top of page

Refinery 29 Co-Founder Piera Gelardi on building her new bootstrapped startup, Wild Things World

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Hello and welcome back to the show! It’s Doone here, your host and hype girl.

Today I’m having a chat with the wonderful Piera Gelardi, who you might recognise as the co-founder of Refinery29. But today we’re talking all the things about her new venture, Wild Things World. And it is a total cracker!

Piera is one of those people that radiates joy and good vibes, we talked about her lessons learned throughout her 15 years building Refinery29, her bootstrapped pathway following her passion with Wild Things World and why we should all find our inner creative in the world.

And stick around to the end of the 6 quick questions because she shares some really wild stories at the end!

If you love this episode please let me know by posting a screenshot to Instagram stories tagging us or drop into my DMs to chat @dooneroisin.

Let's get into this episode, this is Piera for Female Startup Club

Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!

This is Piera for Female Startup Club. If your marketing and e commerce brand, you already know that data changes everything more. Data means more power and if your email or smS tools can't handle all that data, they're probably holding you back and that's where clay Vo comes in. It's top notch personalization and segmentation help you send the right message at the right time guided by unlimited real time data from your online store and tech stack, request a demo at Clay vo dot com, That's K L A V I Y O dot com. Piera Hi welcome to the female startup club podcast. Thanks for having me, How are you going over there? Doing pretty well slightly sleep deprived but otherwise good. We all we all, I'm so excited to be learning from you today. I'm excited to be talking all things creativity brands. I'm excited to talk about how creativity impacts the human experience and everything that you've been up to lately. Yeah, me too. I feel like most people probably know you as Piera co founder of refinery 29, but maybe not so much as Pierre, a founder of wild things world, so I'd love for you to give us a little bit of an introduction into what wild things world is. Yeah, yeah. For 15 years I was with Pierre a from refinery 29 that was like how people introduced me. So it's been an interesting identity, shift you know. moving into this new phase of life and deciding to start a new business and yes, I started my business while things were all to bring more play into the everyday, you know, play has all these incredible superpowers for helping us to feel more connected to ourselves to other people, It helps reduce stress, it is incredible for creativity and innovation and it can even make us live longer but in adulthood we dip prioritize play and it just kind of becomes like the last thing on our list of you know things to do and so I really want to celebrate like that power of play and bring more play into people's lives through my new company, Wild Things world, which I just started, I mean it's only a few months old, so you're catching me like in the baby baby stages of it in the early days, I love that we're seeing it from the beginning here, we're gonna have to get you back on two years down the track, definitely. It's interesting because I've watched your journey over the last couple of years on instagram and I've always loved, you know, the videos of you dancing with your daughter and you seem to have so much fun online. How did you kind of like, were you always thinking about Wild Things world in the background while you were kind of creating these fun moments or was this just like this is just natural, You you've always been like this, like what, what's, what's it like? I wish I was dancing Well, I, I highly recommend, I think we could all use more dancing in our lives, myself included. Um you know, Wild Things Roll has has, I mean, everyone that knows me well is like, oh, this is so you, this is so obviously you're calling your path something that you would do because play has always been an important part of my life, you know, as a leader at refinery 29 Um play was a huge part of how I lead creative teams and creative work. I, you know, I built 29 rooms within refinery 29 and that was a playground. It was a fun house for artists and, and consumers to come through and express themselves. So play has always been an aspect of what I what I do and of course being a parent uh that has opened up my eyes to just this whole new realm of play and I really uh that's probably my favorite thing about parenting is that it gives me that much more permission to play and explore and you know, let my inner child come out. Um so yeah, I mean all those things really led me to create wild things world and then also during the pandemic, like when I left Refinery at the end of 2020 I felt like one, I needed some kind of creative bridge to take me from this 15 year chapter of my life, to this terrifying, unknown future, I mean terrifying and exciting, but you know, definitely scary to close a chapter like that and not know what's next. Uh so in that moment I actually got trained in this cathartic form of dance that my friend Debbie Attia started called dancer schism and I didn't think I was going to teach, but I got I went through a training and got a teacher training and at the end of it I decided to open it up to my instagram community friends and family and all of a sudden I had thousands of people around the world that took that signed up to take my dance class and so I taught people and I say taught loosely, I really just like guided these dance parties throughout the pandemic in this really cathartic emotive form of dance and that very much like solidified for me the need to create space for people and permission for people to play. Because what came back from teaching dancer schism during the pandemic was just so moving and powerful, was one of the most like meaningful things I've ever done in my life um was just showing up week