Today we're talking to Mandy, one of the most inspiring ladies I've ever met!
Mandy is a gatherer and a founder of The Glossary - a community for creative female entrepreneurs. She's gifted at bringing talented gals together to share experiences, chat, getaway, educate and support each other. This is how we met, first online and then in real life where I participated in a couple of creative talks and meetings Mandy organized.
What The Glossary is for you?
The Glossary is a way for me to connect women and share their stories. It's a platform for our voices and experiences, and through those we can build a community of support.
Is this your first project?
Before The Glossary, I had different blogs and online projects, spanning from fashion blogs to publications on local makers - none of which I viewed as a passion project. When I began The Glossary I knew that it was something bigger and more important than me which is why it continues to grow.
Why did you decide to build this community around creative women?
I built The Glossary for a few reasons. The passion behind The Glossary stems from my upbringing. Growing up with a single mother who owned a shop really shaped my life and outlook. I saw her dedication and struggles, but most importantly I saw the community of women that she built around her. As I grew, that foundation of female support stuck with me and transferred to the work I was drawn to. The Glossary is my way of creating a community for women where they can be themselves and are always welcome. I also view myself as a connector, so creating a space where I can bring women together just seemed like a natural move.
What motivates you to keep going when things don’t fall in place the way you expected?=
The women that I've met and the relationships that I've built. Since I don't necessarily run The Glossary for myself, all of the women that I talk to and connect with motivate me to keep moving forward.
You talk about your social anxiety from time to time and how being a gatherer isn’t a typical activity for you but you made it the activity of your choice. Are there any drawbacks in voluntarily putting yourself through these experiences and does it get easier with time?
Hah, yes! It can be extremely draining for me to put myself out there. It takes a lot out of me to be social. I love all of the women I meet and I want to learn about them, but my social anxiety can make it feel overwhelming and daunting. I've been learning my limits more and have been slowing down on travel and events just because I can't do everything I want to all the time.
Both of your Insta profiles look thoughtfully planned. Does content take a lot of your time to create and organize and do you make any “spare” content for the days you don’t feel it?
Instagram is such an interesting thing for me. I work in social media and help clients create content, so I'm aware of the strategies and scheduling that need to take place. However, with my personal and Glossary accounts, it doesn't take me a lot of time to create content and organize my posts. For both accounts I've created specific "buckets" in my head of content that I enjoy. For my personal account, that includes travel, small businesses, and photos of myself/my home, and for The Glossary it's the women I feature, events, and updates as we travel. Using these categories makes it very easy for me to post content that I enjoy and that aligns with both my brand and personality.
Do you have a vision of where The Glossary going, if you don’t mind sharing?
I'm not a huge long term planner. I like to watch things grow and change, so I tend to hold loosely to things in order to adapt more easily. However, there are a few things I'd love The Glossary to do. I would love there to be chapters of The Glossary in different cities that can have events and meet-ups on their own schedules. A challenge for me is that people want me to be everywhere all of the time, but I can't travel that much because you know, money. I'd love The Glossary to take shape a little bit outside of myself in order to bring more women together. I'm also thinking about some printed content, whether that be guides or a publication. I'd like to get these amazing stories into the lives of more people. I'm also always open to hear new ideas! As I said, The Glossary isn't necessarily about me, so I'd love to hear how we as a community can make it grow.
From the editor: The Glossary has been regularly gathering creative getaway workshops in summer, check out the video below.
Do you eat breakfast and what is a typical one for you?
I don't normally have breakfast, but I love eating breakfast out. Definitely a big fan of toast and acai bowls. Most days coffee is my breakfast.
Do you implement any physical activity in your routine and how do you put yourself in the right mood to perform it on a busy workday?
I'm not the best at maintaining a schedule, but when I'm following a schedule, I actually like to wake up, do a few hours of work at home, head to the gym in the early afternoon (less people there = less anxiety), then head out to meetings or working in a coffee shop.
I know you like your power naps (me too!), do you sleep consistent hours at night too?
Yesssss I love naps. I could seriously nap at any moment. I always get 8 hours of sleep at night. I love going to sleep early.
Do you believe work-life balance is possible or have your own concept? Do you take time off of work regularly?
Luckily for me, most of the work I do I enjoy. I chose this career path, so work isn't something that I feel like separating from day to day life. With that being said, I love to just chill. I am very self-aware and I know my limits, so when I feel the need to stop working, I'll take time to myself.
How do you deal with moments of anxiety? Any special rituals or self talk to help you push through tough times?
It's a constant work in progress and I haven't figured out a great system yet. My anxiety is so deeply engrained in my physical body and mind, that all that really helps me is sleep. But, that's clearly not the best way to deal with anxiety, especially when you're working. I try to breathe and tell myself that whatever is causing my anxiety in that moment will be over soon. If I can keep telling myself that I'll get through it, it makes it easier to actually get through it.
Do you always listen to your intuition? What do you think intuition is?
Yes! I was having this conversation with a friend a few weeks ago and I came to quite the realization. My childhood was filled with a lot of unpleasant things. I learned to take care of myself very early on and my intuition played a large role in that. My intuition is somewhat of a shield for me. I tend to know when bad things are going to happen, so I use my intuition to navigate difficult times and decisions. I think intuition shows itself as something unique to everyone, but I think that it's our truest sense of being. It's something that we instinctively know within ourselves and of course that's going to be something that I'll listen to.
Can you recommend some books or podcasts (or other resources) that helped or changed your thinking in a positive to your career manner?
I enjoy listening to One Part Podcast, Keeping Shop, On Being, Pardon My French, and The Process. Most of the episodes revolve around female creatives, so I love to hear the different aspects of storytelling. I've recently been reading The Art of Gathering and I've found that very insightful for the work that I'm doing at The Glossary. In terms of other resources, just talking to people you admire and asking questions is always going to be the best source of knowledge.
What’s on in the background when you work (music, podcast, silence, else)?
Normally silence. A lot of what I do is asking questions and reading through people's responses. I want to make sure that I'm present, since my mind can wander easily.
Your favorite clothing brands and why?
I have a few favorites that I own and a few brands that I've had my eye on for awhile and will one day have pieces from. It's probably no surprise that I love Elizabeth Suzann - she's such a powerhouse, but extremely down to earth and so incredibly talented and thoughtful in all that she does. It's also really great to have larger sizing options from an ethical brand! Not Perfect Linen makes some stunning pieces and I love their color options. I have some pieces from Hackwith that I enjoy and I loved seeing their studio in Minneapolis recently. I also have my eye on some pieces from Esby, Only Child, and Lauren Winter. Love me some women made clothing!
What’s your favorite place to escape?
If I'm looking for an escape around Chicago, I love going to Montrose Harbor (never on a weekend). I love that you can roam through a field of wild flowers without ever seeing another human. If I'm escaping Chicago, I love going to Minneapolis or Phoenix (yes, very different cities) but I love them both for different reasons. Minneapolis is close enough for a road trip and I have a big crush on the city. I feel like myself there and just spend my days sitting in cafes and visiting parks. In Phoenix, I love the change of scenery. The desert is such a drastic change from the midwest, so it feels very much like an escape. I've made some good friends through my travels there, so I always love going back!
While this interview was brewing, Mandy created The Community Catalog, a list of female own creative businesses all over the United States.
I recommend checking it out for amazing small made gifts and talented gals in your area as well as interviews with other creatives that Mandy publishes regularly.
Meanwhile, I'm preparing interviews of mine to share, I hope you enjoy reading these as I do!