Owning your greatness with Toni Desrosiers

August 15, 2019

At the end of 2014, Abeego founder Toni Desrosiers had to lay off almost her entire team just before the holidays. Two weeks later, Abeego was selected as a SheEO Venture. Today Abeego is leading the global beeswax food wrap trend, creating zero waste and paying employees a living wage.

SheEO gave me posture and that posture came from all the women around me that were standing with me and encouraging me to get back up and try again. And so I did. And my business has exploded.

In this episode:

  • What Toni learned about food as a holistic nutritionist that paved the way for Abeego 
  • How the early decision not to patent Abeego has shaped how the company has grown
  • Why people are willing to leave their jobs to work at Abeego 
  • How becoming a SheEO Venture led to Abeego’s explosive growth
  • “The race to the bottom” and why Abeego hasn’t built discounting into its margins 
  • The important mindset shifts Toni went through to own her greatness

Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to the SheEO.World Podcast.

Google | iTunes | Spotify

 

Show Notes

Transcript

 

Toni: Hi, my name is Toni Desrosiers and I am the founder and CEO of Abeego. I invented beeswax food wrap and started a worldwide trend based around breathable food wrap that keeps your food alive longer.

Vicki: Well welcome Tony. It’s great to have you here.

Toni: Thank you.

Vicki: Okay. Did you always know that you wanted to invent something and be an entrepreneur?

Toni: Um, I think I was always entrepreneurial. I don’t know that I, I didn’t know that that was a thing. I just thought I found ways to make money and usually did it in ways that other people weren’t doing it. One of my very first businesses I started when I was nine, I opened a candy store out front of the grocery store when it closed at 5:00 PM and sold my friends candy on the way to the park. So yeah, I think I just have always been really obsessed with solving problems and finding ways to make money from that.

Vicki: What did you study at school?

Toni: My background is actually in holistic nutrition, so I went for many years not really knowing what I would take in school. I did some upgrading programs and you know, dabbled in this and that. And then holistic nutrition caught my eye because I had gone through a relatively long period where my health wasn’t great and I was trying to figure out what was going on with me in nutrition. School kind of kicked me off onto a new path.

Vicki: So how did Abeego come about from a nutrition background to that.

Toni: Being a nutrition school I got introduced to food in a totally different way. I don’t know how I missed this in my teens and twenties but I realized that food is alive and that that’s that livingness of food that keeps me alive. And so I started to really question the way I was keeping my food and storing my food and asking myself if the way I was wrapping my food was actually reflected in an actual setting. And the truth was it, it wasn’t so airtight plastic, transparent, sued, wrapped those principles, those properties can be found in nature. So I started to investigate what food rap would look like if nature created it herself.

Vicki: This is actually a kind of major concept. Food is alive. Take that back kind of. I’ve never thought of it that way. Yeah. Most people worry about that. Like why do I not think so it is alive? Why don’t I think of it as being alive?

Toni: I don’t know why you don’t think of it being alive and you’re not alone. So when, you know, we’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and when I first started talking to people about the fact that their cheese was alive and it had to breathe, the reaction was often fear people, right.

Vicki: Seems really creepy. What food is alive alive? How is that possible?

Toni: But it’s not like living it as it, it’s like walking around like a human, but it’s alive in that it has nutritional content that is living in and it’s, it’s, you know, it’s going through a process of dying, but it’s not dead until it has no nutritional value. Yeah.

Vicki: So our food wrap, like let’s just talk about why that happened, how that happened in the systems that we have in place. I mean, how did, how did we get to plastic food wrap.

Toni: Plastic food wrap kind of came around the same time of refrigeration. So I think what a lot of people don’t realize, we didn’t invent refrigerators for the reasons we think we did. We actually invented refrigerators from, wait a second, how do I explain this? Um, we invented ice transport before we invented refrigerators and we had developed these huge systems of mu moving ice around, which was called the coal transport system. And from there we realized that maybe we want to keep our food cold, but when we started to keep our food in these, these cold environments, we realized that, you know, things could fall on our food. So then we decided to protect our food from something falling in it or I don’t really think food wrap was ever kept like designed to keep food fresher longer. I think that became a marketing tagline later to sell it.

