From Morgan Stanley to Sustainable Fashion: How Vanessa Barboni Hallik is Saving The World Through Fashion
Ep. 135
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Vanessa Barboni Hallik

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This week I have the incredible Vanessa Barboni Hallik on the show. If you’re a long-time listener, then you know that I was a public defender. I was on a crusade to save the world. And I had bought into the paradigm that business was filled with greed and evil and that capitalism was ruining the world. While there is some truth to that in certain instances, Vanessa’s story shows what is possible if we re-imagine how we run businesses. Her voice, and her brand, are exactly what we need to begin steering the ship towards more conscious consumerism.

Vanessa served as managing director at Morgan Stanley for 15 years. She held several leadership roles in the emerging markets and institutional securities business. During her tenure, she tried to leave three separate times but was held back by the same fear and doubt that holds so many of us back.

When she finally left, she pursued her interest in environmentalism, which lead her to discover the horrors happening within the fashion industry. That’s when she decided to take matters into her own hands. Despite not having any experience in fashion, Vanessa saw the huge need for luxury apparel at a reasonable price that was made with sustainability in mind. She founded Another Tomorrow, an end-to-end sustainable apparel company and is redefining how luxury fashion brands approach business by focusing on social and environmental good.

Her story is inspiring for so many reasons!

Listen to it and then check out the beautiful pieces at Another Tomorrow
Find Vanessa Here:



Show Transcript
Goli: Welcome to another episode, you are in for such a treat. I get so excited about the interview episodes now because they are not as frequent. And I really do try to bring on the best of the best stories and I get super inspired by them. So I hope that you do too. And today is no exception. I have the incredible Vanessa Barboni Hallik on the show, and I will tell you much more about her. I wanted to, before we jump in, talk to you a little bit about my program, that's coming up. But before I tell you that I wrapped up the program that I was running this last round, stuck to strategy last night, and it always blows me away. We have been working for three months together there and just seeing the transformations that everybody goes through in the slightest little changes can change the way you view your life.

Hearing them say that I no longer am miserable at work and I don't let what other people say, tank my confidence. And I feel like I have control over how I show up and how I feel. And I have clarity in what I'm going to do, and I'm not afraid to fail, and I'm going to go after it this year. And all of these things, it's just like, this is a different person than three months ago. And so if you want that kind of change in your life, if you're looking for a different way, I'm so adamant about this work, because I've seen how it has changed my life, not just in career, but really in having more control over my thoughts and my emotions and how I show up and how that affects everything I do in my life. And that is why I honestly want to share it with as many people as possible.

And so I'm doing a six-month program this next round. I want to really give you the time and attention and energy that it takes to honestly live a new way. I know it sounds dramatic, but it really is a new way of approaching your life. And so if you're ready to make a big change in 2021 if you're ready to start out who you are when you're not trying to please everybody else and do what everybody else thinks you should do, and you want to start figuring out what it is you actually want to do, you want to start gaining control over your own thoughts? I know on this podcast, we don't do tons of episodes on mindset work, and this is just an invitation to go much deeper and do the work weekly together. So you have the guidance and the support and the tools.

If you're interested, you can check out more information and sign up for a time to chat about whether you'd be a good fit or not for the group. You can go to quitter to check that out. Okay. On to today's episode, I love this episode for so many reasons that you're going to hear, but one of the main reasons I wanted Vanessa on when I saw her story is I had a lot of negative thoughts and associations that I hadn't made with business, right before I - if you listen to the podcast, you know that I was a public defender. I was on this crusade of saving the world. And I had bought into a lot of the paradigm that business was kind of filled with greed and evil and capitalism was kind of ruining the world and there is truth to that in certain instances, right?

