Startup Stories: The Beautiful 100

The Beautiful 100

 

Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.                                                                                                                            

After 20+ years I’ve left the agency world to start my own gig(s) –  a boutique branding agency & a journalistic/social influence endeavor at the same time.

I’m here to talk about the one of the two that is closest to my heart and my great passion at the moment: The Beautiful 100 – set to become a coast-to-coast documentary on 100 of America’s women who emulate intrinsic and resilient beauty, and serving to further debunk mainstream culture’s definition of beauty as we know it.

Some of these featured women are warrior-like heroines – rising from the ashes of horrific events and circumstances. Others may be everyday women fighting everyday challenges – moving through life with the necessary Grace + Grit that this project seeks to promote. In the end, perhaps the culmination of this work will serve to inspire other women, as it is me already, toward self-love and voracious, healthful living.

What inspired you to launch your business idea?
Most of my life I was, what you would call, beautiful, by cultural standards, or told so, anyway. After losing my health for a season in my late 30′s, while struggling with marriage/family, depression, and later multiple inconclusive diagnoses… I found myself dwelling in the wake of heavy emotional and physical scarring. No therapy, no meds, could get me out of it. Only I could. For life to go on, dwelling must at some point convert to doing, and at the time I didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to sit in what I was feeling. Bathe in my victim story. And so I did. I felt exhausted, unkempt, bitter and ugly. And I was – inside and out. Not for a day. For years.

Fast-forward.

It's true that when your rock-bottom you have nowhere to look, but up. So I did. As a result, I've reconstructed my life. Pretty much all of it. Living out the principles of sowing and reaping, forgiveness, extending grace, and the importance of keeping my word… these practices have manifested a spiritual abundance in and around me that is my daily sustenance. From this place I'm still reconstructing my way of life post-divorce, my way of parenting, my schedule, my career, my relationships – most of them previously severely damaged or broken completely. And last but not least, I’ve had to reconstruct my self-worth around my middle-aged body, and embracing the fact that no, I really don’t need to keep those Size 6 jeans around collecting dust anymore. And all of the bodily changes that come with middle-age.

For someone who thought a lot of herself because of what was GIVEN to her, it’s quite a life-changer to have to learn to love what you see in the mirror, when it doesn’t look so good. I had to get to know the woman inside, and I still am. And grant her permission to be imperfect, to LOVE herself, to receive LOVE and to LOVE others, voraciously and with zero excuses, withholds, or regrets.  To FEEL beautiful. To OWN that I am, regardless of my appearance and many imperfections.

What I’ve learned is that being beautiful in this sense is about choosing to put something on, everyday. No different than underwear. No rules say that you necessarily have to wear it. You just get to decide. Life will throw you surprises. Financial hardships, relational breakdowns, disease, parenting nightmares… you name it. So we women have to choose to embrace the beautiful, that Grace + Grit – la femme divine – that lives inside of us. Yes, we all have it. And we have to choose it, every f’ing day. It can be a hellacious thing – choosing to love yourself versus focus on your lack. And to give away all that you have to give, to yourself, your loved ones, your life’s work, with graciousness, compassion, wit and tenacity. Women who do this are survivors. Of any, and EVERY, situation.

Once I stepped into THAT place, I began encountering like-minded beautiful women scattered throughout my journey… who inspired me, encouraged me, took a STAND for me. And man, THEIR stories were horrific, compared to mine. So knowing that for every one of them, there are at least a dozen more, and so on, and to find 100 of them? Share their stories with the world, so that they inspire others? In collaboration with some amazing women behind this project? Yeah, I dig that.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
The Beautiful 100 project is setup to inspire. Not solve.

My agency Big Engine, LLC is, conversely, a problem-solver in the area of brand strategy and brand launch. Where there is ambiguity for companies just getting out of the gate, repurposing, or diversifying, we bring clarity. We serve as an extension of their team and skillfully direct them to the answers that many of them already know – they just need methodology and execution. This service also solves the problem of how I will eat. Ya.

What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
Biggest challenge? Being broke.

Overcoming it? Busting my ASS. Trusting my intuition. Listening to feedback. Being smart. Being thankful.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.
Intense.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
Not sure yet – hopefully it will expand my network, and connect me to people and organizations who are passionate about this work.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
Be authentic in all things branding, multi-faceted in your methodology and efficient in your approach.

Your brand will then rise to its highest potential.

Company: Big Engine, LLC

Website: http://thebeautiful100.squarespace.com

Follow my organization on social media here:
Twitter Feed @bigEnginecreate
www.facebook.com/BigEnginellc

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