From Silicon Valley to running her own Yoga startup in Melbourne, Andie is creating her own version of success.
Tell us a little about your background…
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and after studying Psychology & Philosophy in Southern California, I spent about 9 years working in the SF tech world as a Recruiter helping startups grow extremely fast. I moved to Melbourne 4 years ago (yes, for love!) and I now run an online yoga platform called Vinny, short for Vinyasa.
You spent years working in Silicon Valley with startups. What behaviours did you see there?
Indeed I did. I was a few years into my career when the startup scene in San Francisco started taking off, so in a way I myself was young and fresh when the startup scene was young and fresh. So needless to say it was a lot of fun and many memories were made, but it also is not something I would sign myself up for now, a decade later. I say that because work was all-consuming, my work life was my personal life and my work friends were my personal friends. There was no separation, which was positive in that I held very real, meaningful relationships with my colleagues that I still hold to this day, but it also meant work was non-stop. I was ‘on the clock’ 24/7, checking emails, taking calls, jumping on my laptop at 11:00 PM. It consumed my time, energy, thoughts and conversations. These behaviours were not unique to me, it was and still is pervasive and expected of most within the startup world. It is most definitely a bubble that you don’t realise you are in until you step out of it!
Do you think the hustle mantra of Silicon Valley is responsible for a warped sense of worth in many people?
I think that the warped sense of worth in the startup world has less to do with hustle and more to do with the privilege and excess that its culture breeds. It’s easy to lose touch with reality when every part of your life is catered to for free by the company you work for (e.g. your food, transportation, errands, wellbeing), primarily because of the obscene amount of venture capital funding these companies. Again, it’s a bubble not indicative of the rest of the world.
What does ‘hustle’ mean to you?
I think hustle and burnout are two different things. To me, hustle means doing the work and putting in the time, but not in a bad way. So in the non-burnout sense, especially as a small business owner, hustle means rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself, wearing multiple hats, but also leveraging relationships and calling in favours when needed. It means creating ‘hacks’ and getting creative about how to grow your business because you don’t have the luxury to throw money at problems that arise. That’s the kind of hustler I want to be!
You went from a career in recruitment to a career in creative production. Tell me about that transition…
There has always been a part of me that was creative and loved design, whether that be expressed through clothing, interiors or branding. My Mom is a creative person and loves making things with her hands; when I was growing up, she would sit me down every Saturday morning to do some sort of art project - ceramics, painting, hand dying, you name it. It was a form of creative expression that obviously has stayed with me until now.
However, it hadn’t manifested in my professional life until I moved to Melbourne. Pretty much instantly after moving here, I met so many creative individuals of all sorts and they inspired me to pursue that path for myself. So I joined the Brand Creative team at lululemon producing countless photoshoots and brand campaigns. I met so many amazing people, especially in the yoga community and after 2 years, I felt the pull to launch a business of my own. So I did! And here I am with Vinny.
Tell me a little about Vinny. How did it come to be?
Yoga has been a big part of my life for 10 years. I tried a few different styles of yoga before finding my home with Vinyasa; I love dropping out of the thinking mind and into my body, just moving with my breath in a fluid, dance-like way! I found ‘my kind of yoga’ so to speak with Vinyasa.
However, not everyone shares the same sentiment about yoga. It breaks my heart whenever I hear someone say that they went to one yoga class and hated it so they never tried it again. What they may not realise is that there is a wide variety of styles and lineages of yoga, it’s a discipline that has evolved over thousands and thousands of years. Therefore, no yoga teacher, no yoga school, no yoga studio, no yoga class is the same. They are all intrinsically different and it’s just about finding the one that resonates with you. Which led me to starting Vinny, a platform for Melbourne Yoga.
Because Melbourne has such a high-density of high-quality yoga, I created Vinny to help individuals find their ideal yoga practice, the one that makes them feel right at home. It’s a resource for individuals of all levels and backgrounds to find and expand their yoga practice.
What habits do you have to support your approach to work and rest?
I’m pretty good at protecting my time when I notice my energy battery is running low. Which for me, means creating a lot more space in my work and personal schedule. I don’t thrive off of running from place to place, thing to thing, event to event, so I’m intentional about how I plan my week ahead, blocking off a lot of time in between. I genuinely do not feel bad about saying no to plans if I don’t have the energy to go.
My rest practices include lots of Slow Flow, Yin as well as Yoga Nidra. I find cooking very mindful and restorative as well as getting out into nature.
What’s next for Andie and Vinny?
Endless things! For me personally, I’m looking forward to continuing to grow Vinny of course and also perhaps taking on a couple more yoga trainings in 2020.
As for Vinny, I have recently produced a Teacher Mentoring Program with my best yoga pal Ryan Mannix and I am so pumped to finally release it out into the world! It has online and in-person components and it will be immensely beneficial to those that feel a little lost after doing their 200hr YTT. Mentorship is one of the greatest gifts you could ever gift a yoga teacher. From there, my hope is to continue to produce future programs and courses with other talented Melbourne yoga teachers, giving them a platform to share their offerings through Vinny.