after week, you know, people popping in from all over the place and hearing how that help their mental, you know, people's mental health, how it connected them to loved ones that were in other places where they couldn't physically be together, how it helps people with their creativity with feeling unstuck. So yeah, there's been like many different aspects, like many different experiences that really led me to creating wild things world. Oh my gosh, that's amazing. I think I remember actually during the pandemic, you're doing like disco kind of vibes. Yeah, instagram yeah, I loved it, yeah, I'm just thinking back now, I do remember those. That was cool, it was just elaborate elaborating on dance. But yeah, it's, I mean the amazing thing about dancer system too is that it's not, you know, it's not choreographed in a way of like and a 123 and we're all doing the same dance move perfectly. It's very loose, very uh playful cathartic. So it's like, you know, stomp your feet and scream like make a monster face, you know, liqueur pause and like twirl your kitty cat tails so it's just like these, you know, all these fun prompts that I think just gave people a lot of permission to, you know, be wild and explore different aspects of themselves and feel free and be creative and have fun. Yeah, Gosh, amazing! That's so cool, So cool. That that's how it kind of was born out of this. Like, you know, you take the stance class, you experience this transformational thing, you start offering it to people at a time when people really need it and then this leads to being like, yeah, this is how do I turn this into a business, how can I monetize this to like support, you know what I'm doing here, but also impact people and impact mental health, which is obviously such a big issue in the world right now more than ever, I want to kind of, I feel like I'm getting ahead, I'm getting too much into wild things world, but I want to stay around refinery for a hot second and talk about, you know, you as a creative leader and especially around like what you were doing to lead people creatively and and what you were doing with 29 rooms, I'd love to know kind of how you were bringing that creativity into the office and you know, managing big teams of people. Yeah, I mean, I had a lot of different ways that I did that that I lead people creatively, but play was a huge part of it, I think, you know, so often people when they're doing a brainstorm for example, it's the default for a brainstorm is just like you sit you sit down in a room, you talk about what the problem is and then you say, okay, what ideas do you have? And there, you know, that process is so put so much pressure on people and it doesn't warm people up to be creative. I think, you know, I've I've seen that in so many instances, you know that that is kind of the default and there's this amazing book, Pria Parker, The art of gathering that I read, I guess I read it last year, but she talked so much about in it, it's about bringing people together. It doesn't I don't think she addresses brainstorming, but I do think it's applicable because you know, so often we kind of just go to this default of of how, you know, how something is done. And there's not a lot of consideration in terms of how we're how we're setting the intention for this space, how we're bringing people together and in my role as a creative leader. I always thought of myself as the host. Um you know, early in refinery I was the creator and I was making things, you know, I was making things that I was very in the in the creative process and like of actually making and then over time as I started to manage people, my job shifted from you know from that to like helping other people have their best creative ideas and so to me that role was the host, how do I, how do I make it clear what it is that we are here to do, how do I make it clear, you know the intentions behind that, the values behind that um the goals that we're trying to hit and how do I create the space where people feel comfortable and safe enough to share ideas to share bad ideas. I mean I think the most generous thing that you can do in a brainstorm is to share a bad idea because when you have that environment where people feel comfortable enough to share something that is half baked or far fetched or you know that they might even think is a bad idea, it you know it all, everyone builds on each other so so often what happens and I've seen this pattern happen so many times where it's like you know a free freewheeling brainstorm, someone says something ridiculous, everyone laughs and then boom, that amazing moment of brilliance, like someone comes out with that fantastic idea and that was because the person before them said the funny thing or the weird thing and and it triggered something. So um I often as a creative leader thought about how do I create that space, How do I, how do I warm people up with a game or an improv thing, How do I as the leader, you know, share the bad ideas. How do I show show that I'm just as, you know, silly and imperfect and as everyone else so that I can, you know, create that type of environment for everyone else in the room. Um so that was always really important to me and just yeah, being really thoughtful about how to um structure the creative process to get, you know, to bring the ideas out of everyone, help people build on their ideas and not feel like I as the leader had to have the best idea in the room that my job was to nurture the ideas in the room so that our collective idea could be the best. Mm I love that. I love that for anyone like listening right now, who's listening to that being like, wow, that's amazing. But you know, you're a big team and you had a lot of people in a room and maybe some people listening uh solo entrepreneurs or you know, a small team of two or in you know, working with their husband or working with their partner, what are some tips or frameworks that you could give for those people to get creative within themselves when they're kind of entering that brainstorm moment of like, oh I need to come