Vicki: Okay. So first it was protecting the food from stuff dripping into it or whatever.

Toni: Yeah. We have this sort of theme in a lot of the podcasts here, like everything’s broken and everything. And so what’s broken in this space that led you to create breathable food wrap?

Toni: What’s broken in this space? Oh my gosh. I’m fairly passionate about the idea of food security for many reasons. First off, I feel like we have forgotten that our access to food is in our hands was in her hands and we’ve largely let it go and we let it go into a system that is super broken, waste 50% of what we grow after we wasted on the fields, we bring it into our home, we store it in an inhospitable environment, airtight food storage, airtight refrigerators. Then we throw another 40% of it away in the home. The brokenness of the food system is what has prompted my obsession with keeping food alive.

Vicki: So waste everywhere.

Toni: Yes, food waste is only the tip of the iceberg. We’ve created a system called the compost system, and it was to protect our landfills from the amount of wasted food that was ending in them. Rather than thinking about why are we throwing bunches and bunches and bunches of food away, we created a new place to throw it.

Vicki: Right.

Toni: And the reality is is under the compost pile is all of the Labor that went into producing your food. All of the land used to produce the food, the transportation from the field to the store, the footprint that those gigantic supermarkets take up, all of that waste, it’s sitting underneath your half a wasted avocado. That’s a systemic problem that I get excited and passionate about changing.

Vicki: Right. Because this is just huge. Like you need to do culture change underneath it. Right. Our systems are just designed for another time and place and no longer serving us for sure.

Toni: Totally.

Vicki: So Abeego is really wild. I mean the example that I use often have used over the years since I’ve gotten to know the product is that, you know, if you wrap an avocado, it stays green for four days. And every woman I know goes what? Oh my God, sign me up. So I mean how did you stumble upon this concept that our food needs to breathe and, therefore a cover around it needs to breathe. But how did you even come up with inventing that? Like, don’t you need to be a chemist or something to figure this out? How did you create this?

Toni: I thought, you know, that’s something that I can really only answer in retrospect for many years I tried to answer that and now, now looking back, I know I didn’t follow the rules. I when I decided to invent food wrap, I didn’t study plastic wrap and say, what does plastic rep do and why are we using it and what are the properties of plastic wrap that keep your food fresh longer cause that’s what they claim. Instead. I just wrote it off completely as something that didn’t make sense to me. It didn’t, it wasn’t found in nature. It didn’t make sense. And I set new rules for myself. What would food rep need to, what properties would it need to have to work in my mind? And it was from those rules. Um, it had to be plastic free, the all natural ingredients that had been chemically altered. Everything that I already had to be approved for FDA food contact fail, had to have an antibacterial or antimicrobial quality and had been used at some point in history for some sort of preservation method, not necessarily food, but something preservative. It was through looking at it from a different Lens that I realized that food wrap needed to breathe. I didn’t know that in the beginning had I looked at the old system and tried to make an alternative to the old system, it’s very likely I might have innovated airtight back into the product because that’s what we’ve been doing since that I mentioned we tried to make air tight better and better and better and nobody said, wait a second food, want to be in an airtight environment. Does living food want to be in an air tight environment? And the truth is a doesn’t.

Vicki: Wow. Okay. So you came up with this entity, iterate and iterate, or did you get it right the first time or what was the process?
New Speaker: I think I got the materials right the first time. I changed the formulation of them a little bit over time just to make it more just to change some of the properties a little bit. But then it mostly came to testing and I tested a veto with every food. I can imagine, and against every food storage expectation that we have, and what I’ve learned is that we expect food to stay fresher longer. That phrase kind of bugs me because what you really need to expect is to keep your food alive longer, and what is the environment that you need to create so that food can stay alive and what are your expectations along the way?

Vicki: Interesting. Because one of the things tht sort of struck me as when you talk about, it’s like putting the rind back on the fruit right? Or the food, and so if you put the rind back on, the lemon of course stays longer versus wrapping it in plastic. And I just, this idea of food wanting to breathe, it’s just so clearly obvious, right? If I think a part of this, when you look at it, of course, this is what we say about every brilliant new idea, we’re like, isn’t that obvious? Hasn’t someone done that before? But that’s, that’s where the real innovation comes from. Or are we just sort of get blind to what’s in front of us and think that’s just the way you do it. Right?

