Too often in our society, people picture men in their heads when they hear words like, “boss”, “entrepreneur”, or “CEO”. Being a small business owner has put me in touch with so many successful female business owners and entrepreneurs that when I hear these words, I often picture a woman or I just don’t assume anything at all. Women are obviously just as capable as men when it comes to the business world and it is high time that women business owners and entrepreneurs are more visible in the media in our society. This is where the idea for Women in Business was born. Women in Business is a bi-monthly feature that highlights female entrepreneurs and business owners. Not only is it a fantastic opportunity to learn more about small businesses in various fields, but it is a great shopping guide for supporting small businesses.
An Interview with Missy
The Classy Hippie is such a fun and inspiring corner of the internet! What inspired you to start your blog and how did you decide on the name?
Thank you! I started the Classy Hippie as an outlet for my voice and my struggles with weight loss, self-confidence and life. I wanted it to be somewhere I could write all the things down that I was feeling or experiencing regardless if they were triumphant or failing. I didn’t know if anyone would read my words or my story but I hoped that they reached at least one person and made a difference.
My name actually was given to me by my friend Natasha. I had always had a very free spirited soul, but it was mixed with my love of the classics. I love walking barefoot in the forest and being one with nature with no makeup, but at the same time I love to dress up in beautiful dresses and feeling glamorous. She had said in one picture that my outfit had reminded her of Audrey Hepburn who I adored and thus she dubbed me “The Classy Hippie.” The name was perfect and a way to all encompass my personality and thus, the blog was born.
Where do you normally look for inspiration?
Life is a constant source of inspiration. I find that I have discovered inspiration all around me from a walk through nature, a piece of artwork, reading a book or blog, traveling or simply listening to those around you. When I turn around it seems that I’m always constantly surrounded by inspiration in my life, and it has made me strive to be a better person and strive to obtain my goals and things that I want in life. I think sometimes you find inspiration in the darkest part of yourself that have yet to be uncovered and that’s where when chipping away the stone you find rare diamonds.
You are currently at the beginning of a 6 month no shopping challenge. What inspired you to do this and what have you learned from the experience so far?
Let’s just start by saying this might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life thus far. Earlier last year I did a no makeup challenge for a month and it changed my perspective of the varying degrees in which I place my self-worth upon how others perceive me. Knowing what I learned from this lesson, I took a deeper look into what was holding me back and realized that I place entirely too much outer self-worth on material objects. While I was in a store buying something it would give me a warm powerful and exciting feeling of getting something new that was going to make me feel beautiful and better my self-worth, but once I got home the feeling faded and I was left with something that didn’t do anything to better my self-esteem. I soon realized that with my rising credit card bills came even more hatred for the image that stared back at me in the mirror and led me to buying even more to fill the gap. Ultimately I took a huge step back and decided I could no longer spend the rest of my life in this cycle. I no longer wanted to place my self-worth upon what I wore or had in my procession.
In the couple weeks I’ve been doing this challenge it’s given me more time to self-reflect and see all the items I was buying because I wanted them, not because I needed them. The time I would of spend shopping, which was often, was given back to me to focus on art, reading and becoming friends with myself again. I think all women should take the time to challenge and learn to fall in love with themselves.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I’m sort of a social media junkie, but currently my favorite social media platform is snapchat. It’s fairly new and there are tons of people every day becoming a part of it. With the videos and pictures it’s almost as if you’re a part of someone’s everyday life. A diary of sorts. It’s fun to share you coming and goings of your day, and to escape into someone else’s for a short time.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I would love to say I wake up most mornings, jump out of bed with renewed energy and workout, but it’s a falsehood that I’m striving to eventually make a reality. I’m so inspired by those who are able to wake up every day before the crack of dawn and get in a workout and meditation. I envy them.
For now, most mornings I wake up and look up at the ceiling, looking at the light flickering through the small cracks of the blinds on the windows and think about the things I need to do that day. I’m a very visual person who loves lists. I usually will stay in bed for a good 30 minutes and take the time to write down the 3 things I’m grateful for before starting the day. I try to never make it the same 3 things within a month which fully makes you appreciate all the little things you’ve often take for granted. Then I put my feet off the bed, stand up I set out on my day. It’s certainly not inspirational or exciting by any means, but I hope that I’ve got about maybe 50 more years on this earth to figure that out and become the morning person I’ve always wanted to be.
You have gone from being a wedding photographer to a lifestyle blogger. What is one thing you miss from being a wedding photographer, one reason you are glad you moved on from wedding photography, and one thing you love about being a lifestyle blogger?
Wedding Photography was an amazing 5 years of my life. It was a journey that I wouldn’t take back for anything, but it was also exhausting. I got to meet so many amazing couples, and use my creative side of my soul to give them memories for a lifetime, but in the process I was missing the memories I could be making in my life. I was trying to build a business and a brand while working a full 40 hours job, and doing wedding photography on the weekends. This didn’t include running the photography business, editing the photos and everything associate with it. Ultimately I was missing out on life, my family and special events. I was exhausted emotionally and physically and it showed in my health. When I had a health scare I knew it was time to slow down. It wasn’t an easy decision to close down my business and say goodbye to all the couples and families who loyally chose me year after year, but it was a decision that I needed to make. I have no regrets about it or my decision and am thankful for the friends and lessons I learned along the way.
Being a lifestyle blogger has given me the voice that I have a hard time being heard. I have always been a person who will have a hard time expressing emotions in front of others, but behind a pen or a keyboard it just flows out of me. Blogging about my life, struggles, triumphs and more have been so cathartic for me and has helped me in so many ways become the person I aspire to be a bit more each day.
You have definitely had some tough times in your life, which are chronicled in your blog, yet you are a warm, happy, loving, inspiring person. Do you have a personal mantra or way of thinking that has helped you become so strong and optimistic?
“This too shall pass.” It’s a quote that is directly tattooed on my body to remind myself that no matter what happens today that tomorrow is another day. No matter what hard times we face in life there will come a day when the hurt, anger, sadness or general feelings of that moment and time in your life will pass and you will come out the other side of the rabbit whole into the sunlight a renewed person. I’ve gone through so much in the short span of my life, but regardless I would never say I had a bad life and I would never for one second change a thing about it. I am here now, happy, stronger and breathing. It makes it all worth it in the end and I can now pass on the lessons I’ve learned, and show my scars with pride. There was a time when I all but gave up in my teenage years and thought hard about ending it all, but I want others to know that regardless of what you’re going through at this moment, things will get better and you will eventually look back on the hard times in your life with light instead of darkness.
“Never be defined by your past. It was just a lesson, not a life sentence.”
How do you define success?
I think success is something that we individually have to define for ourselves on our own terms. To me I define success in terms of happiness. If at the end of the day what I am doing makes me happy, then I have succeeded. If my writing, my struggles help someone else to find their happiness, then I have succeeded. I may never have a brand that is known by tons of people, a blog that is read by millions and I may not be liked by all, but that doesn’t define my success nor my happiness. That one friend that reads my blog and take the time to comment that gives me more warmth, happiness than a million readers and that to me is success.