up with some marketing campaigns, I'm gonna sit down with my note pad and pen and then I'm gonna get stuck and I'm gonna be like damn, I've got no ideas. Well, I mean, I think the main thing is that whether you're doing that with a big team of people or by yourself or with a partner, it still is the same thing, like you have to create the conditions for creativity. So those conditions are different for everyone. So I think the first thing is self awareness, like so often we have that moment where we sit down and we try and like push, you know, ideas out of our brain with no warmup with no, you know, like, you know, with a lot of pressure and and it doesn't and it doesn't happen, you know, I mean, I'm guilty of it too. So I think what's really important is just remembering that you have to create those conditions for yourself. Like how do you how do you be a good host to yourself and your own creativity? So maybe that is doing a warm up, maybe you take a one minute dance break before you brainstorm or maybe you take a walk. Um I mean I do this really hilarious thing now that I'm working much more solo, I have a transcription app and I walk around the neighborhood and I talk to myself um like I mean I think people think I'm on a call. But yeah, I mean I talk to myself because I've realized that talking ideas out is one of the ways that I come up with the best ideas, but I don't have someone to talk to every day now, so I walk around and talk to myself. So I think it's also just like yeah, just giving yourself like fun challenges to like maybe you say, okay, I'm gonna write the headline, I'm gonna write the headline to like the press article that I would want to be written about this and I'm gonna give myself a two minute timer to do it and like try to have fun, you know, try to have fun with it. And I just, I think like challenges like giving yourself like breaks um and knowing what, you know, knowing what works for your creativity. So often we do fixate on that moment of deficit where we don't have an idea. Um but if we can also notice when we had great ideas like what was happening for us in that moment and how do we replicate that for ourselves? That is super powerful. Yeah, I'm like that kind of person that has like the ID in the shower or the middle of the night and they need to get into that habit of writing it down because I fall asleep and then I'll wake up or whatever it is. I move activities and then I'm like, oh I forget that idea, like I need to be more in tune to capturing that, putting it somewhere and then being like, okay, it's stored, I can move on and then come back to it and kind of flush it out. Yeah. Yeah. Before I had a child I always like it was so annoying but my creative creativity would wake up at 3 30 in the morning and I, you know, first I would always try and go back to sleep, but then I realized like, oh I'm not gonna be able to go back to sleep because I'm gonna be going to have an idea and then I'm gonna be just like laying there praying that I don't forget it. So I would, yeah, there was like a period where I would like routine, they wake up at 3 30 right for like 30 minutes like whatever was in my brain and I got a lot of ideas at that time. So yeah, sometimes it's even, even if your process is super annoying to you and like not the way you want it to be, sometimes you just have to basically work with, you know, work with your creativity and be a partner to it and find a way to capture the ideas whenever they come to you. So at some point your, you've left refinery 29, you're doing these dances, ISMs, dentist ISMs that's right, yeah, this is um you're having a lot of fun, thousands of people are connecting with you and, and you start to swell on this idea of building this into your next venture. What's the vision, what are you thinking? Like, how how does it work? So, I really started with a y I mean, I was teaching dancers is um I mean there wasn't thousands of people coming to the each session, but like, cumulatively throughout it, I had thousands of people joined and yeah, I was teaching the dancer schism and my next thing is within this world, within this realm of play and catharsis and creativity. And I mean, I probably could have told you that in a way when I left refinery, like I knew I've always had that pull like I've you know, helping people tap into their creativity has always been something that is really important to me and really motivating for me and really joyful for me. So I yeah, but as I was teaching, it became more and more clear that I wanted to do that. And I really just started with the why I started with with research, I started just reading a lot of books about play and mental health and you know, I mean, actually like a huge range of different things like the, you know, the creative process and yeah, I started there and then I started working on like what, what is the why of this, like and um from there, I kept building but I I decided to launch in the spring without actually like a business plan or a clear what, like I just launched with like this is this is the ethos and I decided I was going to do that because I felt like if I was going to create this brand, that was all about helping people to play, play requires so much vulnerability requires us to, it's the antithesis of perfection, it's messy, it's imperfect, it's unsure. And so I realized if I was gonna create that business, then I had to walk that walk and and the true, like, it was much more true to this business and this brand that I want to create to release it, like without really any clue of what it was gonna be versus holding onto it until I felt certain. So yeah, basically, like I put it out there and I'm figuring it out. I mean we're all, we all figure things out as we go along, but I think this is more than I probably would have with anything else. I just decided that this is the right way to do this, it might not be the right way to do other things, but this project is all about the, like, the messy process. And also I felt like if I was going to lead this, I have to live it