For the last few months of 2015, I moved to New York. Partly for a change of scenery, partly for a chance to travel and mainly for the opportunity to focus more of my time on modelling - my main career focus before Qnola came about. Although I was working on Qnola pretty much every day (and thinking about it constantly, as you tend to do when you start a business you’re passionate about), I missed it a lot. I felt how I imagine a mother must feel leaving her child home alone for the first time; ready to leave behind the stresses, the struggles and the things I hated doing, but tremendously guilty for leaving it to concentrate on other things.
One evening during my NY residency, a friend (and fellow lady boss) of mine invited me to an event at Urban Outfitters in Brooklyn. Hosted by Amy Woodside, another lady boss and founder of OKREAL, the event was an intimiate interview and discussion with Lisa Przystup, another lady boss and founder of James's Daughter Flowers. Amy is a communicator who thrives on the connections between people. In an effort to figure out her own life, she found herself constantly asking other women about theirs. She founded OKREAL to provide a resource for a modern community of women striving to create their own path, and desperate for authentic and REAL advice to help them do so. This particular evening consisted of Amy interviewing Lisa about starting up her business from scratch, her previous employment history and horror stories, the struggles and challenges of owning a small business, what kept her going through them, her best advice and mantra’s to get through the tough times, and what sort of successes and small victories made it all worth it. And that's when I first met Amy, and my life was changed by OKREAL and all the open women eager to share the things people usually disguise by only the highlights on their instagram accounts.
Amy's website is a (beautiful) collection of similar stories shared by female entrepreneurs from all over the world. Everything is real. Everything is honest. Everything is comforting. And I swear each post is a step closer to connecting every woman of the world, even if we may not ever meet each other. There is a sense of togetherness created by powerful women sharing honest experiences, mistakes and advice so that other women out there can learn from them. Business owenership is renowned for being a competitive affair, but I feel the more women that quit their day jobs and step onto the business scene, the more honest and collaborative the world and it’s brands are becoming.
Having interviewed some of the worlds most fascinating and inspiring women of our time, I wanted to know Amy’s most treasured takeaways and discoveries, and of course how these dictate her day-today life and rituals.
“OKREAL is a platform that helps women figure out their lives by sharing the stories of others. Through online and live interviews, and now mentor circles (http://www.okreal.co/articles/mentorship-circles/), we share a bunch of wisdom distilled from the lives of aspirational, successful women. Whether you’re starting your own business, struggling with body image, trying to figure out your next step or in need of some general motivation; we’ll show you a story of someone who’s been there. My day-to-day involves writing, meetings, interviews, planning and hosting events, or managing our newly launched shop (http://shop.okreal.co/). In terms of staying motivated, I’m so driven by what I do that I’m never lacking in that area. I think staying resilient is tougher, but the motivation is always there. It is such a privilege to learn from all of the women I speak with—the people I meet are undoubtedly the best part about OKREAL. If I’m having a rough day or if something hasn’t worked out the way I wanted it to, knowing that there is a community of people who believe in what I’m doing gets me through.
The first thing I do each morning is check my phone. It’s terrible. Then: as much water with lemon as I can gulp down, and coffee—although I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to cut back lately. Breakfast usually consists of scrambled eggs, spinach and avocado, or homemade granola with greek yogurt and berries. Five breakfast items you’ll always find around the breakfast table include peanut butter, bananas, eggs, avocado, and something to read. My idea of a healthy breakfast would be scrambled eggs, avocado and spinach, with either a Greens 1.5 juice from Pressed Juicery or the Field of Greens Juice from Juice Served Here. When it comes to Qnola, I love the Cacao + cashew with yogurt, bananas, berries and nut butter. On a more indulgent note, on a Sunday I mightsneak an almond croissant from our cafe Happy Bones, or if I’m feeling really adventurous, the Croque Monsieur at Buvette.
In terms of waking up well, ideally the night before will have involved zero booze. Nine hours of decent sleep and some good dreams will have been had, and I’ll be ready to wake naturally no later than 8am. One thing I need to do more of in the mornings is meditate. I managed to do it for a while and really enjoyed it. One thing I need to do less of in the mornings is stop scrolling! My ideal morning would involve waking up early, working out, going for a beach swim and then having a breakfast feast with people I love. The best place I’ve ever woken up is under the stars in New Zealand. My dad would take my brothers and I on road trips around the country when we were kids, and often we’d find a paddock or patch of land to camp on.
My best piece of morning advice (which I often don’t follow myself, but should), would be: Don’t be dragged into the day. Decide what kind of mood you’re in before letting the rest of the world decide for you. Even though I check my emails first thing, most days I get up and out the door within 15 minutes of waking to work out. I find exercising early sets me up for the day and gets me in a good headspace, and enables me to own the rest of my day.”
Follow Amy at @heyokreal and @ameohmy on Instagram, @heyokreal on twitter, and keep up to date with the latest interviews, news and upcoming events here.
. Images . Heidi Lee .