Description: For this special Valentine’s episode, we wanted to share about some brands we LOVE. Plus, Esther shares a spicy game she loves and so much more. So grab your favorite drink to sip on and maybe a box of chocolates and join our conversation.
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Kerri: Hi, and welcome to the Flourish & Friends podcast. I’m your host, Kerri, and I’m here with my friend and collaborator. Hey Esther.
Esther: Hey friends.
Kerri: Our goal for this podcast is to create an avenue for our Flourish community to gather around important conversations that lead to more growth and more flourishing.
Esther: Yeah, nothing is really off the table because how we lead our lives spills into how we lead at work, and overall, our brand reflects that, especially as creatives.
Kerri: Happy early Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day. If you’re listening later, it is the Month of Love. So we are talking about some brands that we love, but first, let’s start with some fun things that are giving us life.
Esther: Okay. So I’ll start this week. My fresh pick is Spicy Uno! It’s so, so fun. I mean, continuing in the winter season for you guys. Like board games and card games are always like an all time high. So I wanted to throw in one of my favorite games that my close friends taught us. Basically, you have the same rules as Uno with a little bit of competition.
So, You are able to like trade cards. So if someone can’t play, everyone can like offer them a card. The trick is that they could be offering you just any card. You’d have to trust that they are giving you the right card to play or you’re just stuck with an extra card. So that’s definitely one of the spicy parts.
You can also. Stack draw fours. So all of the draws you can stack. I know in the regular rules it’s just the draw twos, so you can end up with a lot of cards in this game, but you can also, it’s like a bit faster paced because people are offering cards all the time. And yeah, it’s just a lot of fun.
You have the option of doing twin cards, which is just. Stacking cards that are the same color and number. Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. And what they would do is have someone sign the card that they won with. So we Kerrid on the tradition after we moved here, we brought a deck of UNO cards and have played it with our friends.
And yeah, start signing the cards. It’s really fun.
Kerri: I love that. Oh, I’m so, I’m so excited that you shared this, cuz I wanna try it. I, I think that Uno needs some spicing up so this is perfect. And you just play it with a regular Uno deck, right?
Esther: Yeah, exactly.
Kerri: Oh, I’m all for it
Esther: Kerri, what’s giving you life this week?
Kerri: I am always cold, constant theme of this podcast, but I love my space heater. It is awesome. It’s really cute and small but powerful, and I use it. Every day, almost. And it’s just nice to not be super cold all day.
And what I find is I love blankets, but blankets only work if you’re sitting down and I have a standup sit-down desk, cuz I’m trying to be better about, you know, people say sitting is the new smoking.
So I’m trying to stand more.
Esther: Oh? I didn’t know this.
Kerri: Oh yeah, that’s the thing. That’s like, I guess I have a lot of like PT friends who are physical therapists so they just, yeah, they, they know more about this.
But yeah, standing is very important, so you can’t wear a blanket. At least I haven’t found out how to wear a blanket and stand and be professional if I’m on a call haha. Yeah, the standing blanket is the Snuggie or the robe both of which I have and love. I just can’t wear that unfortunately yet. On my Zoom calls, maybe I just need to like, I feel like that is just my vibe. vibe, the the Flourish Snuggie.
Kerri: So the space heater is my alternative. And I feel like, I don’t know if this is true, I’d have to check with my husband, but I feel like maybe it reduces our heating costs because I’m just warming up myself in our office instead of trying to keep the whole house warm.
So at least that’s how I justify it in my head. And it’s like an electric heater. So, and it’s cute. It like, Like a modern vibe. So
Esther: Do you carry it into every room you go into?
Kerri: Good question. Mostly stays in our office, except when we watch movies downstairs, which, you know, basements are really cold. Our basement is very cold and kind of creepy, so we always bring it down there.
But otherwise, no. I will just layer on the blankets. Like if we’re in the living room, we have a fireplace too, so I’ll just sit close to the fire. But yeah, it’s really cute. I keep saying cute cuz it is, but I also like, I kind of kick it over sometimes and I’ve kicked it over at least 50 times and it is still working.