Toni: Totally. I can’t tell you how many times in creating Abeego people would say to me, who are you to challenge plastic wrap? You don’t have a science degree. You haven’t, you know, you don’t work in a major company, you don’t have enough money to possibly challenge plastic wrap. And, and I think that when you’re challenging a system that everybody believes it’s impossible to challenge, that’s exactly the right time to challenge it because that signifies that that system is peaked. It has nowhere to go. It’s not going to be more innovative. So those are the perfect ones to challenge, in my opinion.

Vicki: That’s a good retrospective kind of moment. But there were times when you were getting started, when did you believe any of that? Like it’s tough. It’s Kinda tough, right? When you’re innovating and everyone’s telling you you’re insane and this is wrong, can possibly happen. How did you sort of cope with that?

Toni: That’s a good question. There was so much doubt from other people. Like, I can’t tell you how many people actually laughed in my face and what did I learn through that? What I learned through that is that you have to identify the core emotion that you’re feeling. It’s not really, it’s shame. I’ll just put it out there straight up when nobody believes in what you’re doing and they think that you’re taking a crazy step in the wrong direction, even though you have evidence that you’ve seen yourself and you truly believe in it, it triggers the emotion shame. And I think if you give in to that emotion, then it’s really easy to quit. And for me, I was just, I knew, I just really, really knew. I also knew I was ahead. I knew I was ahead of people and I knew it was going to take some time for them to catch up. So I, I believed in that. I believe that they would eventually catch up. And along the way, I set up Abeego in a way that the day that plastic wrap picks their head up and they’re like, wait a second, our air type food rep doesn’t work as well as we think that it does. They would be on a path to creating a better future because breathable natural food rep would already be leading that conversation.

Vicki: It’s really interesting cause I think there’s this, uh, it’s almost like this parallel path that we see. So instead of trying to fix the plastics industry, the plastic wraps, you just go create an alternative. Right. And so you, I mean, you really pioneered an entirely new channel, a whole new product line, a whole new space. Are there others now following in that direction?

Toni: Yes. We’ve been very inspirational.

Vicki: So you did, you did something quite remarkable early on, which is you didn’t patent your product. Do you want to talk a little bit about why?
New Speaker: Yeah. In the beginning I didn’t pack my products because I was really only taking, you know, five ingredients from nature and turning it into something. And, and I really believed that Abeego was needed for the world, period. I also decided not to patent it because I didn’t want to fight the whole time. And the unfortunate thing about patenting something is that as soon as others want to copy you, they can, they can still copy you. But it’s totally your responsibility to fight for your right to, to own this idea. And I didn’t want that negativity surrounding what I was doing. I just wasn’t interested in spending all my money on the fight. I wanted to spend my money and my time building my brand.

Vicki: That’s cool. Because in the past we used to look at companies and be like, oh, as soon as you got something protected and whatever. And I think actually maybe lawyers made up that whole strategy, you know, really now your only competitive advantages to be faster than somebody else. I mean, I, I feel started the same way like I should be trademark or not SheEO, what do you need to do in the world? Should we trademark radical generosity? Yeah. It just feels like such an old world, new world kind of thing. Like the world’s on fire. We need to change things fast and if you’ve got something that can help with that, that’s incredible. You must’ve had a lot of people saying you should be patenting this along the way.

Toni: The first two lawyers I spoke to about Abeego were both men and both of them told me I didn’t have a patentable idea.

Vicki: Huh? Crazy.

Toni: Yeah, that was very early. They’re like, well, this isn’t patentable. This is just a kitchen product with a couple things like this, there’s really nothing to own here. I could have kept going, but it kind of checked. I wasn’t that interested in patenting, so I didn’t really pursue that. Later when I started to get popular and we started to see other ones come around, then people were like, Oh, you must have patented, and then there was like this shame, like how dare you? How didn’t you pattern this idea? And by then our conversation was just different and we were, we had our audience, our audience is super loyal to us, like people who use Abeego, they love Abeego, and it just wasn’t important to me anymore because I realized that a beeswax food wrap company could pop up in every single kitchen, every single community around the world, and then I would be spending thousands of dollars every time to tell them they weren’t allowed to do that and I just didn’t want to spend my money that way.

