Tell me about your childhood. Were you into art back then? If yes, what type? Drawing? Painting?
I grew up in Key West, Florida in the 80's.. it was a sweet place to be a kid. Lots of bike riding to the beach and to ballet lessons.. I was a tiny dancer.. haha.. way more into dance than visual arts. I think it's in my blood though because my mom, grandma and great grandmother are and were amazing visual artists..
You attended the Savannah College of Art & Design. What was your major? What did you learn there that has stuck with you since?
I started as a Fashion major and transferred into the Fibers dept after taking an intro class and realizing how dynamic and creative I could be in that major.. We learned everything relating to fabric- weaving, screen printing, embroidery, repeat pattern design.. Then I got heavily into making handbags my senior year and it was then that I realized that I wanted to have my own accessories business. I think what I got most out of the whole college experience was an introduction to my own creativity and what it means to think of something, make it, and then make it better…
Okay, so you're from Florida, went to school in Georgia, lived in Brooklyn, and now you're in L.A (WHEW!)... how has living in those different places influenced your craft? Your outlook?
I loved living in each of those places.. I was a real east coast girl.. and then I moved to LA and everything changed. I went through the classic California transformation- I started doing Yoga, juicing and living healthy in the year round sun. Seriously I love it here and I'm not in any hurry to move anywhere else...
Before hitting it big making awesome wallets, you designed handbags. Why did you switch?
Hitting it big haha thats funny! To tell you the truth I never really intended to make a 8 year detour into wallet land.. I started making wallets because it was within my reach - it was something I could handle and expand on with no starting capital and no business experience. I stopped making bags because I was too busy learning how to make a living designing and selling wallets. It didn't come easy and since I'm no natural born business person it took me a while to figure it out… and I am still learning all the time! My dream is to get back into bags again, as well as many other kinds of accessories - including jewelry! I am working on these things bit by bit now, finally, and it makes me soooo excited to expand on what I've built so far!!!
Why did you name your company 11:11?
It's my favorite time. There is more to it of course and it involves lots of synchronicity and magical moments.. Basically though I feel like its a wink from the Beyond ( Angels, Spirit, God, Universe..) every time I catch it on the clock.. I just feel reassured, like I'm all right in that moment. It makes me feel guided and thankful. This started in college and since I've named my business this I have met soooo many people who feel the same way that I do and there is all kinds of crazy (and not so crazy) stuff you can read about the 11:11 phenomena if you google around..
You've been married for 3 years to the love of your life, Jai Gopal Khalsa. Does he play a role in 11:11?
YES! I was very fortunate to marry a man that has complimentary business skills!! Additionally, the fact that he lost his real estate job in 2008 right when the whole economy tanked was also a huge blessing. I of course can see this clearly now, not so much then. It got to a point where he turned to me and said that he believed in me and 11:11 and instead of trying to find another "real job" he came on board full time with me. Its been a huge challenge learning how to work together ( we are both very strong willed and opinionated) but its been the key to 11:11's huge growth and success in the last 3 years.
You teach yoga? Sweet! Tell me about it! Do you practice Hinduism? How does your spiritual beliefs influence your craft? Your view of life?
Practicing and teaching Kundalini yoga made my life what it is today - which is totally galactically awesome I tell you! I was a mess when I moved out to California and I knew I needed something. I was so agoraphobic and closed and small and stressed. When I moved here 6 years ago I had been running 11:11 for 2 years and it was so hard. Working alone can be great but it can also be terribly isolating. Anyway, I did my little Rodney Yee yoga DVD in the living room because I was too scared to go to a yoga class. I really wanted to but the thought was just terrifying. I finally made it to a class at Golden Bridge Yoga in Hollywood when a visiting friend really wanted to go. I bought a class pass that day, did the teacher training later that year and started teaching at Golden Bridge a little over a year after that first class. I like Kundalini yoga because it works and it works fast! Anything you want to transform in yourself and your life is possible with this technology.
As for the religion part.. Kundalini Yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan) is a body of teachings that comes down to us through the Sikh tradition. It's a Raj Yoga which means that it's a complete system that was handed down (with great secrecy) through the royal lineages of the east for thousands of years and then through the Sikh Gurus starting with Guru Nanak in the 1400's. So it's much older than Sikhism but its been steeped in that beautiful (and very Aquarian) tradition. All that to say-- I am not religious, but I am very devout.. my devotion to my practice and to the Guru of the Heart absolutely influences everything I do… To be honest, my yoga and meditation practice is what makes my business and art possible. I need that balance. They feed each other. And I can finally relax! and we know that's where the flow is..
Read the rest of the interview here!