So that, that says something about the quality. Yeah,
Esther: So it’s got safety features. Safety features to turn off.
Kerri: It does, it turns off when I kick it over, but for some reason it is still alive and it’s still going strong. Space heater. Check the show notes.
Kerri: Well now we’re going to talk about our main topic, which is brands we love, brands we’re in love with and why.
And I like that we, we both picked a couple of brands that are different on the brand spectrum. So why don’t you go with yours first, Esther, I’d love to hear about the brand that you love.
Esther: Yeah. So the first brand that I chose is Charity Water. If you’ve been around, you probably have noticed that I love Charity Water. I’ve been following them for a while, but just recently kind of understood how their nonprofit just is set apart from others. But the founder, I love that the founder wanted to build a nonprofit where a hundred percent of the donations went to exactly what their purpose was. Charity Waters is getting fresh water to everyone in need.
So they primarily work in third world countries digging wells or repairing wells in uh, springs. I just really love his story of transformation, of just coming from like this club promoter life and starting to open his eyes to the needs in the world and kind of his interactions with Doctors Without Borders and how that changed his life.
It’s really interesting. You should go um, to their website and watch their documentary about that. But yeah, they just have a commitment to finding another way to fund the employees, the overhead costs and everything, so that everything that’s donated truly is sent and has been put to work. And then they also are intentional about making sure their donors, they’re communicating back to their donors exactly what has been built and the progress.
So that’s just in their dna from the beginning. So I just love how that is just setting them apart and they’ve just been growing every year, more people getting involved. I think this last year they announced that they raised the most money they’ve ever raised.
Yeah, I, I just love the way they communicate and then also how they bring dignity to those they’re serving, that they’re not playing on the sympathy card or the sympathy note. They’re actually you know, showing joy that’s brought through water. And I love that storytelling of just like the images of kids playing in clean water when the, they like dig a well. There’s I think a moment where the water comes and like spews out once they hit it. And so there’s like these beautiful photos of locals enjoying that.
And then another thing I love about Charity Water is that it’s locally led and community owned, so they just hand over ownership to those that they’re serving and deploy your donations into investing into the community as a whole. So I think that’s really important when you know, someone from the west just comes in and maybe. Creates change, builds things, whatever, whatever, and then eventually leaves. Then those facilities sometimes start to depreciate and lose its value. And so yeah, really tapping into, okay, how can we get our community to own it and to lead it. And then it’s self-sufficient basically from then on. Umm yeah, I just love that.
Kerri: I love Charity Water. They are definitely a leader in a lot of ways in the nonprofit brand and communication space, they’re constantly, people are looking to them for different best practices and from a brand and communication standpoint, you know, we all have unlimited potential for growth.
And I see them constantly evolving and readapting like incorporating new things both in their like programs and services and in the ways they’re communicating over the years. So it’s really cool to see an organization who’s committed to continuing to evolve and with a impact area like clean water, which there’re, you know, hundreds if not thousands of different organizations doing amazing work in that area.
Just for them to be being one of the leaders in that space and being given so many resources and using it in such a inclusive and authentic way, and in a way that they’re cons. They’re always like learning and evolving, so I love that. Yeah. Charity, water. So good. Can’t tell you how many clients have come to me and said like, oh, like this thing that Charity Water does.
And I’m like, yeah, because they’re, they’re awesome. They’re doing great things.
Esther: What’s a brand that you absolutely love?
Kerri: So my brand is a product-based brand called CocoKind. If you know me personally, you know I am a very big fan of this brand and their products. It’s a conscious skincare company based in San Francisco, and I think it’s a really redefining the narratives around beauty and accessible beauty. So they will say their plant powered, sustainable, affordable, and cruelty free.
They’re also women of color-owned, and what I think is so cool about them is they understand and recognize that a lot of personal care products that have quality materials have a high barrier for you know, they’re kind of deemed quote unquote luxury products because they have quality sourced materials.