And I think what a lot of us have been used to seeing with companies up until this generation really where the only focus was profit and it was profit at all costs. And we've seen the havoc that, that has on our environment, on, you know, how other people's lives are affected in other countries. Just we see it across the board, but what I have found in my own journey and kind of jumping into entrepreneurship and now seeing a new wave of entrepreneurs who are utilizing business as a vehicle for change as a vehicle for implementing the things that they want to see more of in the world. And I really think it is so important to highlight. Now, it's not to say, this is the only way or that this is the best solution for every problem. Obviously, I very much believe that the government should be regulating things that we need a lot of, you know, not for profit type of institutions doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

But I think that often when we want to figure out what we have control over, and I think business is a really wonderful way of putting it into the world. Something that you think is missing and doing it not only for altruistic reasons, but you also want to make money. And I think that's perfectly fine, but also because you want to make some positive change in an industry where you find that lacking Vanessa's story is so important and such a powerful example of that. It's also such a powerful example of a lot of the struggles that we all have when we are quitting. Vanessa started out her career as a managing director at Morgan Stanley. Well, I mean, she Rose up the ranks to managing director. She was at Morgan Stanley for 15 years where she held several leadership roles in the emerging markets, institutional securities business. And we talk all about how she tried to leave three times during that 15 years and how she felt like something was off, but the fear that holds so many of us back, the fear of the unknown, the security of the paycheck kept her there until she finally decided to leave.

And when she left, she had never had really an interest in fashion or starting a fashion line, but it was her interest in environmental issues and wanting to find a business or an opportunity where she felt as though she was making a better world in places that she felt or needed led her to discovering a lot of the horrors that happen within the fashion industry. And we'll talk all about how one thing led to another, and she's now the founder and CEO of another tomorrow, which is an end to end sustainable apparel company. I really encourage you to go to their website and read about what they are doing, because it is amazing to see that she not only wanted to create luxury quality separates at a more attainable price point. And by cutting out a lot of the middlemen, she has created kind of this holistic sustainability, which addresses not just environmental concerns, but animal welfare, as well as human welfare.

They are a B corporation, which is a different setup than our typical S and C corporations where part of their governing principles is to make decisions not only based on shareholders but on how it affects certain principles that they stand for. They have such a detailed description of what they're committed to doing, to make sure that the types of materials that they use in order to make sure that there is no animal suffering, the types of manufacturers and meals that they use to make sure that everybody is paid a livable wage. They have partnered with another company called everything where there's a product cloud that allows you to see the entire life cycle of the thing that you are buying, where it comes from, and how it gets shipped to the next place. What is it used in creating it? It is honestly the commitment they have to this level of excellence.

And this level of sustainability is so admirable and such a hopeful sign for where companies should be going. I really encourage you to check them out one because their clothing is beautiful and it is such a wonderful way to spend your dollars, but also just to get a better understanding of everything they're doing, because it is really actually intricate and complex and committed to so many things. It's not just, you know, environmental welfare or animal welfare or a human welfare. I mean, it's all of it. It's so admirable and I will stop gushing so that we can jump in and find out how Vanessa went about quitting Morgan Stanley and building this incredible company. So without further ado here is Vanessa. Hi Vanessa. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Vanessa: Thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure.

Goli: I am so excited to have you, and we can't wait to hear all about the transition from a finance career to launching your own fashion line, but we kind of start back with your previous career and what that life looked like. So can you just give us a little bit of a background of what actually led you to end up in a career in finance at Morgan Stanley?
Vanessa: Absolutely. So that, I often say is an accident unto itself. I grew up in a really small town in the Midwest and the rust belt, really small academic communities. My mom was an artist. My dad was a sociology professor and there was sort of this little kind of hippy enclave. So, you know, first in Grinnell, Iowa, which is a town of, I think at the time 3000, much of it knowledge, yeah, really, really small. Some of my earliest memories with my parents' friends, and even just myself, was sitting in their study cross-legged with the whole earth catalog, looking at images of geodesic domes. And the funny thing about that upbringing was that I was just so steeped in a multitude of disciplines and this idea of problem-solving at the intersection of things and this idea of conscious consumerism and being able to live a life aligned with one's values.

Now, I think back to those days, and I'm not entirely sure that what I was eating had anything to do with that philosophy, but it was there imprinted in my brain. And I actually thought I was going to go to school to be an architect, that idea of bringing different disciplines and creativity together. And I was in my first year at Berkeley as a freshmen and my mom passed away unexpectedly. And I just started making some different decisions that, you know, were almost subliminal, I think, in, in, in their origin. And I shifted gears big time and really started focusing on how I was going to take care of myself. So I ended up an economics major. And when it came time to actually, you know, find, find those summer jobs that pay the bills, I ended up applying for finance jobs because the other kids I knew or applying for them at that point, I was at Cornell.

