LP: Sarah and Steve
LIVING PROFILE: SARAH + STEVE DUBBELDAM
What is one word of advice you can give to others who are starting their own endeavor?
Steve: I always say, “Be fearlessly optimistic and also brutally honest with the facts at the same time,” because you will face so many ups and downs and you have to have a balanced perspective of hope and reality.
Do you practice mindful living ? A life where you understand there is a ripple effect? Can you describe an instance you've seen the ripple effect in your own life?
Sarah: I really try and be intentional about the way I think and talk about my life and my business, because that has an affect on my attitude and my employees. It’s all about what I choose. If I choose to be grateful and optimistic, everything I touch has that spirit. If I choose to be negative and complain, everything I touch is affected by that negative spirit.
How are the first hours of your morning ?
Both: We wake up and grab coffee and take turns making breakfast (but it’s usually Steve). If it’s warm out, we sit in the yard and often read, journal, or pray to start the day off in a positive mindset.
Do you use any apps or special means to help organize your projects?
Steve: Yes! We use a project management software called Insightly and also Box.com for storing all our files—photos and design files, etc. Evernote is also a great one I use on my phone to help with my to-do list.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given in life and also in business?
Sarah: In life, my mentor told me to always set healthy boundaries with people because in doing so, I’m actually loving people better.
Steve: In business, someone told me “execute 90% of your ideas,” which helped me learn to overcome the fear of “the start,” because in trying to execute almost all your ideas, you fail, and failure teaches you to not fear.
What major lessons have you learned in the budding stages of starting your business?
Sarah: If I were to do it over, I would have established more professional systems of organization for our company in general and formal HR agreements and policies with employees from the start. Once you’re rolling and things get crazy and people are wearing so many hats, it’s hard to go back and put in systems when things are already in place.
What do you hope to achieve through your work?
Both: We hope to make a positive mark in history on women’s media, tearing down negative patterns and showing the truth about the harmful effects of Photoshop and other messages that make women feel “less than.”
Are there any books that you are reading now?
Sarah: Yes, I’m reading a book called “Difficult Conversations” written by several Harvard professors about how to navigate conflict in a healthy way. Truth be told, a big part of being a boss and leading an organization is having tough conversations.
What is your idea of success?
Steve: Building a brand that legitimately leaves people better when they interact with your product or services and building a community around yourself that enriches your life.
How do you navigate creative blocks or difficulties in how to put your inspirations into play?
Sarah: I get out in nature! Sometimes my brain feels like it gets way too full and I have no space for anything new. Quieting my mind helps me dream again like a child.
When spending your money or using products, do you look for ethical and environmentally mindful qualities in them?
Sarah: Yes, I only buy green and ethical products. A few years ago I really started researching the process in which things are made and the bad ingredients in products and I became resolute about buying pure products. It’s so important to think about the imprint of what we buy and the things we put on our skin because we only have one life and we should live it well, caring instead of turning a blind eye.
Was taking your path into your own hands something that came easy for you in the beginning or did you struggle with it at first? What made you take the leap of faith?
Both: At first I (Sarah) was fearful because I didn’t know how to execute my ideas, but once Steve committed to helping me build the business, it was pretty easy to take the leap of faith because we really believed in the idea at our core. In doing our Kickstarter, we thought, “If people hate this, oh well!” and that took a lot of pressure off. We are both the type of people that like to throw ideas out into the world though, we find it interesting and fun to see what sticks and what doesn’t.
Do you feel that consumers / viewers are wanting to have more personal connection to how they spend their time and money ? What do you think that is?
Sarah: Yes, I think the generation below us cares the most about knowing where things come from, who made them, and what the story is behind the brand. They want to know that the clothes they wear, the lipstick they put on, etc. wasn’t harming anyone in it’s production, but is making the world better.
What makes your business different than those in your same category?
Both: I think the way we talk to women is different. We aren’t saying, “here is how you need to change how you look,” we are saying, “you are beautiful as you are, how can you enhance that?” We aren’t saying, “buy more and more to be worth anything,” we are saying, “buy nice, well made things that last and honor the people that make them.” We aren’t saying, “women are only worth their amount of sex appeal,” we are saying, “women have inherent worth, intelligence and power and are so much more than how they are portrayed in current media.”
Did you have a mentor growing up and do you have one now?
Sarah: Yes I did and yes I do now. I think this is very important. It helps you to grow, it fills you with wisdom for all the challenges you face!