because that will help me to know how how to help other people to like get into that, to feel safe within that vulnerable space of of of play. I agree, and I think it sounds like, you know, you're approaching this as putting something out in the world and listening, like seeing what resonates with people, exploring different ideas instead of being like, nope, this is the products like this is what it's going to be like here it is, you're more like, okay, let's let's go with the flow and like see what people like and want to engage with what are the kinds of um, kind of activities that you're launching or trialing or exploring at the moment. Yeah, so I started with doing in person, uh, events like that was the first thing that I got started with and some as our own events and some in partnership. I've been partnering a lot with my friends mental health nonprofit called Half the Story, which is all about digital well being and helping people understand their relationship with technology and and also helping people connect offline. Um, so we've been doing some really amazing partnerships where um, you know, we're, I'm helping people to connect with each other at these events through creativity and you know, make new friends and, and so that's been really amazing. So that's, that's sort of the physical piece. And then um, I also started doing these play breaks. So I do them almost every week. Um it's a 30 minute guided play break basically, you know, I think most of us are pretty crap taking breaks when we take a break. It's like scroll usually scrolling or you know maybe maybe we'll take a walk but I think most people don't even do that and we don't do things that actually like nurture us and give us you know and like create that break space. So I've started doing these play breaks once a week um where I guide people through a 30 minute series of like quick entry level play activities. So I do some like I do wordplay for confidence, I do drawing for peace and calm, I do dance for waking up creativity, uh storytelling for connection. So I have a whole like roster of different ones that I've done, but that's sort of my most regular offering right now is um and it's helping me to build out essentially a curriculum. Like I was thinking about how do I create like the soul cycle er peloton of play, like where you know the format and you feel you know, you feel like confident and safe within that and then within that different things can switch out like the theme, the music, the creative medium. Um So I've been doing that and then I've been experimenting with doing some physical products which ultimately I really want to create workbooks and play kits that help people to explore their creativity by themselves, but also with the people in their community and their front group. Um So I've been experimenting a little bit that I haven't released anything for sale there yet but I've been at the events that I've been doing. I've demoed different um, products. So that's, that's what I've been playing with now. And the truth is like, you know, you can think that you're really sure about what you're launching with, but the process is always like, essentially what I'm what, like what I'm going through, it's just like, I guess I'm going into it like really eyes open. Like I could, I could go in and say like I'm doing this and then, you know, and then realize that what I'm doing is not, you know, going to work. I mean when we launched refinery actually We launched and we got press on our, you know, on our first day of launch and we had, you know, I think 5000 visitors at the time. And then three days later we realized that like what we launched with was not gonna work and we had to start over. So, you know, I think I'm just very used to the process being iterative. And I'm comfortable with the fact that like even if I pretend that I know, I don't know, I'm not going to know until I do it and I find out what resonates with people. And I see what works. Um absolutely. I love that. And I think it's such an important messages to like, yeah, you've got to see what works. You've got to see what people respond to and I think you're uniquely positioned right now in a time where people are really looking for solutions that help the soul and make us feel, you know more alive and more connected and and happier because it is a tough time out there and and the men health struggles that we're having and the phone addiction struggles that we're having, like this stuff is also real and it's going to keep getting worse. So I think people are really turning to meditation and things like what you're doing, like good for the soul stuff like it's, it's unique and it's amazing. I'm excited for you, I'm excited to see you. Thank you, thank you. I feel really excited about it. I'm like, so I feel so impatient with myself. That's like one of my biggest challenges is just like actually Ira Glass, I like read this great thing by Ira Glass recently who was the host and creator of this american life, which is like one of the most successful storytelling podcasts, but he talks about how like every creative person gets into creative work because they have taste, but essentially like what people don't talk about is like the years that you go through where you have a gap between like the vision that you have and the taste that you have and what you actually are able to like create and put out there. Um so I kind of feel like I'm in that gap period with my own business where I'm like so passionate about the why and and like everything that you just said, like, I'm so passionate about how play can help people with Yeah, feeling more connected, feeling more connected. Like combating loneliness. How play can help people feel more alive in this time where we're so, you know, chronically online, constantly scrolling Anyway, I feel very passionate about the space and I have this vision for the work that I want to be doing, but I'm in like that very early stage of like not just not being there yet. And so that's like, immensely challenging at the moment. Yeah, I can see how