Rad Livin’: Meet Speakers Nat & Dan Founders of Clean Coast Collective

Thursday // April 20 // 2017

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Last month, Nat Woods & Dan Smith, founders of Clean Coast Collective, spoke at our 2nd annual #RadLivin Festival in Sydney.  In case you weren’t able to make it on over to down unda, we spoke with Nat & Dan to get all of the details on how they got to where they are and how you can go for your dreams now too.

Once learning about the impact of plastics and pollution on our oceans and beaches, Nat and Dan took it upon themselves to  clean up beaches around Australia. Their journey led them to create Clean Coast Collective – a not-for-profit lifestyle brand shifting consumer behaviour away from disposable plastics.

From launching their idea through ING Direct Dreamstarter, to starting a rad lifestyle brand that gives back, Nat & Dan will teach you how they turned this epic idea into a reality.

Meet Nat and Dan…

Where are you in the world?

We are in Byron Bay in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Australia! It’s such a beautiful spot up here with an incredibly inspiring and supportive community.

How do you follow your bliss?

We follow our bliss by always reaffirming with ourselves that we love what we do and remind ourselves why we set off down this path. Sometimes it is so easy to settle into comparisons or resent the hard work, so when we feel ourselves getting into those types of moods we look back at where we’ve come from, how much we’ve achieved and why we set out on this path. Reminding ourselves to be grateful, giving ourselves down-time when we can and celebrating small wins also help!

When did the inspiration for Clean Coast Collective first come about?

Three years ago we were both working in jobs that we found uninspiring and unfulfilling. Every weekend we would escape our work week by driving an hour to the coast. We would leave straight after work on a Friday and return as late as we could on Sunday evening. We were living for the weekends, and it was during these weekends that we started exploring new sections of the coastline and finding ridiculous amounts of rubbish washed ashore on beaches that barely received foot traffic. All of the sudden we became aware of this huge issue affecting our weekend paradise.

From that point on, driven by jobs that left us unfulfilled and an issue too big to ignore, we started Clean Coast Collective.

How did you go from idea to reality? 

Good question! I think we were quite naive to what we were getting ourselves into. It began as an Instagram account and blog, that then quickly grew into a registered not-for-profit as we realised we needed to cover ourselves with insurance to run beach clean ups with volunteers. We googled ‘How to start a not-for-profit’ and followed any advice we could find!

Clean Coast Collective RadLivin - donttellsummer

When launching your campaign, what did you need to do in order to ensure its’ success?

When we were accepted into the Dreamstarter program we were part-way through a six month journey around Australia cleaning beaches and we were in Darwin at the time. Within a day of finding out we would be running a crowdfunding campaign, we knew we needed to make a video to convince people to support our cause – it’s difficult to create a video about cleaning beaches and the love of surfing when you can’t go near the water for fear of crocs! So we left our 4wd/home-on-wheels at the Darwin Airport and flew back to Brisbane to spend a week creating our crowdfunding film.

Once the film was done and our campaign was launched, it was then a case of reaching out to all of our networks to ask them to support and share our campaign. We were so lucky that many ‘Insta-friends’ resonated with our cause and helped share our campaign to the wider community. Even so, it was still a tough slog and there was a moment in Port Hedland in remote Western Australia where we were sitting at the local bakery days out from our funding deadline and we said to each other ‘you know, we’re not going to make our required target, but oh well we gave it a crack!’. 

The next day over $3,000 of pledges came in and we *just* made it across the line in time! 

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Why do you believe your Dreamstarter campaign was so successful?

I think all the efforts we put into building our community of supporters (which was tiny at the time!) and engaging all of our networks for support really helped us reach our goal. A big thing we always told ourselves when reaching out to people for support was “the worst they can do is say No!”.

Continue Reading…

Rad Livin’: Meet Jordan Zeme

Tuesday // April 18 // 2017

jordan zeme g adventures

Ever wondered what it’s like to have a dream job? To be able to travel around the world and feel completely aligned with your company’s values. Jordan Zeme,GCO – Team Leader aka Inside Sales Leader, gives us an inside look into what it’s like to work at G Adventures, recognised by Outside Magazine and Best Companies Group as one of the top 100 companies to work for.

 

Where are you in the world? Living in 4 seasons a day Melbourne, Australia.

 

How do you follow your bliss? Being open to change. Some of the best experiences if my life have come from spur of the moment decisions primarily around travelling. If I am inspired to go somewhere. I will do what I can to make it happen and the moments spent exploring this world are where I find bliss.

