Tell us about a project or an accomplishment that you consider to be most empowering.
Absolutely starting my company, Rêve En Vert. I founded it when I was 25 and fresh out of grad school with a great naiveté and unflinching belief in what I was doing. I wanted to create a retail platform that would curate the best in sustainable luxury style – to prove that fashion (which is the second most polluting industry on earth) can be both beautiful and ethical. Over the past five years of running the company, there has been more turmoil in my life than I could have ever foreseen, but also the most rewarding. I have truly learned how to go to battle for the things I believe in, to weather storms and also how to obtain real confidence in my abilities and myself. Business is still a world that is dominated by men, particularly when it comes to growth and investment, and overcoming horrible feedback and a lot of NOs we managed to secure investment from six incredible women and build a beautiful company that I very proud of. I also love that Rêve En Vert is more than another retail site – we are built from a place of sustainability and ethics that is intrinsic to everything we do. We encourage conversation through editorial and social content and constant betterment of product and I feel empowered every day that this company exists and people are willing to change their past shopping habits to support us.
How do you add value to other people’s lives?
I like to think of my outspoken-ness as more of an asset than a fault – I am a very passionate person by nature and particularly when it comes to the things I believe in I can be very vocal. When I was younger, I used to question myself for having strong opinions and not verbalize them as confidently as I do now. I feel that because sustainability and environmental protection are the true drivers of my career that being able to talk about the necessity for change and imperative action is something I hope brings value to others. I now engage in conversations with people in restaurants about my concern that they are brining plastic straws in every single drink I get, I debate with my friends when they shop for needless fast fashion and I don’t hold back from my relatives when we discuss the benefits of investing in a Tesla over a gas-guzzling S.U.V. In this way, I hope that I am encouraging people to think outside the box, question their habits and realize that as individuals, we do have choice and power when it comes to the sort of planet we will inhabit and leave to our children.
How can you use your innate genius creativity and live the life you imagined?
I think in order to do this you have to have absolute faith in yourself and be wiling to take risks. So many people I speak to are brilliant, passionate and enthusiastic people who become less so as they get bogged down with jobs they hate, lacklustre relationships and caught up in the grind of daily life. We are all guilty of this to some extent ! But I think we have to remember that every day is an opportunity for a change and a new mind-set that we must take advantage of if we are going to truly live. This may sound slightly odd but sometimes I simply remember to think like a child – to let go of incidents and grudges quickly, to always be up for an adventure, to go outside and to move on from mistakes with no remorse just a lesson learned. This has been invaluable to me in running my own business because so many curb balls are thrown at you and you don’t always get it right. Do not get discouraged or you will not be able to carry on and grow into the genius you do have inside yourself. And don’t be scared of creativity, I wish we had more dreamers on this earth – we would be much better off !
How do you handle adversity or unexpected change?
I take a walk. Honestly this is such a simple thing to do that has such a big impact. There are numerous studies coming out now touting the benefits of being outside in nature on our happiness and clarity and I truly believe in them. Unfortunately living in London there is not nearly as much green as when I lived at home in Maine, but just getting to a park and taking a few deep breaths around some trees can allows me to calm down and think a bit more clearly. If possible, I always say “I will get back to you tomorrow” when it comes to big changes or prepositions so I can sleep on it as well. My mother once said that everything will seem like less of a big deal in the morning which I find most of the time is absolutely true – you have had enough time to process and analyse things rationally by that time. Every adversity seems huge without the proper time to react to it and don’t let anyone force you into making big decisions too quickly.
According to you, what does it takes to be successful?
A really fine balance between a serious commitment to hard work and self-care. For the first couple of years of running Rêve En Vert, I had no work-life balance whatsoever. I was travelling all the time, and my business partner and I literally only saw one another for the most part. The stress really affected my mindset and body to an extent I didn’t even realize until getting very close to breaking point…within the last year I have realized just how much I need to take a bit of time for myself in order to perform to my best ability at work. This can be as simple as taking a yoga class at lunch or saying no to dinner plans after a long day of work, but now I listen more to what I need and I feel I am doing better than I ever have. Also surround yourself with people who believe in you and support you and spend less time with those who do not – throughout the growth of Rêve En Vert I have realized so much that being able to grab a glass of wine and discuss a bad day with the right person allows you to go back in the office the next morning with more clarity and optimism. Being able to go to work, sort out problems and tackle big issues whilst being happy in mind and body is the ultimate success to me.
By Mayshad Team