that's immensely like challenging and frustrating because you wanna you wanna be there already. It's like, you want to be 10 steps ahead. But I guess the beauty of where you are is is being where you are right now and being in that infancy and getting to enjoy that exploration phase before you kind of like, understand what the main thing is that you're gonna then just go guns blazing towards, you know? Yeah, that's true. Yeah, exactly. It's like, I have this, I have this note like this post it note on my bulletin board and it says, be generous. Have fun and enjoy the process. The processes play. I love that everyone needs that reminder. We all need that posted note. I know right? I have to just keep reminding myself. Yeah, like I think we all get impatient with the vision that we have for our lives or careers, whatever it is and the gap between like where we are now and that, but it is like so beautiful to actually just enjoy the process because also so often we actually get to a goal that we've worked so hard for and if you don't enjoy the process then you often don't actually really enjoyed getting to the goal either. Absolutely. I feel like if you're not enjoying the process, you've kind of lost because the process is the day to day, that's the journey is the day to day of getting, you know, getting up and enjoying what you're doing and working towards the things. It's not just about that goal. Yeah, it's so true. Yeah, like that's the meat of, it says the vegetarian low, you were saying like, you know, you're out there walking around putting your ideas onto your phone, like talking to your phone, this kind of thing. What are some of the kind of marketing concepts that you're like dreaming about or or kind of having the works that you want to put out there, like grassroots organic marketing initiatives. Yeah, I mean so far everything has been pretty word of mouth, like kind of taking my the group that I, you know, gathered during the pandemic for that I was dancing with and that sort of my, you know, initial group that has come over and been part of the play experiences and play breaks. But I mean my dream is to my dream is to have this curriculum like digital, like basically creating this digital curriculum, these digital play breaks that people are joining from all over the world and then have an annual like our our big moment will be like an annual creative camp where you can come and try all kinds of different amazing creative activities where we have a evening dress up dance party and a karaoke cave and it's just like this this super fun place to come and try everything and be fully alive and you know with other people that are just ready to play and have fun and so like my dream is that that's sort of like our biggest brand moment of the year is that camp and it's when like everyone comes together and just has like that super fun moment that like feel you know kind of like feels you and that you dream about all year and then you know throughout the year we'll have just like our kind of more our curriculum, our play workbooks and products that you can gather, you know, with your own friends and family and community with. I mean that's that's like my, that's my dream is is you know this amazing cool dream yeah, this amazing camp festival fun moment. So so we're thinking like 2023 or 2024 I'm like sign me up, I know pre launch those tickets baby. I know right? I've been, I've been like Ruminating on the date. I think it's most likely The end of 2023 for our play, our first, our first play camp. I haven't, I haven't fully named it yet. But yes, the play festival camp wild experience, wild weekend will happen at the end of 2023. I have manifesting it. Hell yeah, manifested. You gotta put it out there, you're gonna start talking about this thing that's happening at the end of 2023 and then you'll start aligning all of your goals to that. It's very true. I mean I think it's interesting like what you were saying before about enjoying the process, like enjoying the process And also like sometimes people talk about manifesting like as though it's just like you're just saying it, but it's also manifesting is like what you do every day. It's really actually, I think about it as your habits like what's the daily courageous action that you are taking in that in the direction of that thing. Yeah, that that goal that you're setting that thing that you're trying to manifest. So yeah, for me it's like every day, what is that daily courageous action that I'm taking that is putting me on the path towards my fun festival Play camp dreams. 100%. Gosh, I'm excited. I'm going to be there. Okay you tell me in advance to book my flights but I'm coming. Okay, I will like, I will let you know, I'm putting you on the, I'm putting you on the list. Amazing. I'm so excited When you think about the lessons you've learned throughout your career, you know, building refinery 15 years and now coming into this new business, is there anything that you kind of wish you knew before you started that you can pass that wisdom on to anyone listening, any advice or any kind of guidance from a seasoned entrepreneur. I mean so much, but I think the I think the biggest thing that I wish I knew and that I try to remember every day now is that there's no one right way. I spent so much time, you know, kind of thinking that I was doing, I was doing things the wrong way or I was or you know, or the way or like the the qualities that I had or my personality was like not correct for what I wanted to create and you know, I just think I lost a lot of time and energy fixating on like what the right, what the right way to do things was or yeah, I just, I, I feel like just knowing that there's no one, there's no one right way and there's no like really just embracing, Sorry, I feel like I'm not articulating this very well. No, I totally get what you mean, I totally get it. I think we all look at other people and we think like that person has it figured out and I need to be doing this blueprint or these steps to get there. But actually like we're all just