Posted on 09 February 2016
What an honor to have the story of Soulié featured amongst The Story Exchange's 1000 stories campaign! Below are some of my favorite parts. To read the full interview click on over to thestoryexchange.org - a beautiful resource for inspiration if you're thinking about taking the leap into entrepreneurship.
Reason for starting:
I started Soulié because I wanted to do something tangible, something where everyday I could see exactly how my efforts translated into making the world a better and more beautiful place...
After leaving my job in New York in 2011, I traveled with my husband for almost 2 years. We went all over the US, to South Asia and Africa. I met such amazing people along the way, and a sentiment I had long held was reinforced – the most powerful thing you can give to another human is dignity and hope. Everywhere I went, it was the person making something with their hands that seemed to have these qualities in abundance.
When I came home and unpacked my storage unit, so many of the items I had been paying to store away for years felt void. I wanted to fill my life with things that had meaning, items covered with the markings of an artisan’s hands and intention...
How do you define success?
Facing your biggest fears with grace, and coming out the other side stronger, smarter and happier. Every time that I go to a trade show and someone picks up a piece and exclaims, “My gosh this beautiful!” or when I get an email from a customer who cried when they opened their box, I know I’ve made the right decision. We can so easily fill our lives with beautiful things. But the reason I keep going with Soulié is because I know that we can do it in a way that makes us feel more beautiful, while creating dignified lives and occupations for others.
Who is your most important role model?
My most important role model is my grandmother, Renee Soulie’s daughter-in-law. For my whole life, my grandmother was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis. Her mobility was severely limited, but her joy for life and learning was intoxicating. She had a whole wall of books encompassing everything from Buddhist philosophy, to Islamic ceramics, to Betty Crocker. I used to love running my fingers over them and marveling at how one woman could have amassed so much knowledge...
By the time I graduated from college, she had passed. Now my own bookshelves are filled with writings on Buddhist philosophy, Islamic ceramics and a token Betty Crocker cookbook. I think of her every morning as I begin work, every time I step on a plane to a new country. “Life starts now,” I always think. I better make the most of it.