Start by collecting data from the people closest to you. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. As humans, we are so afraid of what others think of us that we don’t want to set ourselves up for failure. In reality, people will admire you more for just trying and being courageous enough to go after something you believe in.
Describe your personal aesthetic.
My style lives in the 70s and my ears live in the 80s. Bell bottoms, leather jackets and hoop earrings are three of my staple pieces. I love colors and patterns, but I usually have something black and edgy on. I’m basically a wannabe hippie with an NYC spin aka always something black :)
Fave 3 LIVELY Pieces?
The Long-Lined Lace Bralette - I love the freedom of wearing a bralette. The lacy details of this one makes me feel beautiful all day long.
The Kimono - so that I can channel my inner hippie child the minute I wake up :)
The All Day Bodysuit - it’s an easy layer in during any season and so comfortable.