I had, I had transferred and candidly, I had applied for a bunch of fellowships at the same time. I got none of the fellowships. I got a bunch of the finance offers. And so I thought, okay I guess I'm gonna try this. You know, once I was in the door or close to being in the door, it was clear that there was an opportunity to within finance really explore the world, especially, you know, in those parts of the banks that were really focused on emerging markets, foreign exchange, et cetera. So coming from landlocked, Iowa, and subsequently what Rustbelt Pennsylvania in Ohio that was really, really appealing. You know, I was really focused on making sure that I was in part of an internationally-focused division when I, when I got there.

Goli: And how long did you end up staying at Morgan Stanley?

Vanessa: I was there for 15 years, a long time. And, you know, within that span of time, I either left or attempted to leave three times. And the third time, I suppose, was the charm, if you think about it that way, but yeah, the first time was nine months in I was on an options trading desk. And even though the focus sensibly was foreign exchange in emerging markets, you know, the day-to-day job had little to do with sort of that intellectual curiosity. I was so seeking. So I took some time off then and I thought I was going to be an immigration lawyer.And then I started looking at law school classes and I didn't want to take it.

And so I ended up back into the fold and, and actually ultimately ended up in a spot that, you know, scratched a bunch of itches a little bit better until Oh seven. And then I left to do a degree in energy and environmental policy, again, kind of harking back to those to those early roots. And they said, Oh, I can do it. Why don't you come back and do both, you can do both. You can go to school, you can work. And I thought, okay, that's the pipe dream. Let's, let's try it. And then the financial crisis happened and that was so not happening. And, you know, I was back in it and I was grateful to have a job. Very frankly, a funny thing happened at that time, which was that all of these investment banks had to completely reorient their trading businesses, and the risk levels needed to come down and they really needed to build financially sustainable client-facing businesses.

And a lot of the people who had been in those trading roles, weren't that interested in, in doing that, they weren't that interested in building businesses. And so a lot of them would leave and go to hedge funds. And I thought that there was just an immense opportunity to really rebuild and, you know, there was just a huge amount of room to grow. And so that's what I did from really like, Oh eight through 2017 was kind of rebuild these emerging markets businesses within the firm. It was wonderful. I learned a lot. I learned a lot. It was pretty fantastic.

Goli: Yeah. I think your story probably resonates with a lot of people because so many of us sort of get funneled by one reason or another life circumstances or decisions, especially in college and when we're just starting out and you're really looking to other people to guide you, whether it's teachers or parents or whatnot. And I think so many of us end up in fields that maybe we didn't see ourselves in, or we didn't really know exactly what it was going to be. And then you know, you get the degree in that or you get the job in that and you ended up staying. And I think for so many people, that is why they end up having a feeling of stuckness, right. It's like after 10 years or 15 years or whatnot, you climb that corporate ladder. And that's what your experience is.

And we buy into a lot of the belief that, well, this is all I know, I can't really do anything else. And so I'm just wondering, you've touched a little bit that you've, you were thinking about leaving and this also seems to happen or it's like, you, you kind of make the effort, but then it kind of sets you back in because maybe like you said, you know, maybe you're grateful to just have the job and it's an opportunity that you can grow in. So what was the ultimate thing around 2017 or maybe if it was the years leading up to it that sparked you to kind of make this huge shift?

Vanessa: I think it was really a confluence of factors and, you know, one was the more I was in it and, you know, I was working so much other parts of my life and my personality started to fall by the wayside. And little by little, I kind of stopped recognizing certain aspects of myself or at least felt that certain things were really missing. And, you know, at the same time, I was just really, frankly, so hell-bent on succeeding as a woman in that environment. And there are like a couple of things I just wanted to check the box if I could do it. And when some of those things actually happened and I got the big promotion, I thought I really wanted, I can't say that they weren't meaningful, but they definitely didn't have the same satisfaction and impact on me personally, that I thought they would.