Vicki: That’s not where you want to put your energy. No, absolutely. That completely makes sense. So you just picked your path and said…

Toni: Totally.

Vicki: That’s amazing. You’re based in Victoria, BC.

Toni: I am.

Vicki: Which is a very beautiful place. British Columbia on the west coast of Canada. And you’re growing your business there. Tell us a little bit about, you know, how do you talent finding talent for your business in a small community? How do you go about doing that?

Toni: At Abeego we hire a production team, so a production team, which would you know, it’s basically it’s, there’s not a huge amount of skill involved with building Abeego, lots of repetitive work. And we need some people who are super dedicated to do the same thing over and over. And we have a great team. And then we also have kind of our upstairs team, we have a two floor building, if that makes sense. So we are a team that handles like the sales and marketing and the business growth. It’s always been very, very difficult to hire production staff in Victoria. We always paid above minimum wage, like significantly above minimum wage, but we still couldn’t get people through the door. And I found that it was kind of holding our business back because we were, the category’s growing super quick, but we couldn’t put the people in place fast enough to grow with us or we weren’t willing to take risks because we couldn’t find people. So two weeks ago we actually increased the minimum wage to Abeego to what was the Victoria living wage and it’s $20.50 an hour. Wow. Yeah. So now anybody that walks to baby go door starts at 2050 an hour. We did that for a few reasons. First off, we really want to build our team here and it’s expensive to live in Victoria. And I really didn’t want to feed into the cycle of poverty. It just didn’t feel right to be a business who was hiring people that just couldn’t even afford basic stuff in our city. And so we made that change two weeks ago.

Vicki: And? How does that feel like? What’s happening?

Toni: The impact has been remarkable. We put out a job posting, we were hiring six new production people. Normally that would’ve taken us weeks to find enough people and we had over 300 applications in the first 16 days.

Vicki: Yeah, that’s incredible. So really made a huge difference. Like people are looking for this. Massive.

Toni: People are willing to leave their job to come work at Abeego. And I think that that sends a really strong message. And I, and I’d encourage the rest of the business community to hear this message loud and clear. Because as small business owners and as business owners in general, we are always talking about how challenging it is to find, you know, retail staff and restaurant staff and all the, all these people. But what we don’t, we need to understand is they’re there. They just also have to afford to live. So if you can give them a living wage, you’re going to have all the people you need to grow your business.

Vicki: I’d really hope that more and more businesses move in this direction because again, you know, we have this activator in our network, Sherry Deutschmann and one of the things that she did with her business is she was in a low margin business as well. And one of her things, not that you’re in a low margin business, in fact, you have amazing margins. Yeah. But one of the, one of her things is, you know, you pay attention to, you treat everybody on your team as your number one priority and they will treat your customers well. It’s actually kind of like an opposite of what lots of business school kinds of things say, which is like your customer is everything. This is like if you really pay attention to your team, they will take care of everyone else around you. So it’s kind of an interesting approach. And let’s see, I mean you have great margins already with your business and imagine if you have an incredibly efficient staff who are just super passionate. They don’t have to get a second job to be able to live.

Toni: Oh totally. And you know what? I have to say one other thing on that that quickly, it’s not like we just waved a magic wand and we were able to increase the wages and have great margins. It’s because we’ve actually been pretty strategic. So for the last 10 years Abeego has refused to race to the bottom. I am not interested in racing to the bottom. Abeego is not a discount product. We don’t have massive sales where we manipulate the customer to buy it because it’s cheaper and cheaper and cheaper. It’s just not our path. We make a really great product for a really great price that does exactly what it says it does and because we haven’t built in discounting into our margins, it allows us to to do something like pay a living wage.

Vicki: That’s amazing. Again, this is one of the reasons why like you can really run your business a different way the way that you want to want to, the way that makes sense.

Toni: More people warned me against not discounting than anything. People thought I was crazy.

