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We're so honored to be featured as Bird of the Week by the awesome NYC based blog, Bird. Founders Stephanie and Magdalena sat down with our founder Ashley Smith to chat about the NYC lifestyle, what it takes to really start a business, how to prioritize personal and creative time, and what the future holds for OTHERWORLD.
How do you balance your personal life with having your own business?
That’s probably the hardest thing for me in year one. My personality is the kind where I want to do it all, I want it to be super successful super quickly.
I realized a couple of things, one; there’s no such thing as an overnight success. Ever. On top of that realizing that prioritizing work things is just as important as prioritizing time for myself.
I have a pencils down rule at 7pm. You need to have a life outside of work. Obviously some days can go longer than others. It helps me keep a little bit of separation.
The other thing is I’ll carve out time during the week to just be creative. It’s an hour where I get to just read a travel magazine, sketch, go to a gallery, go shopping because that’s where you get inspiration and see what everyone’s doing. Don’t think that you have to have something at the end of that hour, just use that hour to do whatever you want. That keeps me alive and excited.
Also make sure you’re putting your self-care high up on that list. You have to rest. You have to exercise. I meditate in the mornings, not for anybody but me.
It’s that separation from Ashley and the business because it can so easily become one. I was falling into this place where I would start to feel bad about myself if the business wasn’t doing well or feel great about myself if the business was doing great. Your self worth is suddenly tied to the monetary success of the business, which is not a healthy thing.
It’s still something I’m working on. At least now I’m recognizing it. A little bit of detachment is healthy.
From a business and financial standpoint, is being in New York good in terms of exposure but bad in terms of cost?
That’s a good question and something I think about a lot. Eventually I want to be west coast because my family is there, I feel better there and the brand is more of a west coast brand. But I do think that the only reason Otherworld got up and running is because I am in New York.
In the sense of product development and creation New York is a great place for it, but yes, cost of living is way more expensive. On the other hand all your major editors are here, there are a ridiculous amount of network opportunities here. Also when I start to fundraise and look for investment it’s here and San Francisco.
So all these things come back to New York. In that sense I want to keep it going here in New York for maybe another year or two and then I can shift to the west coast.
Did your life go down a totally different path than you imagined when you were twenty?
I’ve always had a small problem with authority. I want to do things my way. I’ve always been like that. So when I was working in ad agencies I always enjoyed it, I learned a lot but I was never so passionate about the projects because they weren’t mine. There was no ownership.
So I kind of always knew deep down that I would have to do something on my own and be my own boss. When I was twenty I would never have thought it would be this but now, seeing how it unfolded, it makes complete sense.
In my twenties I probably thought that I would end up in music. I always loved music and I would write music reviews. I still love it.