Grace and I met on Instagram a year ago (as most modern-day friendships between entrepreneurs begin 😉) and have been following each other ever since. I was initially a silent lurker, until she shared the most vulnerable post I've ever seen on the platform — a tribute to her brother who had just recently passed. Her honesty and openness to share something so personal instantly drew me to her. It's something I continue to admire about Grace to this day. Read on to learn more about her and her community, Quench Collective.
Hey Grace! Can you tell me about the Quench Collective and how it began? How’d you get the idea and what steps did you take to create the community?
Well hello! Quench is a social space for women to connect. More specifically, bloggers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, enlightened souls or females looking for inspiration. Quench was born out of the idea that teamwork is dream work. We are always better when we work together, so I wanted to create space for that to happen more often.
In 2014, I was working as a corporate event planner and really not loving life. I was stressed, I was sick because I was stressed, I never saw my friends and family and I had a commute that was driving me to insanity. After a few tear-filled conversations with my mom and fiancé, I realized it was time for me to leave behind the world of events and purse something that made me happy and offered a much less stressful lifestyle. I submitted my two weeks and without a clue as to what I would do next, I set off on my next journey.
Believe it or not, the first place I turned to was my garden. My fiancé and I lived in a small apartment, but we had a large patio filled with succulents left over from the prior tenant. First thing on my list as an unemployed 20-something was to spruce up my space, so I did just that. I pulled weeds, clipped back overgrown bushes and revived forgotten plants. I went to local thrift stores to source pots to plant my new found succulent friends and quickly realized how much they brought me joy.
Before I knew it, I was selling succulent and cactus designs at local markets. It was amazing. I had my hands in the soil, I was being creative, I spent most of my day outside and I had no one to answer to. Attending local markets quickly became my favorite part about starting this new venture. In fact, I think I spent more time getting to know my booth mates than I did selling my own product. That’s when I realized the amazing women I had meet were all in need of what I had been searching for... support. After a handful of events in the fall of 2015, I hung up my garden gloves and decided I wanted to create a space for women, like my fellow market mates, to come together and thrive. I wanted them to get to know each other, ask questions, find answers to tough questions but most of all support one another.
What’s your role at Quench Collective and what does an average workday look like for you?
I would love to say I was able to give Quench 100% of my time (eventually I will do so), but for now I am a marketing manager by day and a creative director by night. In the morning, afternoon and evening, I devote my time to scrolling the 'gram - making new friends, finding new connections and supporting the women I admire so much - all of you! I curate all of the content, copy and blog posts for our social and digital outlets and am currently working on developing tools for my oh so talented friends to utilize in their daily lives, to enhance their business and help them to live their best lives.
Do you have a phrase or quote that has influenced your life and business? If so, what does it mean to you and how do you embody it in your everyday life?
This is a tough question. I have an entire journal dedicated to quotes that I love. More than a quote, I find myself chanting a mantra to myself at least a couple times a day, “trust the process.”
As a natural born type A planner, it can be difficult for me to sit quietly long enough to hear my thoughts, intuition or “gut.” I’ve become much better at this over the years, but it is still something I struggle with everyday. Coming to terms with that fact that I have no control over this beautiful journey called life has been one of the best lessons I’ve learned, so trusting the process is something I have to put faith in everyday.
I love that you nurture a sense of self care and community through Quench Collective. What motivated you to become so passionate about these concepts?
Thank you! So many of the themes I highlight come from my own personal experiences and struggles. As women, we tend to take care of everyone but ourselves and I found my mind, body and spirit really declining when I wasn’t listening to what I needed most.
In past jobs, I would run myself ragged to the point of becoming ill, I would over commit by saying “yes” to social outings which only led to me being really tired and really broke, and in relationships I found myself giving more than I was gaining. Most of us associate self care with being selfish, when really it’s exactly what we need to be doing more of. I feel like the more I can help to “normalize" self care, the more people will show themselves love and therefore “show up” for themselves and manifest what they really want most in life.
So many entrepreneurs struggle with creating a healthy work/life balance. What are your best tips for creating a self-care routine and your favorite ways to treat yourself?
Ah! I love this question. The best thing I think you can do to strike a healthy work/life balance is to get organized!