Vicki: So you can just set it up how you want to. I mean, again, all of these things are made up and they’ve led to the world that we have, which is, as you said, race to the bottom, lowest price commodity really painful and then you end up going, why am I even in this business?

Toni: Right, exactly. Yeah.

Vicki: So you were selected as a SheEO venture in our very first round in 2015 which was really exciting. Can you talk a little bit about the experience that you had being an entrepreneur prior to that and how you felt and then what it meant to sort of come into a community of radically generous women. What was the biggest impact for you?

Toni: Right before I was selected as a SheEO venture, I actually had a really rough year. I had tried to do something really great, hired a bunch of people and we basically fell flat on our face and I had to lay off my entire team, all but two people a week before Christmas, which was probably the most heart wrenching thing I’ve ever done. And I decided to do it before Christmas because I didn’t want them going away to Christmas, spending a whole bunch of money and then not coming home to a job. So I had to lay my whole entire team off. And then I was selected as a SheEO venture to which I immediately almost called and said, you have picked the wrong person. I am not the right entrepreneur for you against that, against that shame creature inside of me telling me to shut it down. I showed up and I always get emotional.

Vicki: Yeah, me too.

Toni: Yeah. And here was this community that celebrated me for everything I had done to that point, offered to lift me back up and be my backbone when I didn’t feel like I had a backbone and that, and then also the, you know, the financial support was critical to do something that I had known for a really long time that needed to be done, which is a complete rebrand of Abeego. So for me, SheEO was, it basically, it gave me posture and that posture came from all the women around me that were standing with me and encouraging me to get back up and try again. And so I did. And my business has exploded.

Vicki: It is incredible to see you grow and to be part of this and to just know that this is possible, that when we get behind each other and support each other, right? Like it’s, I’ve just transformed so much going through this experience as well. But I do have to say for the listeners, one of the most amazing things that ever happened. So

Toni came into SheEO, with, you know, where she was and a couple of years later, last year you won, um, the RBC Women of Influence Trailblazer award and I will never, long as I live, you are like, you got up on stage and literally power pose with your, you know, hands on your hips. I deserve this. I am a trailblazer and I just about died. It was just this transformation that kind of blew my mind. I want to honor you for that. That was just a, it’s a huge thing to own your power and to own your greatness.

Toni: Thank you. Yeah, that was a, that was, I was not expecting to win that award. I was up against a woman who had built a space defense company, which was absolutely incredible. And I was like, Oh yes, space is going to take this for sure. And when they called my name, I was like, yes. And I think I even pounded the podium like I’m pretty sure. But yeah, there was just like, I have worked really hard. I’ve been through highs and lows and I do. We all deserve the recognition that we get for doing incredible things.

Vicki: Yeah. I think stepping into it is a big deal, right? There’s a lot of people who are like, oh no, I don’t want to be on stage. I didn’t do this because we’re comparing ourselves to someone who’s gone 10 times farther. Always. Oh, what did I do? You know? But to really own that, that was, yeah. You gave me a lot of inspiration than that. One of the things that you talked about earlier is you just, I just knew that this was going to be a thing. I knew I didn’t need to patent it. I knew I didn’t want to spend money on these things at that sort of gut and intuition, I think is part of that, but also the visionary, right? You are a classic visionary, and I don’t know, did you know of this kind of trait before? Because this is, this is a thing that I, I don’t remember learning in school. Oh, there are people that are visionaries and people that are this.

Toni: Could you imagine if they told you that in elementary school I would have skipped like all the hard years.

Vicki: Right? Because what do you get instead of you’re a visionary. You get…

Toni: You get distracted, you’re distracted, you are distracting, you are overly imaginative. You can’t stay focused. You, you know just all those things. Your disruptive, you know, we celebrate disruption in adults. If you’re a disrupted business, we put you on a podium and we give you a trailblazer award. But when you’re a disruptive child you are squashed and quieted and really put into a place that’s not for you. And so sometimes I think, I didn’t know I was visionary. I thought I just, all of those things that I was labeled, even though I have pretty clear vision, I can see what is coming. And there’s many things that have happened to Abeego that I saw years ago. There’s many things that haven’t happened yet that I have seen that I expect cause I’ve had this, I’ve been on this path. But Yeah, it was definitely coaching through SheEo that helped with that. It was working with MJ. She helped me own that.