out here every day, kind of just going with the flow and hustling to figure it out and that's the right way, It's the right way for you, and it's the right way for like your process of getting there, getting to your goals. Yes, exactly, Yeah, there's no, there's no one right way and you know, basically as long as you're taking courageous action every day towards your goals, like that is the right way, like what, what is the next right thing for you for your business and feeling like secure in that, I think it's really powerful. I mean, I have so much other, so much other advice I would give. You know, I think it's so important to think about, you know, think about anyone that you hire that you partner with, like as a partner and knowing that that is a two way, that is a two way street. You know, whether even with investors, I think so often we think like that the investor, you know, we kind of shift the power in an investor relationship off of ourselves and you truly need to like that that person needs to be fueling fueling new and connect, you need to be connecting with them, like on a lot of different levels, it needs to be like really, truly a partnership for it to work out for everyone involved And I think so I think that's really important as well. Amazing advice. Thank you for sharing. Yeah, I feel like I don't know why but I feel like I'm not I don't have good advice today but it's okay. That's great advice. What do you mean? Just hit us with two bangers? I love it. All right gosh, don't don't hate on yourself there. You're doing some really good stuff. Oh I have one other piece of advice. Great, let's hear it. My other piece of advice is play is productive. It's also you know starting a business is a long game. I went through so many periods of burnout because I wasn't putting fuel back into the tank. I was giving everything to my business and I was losing perspective And I was also not accessing my creativity, my resilience, my like resourcefulness as a result. So I do think that it is so important to prioritize things that bring you joy that reef that refill you so that you have the longevity and the grit to continue with your business. So prioritize, prioritize yourself prioritize play and know that play and self care are extremely productive mm. I love that that's an important one. That's when we all need, we need to hear that more. Yeah it's true. And also I mean this is something I didn't practice until much more recently. But I have really found that self compassion is so important to building resilience and building building like the capacity to show up daily and and be courageous be creative. Um but for so long I believed that that self criticism was what made me good. Um so I just like I just, you know, was my harshest, my harshest critic and just my inner voice and my dialogue with myself was so destructive. And it wasn't until pretty recently basically when I became a mom, I realized like if I want to teach my daughter to love herself, I need to I need to work on like my relationship with myself and starting with how I talk to myself. And so since she was born, I started this practice of self compassion where I write myself like notes in the morning and I just have found that working on self like building self compassion has just given me so much more more of like a steady base of confidence and of resilience than I had before. So I think a lot of people think self compassion makes us unaccountable or weak or like we're not gonna go after the our goals if we are compassionate to ourselves. But actually the research shows it's the opposite and my experience has been the opposite, that it's like makes me so much sturdier when I actually show up with compassion for myself and it allows me to be more compassionate to other people as well, wow, that's so interesting, I always struggle like with these things for myself because like I'll get a pen and paper. It's the same with journaling that I struggle with. It's like what do you actually write? What do you actually writing on that piece of paper? Like what's an example? So an example could be like I call myself sweet pea usually because that's like a childhood nickname, so I'll say like good morning sweet pea roof. Last night was a doozy viva woke up, viva woke was my daughter viva woke up three times and this morning you were feeling like crap, you know, have you know have a have a coffee, go for a walk and know that if today is not your best day, you know why? You know, I'll do like stuff like that or I'll be like check three things, you know, check three things off your to do list and call it a great day. So it's kind of like I try and I try and just first start with like checking in with myself like what's up? Like sometimes they're really positive, it's like you're so excited today, like you know, so it's like checking in how how am I doing then it's meeting myself with compassion. So it's basically just like acknowledging however I'm feeling without judgment and then giving myself like a little advice as though it was coming from a loved one. So and I can decide what I need to hear and it's it's really helpful because I also I also realized how often I might be waiting for someone else to validate me or you know commiserate with me and and often there's like who else would do that you know who else like knows every single little thing that you go through. So it's also very empowering to just be able to like affirm myself or you know have compassion for myself because I can then like kind of move move through it. It's like being like your most cherished cheerleader who's like you know truly got your back and truly understands and you're able to just like communicate to yourself and give yourself that high five that you need sometimes to keep going or a big cozy hug. But yeah writing I love that. Yeah it's a very tender like it's a very tender exercise it feels weird at first but I've gotten used to it and it's it's really nice. Yeah I'm gonna give that a try. That sounds like a really beautiful practice. I'm into it. Thank you. Great one.