And at the same time, you know, I think that there was a certain degree of sort of complacency on my end for, I don't know if I'm allowed to say it, but the years, but the world was kind of moving in a direction that felt maybe not fast enough, but I was hopeful that we were kind of moving in the right direction. And I think that that prompted a little bit of laziness or complacency is the right word. And when, when that was clearly not happening and it was clear that, you know, my own personal existence has sort of fallen off a little bit by the wayside and those internal markers of success didn't have the sort of impact that I hope they would. It really led me to a significant rethink. You know, I was talking to a friend at the time, it was, you know, a friend kind of mentor in the business.

And he said, you know, Vanessa, you might be at your local maxima, but you're not at your global maxima. So you've got to think bigger. And so I really took a step way back and tried to just say, okay, forget about my next move. If it's 20 years from now, what do I want the next 20 years to have been about? And I had an answer to that and that was purpose. I want to do something with my time and energy. That felt truly purposeful. You know, that was the first step in making the job.

Goli: We often talk on this podcast about this idea that we really overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in a decade, right. Or 20 years. And oftentimes we're so focused for a really good reason. It's often just like survival and you're thinking about how I'm going to pay the bills. And so you're really thinking year to year, but what we're hoping to do with this podcast is really get people to think, you know, the next 10, 20, 30 years, when you look back, what do you want your life to be? And I love that you started thinking about that, but I think oftentimes a lot of people have the same exact thought that you have. Like, I want my life to have more purpose. I want to be doing something that really feeds my soul. That makes me excited that I feel like I had some impact and then they get stuck at, but what is that? Right. And I think oftentimes we're looking as if there is one right answer, which is kind of the faulty thinking that we have, but how did you start figuring out what that purpose was?

Vanessa: I kind of went back to my upbringing and my values and the things where I had had a deep curiosity and passion previously. And a lot of that for me, was around the environment and nature in particular, and really this desire to kind of start to shift some of the incentive structures in the world to orient human behavior in a more constructive way. And so I didn't initially look, you know, too far afield, I actually saw the opportunity that was sort of right in front of me within finance, in that realm where there was a huge opportunity to bring, you know, environmental, social and governance factors into investing. And that was really becoming scalable. So that was where I started the exploration and the conversation. And so I had a bunch of conversations internally, and it was kind of clear that the firm was going to move in that direction, but just maybe not fast enough for where I was at personally.

And I was ready to go. And I wanted that return on my energy immediately. I was sort of out of patience with myself. And so I said, you know what I'm going to leave and go do this someplace else. And they said, you know, what, why don't you take a sabbatical? Think about it. I think, you know, clearly pattern recognition kind of come around. So of course I said, sure. And you know, what, what that did was, you know, I was outside the mothership, you know, and I started exploring with, and it was uncomfortable. It was really, really deeply uncomfortable. Those first few weeks in particular, I felt completely unanchored, anxious, unmoored. And that was just on sabbatical, you know, I hadn't even left yet. So that was interesting, but I started really just doing research, thinking that it was going to lead me in the direction of the next sort of sustainable finance job, but I was looking at different industries and how they were manifesting all of these, you know, unintended negative consequences and negative externalities. And I found that for many of them, you know, it was fairly straight forward, you know, oil and gas, logistics, et cetera, you know, basically things that we kind of all know, but when I got to fashion, when I got to apparel, I was just blown away and I was in a position to actually absorb the information and I couldn't believe the magnitude of the impact and the complexity of the impact. And it just, it just gripped me completely.

Goli: How interesting. Other people might have a similar experience. And let's say you start learning of a problem that is happening in our world. And a lot of times it grips you and it's like, wow. But often the next thought is, yeah, but I don't know anything about fashion or building a fashion brand. Right. Like I've never, so I mean, that's the way we logically stop ourselves. And so what was the thought process when you let's say discover this, I'm just wondering, did you have any of those thoughts or fears of, yeah, but I don't know this industry at all before you jumped in?

Vanessa: Well, to be fair, you know, the initial thought wasn't, you know, I'm going to go start a fashion brand. Right. But the initial, the initial thought was I should just take this information and try and use it in my every day behaviors, you know, at least I could be a more conscious consumer and I just totally had a wall based on how opaque the industry was. The lack of, you know, really well-made product that was also ethically made. I mean, you name it. And the only way I could describe it, I don't know that ever actually felt this way about anything before, but it was just information I couldn't un-know. I had to do something about it. It just gnawed at me and I felt totally compelled. And it was funny because a job opportunity in sustainable finance came up at exactly the same time.