And CocoKind is really breaking down that barrier and making their products more accessible. They’re also super transparent. They are always evolving their brand and updating their packaging. And then in the latest iteration, I think it might have come out in 2022, the package on the side has exactly what their formulations are.
So the ingredient, how much of the ingredient is in it, and what that ingredient means. And I know in a space like skincare where the words just sound like If you’re not a dermatologist or aren’t really doing your research, you don’t really know or understand what that word means. They’re really breaking it down and like showing.
And when they rolled out that new packaging, they did an amazing campaign around why they chose to be transparent and they wanted to have a um, They wanted to have a authentic and sharing mindset, not a competitive mindset of, oh, our competitors could see our formulation and steal it. And sure they could.
But we also know we stand firm on our brand value and our foundations and our sourcers. Just because we say we have this product or this ingredient in this product doesn’t mean they can reformulate the relationships that we’ve forged and built in order to create it. So I loved that.
So I just, I really appreciate that. And then I don’t know. It’s so easy, I think for brands to feel like, oh, we have to hold like secrets tight to our chest. People who are interacting with your brand want transparency and they will continue to be loyal because of that transparency. And we don’t have to be so fearful around some of these things.
Especially I’m sure in the beauty industry. Which this is not an industry that I am super, you know, I don’t do any. Brand strategy for beauty brands, yet I would be open to it, but I just imagine that this is so competitive. It’s a very competitive space. So I really like that they’re reframing the narrative.
They also, they’re imagery and their actual design of what they use for advertising and on social media and on different channels for their products is very much real people. You see real people with real skin. People who have marks on their face or pimples , it just is really refreshing and I know a lot of brands are moving in that direction of diversity, not only of.
People being shown, but also of the kinds of images, like less Photoshopping and all of that. I could keep going on and on, but the last thing I’ll mention is they just have a really human voice. If you follow them on social media, You can definitely tell that they’re like a younger generation led brand cuz they’re always wanting to incorporate conversation into it,
They do a lot of like polls involving their following and, you know, what, where should we go next? Like, what would you prefer? And they really try to co-create. So that’s another thing too that I think even if you’re not creating a product.
If you’re creating a service or a program, how can you incorporate the people that you’re ultimately going to serve in it? Because sometimes we create this amazing thing and then, it’s not something that people actually need or want or could have been better, or they have different ideas that they come up with, and maybe you don’t take every suggestion, but it can help save some time and energy down the road if you actually use a co-creative process. So I like that they incorporate that in their brand too.
And they’re just fantastic products. So I you know, a self-care skin routine and I’m using them for like 90% of it. So highly recommend. I could keep going on and on, but CocoKind is awesome.
Esther: I love that because yeah, like you said, the beauty industry is so secretive on all their formulas, but it seems like they’re established enough that they can have authentic confidence. That they have a brand loyalty and they also have those relationships that can’t be replicated.
I love that a lot and that they are changing the beauty imagery.
I think a brand that I really love is Aerie and how they’ve evolved. So they, over the last couple years have been really, really intentional about the deep work of what beauty is and addressing mental health and eating disorders that surround the beauty industry that people kind of have in the past, kind of glossed over.
Think, like you said, similar to Coco Kind, they have been intentional about putting out images that are not Photoshopped. So they’re one of the first underwear companies to do that. They have been intentional for the last several years to be sourcing models from a diverse background, diverse looks.
They’re always finding new ways where they can be inclusive. So just really cast a wider net of what beauty is. And in defining that, which I think as women we are, we notice, right? And so I think they’re also doing a really good job at that. But I really wanted to point out their Aerie Real Foundation, because this is something that they didn’t have to do, but they just saw that this would reflect their new set of values.
And so they’ve been putting in. Just work in supporting eating disorder awareness campaigns on campuses and addressing things like body shame in their blog and like adding psychologists point of view of how we can change that in our own life and change those mindsets, which I think is just a really great direction to see.
Just like, like I said, going deeper and not just changing your models, but also doing the work underneath. I found on their website, their mission statement is “to work, to build confidence in women, foster an inclusive community and protect our planet to make the world a better place for all.”