Vicki: It’s such an amazing thing to have that normalized. Right. And to go, oh, you mean that’s a good thing. You know? I feel exactly the same way as I’m like, I can totally see the future too. What’s wrong with people? Like it’s of course this is going to happen, you know, it’s just not on my timeline. You know? There’s sort of divine timing happening in the middle of all this.

Toni: Yeah, there totally is you, you don’t control time at all. And I think that that’s maybe as a visionary, I think that’s where we feel comfortable. Like I’m, I’m quite comfortable when I’m on my own and I’m thinking about not thinking that I can see what is coming for the future. I’m quite comfortable with the length of time it may or may not take. Where I get off track is when other people start asking me things that again, bring up that that shame monster. Like, you know, when we have a bigger competitor and they’re like, well how did you get there first? Like, well the market wasn’t ready for this 10 years ago. So it’s, it’s about holding true to your vision even when everybody else’s fear tries to get in your way.

Vicki: Yeah. And it really is about fear, right? Most of that stuff. And I mean this great thing that someone once said to me, which took me a long time to really digest, but that really 90% of someone else, what someone else says to you is really about them. Right? So like that whole projection thing is it’s usually their fear. They’re freaking out and it’s not really for you. Right. Totally. Immediately sort of go to this place of like holding it as like, oh, what did I do wrong? That’s a hard thing to kind of clear out. Where do you want to go next? What’s next for Abeego?

Toni: Well, I basically just want to become the most recognized worldwide brand of beeswax food wrap in every single. Yeah.

Vicki: And what do you need to make that happen?

Toni: I just have to really stay focused on our messaging. And we’ve a really interesting core base of people that use Abeego that really believe in Abeego and those people typically kind of sell it to their people who sell it to their people who sell to their people. So we just have this real stickiness to our brand and our story that people really love.

Vicki: So world-of-mouth marketing is the power, really word of mouth and social media really important for you to grow your business?

Toni: That’s a great question. We’re in a little interesting phase with social media right now, so we engage on social media a lot, but social media just keeps changing the rules.

Vicki: It really does, doesn’t it? Yeah. Algorithms are flipping.

Toni: And in our company we’re considering taking a step back from social media, specifically digital marketing because it’s become just a whole other manipulation. And that’s some of the, some of what I don’t love about the marketing world. I love marketing, I love storytelling. I love helping people see a new way and being persuasive and convincing, but I hate manipulating people. And digital marketing has become that.

Vicki: Totally. Yeah, it is very interesting to look at what is next in that space, right? How do you actually reach people in this bazillion channel world that we live in? And so to your point, like the stickiness of building relationships with people instead of being in transaction and people knowing your core story and then sharing that with love to their network is, is incredibly powerful.

Toni: I think you have to really think about what your customer wants. And I think marketing old school marketing is, is not typically that old school marketing is what is the message you need to, you need to say to like kind of like trick and manipulate people into buying your stuff. But really you need to think about a core emotion. Do they have that you really need to fill and what, where do they really want to hear from you? Do they want to be scrolling through their social feed and get a pop up from you every five seconds? Probably not.

Vicki: Yeah, it’s really true. It, what is it that creates that, the motivation and the connectedness. And do you have other products that you want to create in your pipeline?

Toni: We do have a few. We have a few that are kind of been backburnered for awhile. The beatbox wrap conversation has just exploded. It’s such an opportunity right now. And so we’re seeing fairly focused on that. We just launched our fire-starter, which is really exciting. And the firestarter is basically our made from our waste. So now we can be a completely zero waste manufacturing facility.

Vicki: That’s amazing, yeah.

Toni: Thank you. And I think we’re more focused right now on becoming a completely circular manufacturing organization. That’s kind of first step and that takes a lot of work.