So question # one is what's your why? Why do you wake up every single day and focus on wild things world. I love to see people come alive through creativity and play, Love it, Love it. Question number two is throughout your career, what's been your most favorite marketing moment? Oh, throughout my whole career, it can be anything, it can be recent, whatever you like. Okay, well definitely my most favorite marketing moment ever was when we launched 29 rooms for the first time. It was such a gamble and it was something we had never done before and I, you know, was so passionate about it, the team was so passionate about it, but you know, there was still a lot of question of like is this going to work or people going to show up? And it ended up being one of the things that we were most known for, you know at refinery was doing it and it was also one of these things where I saw how when you are courageously creative, that creates more courageous creativity in the world, like everyone that came through the way that they lit up the way that their creativity like came alive and the space was so magical and it was like, you know, wouldn't have happened without that huge risk, you know, that taking that huge leap of faith, so that was definitely just the most like magical marketing moment of my career, wow, that's so cool, so cool and it's so cool that you get to be like the you know, the visionary of that and you're able to be like, yeah, we like, we created that, we got to do that and impact so many people powerful really, it was amazing to like lead the team through that and help you know, I mean it was such a group effort of coming up with the idea and bringing it to life and it was, it was amazing, it was so special. Cool. The best question Number three is what's your go to business resource? Like what are the books you're reading on the podcast that you're listening to or the newsletters that you subscribe to that help you in business. My favorite business podcast and just general podcast is reset with Liz Tran. She's an incredible executive coach and entrepreneur, herself and author and I love her podcast because it really blends like spiritual wisdom with business and just in life and so it's, it's one that I just go back to all the time. I re listen to some of my favorite episodes and it's just like definitely like a Touchstone for so many things that I do. I love that I'm gonna link it in the show notes for anyone who wants to check that out. Question number four is how do you win the day, what are your am or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy, successful and motivated. I don't do, I'm not perfectly consistent with any of them. But the things that definitely helped me to win the day are movement, especially running and dancing just are both so good for my mental health, spiritual health, you know, joy all of it. So getting yeah, either running or running or dancing uh my self compassion practice of writing myself a note in the morning, just taking two minutes to check in with myself and notice where I'm at and have compassion for myself, um really helps to center me and to just ground me and like where I'm at in a given day, I think it's impossible for us to imagine that we're going to be like perfectly consistent day in and day and day out, we're ever changing beings like, you know, I mean hormones are changing our, you know, surroundings are changing, the weather is changing, you know, it's all, it's all in flux. So I find that having a practice of self compassion and checking in with myself just helps me to be grounded and be realistic with what I where I'm at each day and what I can, what I can give and what what's like aligned to even focus on given where I'm at and then definitely like play, making space for play and creativity, which often, you know, which often is something that I do at the end of the day with my daughter. I usually like when I transition out of work and into mom mode, it's usually through like drawing with my daughter or you know, having a dance party or playing music, you know, making up a song together but definitely getting play into the day is especially because I'm doing a business that is all centered on playing creativity. It's absolutely like a necessity for me to feel aligned and feel connected to the work that I'm doing. Absolutely. I was watching your video with your daughter viva when she's giving you the makeover and creative expression and I was so damn cute and so fun. It looks so fun. Yeah, it's so fun. I mean, yeah, it's fun to give her like, yeah, just let her have creative control. Sometimes I let her dress me, you know, she likes to like pick out my outfits. I don't always let her do my makeup for like a regular day because it's very, very expressive, but it is fun to, it's just fun to like collaborate with her on things and I love it. So special Question # five is what's been your worst money mistake in business and how much did it cost you? It's a good question. I have to, I think my just general money mistake that I constantly make and like unfortunately still continue to make is undervaluing my time and energy and that happens for a whole host of reasons like often, often I'm unrealistic about how much time and energy something is going to take and I don't value it appropriately. Sometimes I'm just really excited for an opportunity and I don't value it because I'm just fixated on like how excited I am um so that's been like, it's something I'm still working on is just making sure that I take the time to properly consider