And it was even focused on emerging markets. It was the perfect job on paper and I couldn't do it. I couldn't do it. I had to go do this. And I genuinely didn't know the first thing about fashion. I knew one person in the entire industry, which was my college ex-boyfriend's sister who lived in Paris and did PR and had just had her second or third baby. So it was like, she was not gonna, you know, give me the tour of the industry. But I just had to do it. And I knew I'd figure it out.

Goli: I love that so much because I just think so much of what gets in our way is just ourselves, right? It's just this idea that I can't do it. Right. We've just decided what our limits are, what our possibilities are. And it's amazing to me talking to people how much we argue for our own limits, you know, and honestly the point of this podcast is to show all of these examples of people who are just regular people who may have some kind of a background in something else, just decide, I want to take this on and that's it. And it just starts from that decision and then you figure it out and it's not as though, you know, the whole path, right. It's, there's no way to be like, well, I know exactly how I'm going to build this brand and launch it. And, you know, it's just kind of that decision that I'm going to do this.

Vanessa: Yeah. I had absolutely no clue. None.

Goli: So then how did you build it? Tell us a little bit about that.

Vanessa: Yeah. You know, I have to say, you know, never underestimate the generosity of strangers and just putting yourself out there. I was super lucky in that a mutual friend introduced me to a woman who had just left one of the really big conglomerates as a chief marketing officer. And it was kind of, the stars had aligned and she really kind of broke the industry down, explained how it worked, the foundations of building a brand. And this was really kind of anchored around building new a challenger brands. So that was somewhat specific. And just introduce me to a ton of people. And I have to say it kind of snowballed from there. One of the things that was super helpful was just talking to other prospective customers and doing a lot of, you know, market research at the very outset to really clarify what the market position was going to be, but it was really kind of putting one foot after the other.

And I should say it was not easy. And I think a lot of what was not easy was actually me continuing to get in the way of myself, especially going from finance, the fashion where, you know, even though I made the jump, because I knew that it was really my own internal value system that was going to give me satisfaction. At the end of the day, I was continuing to sort of measure myself on a daily basis by the old value system, you know, as somebody who fought really hard to be taken seriously and finance as a woman to move into fashion was something that I really had to wrap my head around. So it was, it was interesting.

Goli: And how did you do that? Because I think that again is what stops so many of us and, you know, you can call it whatever you want. A lot of people it's either whether it's called imposter syndrome or whatnot, I think, especially when you're going into an industry that is for lack of a better word, obviously so established, right. There's people that kind of come into fashion from when they're in college and then stay in or have made their names. I think oftentimes it can be very intimidating to decide to plant your flag there and be like, "Hey, I want to create a fashion brand as well."

Vanessa: Yeah. You know, I think it's so funny, oddly enough, I think I was less intimidated by the incumbents and more worried about what other people would think.

Goli: Aren't we all.

Vanessa: Terrible. I don't know. I mean, I shouldn't say terrible. It's like totally judging it, but you know, it was like, Oh, you know, I think I had genuinely some friends in finance who were a little bit worried about me. It's like, Oh my gosh. She's like, you know, throwing her career out the window. So I think that was really kind of what plagued me more than anything. A few different things helped me deal with that. One was a really solid meditation practice. I don't know if I would have made it this far without that. It just, I think that was super centering. But the other thing was also making some decisions about who I was spending my time with. And, you know, I think when you are making a big shift and especially if that shift is in an entrepreneurial route, you've gotta be surrounded by good energy, even if people have your very best intentions in mind, but they're not onboard your journey just yet. I think it can be healthy to create a little bit of space. And that was something that I did. And it definitely wasn't, you know, writing anyone out of my life, but, you know, it was making some really intentional decisions about how I was spending my time.

