Bold Broads highlights women founders and creative [read: BADASS] small business owners about how they really deal with the ups and downs of running a BOLD business. These women share honest wisdom and tough lessons to support you in collectively making good shit happen in your own women-led startup or small business. Meet Natalia Hailes and Ashley Spivak, co-creators of Brilliant Bodies. They are birth doulas and reproductive health advocates.
Let's meet them, shall we?
1. STARTING A BUSINESS IS HARD AND SOMETIMES LONELY. WHAT THE F*CK MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
The work motivates us! In evaluating our own experiences with body, reproductive health and sex education growing up, and working as birth doulas "in the field", it just blew us away how little we were taught, how disconnected from our bodies and cycles we all are... and we believe we are operating in a time when people are becoming more "awake" to these ideas, yet you can't remedy that lack of trust, and missing knowledge overnight. It takes time and practice and we just aren't able to do that within the scope of our doula work. So something we were always asking ourselves was, how do we reach people sooner? How do we get people to stop thinking of "reproductive health" as related to only having babies- because that isn't what this is all about. Our reproductive health can affect everything, our sex life, self-esteem, productivity, energy levels, hormone imbalances and other diseases... it's not just for those in the process or planning stages of reproduction! And so a lot of our projects have been born from this idea of trying to fill the gaps we encounter along the way. With This is How I was Born, we wanted people to connect to birth from a new perspective, encouraging people to think about how they were born and connect that to the creative process, it's been pretty mind blowing to see how the two are so tied together. With CYCLES + SEX our focus was to put reproductive health at the frontline of the wellness movement and highlight all these innovative products and companies that are changing the landscape of our health. We wanted to give people the chance to learn about their bodies, ask all the questions, buy the products and meet the experts, in a fun and accessible environment. And now it's turned into a movement and a whole ecosystem of information and people excited to learn and share. And it's growing into something much bigger than we expected which is super exciting. And with MELK, we're trying to fill yet another gap that we come across all the time: women returning back to work shortly after giving birth and not having the support they need to continue to breastfeed. MELK will solve the issue for the people coming back into the workforce and for the employers.
2. HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO KEEP THRIVING IN A CREATIVE SPACE WHERE EVERYONE SEEMS TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER?
Working as partners is a huge motivation, when one of us is down the other one is full of energy and ideas. We bring each other up when we need to and give each other space to have a good balance between our work and personal life. We couldn't do this without each other. Our other huge motivation is the community we're building and the excitement we see from people and the impact our work has in their lives.
3. SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES ARE OFTEN QUIETLY SUPPORTED BY A COLLECTIVE OF WOMEN MENTORS, FRIENDS AND BUSINESS OWNERS. WHAT COMMUNITIES AND RESOURCES HAVE BEEN MOST PIVOTAL TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS SUCCESS?
This has absolutely been true for us. We've found great partners and supporters along the way and continue to build relationships that help us grow our company and our vision. A lot of the people we've met have been introduced to us at local networking and community events, such as Medi Club and The Big Quiet. We've found that meeting people face to face can be a great way to start a relationship, that one on one interaction is priceless. We've also been lucky to be part of online communities such as Dreamers and Doers that create all kinds of great connections and opportunities to grow your network and find people that can help you while giving back and helping other people which is wonderful. We really take inspiration and notes from all around us- even in places that may seem irrelevant at first. We are also so grateful for all of our clients and the Brilliant Bodies community at large as we are certainly always learning from them.
4. NO BULLSH*T; WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS? AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT; HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO OVERCOME THIS?
Figuring out which project to do first (we have so many fun ideas) and then strategically how to best roll each out when- and then having to shelf some of the ideas we are most excited about because the timing isn't right yet. Working with our mentors on this has been a huge help, sometimes having someone else listen to you and help you put things in perspective can be game changing. The other biggest thing for us has been finding the right partners for our business and knowing how to leverage everyone's skills.
5. SHARE THE MOST HELPFUL PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN.
Learn to say no. Realizing that it's ok to not be able to do it all, to not go to all the networking events or make every single meeting. It's ok to prioritize and say no when it doesn't feel right or when you just need some time for yourself.
WE UNAPOLOGETICALLY OWN our BOLD BROAD BADASSERY BECAUSE...
We can't keep relying on others to take care of our bodies. We can't rely on a medical system that doesn't always have our best interest in mind. We can't rely on the information we see online because it is often inaccurate and scary. We can't make decisions about our body based on what worked for our sister or friend because everyone is different and unique and chances are the solution to our problem is going to be totally different. We have to take charge of our health and learn to understand our bodies, its' cycles and how they change along the way. We can find ways to take care of ourselves and build teams of people that we trust with our care. We have to empower each other and build communities of people that are curious and not afraid of asking questions and helping each other out. Ultimately, we are the only ones stuck with ourselves 24/7, which means no matter how amazing of a practitioner we have, we are always going to be the ones with access to the most information about ourselves. We need to start learning how to decipher our own clues and remember our own uniqueness. We aren't our sister or best friend. We aren't a statistic or numbers on a screen. Learning your own body signals is a pathway to more autonomy and empowered decision making. And again, this has to happen sooner vs. later.
BOLD BROAD BONUS***FAVE APP?
Honestly, Instagram has been so much fun for us! We use it as a way to share amazing facts about the body with our #brilliantbits and it has really allowed us to create a little Brilliant Bodies tribe! (join us @ourbrilliantbodies) Also Venmo...because it's how we pay each other. So it's always realllll exciting when that thing dings!
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Natalia Hailes and Ashley Spivak are birth doulas and reproductive health advocates. They are co-creators of Brilliant Bodies which partners with like-minded businesses to facilitate creative solutions to address the most pressing issues in the reproductive health space.