 

When did your love for travel first come about? When I was young my family always travelled around. I was lucky enough to move to Switzerland for a year when I was 12 years old and also had year in England when I was 13. Moving around the world and throughout Australia with my family meant I got used to a life of movement. I definitely have my parents to thank for the itchy feet I am constantly getting along with the empty bank account from making purchases to cure them.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how you got to where you are at G Adventures? When I graduated from high school I studied and then worked in sport. I ended up in the Gulf of Carpentaria running sports programs through the communities all in a bid to save money and move to Canada. I love to snowboard so Canada was always a dream of mine. Living in Canada, I realized there was a lot more I wanted to see and do with my life so came back to Australia after two amazing years there and studied Tourism. I got a job with an adventure travel agency and spent two years there when all of a sudden I got the urge to move to the UK (Those damn itchy feet again) and explore Europe a bit more. During my time at the travel agency I kept coming across this great company called G Adventures at different expos and always found their staff to be a real standout from other brands. When I got to London I applied for a job straight away and was lucky enough to land a role with the best travel company around. Two and a half years later I find myself still loving every day at work with amazing colleagues and working in our Melbourne office.

 

What are the cool perks? Working for a travel company sounds like the dream! Tell us about all the fun, adventurous things you’ve done so far. The perks are absolutely the travel. Since starting work with G Adventures I have cruised through the Northern Isles of Scotland, gone on safari in Africa, taken a cooking class with wine tasting in Italy, met my Latvian family in a cave beer hall in the Baltics, learned belly dancing in Turkey, seen a walk off homerun for the Blue Jays in Canada, felt the mist of Niagara falls, snowboarded in the Dolomites after drinking grappa with a local family, along with an endless amount of stories. I have been able to step foot on 6 of the 7 continents and hope to complete the set in the next year or two by adding the bucket list destination of Antarctica. Working in a travel company means your list of must see destinations is constantly growing as you hear all the amazing stories from our travelers and working at G Adventures I have the chance to make my own stories.

 

How important is it to you to believe in the company that you work for? Belief in the company is everything to me. If I didn’t love what I was selling I would be horrible at my job. Coming to talk about a brand and product that I love every day makes work a lot easier and much more enjoyable. With G Adventures giving so much back to the communities through sustainable tourism along with setting their standards so high I had believed in them from the get go. I saw a lot of beautiful parts of the world getting destroyed through travel and to see a company step up and make an effort for travel to help the world was inspiring.

 

What advice could you give to someone who wants to work with a company that they love? What are the key things to look for? First thing is to find your passion. I knew I loved travel but then I had to find which part of travel I would enjoy the most. Once you have found it, do whatever you can to show interest and it’s as simple as putting your name in the hat when the opportunities arise. All the time I spent with G Adventures as a travelling customer and an agent booking their tours prior to working within the business constantly impressed me and encouraged me to pursue a career with this inspiring company.

 

Once you’ve found a company that you’re passionate about working for, how do you go about connecting with them and making it happen? For me I was lucky because I met a lot of the employees at G Adventures prior to working there. I went to a number of information and training nights getting to know the product and the brand which really showcased what they had to offer. Once I knew I wanted to work for G Adventures I was constantly planting the seed with them every chance I got to speak with them. I am big on building rapport and treating everyone as a friend rather then a colleague or an employee. Then once that role comes around that you are suited for they should already be thinking of you as a candidate.

 

What is your ultimate dream? Other then a room full of puppies? My ultimate dream is to ensure that myself and the people around me are happy.

 

Any last words of wisdom for someone wanting to do what they love? Don’t let the obstacles and challenges stop you from doing what you love. Life is meant to be fun and doing something you love makes it a hell of a lot more fun.

 

Follow the G Adventures journey here. X

Words from Late Shake Co-Founder 2 Years into Business

Wednesday // March 29 // 2017

Late Shake Portland

Remember the quirky, fun interview we did with the Co- Founder of Late Shake, Taylor London? Late Shake is a pop-up, late-night milkshake spot delivering high-quality, tasty shakes in Portland, Oregon. We checked in on Taylor about a year later to see what he’s up to and asked if he could give us insight into passion, purpose and creating a business out of something you simply love. For him, that’s milkshakes.

Words from Taylor London:

In 1960, one of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck, decided to drive around the U.S. in a car with his poodle, Charlie. He had a truck built specifically for the trip, enabling him to live out of it while driving around and talking to people, all in the name of getting to better know a country he had been writing about for decades. He was 58, his heart was failing, and he was probably suffering from a mild form of depression. When other writers his age were living out the twilight of their careers, he decided to jump in a camper and make for the west coast.

In 2015, my friend and I decided to start a seasonal milkshake pop up out of a gorgeous coffee shop in SE Portland, Oregon. We also decided to keep our day jobs, which meant we worked seven days a week for a couple months straight in an effort to successfully launch our idea while not losing our health insurance and the respect of our parents. I had just turned 26, was moderately healthy (though I hated running, still do), and by my own admission a bit stuck as to what I ought to do with myself. Notably, I did not have a poodle, though Grahm owned a cat named Janet.

