When you're doing something innovative, it's natural to feel that something about your work isn't coming through in your words. While this gap between vision and communication confronts enterprises of all sizes, the successful ones embrace this challenge and find creative ways to address it.
To learn how I help founders and CEO's bridge this divide and translate their ideas to the world, explore below.
In the past year, I've had the honor of working with some incredible founders, and I want to highlight three of them here. If you're considering whether to pursue your big idea, I hope these leaders inspire you to take the leap.
While each of these individuals is making an impact in their own way, what ties all three together is that they're not just building businesses — they're building bridges. Whether it’s a bridge to a circular plastics economy, a more colorful and sustainable fashion industry, or a healthier relationship with native ecosystems, each of these leaders is giving the rest of us an opportunity to be part of the solution.
I applaud all three for their vision and thank them for their partnership.
With consumers getting numb to eco-friendly messaging it was essential to find clear, succinct messages that would grab people's attention while also inviting them to learn about the brand's ultimate objective: to create a circular plastics economy.
So over the course of many months, I worked with James to streamline his brand's story, define a new North Star for the brand (Optimism in Optics), differentiate its two collections (Bio-Acetate and StokedPlastic), and clarify the brand's voice and point of view.
Ultimately, our work together focused on showing that Opolis was more than just an eco-friendly sunglasses brand; it was a meaningful opportunity to support a sustainable company, protect the ocean, create a circular plastics economy, and of course look great doing it.
James Merrill, Opolis
Take James Merrill at Opolis for example.
While working overseas in developing countries on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), James saw firsthand how plastic pollution was hurting coastal communities and the ocean. As an avid surfer and nature lover, the sight sickened him. But rather than take to Twitter to air his grievances, James decided to use his relationships on the ground to do something about it — ultimately finding a way to recycle the waste and transform it into premium sunglasses.
When we first met, it was clear that James already had a bold vision and a solid product. What he needed was help telling the brand’s story and proving that Opolis (unlike so many faux-eco brands) was truly walking its talk.
The Right Kind
Optimism in Optics.
Andy Murray, Wear AM
Or how about Andy Murray, the founder of Wear AM — a sustainable activewear brand blurring the lines between art and athleisure.
One day after returning to his art studio from a yoga class, Andy was struck by how bland most yoga pants were. It just didn't make sense to him that such a vibrant activity had such drab threads.
Looking at a painting on his wall that day, he wondered how it might look on a pair of leggings. So he made a set, wore them to a party, and turned enough heads that he knew he had something.
When I began working with Andy, he was preparing to release a new collection and was thinking about evolving his brand’s core message — Wear a Movement — to speak more directly to his audience.
As we explored what this message meant to him, it became clear that Wear AM was about way more than colorful yoga pants. While Andy loved the functional utility of athleisure and felt the category was crying out for bolder patterns, what he ultimately wanted to do was give people permission to live colorfully and not be afraid to defy convention. And as a former D1 athlete and Wall Street trader prior to embarking on his career in art and fashion, this was something Andy knew quite well.
Immersed in his world of colorful canvases, functional fabrics, and eye-popping patterns, I eventually found my way to a series of messages that spoke equally to the boldness of Andy's designs as to the spirit behind them.
It was an honor to work with Andy, and I look forward to seeing where he takes Wear AM from here.
Jamer Bellis, Fireseed
And last but not least, how about Jamer Bellis — founder of Fireseed Land Trust — an early-stage agro-tourism company seeking to rejuvenate local ecosystems, provide retreat space to urban-dwellers, and educate visitors on conservation methods and native plant-life.
I originally met Jamer through his work at Common Table Creative — a production company specializing in stories about sustainable farming, regenerative agriculture, and the future of our food system. And in the years since I've know him, he's become my most trusted voice on all things ecological and environmental.
So when he came to me with his idea to buy a plot of land, restore it using permaculture techniques, and offer it as an educational retreat space, I leapt at the chance to help him develop the idea.
With the bones of the idea already there, what Jamer needed was help building out an investor deck and finding a name for the new venture.
During one of our work sessions, Jamer was teaching me about the Los Angeles basin and the important role that wildfires play in the local ecosystem. While most tend to think of fire as a purely destructive force, Jamer explained that fire actually serves as a catalyst in the germination process of many native seeds. In other words, without the heat of the fire to kickstart their growth many seeds never get the chance to sprout.
As I sat with Jamer’s insight, the word we were looking for fell right out of our conversation: Fireseed. While we liked the word at a literal level, we also loved the larger themes of renewal, regeneration, and resilience that the word represented. Especially today, when there is so much doom and gloom about our environment, we both appreciated the hopeful tone that the word struck.
I thank Jamer for trusting me to help develop his idea and applaud him for developing a solution that can help us create a more symbiotic relationship with our natural environment.
Fireseed Land Trust seeks to convert damaged land to a climate resistant natural landscape