like how much something is going to take and how much that you know that is worth. I think also as a creative person like often actually I guess this is true of like all gifts, like I think we often undervalue the things that come more naturally to us because we, you know, because they don't feel hard and so I, you know that's just something I've been guilty of like over and over again, it's just like not valuing the things that are exciting to me or that come naturally to me and so it's something that I'm working on and I'm sure it's cost me a million dollars, I'm just gonna throw that number out there, I mean I think it's cost me a lot of money, you know, even actually when I was first started working on refinery, I was just girlfriend, I was like I started with my partner Philip and I was just like consulting for free because I thought it was interesting and exciting and it was actually like you know my other co founder said like you know, you need to, you need to, you know make this, make this official and make this, you know and get paid for this and so yes, it's something I've been guilty of for so many years. It's just like not properly valuing my time, wow, yeah, that's crazy. And I also feel like as women, we tend to do that more like give time and kind of go with the flow instead of being like, hang on a second, I'm adding like, real value here, I'm actually part of building the vision of this business and its brand, like of course you should be generated and part of that for sure, I'm totally guilty of that. Absolutely, That's a big one, Big one. It's a really big one question. Number six, last question, what is just a crazy story, good or bad that you can share from building your businesses? Okay, well this is just a wild story generally, but I was debating whether I should start wild things World last summer. I was, you know, I felt very passionate about it as we talked about in this podcast, but I was just, you know, questioning whether there was a business, you know, whether there was a business there, you know, whether it might be wiser to pursue other opportunities that were more like immediately and clearly lucrative. Anyway, so I was debate. I was just like, feeling kind of stuck about whether I should pursue it or not. And I was talking to my friend Sophia and she suggested that I asked the universe for a sign. So I it was the summer and I was in Germany visiting my in laws and I decided to ask the universe for a sign and go for a walk and see if I got a sign. And so I went for a walk along the Rhine river in cologne and I passed like a carnival and I felt like oh maybe this, maybe this is a sign to start my play business. But it didn't feel, it wasn't like I didn't feel like electricity. So then I kept walking and I passed like one of those like these like amazing german playgrounds and I was like, is that my sign? Like I was like but they're all, there's playgrounds all over the place like that's this is this isn't it? And I kept walking and then it was a gloomy day and like the sun started to come out. So I walked down to the water of the Rhine river and as I got to the edge of the river I heard this clinking sound and I looked down and I shoot you not. There was a message in a bottle at my feet and I picked it up and I was like if this is not a sign, I do not know what is and I opened the letter and it was a message from a seven year old boy named Emiliano about how much he loves playing and creativity and drawing and what, yes, that is crazy. Yeah. So, and then I got in touch with him and his family and actually the project like decision like basically they created this whole like world of, of activities during the pandemic to bring more joy, creativity and connection into their lives, which is like I'm crying, those are like my three words and they, this was the message in a bottle project was one of them and they're like the most amazing, like beautiful, loving, creative family and I've been pen pals with them since then and like basically whenever I feel like I don't know what I'm doing, why like I must be out of my mind to like be in this like startup world again. I have the bottle like right here and yeah, no, I have it. Yeah, I have it like right on my desk and yeah, when I feel doubt, I just, I just remind myself of this unbelievable sign that I got and this seven year old that lives in all of us and I'm like, okay, I keep going, gotta keep going, wow, that is like, I mean that's the clearest sign we've ever heard of. I know it was, it was unreal. I mean a message in a bottle, you have to be kidding me, literally, I'm like over here just still processing that that's wild. It's actually wild. That's so cool. It's so cool that you're still in touch with them. I love it on so many levels. Yeah, yeah, it's so wild did you frame the letter? I I have to be honest, I, my daughter was playing with the letter and I can't find the letter. I have the bottle. Now I have a picture, I have a picture of the letter and but I don't, I don't know where it is, this when you need it. Yeah, I mean the bottle itself is like kind of enough of a reminder and like, of course it's just, yeah, magic P era. This has been so much fun. Thank you so much for journey. I'm so excited for 2023 end of 2023. I'm going to be there front and center. Come to you. I will see you on the dance floor. Thank you. You're an amazing hype woman. Thank you so much. Thank you so much so much for having me on this epic podcast and For signing up in advance for 2023 tickets sold right here.



bottom of page