At that point in his storied career, Steinbeck had lots of money and plenty of spare time on his hands to take such a trip, though I’m not bringing this up to suggest it was at all easy to do. Quite the opposite. Creating a business without much to fall back on is an admirable accomplishment, though attempting something new when already accustomed to success takes some guts. Steinbeck had his national reputation on the line. Grahm and I, we didn’t have much to lose because we didn’t (and still don’t) have much money or prestige. Still, industrial milkshake mixers cost a lot, and I couldn’t shake the sense that, if things didn’t go well, I might never be able to work up the confidence to try something new.

Now, Steinbeck died a few years later, but he completed his odd little journey and even got a novel out of the whole experience. I am roughly a year and a half removed from starting Late Shake with Grahm, and this thing is still going, remarkably. Now, I’m loathe to chalk up the success of a small shake shop to the cliche of “hard work and a little luck” (these are givens in any venture worth undertaking) because, sad as it is, lots of people work hard and miss what they aim for. Starting a project and putting hours upon hours into it does not guarantee success, as this world (and the food industry, especially) has shown. We all know life can be unduly harsh and punish smart, motivated people while rewarding those who err on the side of caution.

If you are an infant entrepreneur, bite off what you can chew. Starting a business is difficult enough without making it harder to succeed. Late Shake started with three menu items versus five, for instance; we purposely focused on doing one thing really well and tackling new ventures, like boozy shakes, only after we perfected our process. Shed the unnecessary weight before setting off.

I make the Steinbeck analogy not to equate the success of Late Shake with the brilliant author’s foray across the country, but to stress how the root desire is similar: love of craft and underlying purpose is essential to the viability of starting something new. My peculiar love of milkshakes and desire to provide a community space for my neighborhood is what enables me to work so damn hard. Steinbeck found joy in his gift of manipulating plain speech into something great, and I suspect he loved his country quite fiercely as well, because why else did he drive across it?

If one does not love the people they set out to serve, the cause will inevitably fade into dullness; resentment settles in.

Perhaps I will one day abandon this weird, wonderful project—as satisfying as it is, I know there is more to life than indulging in one’s own desires and pursuits—but that won’t happen anytime soon. I’ve learned more about myself in the past 18 or so months than if I had not decided to start Late Shake, of that I am confident. Somehow, I’ve managed to accomplish this while working a retail job (I work an Apple Store) and beginning a relationship with a girl who I’ll marry in the fall. Life is wonderfully strange. Then again, so is driving across the country at 58 with a poodle:

Sometimes, we have to do something strange to get things in motion.

Follow his journey with Late Shake over on Instagram. x

Rad Livin’: Meet Lizzy Land

Tuesday // March 14 // 2017

Lizzy Land Music

I remember sitting in 8th grade History class when I heard this deep, incredible voice come from the desk next to me. Lizzy was singing along a tune while doing her work and I thought, “I’ve never heard a voice like that!” So strong, powerful and full of passion.

Lizzy Land grew up in Portland, Oregon and is currently based in Los Angeles, pursuing her music career. One of the things we love most about Lizzy is her authenticity and determination to keep that at the forefront of who she is and what she creates. She recently released her debut EP called Sweet Melodies and we’re so stoked for you to learn more about her story and how she got to where she is now.

Meet Lizzy Land…

Where are you in the world?

Riding in a cosmic submarine. 

How do you follow your bliss?

By being uniquely me. Living in Los Angeles can be unnerving to say the least, and maintaining your identity can be difficult. I’ve had moments both socially and creatively where I questioned who I was. The only way to achieve supreme happiness is to own your true self (which is hard enough to figure out). Settling or not speaking up might sound easier than standing up for yourself or disputing the opinions of others, but in the long run, it feels much worse. My most blissful moments live in the choices I’ve made to stand by my sincerest convictions. People will respond to your earnestness and appreciate you even more for it- trust me.

When did your passion for music first come about?

My mom always tells this story of a dinner party she had when I was about 3 or 4. I guess she had a bunch of people over and after I had already been put to bed, I ran out into the kitchen and climbed up on a bar stool saying “Eddybody! Ein gonna sing… Ein in da mood for love!”. She says she has no idea where I heard or learned it, but that I mimicked a mans’ voice and stared at the ground while I sang the first two lines. Apparently, I ended up running back into my room shortly after. Never really shook initial stage fright btw…

I’ve always felt a deep connection to music. I’d quite regularly sing and dance in front of the mirror in my bedroom pretending I was a Spice Girl, or choreograph dances and film them with my sister. I didn’t ever really consider music as a career until I started performing in High School. Being a part of a show choir sparked my initial move to New York and from there I began to write my own music. The first few songs I wrote will forever stay in New York. It wasn’t until I got to Los Angeles that my writing felt the most “me”.