I love to sit down every Sunday, open my planner and see where my week is taking me. Sometimes I find that I over scheduled myself, so I rearrange plans, I make sure to make time to move my body, to fuel my body with nourishing food, drink a ton of water and most of all don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Life is sweet and far too short, so I believe in laughing whenever possible, surrounding yourself by those who love you and giving yourself the time to need to relax, reflect and rejuvenate.
Favorite way to treat myself? I love long solo trips to the grocery store, then coming home turning on some music and cooking up a storm (usually with a face mask on...because, why not?)
It looks like Instagram is your social platform of choice! How do you use it to grow and connect with your community?
It is! I love Instagram. I love the fact that it is such a visual platform - even from the very beginning, it made everyone feel like they were a professional photographer. Obviously, it’s come a long way, but even with algorithm changes, bots, and AI, I still love nothing more than scrolling through my grid.
In the mornings, I set my timer for 15 minutes and allow myself to like and comment to the community I currently follow. Around lunch I will set another timer and use that just for exploration of new accounts. It’s then that I will follow new friends and make fresh connections. In the evening, I tend to stick to Instagram stories. I love that this feature can be used as a highlight reel of your grid, your brand or to give a “live” look into your latest project or peek into your personal life - such a great way to connect!
For you, what’s the most important reason for using Instagram for your business?
To build my community. It may be lofty, but I think everyone needs Quench in their life. I hope to attract women who are doing really amazing things. I want everyone to look at my grid and feel inspired, motivated and like they have a cheerleader rooting them on from the sidelines. In the future, when I have products to sell, I hope Instagram still acts as a place where people who love the product feel like they can come together with a community of like-minded people and connect.
You've experienced heartbreaking loss in your family within the last few years... how did those experiences affect the way you use social media in general and for your business?
This is a great question and one I wish more people would talk about. There have definitely been times when I have just needed a break from social media. Sometimes the loss of a loved one is so surreal your mind and spirit need to go through the grieving process without memes popping up on your feed every five minutes.
From a business standpoint, it’s scary. I remember thinking, am I going to lose friends if I get personal? Are people going to think I am looking for sympathy? But, then I realized I need to practice what I preach.
A few weeks after I lost my brother, I opened my Instagram community. They mean so much to me, and I was going through something that I wanted them to know I was feeling. I was honest, I was vulnerable and most certainly wasn’t my normally positive, bubbly self. But hey, Instagram is always pink walls and Drake quotes.
The overwhelming support I received from my community after sharing something so personal is something I will always be grateful for. Loss is something that unfortunately ties us together, and if we can lean on each other while we’re going through it, then imagine what other beautiful things we can accomplish together?
If you could time travel back to day one of Quench Collective and have 15 minutes with your former self to share any lessons you've learned, what would you tell yourself?
Ha! I would tell myself to wear gloves when working with cactus. Ouch. But most of all to not sweat the small stuff. Everything is a work in process, so instead of trying to make it perfect, grow with it.
Finding your tribe and networking as an entrepreneur can be intimidating. What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about joining a community like yours?
Do it! If you are thinking you want to connect with someone, open up and do it. Send the email, DM or letter. You’d be surprised to find out how many people are going through similar situations, going through the same challenges, asking the same questions and most of all, probably just wishing they had someone they could talk to about it all.
Finally, what’s next for Quench Collective?
Best question! I am grateful to report there are some very fun things on the horizon for Quench! One I can’t announce until next week - so keep your eyes peeled to my grid for that announcement. Otherwise, I am focusing on showcasing women via my Girl Gang Series on my blog and diving into product development for a few tools I am creating. I hope the next time we chat, there will be so much new news to share about that.
(Editor's note: Here's that announcement Grace promised!)
Now it's time for some rapid fire questions!
Dogs or cats? Dogs! #DogMom
Morning coffee dates or after-work happy hours? Both! Haha. But I do love a productive morning coffee date.
What are you currently binge watching? The Sinner on Netflix
Describe yourself in 3 words. Kind, Creative, Grateful
Favorite word? Amazing
What’s one thing you love that you feel everyone else hates? Turbulence on an airplane
Favorite way to spend the weekend? Coffee, a beach walk, a clean house and dinner with friends (oh! And a face mask)
Best book you’ve read in the last year? You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Where would you like to travel next? Italy
Thanks so much to Grace for sharing so much wisdom and insight with us! She kindly invited me to share more about my business, who inspires me, and so much more on her blog. It was one of my most honest (and fun!) interviews to date. Head over to her website to check it out!