Goli: I love that you say that because I think there's so many of us who are trying to make these big shifts and whether it's from really well-meaning family and friends who really just want you to be safe and loved, but oftentimes when you, haven't kind of built up your own confidence and the thing that you're doing, it's such a delicate time, and I couldn't agree more, but sometimes protecting that space and protecting your own energy because you already have to work up that courage to go after this when you have your own fears. And I think hearing other people constantly express theirs can be really demoralizing.

Vanessa: Yes, definitely. Definitely.

Goli: So can you just give us a little bit of background of what another tomorrow is and what you guys do there?

Vanessa: So we're basically an end to end sustainable luxury brand. And we use technology to visualize the supply chain, you know, many cases back to the farm to our customers and to use that technology also to authenticate the product for our resell channel, which we incorporate. And the whole point for another tomorrow is to really model something that was different in the industry and give women a place to go to live their values without the brain damage of constantly researching different alternatives. And you know, what I heard in those early days of market research was that people wanted timeless quality. They wanted fewer better things. They didn't necessarily understand the details, but they knew that they needed fewer better things, but the traditional luxury market was incredibly expensive. And even those who could afford it, you know, we're feeling increasingly foolish doing so. And so I thought, okay, you know, if we can just take the direct to consumer business model approach to luxury fashion at a minimum, you know, we can take out half the price by removing the wholesale markup.

We can incorporate our own resale channel, which further democratizes the product. And we'll build our supply chains in a way that truly incorporates holistic sustainability and ethics around human welfare, environmental welfare, and animal welfare. Because I don't believe that any woman only cares about the planet, but they're fighting, killing, you know, the animals, right. Or they're totally cool with people not earning a living wage. Right. So I think we tend to have fairly consistent sets of values. Our hierarchy or our values might be different, but I felt that there really were very few options out there for women who wanted their wallets to reflect, you know, their morals. And so that's really what another tomorrow is about.

Goli: I love that. And you guys are the first luxury fashion brand to be certified as a B corporation, right. Can you tell us what that means?

Vanessa: So B carbs are their benefit corporations, and they're basically a pivot from you take traditional capitalism, which you're only really accountable to profitability and shareholders, and you, you take a stakeholder model, which means that not only do you account for your shareholders, because you definitely still do, but you also account for your impact on everyone else that you touch. So people in your supply chain, the people who work for you, people in your community. So it changes the construct for decision-making and you know, somebody coming from finance, you know, incentives and legal structures really matter. And so the idea of becoming a B Corp was something really important to me to just make sure everyone was operating on the same assumptions and the same incentive.

Goli: I love that. And for a lot of us who grew up in a time where capitalism was really, you know, you only it's, the bottom line was the only thing that mattered. And I think so many people were kind of turned off from building businesses or entrepreneurship because it had this connotation of like, all you care about is money. It's so wonderful to see the power that starting your own business can have. If you're focused on the things that, you know, so many of us share the values that we share and we can use it consciously as a way to better the world in so many ways.

Vanessa: Absolutely. And there's such an incredible community as well. And a lot of great trailblazers. I mean like Patagonia is a B Corp and actually athletic even now is a B Corp. And so there's a wonderful community that I had no idea was even out there that are just incredibly supportive and have a lot of shared values.

Goli: I love that. And what was the timeline from when you like, kind of started deciding that you were going to jump into fashion until you launched January of 2020? How long did it take you to get another tomorrow off the ground?

Vanessa: All in, it was a little over, well, actually it was exactly two years. If you really think about the day that we incorporated. So I incorporated in January of 2018 when I was still on the sabbatical and really the rationale for that was I just needed a legal entity to pay bills out while I was exploring the idea. And then I pulled the plug on the sabbatical in April of that year and really started building the team and earnest. And then yeah, we launched at the end of January, 2020. So yeah, almost exactly two years start to finish.

Goli: That's actually not that long for something this big, like a fashion brand. I mean, I feel like that's so many moving parts.

Vanessa: We were definitely sprinting. Yeah. I definitely, I could not seem to let go of the move fast mentality of finance.

Goli: When you were starting and you were kind of building out a team, is it something that you personally financed or did you get investors to build this?