Lizzy Land

What’s it like being in LA and trying to make it in the music scene? Can you tell us about your journey?

LA is ruthless. The music scene is extremely competitive and while there is a lot of opportunity, most of it only comes around once. Thankfully, I met my manager Will Kiker even before I moved to Los Angeles and he took me under his wing from the moment I landed. His friends became mine, and LA seemed a bit less daunting and overwhelming.

I began by collaborating with a few different producers and found that most of our sessions felt like a dead end because I wasn’t able to pinpoint exactly what I was going for. My diverse appreciation for music began to hinder my ability to focus on one genre. 

After working with a notable producer named Martin Craft, I was introduced to Nick Littlemore (Empire of the Sun) and began writing for a Cirque Du Solei project. Our collaborative structure was very freeform and he brought out a more experimental side of me, allowing me to focus less on verbiage and more on how each song felt overall. The completed works were unique and versatile forcing me to question the songs I had intended to release. Some time was needed to reflect on my motivation in the industry.

I put “Lizzy Land” on hold for a solid chunk of time, and began performing with another Los Angles based band called Mating Ritual. After getting back from a west coast tour, we began collaborating on new songs and eventually “Cold ft Lizzy Land” was released. The feature allowed me to see myself as an artist again, and I turned to former band member Taylor Lawhon (Suede James) to produce the new songs I had been developing.

Not long after, ‘Sweet Melodies’ was scheduled for release, and James’ and I had begun finishing up 5 tracks for my debut EP. This collaboration has been the easiest and most organic in my experiences in LA so far. It helps that I’ve known him going on 4 years now, but it is also a point in my life where I am ready to really put myself out there.

While my particular journey has had it’s ups and downs, each one was well worth the payoff.

Whether you’re producing your own music or doing a cover of someone else’s tune, you have such a unique way of creating that’s true to you. How did you find your own unique sound? 

I’d call it naivety. I did most of my covers while living in New York and had no idea more than my family and friends would be watching them. I try and channel that fearlessness from time to time but I truly did not consider the videos reaching as far as they did. 

Choosing the covers was really just me fan-girling over my current favorite songs and wanting to sing them myself. The structure of the song was unique in that I’d just go for it on my loop machine. There was no fixing or editing once I’d laid down a loop. I used a Digitech JamMan pedal, and there wasn’t a way to isolate any layer/loop I recorded. I think this is what led to its appeal. I didn’t really plan out what to play or sing more than practicing chord progressions. It was all feeling-based. Instinctual.

Using mostly vocals set me apart from other covers, and I remember looping being a fairly new concept during that time. 

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

Memories. The good and the bad. The best songs I’ve written come from my most challenging experiences. The more emotion you can muster, the easier it is to articulate. I tend to romanticize even the most devastating times in my life. I’ve got great, sun-shining memories too, but sometimes calling a daisy a daisy is even harder for me to do lyrically. 

Who are your top 3 favourite artists right now? 

Niki & The Dove. Francis and the Lights. Dyan.

Tell us about a time when you took a risk?

Releasing ‘Sweet Melodies’. Putting yourself out there like that will make you feel extremely vulnerable, and it’s hard to risk being judged. It is pretty much guaranteed that you will not receive validation from every single person you’d hoped it would come from. I got some pretty deflating feedback about the single prior to its release, but after the first blow I slowly came to terms with the idea that we all have our own unique opinions and tastes. It was almost more cathartic to receive criticism than praise. Any and all reactions are good!

You might say you’d jump out of an airplane, but once you’re really up there and it’s time, the ledge paralyzes you. These types of risks are the most important. I immediately felt pride and relief after the song was released. 

Continue Reading…

An Idea for a Festival

Thursday // February 23 // 2017

an idea for a festival

 

It was May 2011. I wrote the idea in my notebook to have a festival.

I had always been passionate about music and bringing people together. The idea seemed so exciting and full of life that I started to pursue putting it on at my university in College. I met with professors, pitched my idea, even though I had no idea what I was doing. Although I said yes in the moment, the timing seemed off and I let the idea go for a while. So long that 5 years went by.

The moment I thought I completely forgot about it was when it showed up again, this time in a different country and with a new concept. #RadLivin

I can’t believe #RadLivin is getting ready for a second year in Sydney. If you have ever had a spark of an inspired idea and it didn’t work in that moment, it doesn’t mean that it’s not yours to pursue. Sometimes the idea is just meant to launch at a different time, in this case on the other side of the world. 

Love and Radness,

Olivia