Which is idealistic, right? It’s, it’s setting the course. But it can be kind of difficult to figure out how to do that. But I think they’re on the right track. And their parent company, AEO I think might have set off just a more widespread over their whole company. Just sustainability and human rights changes.
So in 2020, they decided to conduct a materiality assessment by gathering input from stakeholders, which we’re huge fans. Get your stakeholders involved and evaluate truthfully uh, look inward, see what’s working, what’s not working, where you can improve.
So they’ve kind of do, did that in 2020 and just has from that drawn a line in the sand and is really taking towards, yeah, sustainability, more community involvement. They’ve got grants and funds that they’re putting money towards to help other small businesses, small nonprofits that are doing really good work in the community. Equality across, internally as a corporation, but also externally who is supplying all of these things.
But yeah, I could go on and on, like you said, but they have, I’ve just seen just through reading a bit more into it, how far they are willing to go in that direction, which is really positive to see.
Kerri: I love Aerie and I, I consider them really a pioneer in this space. They were one of the first more established like big brands. They weren’t really a startup brand, but they started doing this work years ago before it really became more of a kind of have to have for a lot of brands nowadays. Because the brands, we see, the brands, especially in this space of like underwear, swimwear, you think Victoria’s Secret.
The brands that haven’t pivoted and adapted are not thriving or are non-existent anymore. So I, I think it’s just a great example too, of staying innovative. Even if you’re an established brand you know, with startups you kind of have the opportunity to build something from scratch, but you can also, you need to stay innovative as you know, an older brand or a brand that has more of, more of a legacy or has, you know, a parent company that you also have to get buy-in for these sorts of initiatives.
And I think it’s really important. We’re gonna have a conversation coming up that I’m very excited about with a professor from the Missouri School of Journalism and we talk a lot about organizational listening and environmental scanning.
So knowing brands only exist within the environments. You know, the social environments that we are. So as brand communicators, we need to have our pulse on what’s going on in the world, and Aerie so clearly saw the direction and also helped shape the direction of this industry in a positive way.
So my last brand that I love is a fun quirky brand called Cloud and Victory. They are an ethical dancewear brand based in Singapore. If you don’t know me personally, I love dancing. This brand was founded by a woman named Min, who’s based in Singapore.
And what I love about the brand that she’s created and the company she created is that she is not a professional ballet dancer, which a lot of the companies or startup companies creating dancewear it’s, professionals. In their amazing, amazing leotards and different athletic wear. But Min just has a passion. She’s an adult ballet beginner, and she started doing ballet as an adult, had a passion and started this brand, I just really love it.
You can, if you’re. Adjacent to the dance world, you’ve probably heard of this brand because all of the big stars of ballet, which are pretty, pretty niche. If you’re not in the ballet world, you probably don’t know who they are, but they love this brand and they love supporting the brand and love to wear her designs. There’s a lot of humor too, like she has like a lot of like pizza designs and cat designs and just brings such a fun lightheartedness to ballet.
Like her Instagram is hilarious and I think in a very traditionally perfectionist and a lot of, there are a lot of. Narratives deeply rooted in the institution of ballet that are just starting to, the layers are just starting to be peeled back on how it impacts young girls especially, but young girls and boys who are in the study of ballet and grow up doing it.
I think this. That she just shatters a lot of the narratives. And again, with you know, inclusive imagery has people who look like real people wearing her products in addition to the amazingly gorgeous professional dancers. And she shares her journey of learning ballet and It’s a good example of a brand that is, it’s a brand in and of itself, but it’s also tied to the founder and the founder’s story and voice, and her story is such a good part of the brand story and she’s a really good representative for the brand. But it’s beyond her as well. So I love that. She’s also very committed to ethical fashion and sustainable fashion, similar to the Aerie, and they have an ethical commitment. We can link that in the show notes.
And what I also love is that she’s very transparent with sharing. She shared this awesome Instagram post I wish. Brand could see and could think about sharing as well, but it’s, it says we’re not a fully ethical dancewear company. And then she breaks down the ways in which they’re falling short and the ways that they’re like striving to get better.