Vanessa: Yeah, so I, I did finance it up through launch and, you know, I feel really blessed to been in the position career-wise to have done that. It was important to me. And so far as I've been an investor also in, in early stage businesses and I've seen what can go wrong when in particular, when you take certain kinds of venture money early, it just, the incentives can shift on you fast. And when you start from a place of purpose, sometimes those companies are not able to continue down that road. And for me, this was really the reason for being so I was in the position to finance it and until we launched, but I appreciate that. Stephanie, not always a possibility, nor is it always a great idea because that comes with a lot of extra, extra, extra, extra stress.

Goli: Right. I'm sure. And I'm sure additional stress was probably, maybe not knowing that a pandemic was going to hit the year that you launched. So how has it been navigating this launch of this brand during a year?

Vanessa: It's definitely not been easy. But I think that, you know, I had a little bit of a playbook of being in finance during the financial crisis having come out. Okay. On the other side of that gave me some level of confidence that it's kind of, you just have to survive to thrive a little bit. I think what was genuinely very tough was being the leader of a company with people, you know, on payroll who were very understandably, super stressed out for a number of reasons, you know, personal public health, you know, you name it. That was tough. That was really tough to kind of try and study and steer the ship. And, you know, also make, you know, some top business calls along the way, but ultimately we've managed to save together and largely weather. The storm. I do find personally crisis is super clarifying. And I think that if you use that clarity, the quality of decision-making can go up significantly and bring people together. So it's been, it's been an interesting year to say the least.

Goli: I bet. Yeah. I mean, I think everybody is still navigating and trying to find their footing, but hopefully we will come out of this stronger thing. I love going to your website and suggest everybody check it out. Cause your pieces are so beautiful. Thank you other And I'll put that in the show notes. But another thing that I love is that I would say the vast majority, I think what I saw was all, but one of your team are women.

Vanessa: Yeah I mean that's a total 180 from finance. And it wasn't intentional, you know, it genuinely wasn't intentional, but it's been super fabulous.

Goli: That's so wonderful. I don't think anybody is under the illusion that this is an easy feat to take on, but you know, through this entire journey, what has been the, kind of the best part of leaving that career and starting this company?

Vanessa: Oh, I think, you know, kind of finding your people in a way. And, and I, you know, I knew so many wonderful people in my previous career but I was always just a little bit kind of different, not a bad thing. And this has really been an interesting and wonderful opportunity to really build a culture and build your own values and find people who align with those values and continue to push you and make you better. So I think that's been a big part of it. And then I think the other thing too is, and this may be that doesn't sound like a good thing, but I think it has been, it's really easy when you're in a big institution to blame external factors for your happiness and being in charge of my own day and of the company and all of those things. It's like, you really kind of have to look at yourself in the mirror and your own patterns. And it really gave me the opportunity to kind of get super sick of my own. It's like, Oh, I own this. And I'm continuing to make these same decisions.

Goli: I love that. I've heard other people say it too. It's like, I mean, if you want personal development on steroids, jump into entrepreneurship because they will, you deal with your very quickly. I love that. Okay. Last question for anybody, that's kind of where you were, you know, at Morgan Stanley, knowing that you wanted something else, but weren't really exactly sure what it was. Do you have any advice of how they maybe start on that journey?

Vanessa: Yeah. I mean, I think coaches can be super helpful. Yeah. I think I really underestimated just the value of mentorship and guidance and not people to give you the answers, but people to ask you the questions. And I think that I really benefited from coaching during my time. I think it probably accelerated, you know, my process and, but whether it's a formal or informal, I think, you know, having people around you who can have your best interest in mind and are, are, can be shepherds in terms of asking me the questions that you need to be asking yourself can be super, super helpful.

Goli: I love that you said that I couldn't agree more. I had the same exact experience and I think oftentimes, you know, we all can't see our own blind spots and it helps somebody else to kind of pointing out where maybe thinking is faulty or where your fear is getting in the way. And it's always just, it's just helpful to have another set of eyes on your own issues.

Vanessa: Definitely, definitely.

Goli: Well, thank you so much. This was wonderful. Thank you for joining us.

Vanessa: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a pleasure speaking with you and this is such an important podcast. I think it's brilliant.

Goli: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes. It'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at lessons from a quitter and on Twitter at Twitter podcasts, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.