Aub is the cofounder and strategist behind Dandelion Branding, a marketing agency dedicating to elevating the impact of social & environmental impact businesses. When she isn’t working on a project, you can find her nosing about in the forest or giving congratulatory high fives to her plants for growing.
Thank you for joining us here at The Corporate Escapists. Please introduce yourself to our reader. They love to know about you, your passion, and how you came to find and follow your passion.
Hi! I’m Aubrey – most people call me Aub. I’m from a very small town just outside of Flint, Michigan. Yes. That Flint Michigan.
I have an overactive imagination, and I guess that suits me because I have always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t follow a literary path though. I figured I could learn to write as I went along – but to tell great stories, I needed to understand people. So, my degrees are in Criminal Justice and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (I particularly like sociology) and I’m a certified clinical herbalist.
I got into marketing because I wanted to know how to get people to read my work – and it turns out, I really like it. The data and the planning – I like how everything is always changing and I constantly need to channel creativity into my craft. I get to help other people get their most important stories read. And with Dandelion Branding, I get to elevate the impact of businesses that are at the front lines of the climate crisis.
Bob Proctor once quoted ‘To believe in the things you can see and touch is no belief at all. But to believe in the unseen is both a triumph and a blessing”. How important is it to you to have the belief within one’s self?
I think believing in yourself is extremely important. But I also think a person needs to understand their own limits. Especially when it comes to leadership, it is vital to know what you’re capable of and what you need help with so that you can create priorities and know what to delegate.
Tell us what the word “Entrepreneur” means to you?
I actually think “entrepreneur” is a quality more than a person. It describes someone who has an idea and is willing to take steps to execute it. We always use the word in relation to businesses, but I think it’s a special quality that isn’t at all related to money or the capitalist system we attribute it to. It’s like, the meeting point between a leader, a dreamer, and someone with an industrious streak.
What has been one of the biggest business ideas you have had and how did you have the trust and hope within yourself to implement it?
I’d like to say that Dandelion Branding was my biggest idea but Dandelion itself wasn’t. What it allows me to do, however, is channel my creativity and big ideas to other businesses! That’s why I work with people doing good. I couldn’t stomach it if I gave a huge, cool idea to a company that wreaks havoc on our planet everyday.
I think one of the most exciting was when COVID hit and a client, who was a completely in-person herbal school, was faced with real shut down issues. We transitioned them to a fully online platform in just a few weeks, got them set up with a totally new revenue stream, and helped them conceive of an additional program so they can continue to be operational.
I knew we could do it because I know what we are capable of and I’m honest with myself, my clients, and my team about it.
Running your own business can be scary. Success requires moments of trust and hope to push through to the next level. Tell us one of the moments you have had to push through to take your business to the next level?
I got sick.
And not like, I missed a few days and had to work harder the following week, sick. The kind of sick that left me exhausted day in and day out for the better part of a year.
I couldn’t work more than a couple hours at a time, and I couldn’t focus for a lot of that time either. I thought I was dealing with burnout – but I wasn’t uninspired or sick of the work I was doing. I WANTED to work, but I physically couldn’t.
I was watching our lead pipeline dry up and our savings dwindle. I felt scared and asked myself, would we have to shutter Dandelion? After months of doctors appointments and trial and error (mostly error). I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder.
I am still figuring out how to manage it all the time, but I am learning how to push the right way, and seeing what I do have the energy for. I realized that the downtime gave me the space to think about how I see the business growing and what I want from it.
What is your favourite quote about inspiration?
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. — Stephen King
I want to be a writer so it’s a legitimate inspirational quote for me, but I take it with me to other places too. The idea is that you have to be successful in any venture, you’ve got to be the consumer in addition to being the producer.
ie. understand your audience.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Start small, but start.
You don’t need to wake up tomorrow with a perfectly actualized dream – you get to spend your life building that. Start with the simplest manifestation of the ultimate concept that brings you joy.
An example: My dream is to run a teahouse. I want it to open early and close late. I want open mic nights and local art and high teas and community meetings. I want shelves of herbs and spigots that have the most perfect temperatures.
Am I going to build it? Yes.
What am I going to do first?
I’m going to put a few tea blends in a suitcase with a jet boiler and I’m going to do a small, local pop up event.
It’s very simple, a small, painless investment, and I can learn about what I need for the next event.
This concept lets you grow organically, whole heartedly, and gives you the space to make mistakes you can learn from.