I’m a BIG fan of the way the internet helps us connect to so many people. From the FB algorithms putting new brands and entrepreneurs in my feed to someone I know doing an intro, I’ve met some of the most amazing people around the world!
Rachel Roberts is one such person. A couple of years ago, my friend Rebecca Casciano shared a quote on social media (from Rachel) talking about mindful marketing and conscious business. Although I was still in the phase of figuring out exactly what Champagne Hippies was gonna be, I knew I wanted to connect with Rachel. Anyone who is changing the rules of marketing by openly incorporating mindfulness + meditation into it was someone I wanted to know. And, the bonus turned out to be that she lives only 45 minutes from me!
So someone I know in NYC quoted someone amazing who lives 45 minutes from me and thanks to Facebook, we got to connect and meet in person!
In addition to working with some of the top indie/green beauty brands around, Rachel also hold regular meditation classes at her studio in Jacksonville. She also regularly writes about trends in the values based economy and mindful business on her blog.
I’m obviously partial to anyone who uses the word values in their business plan - but Rachel isn’t just talking about it … she is helping companies actually incorporate their values into their branding every day.
My takeaway: Knowing your manifesto helps you say yes to the clients you should be working with and no to the ones you should let go of.
Website: Oyl + Water Instagram: @oylandwater
Tell us about your business. What do you do? Who do you serve? How long have you been at it?
I'm the CEO of Oyl + Water, a marketing boutique focused on Branding, Strategy, Content and Design for natural beauty and lifestyle brands. We are proud to work with some of the biggest and best in Indie Beauty. We are in our 6th year.
Why did you start your business?
I left my job and my life in San Francisco at the end of 2013 to start a company. At the time I left, I was working a side hustle with a co-founder on the development of a beauty brand. We had worked together for nearly a year, raised capital, created a business plan, had investors, and I felt immensely confident to leave the security of a steady paycheck in exchange for what I thought would be a runaway hit. I put my things in storage in SF, drove across the country to Florida where I was planning on living for only a few months while we finished raising capital and getting the business off the ground. The plan was to return to CA early 2014.
But, within a few months, the partnership dissolved (cold feet, conflicting long term goals, etc.) and there I was, living in my mom's guest room in Jacksonville, all of my things in a storage unit in SF, and just a small amount of savings in the bank. I spent about a week going through the full range of emotions, but ultimately realized I had already gotten through the hardest part - quitting the job, saying goodbye to friends, making the move, taking the leap. So, I thought, I'll do my own thing. If I fail, at least I fail on my own terms, doing things my way.
I had always wanted to use my storytelling gifts for good, to lift up women, to spread light. I reached out to a few friends and told them I was available for marketing strategy and copywriting, and within 90 days I had 3 clients, a brand name and tagline (that both came to me on a run on the beach), a website, and a lot to prove (to myself, and everyone who thought I had lost my mind.)
I made so many mistakes. I repeat: So. Many. Mistakes.
But, I also had a sense of adventure and stubborn rebellion about it all. I just kept going. About a year and a half later, I remember telling a friend I was drowning, and I wanted to quit, and he said "hire an assistant. It will change your life." And it did. It was one of the first decisions that made me really realize that I wasn't just a flailing solopreneur, but that I had started something that other people wanted to be a part of.
What does "social good business" or "values based earning" mean to you?
In short, it means not being an asshole in business.
Be in partnership, support others as they are supporting you, leave the planet and other people BETTER than you found them. Have a spirit of generosity and gratitude and use some of your profits to give back to causes that matter to you. Have a conscience.
What is your favorite part about running a social good business or your favorite experience since you started?
Knowing that we have our Mindful Marketing Manifesto, and that we are committed to working only with conscious companies, gives us a shining north star and helps us make conscious decisions everyday. It's like our rule book.
There are so many distractions and opportunities out there for an entrepreneur and a small business. There's a temptation to say YES to everything because we need the money, or we want the experience. Having core values helps us know what to say YES to, and WHY to say no. Also, having mindfulness at the core of our company values has REALLY improved creativity and morale.
What is your biggest struggle in running a social good business?
Well, mindfulness is a practice, and I'm the first to admit I'm not always in the practice of it. I have to check myself, and I ask my team to check me, too. We check each other.
Also, because we have clear client criteria, it's a bummer when we fall in love with a prospective client, but they don't meet our standards. We have to walk away from their business if they don't want to get on board with being a conscious company. Hopefully, though, we're able to support them on their path to becoming a conscious, triple-bottom-line brand.
What would you like most to accomplish in the next year? 5 years?
I have revenue goals, of course, but I think the thing that keeps me going is thinking about who we'd love to work with, and what we want to help create. We're working on a few exciting product development projects, and a few brick-and-mortar openings. These projects are beyond the scope of branding, strategy, content and design, and that's why they excite me! I can see how OW is evolving to be a full creative agency for conscious indie beauty brands.
Who are your business icons, heroines or mentors?
I think my number one living icon is Kelly Wearstler. Everything she creates, everything she wears, and how she lives is a constant source of inspiration to me. It would be a dream to collaborate with her on a project.
Also, I love watching Linda Rodin. I want to be just like her when I grow up. :) She's an iconoclastic beauty visionary with a signature look and a sense of playfulness.
There are many women in the industry who inspire me and who have made an impression on me and how I want to run my business (and my life!).
Amanda Chantal Bacon of Moon Juice is my girl crush. She's someone whom I'd LOVE to work with because her brand is so sexy, and I love the way she's built it.
I love seeing powerful women take their rightful place at the table. I learn from them, and I hope that I, too, can be that for the young women coming in after me.
What's your #1 tip for someone just getting started running a values-based business?
Give yourself a day or a weekend away. Do what you need to do to feel centered, calm and connected to yourself, and your Source. Get clear on HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL in your life, about your work, and about yourself. Ask yourself what are your non-negotiables. (If the answers to this question scare you, that's a good indicator that you must fight for these!) Write your own manifesto. What do you stand for? What will you not stand for? Who will you stand UP for? Begin speaking this into existence, and seek out the leaders, mentors, classes, workshops and experiences that support your highest self.