And I just think with brand and inclusion, a lot of the things we talk about, so much of it is about, there will be, there will always be more that we could be doing. And it’s okay to acknowledge where we fall short. And actually that’s really helpful. Part of the process is to acknowledge where we’re falling short, but we have a plan or we’re falling short and this is how we’re gonna make a plan about.
And we don’t have to be perfect, but we can also communicate and be real and authentic with where we are at. So I just loved her transparency. And then the last thing I’ll say is that she, as an entrepreneur, she shut down her brand and took a break. And I just think like so much kudos to her.
She took a break for several months. I think they might, they might be coming back this year in 2023. But she was able to share that she just needed a break and was burned out. And I think that takes a lot of courage to be able to step away from, you know, from, from my perspective, what seems like a thriving brand.
But you as an entrepreneur have to do what’s best for you. And if that means stepping back, retooling things, figuring out what’s best for the next season, making it work for you is the most important thing. And so I just really, I really like seeing her do that. And I know that her brand followers and her brand fans are here waiting for when she comes back to see what she has next in store.
So Cloud and Victory, love it. Highly recommend, and yeah, again, could talk about cloud and victory for ages,
Esther: I love that.
Esther: Well , we can move on to our bookmark segment. Kerri, what is something that you would like us to check out this week?
Kerri: If you’ve searched yoga on the channel, YouTube, you’ve probably heard of Adriane, but Yoga with Adriene. Highly recommend. She is a fantastic yoga teacher. I love her approach. It’s very minimal. It’s very human.
She had a really great profile. Maybe we’ll include this in the bookmark too, a profile in the New York Times from like, I think 2020, maybe the fall or winter of 2020.
And her channel of course, skyrocketed because of the pandemic and people wanting do, take class online. And I really liked the article learning more about her. And she doesn’t place ads in the middle of her classes because it would be disruptive to a yoga flow.
And so she’s one of the few people who I do different movement things or exercise things on YouTube that doesn’t do that and I really appreciate that from her. And she’s just very gentle and encouraging and I after any yoga practice. Like I always feel better, feel more grounded, feel calmer, and I, yeah, just can’t recommend her enough.
I think she’s awesome and she has a really cute dog named Benji. I’m not even a dog person, but he’s really cute and he just like lays there the whole time. And yeah, so check out Yoga with Adriene. Maybe it’s been a couple years since you’ve checked her out. Check her out again. She’s definitely worth the watch. How about you?
Esther: . So I wanted to dive into the comedy genre of podcasts. I know this is a emerging genre. To be honest, my journey of podcasting started a lot with true crime and things like How I Built This. And it’s kind of evolved into like a, as new podcasts have come along into other things.
But Mike Burbiglia started a podcast in 2020 as a lot of people and stars did and he started it out of just to get behind the scenes with other comics. So it’s called Working It Out. And so the premise for most episodes is that he’ll bring another comedian on and they’ll kind of do a little bit of a riff about like, what’s going on, but then they’ll go into some small prompts for the guests and kind of start a conversation about like maybe a childhood memory, a childhood smell, and then kind of engage in how that can turn into a joke.
And then he has a segment about just yeah, working on what he has in his standup routine. So he’ll just pitch them a joke or a setup and then he’ll just wait for the reaction. And so you kind of hear like a banter that would happen in a green room or what would happen just between comedians that normally you wouldn’t hear.
So I highly recommend Working It Out with Mike Burbiglia. If you’re into comedy,
Kerri: I’m excited to check it out. I haven’t, I don’t think I’ve listened to any comedy podcasts, so here we go. New genre. I’m ready for it!
Kerri: Thanks for joining us today. Be sure to check out flourishcreative.co/podcast to see the show notes.
Esther: Yeah, we’d love to hear from you as well. You can send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on Instagram as you’re listening. We are @FlourishCreativeCo. And feel free to leave a review wherever you’re listening. This helps new friends discover our podcast community.
Kerri: Yes, please leave a review. We would absolutely love it and appreciate it so much. Until next time, live well and flourish.