Vicki: Yeah, this is, I just saw this interesting graphic recently just around, you know, like waist going directly into the, into the garbage can to them or recycling thing to then just never hitting anything right. Designed so beautifully that there’s zero waste. And that circular economy just really does feel like the future. Right? I mean, where people aren’t recycling anymore, countries are turning away recycling. We just really have to rethink what we’re doing. So you’re obviously ahead of the curve on that one. Yes, it’s really very powerful. I mean, just in the last few minutes I’d like to just talk a little bit about how you when you get stuck with your business. What do you do, like when you’re stuck with your leadership or with like just too much going on? What is your practice to get out of that?

Toni: I definitely talk to people. I talked to other female leaders quite often. I have a few people, I have a mentor and some friends of mine that run very successful companies that I kind of reveal and get quite vulnerable with. I also have a breathing practice that I learned from my counselor that is very, and I also spend a lot of time in the garden. I find I get a lot of really good ideas and clarity when I just stopped focusing on the problem and do something else instead and the garden has become a bit of a peaceful place for that.

Vicki: That’s really cool. Yeah, I mean that’s one of the big things, right? They say that we only use 4% of our brain, the prefrontal cortex when we’re like focused and all of the rest of the capacity is not used. So yeah, I mean for me, I go to a movie when I’m stuck on something, go to flick or go for a run or, yeah, that’s very interesting. So, so talk about, stop thinking about it, which is literally the opposite that we’re taught.

Toni: As a visionary. I went to a talk recently where they talked about the visionary brain and kind of like the way that we think there is a whole nother part of your brain that most people have no ability to access. And it’s typically accessed when you’re not doing anything, like when you’re taking a shower or doing something pretty mundane. So it’s about like doing some what the world would see as mundane and do those things. And then the solutions typically just come to the surface.

Vicki: Which is why everyone gets the best ideas in the shower. Right, right. Brushing my teeth. Oh, I’ve got the answer. So stop focusing on that. And what do you do to relieve stress? Is Gardening your thing to relieve stress?

Toni: Relieve stress, besides bottling it up?

Vicki: If there wasn’t an alternative, what would that be for you?

Toni: I do this breathing exercise. It’s, so for example, you’d breathe in for three seconds and out for six seconds. So I do that and then try and extend the length that I breathe in and then the length that I breathe out, that actually works very well for me and that I try to be physical as much as possible. So I found actually riding my bike to and from work has been really pivotal because it gives me a chance to kind of clear my head from my home life to my job and then from work back to home so I’m not bringing work home in the same way and I’m not taking home to work in the same way.

Vicki: Yeah, it’s just getting out in nature and participating in our communities I think is just a huge thing to kind of shift us. And the breathing thing. I often wear this, um, as you know, a tattoo on my arm and it says breathe because I heard from, I think my friend Gina, way back at that, if you take three deep breaths in a row, you actually disrupt the stress channel in you. So you can’t actually be stressed if you take three deep breaths. So breathing simplest thing to do, but yet we think we need some special yoga class or something.

Toni: Right. Well I think once you start breathing you realize how little you actually breathe consciously. Yeah. You’re like, oh my God, I actually don’t know if I took a breath today.

Vicki: If you were starting over again today, what is the one thing you would forgive yourself for earlier?

Toni: Not turning this into a worldwide trend faster.

Vicki: Mm, good one. Yeah.

Toni: Cause you know that’s going to happen and it’s going to happen when people are ready. I can’t control all of those things. I often say that you are required to do something even and especially when you can’t do everything. And I really believe that because if you had told me 11 years ago it was going to take me 11 years to get here, I may not have started, but the reality is it’s as important no matter how long it’s going to take.

Vicki: Yeah, that’s powerful. That’s really important. I was talking to another SheEO Venture today. We were literally talking about this exact issue, which is same thing with me. There’s no way I would’ve started half the stuff that I’ve done in my life. People had told me it would take so long right now, but as systems change, it’s like literally shifting behavior away from a crazy narrative and so, wow. Amazing. Yeah.

Toni: Well you’re doing incredible work, I’m happy to be in your orbit.

Vicki: So thank you for your zero waste company that pays a living wage. Oh my God, and who knows what’s next. Thank you.

Toni: Thank you.

Vicki: Thank you for everything you do.

Toni: Thank you, Vicki.

More Media

More Media