Conversations with a Sex Toy Company CEO (Polly Rodriguez of Unbound)

Hello hello!

Making my intro quick today because this babe doesn't need it. Polly came recommended to Lindsey and I through the podcast, and we had SUCH a good time interviewing her. She is super smart, down to earth, hilarious, and she is changing the game for women everywhere. 

Polly is the CEO of Unbound, a sex toy company/sexual wellness company that's female driven and is changing the game. Their branding is on point, their messaging is so fresh and fun, and it's growing like crazy. What I love about it, is seeing a new spin on sexuality that's fresh, and doesn't feel male driven.

When describing Polly, The New York Times said it best...

"Dame, along with other new companies like Unbound, House of Plume and Sustain, is part of a tech-savvy and female-led women’s sexuality movement that has made its home in New York instead of, say, Silicon Valley. Women, many of them under 40, are updating sex toys and related products with their own needs in mind, and leading the companies that sell them."

Really, Polly is using experiences in her life that have changed her forever, to fuel her belief that sexuality isn't wrong, and that women should have a say in the space. Before her, and a few other badass females there wasn't much choice and there wasn't much of anything geared towards females and female empowerment.

She's changing that. 

Super excited to share the interview with you, and find more at Unboundbabes.com (you can also use code: almost30 for 15% off your order!) 


polly-rodriguez-e1505097987723.jpg

How did the idea of Unbound start? 

When I was 21 years old I went through radiation treatment for a cancer diagnosis that resulted in menopause. My doctors only told me, "Sorry, you'll never have kids" so I found myself on the internet searching for answers and that's how I found out I was going through menopause. I ultimately ended up at a Hustler Hollywood on the side of the highway in St. Louis, Missouri; looking to buy my first vibrator and lubricant and feeling so ashamed and embarrassed of the shopping in the store. The experience always stuck with me and 10 years later I started Unbound as the shopping and content alternative I wished existed when I was 21 years old and going through all of that for the first time. 

 

Can you talk about the growth trajectory of the company? Did you ever doubt that it would be as big as it is today? 

It's been crazy to see the growth of the company, but it definitely didn't happen overnight. I started working on Unbound in December of 2014 and we didn't really see things take off until the end of 2016. In my gut, I always knew it would grow and be big but it's a constant oscillation between self doubt and sheer willpower to succeed. I think you need both in order to be a successful entrepreneur, which is why I guess they call it a rollercoaster.  

What's been the best part about being a CEO of your own company? 

Being surrounded by insanely capable women (and men!) who believe in me and our mission. It's a genuine honor to be a leader and I take that responsibility incredibly seriously. 

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 3.41.05 PM.png

What's the hardest part about being a CEO of your own company? 

At the end of the day, you're ultimately responsible. It's kinda like the captain of the Titanic --- you know the part when Rose is all like "CAPTAIN CMON GET IN THE DAMN ROW BOAT" and he's all like, "Nah, Rose, Captain has to go down with the ship." So, it's being the person in the room who has to steer the boat and if you hit a damn iceberg, you have to take ownership and fix the problem (or die on the ship which obvs none of us want to do). 

How is managing people and creating a team? I can imagine it's difficult to grow and really attract the best talent every time. How do you handle that? 

Screen+Shot+2017-07-28+at+4.28.51+PM.png

The hardest thing about being in the growth stage is shifting from being the person doing all the things to being the person teaching others how to do all the things. And for a while you have to be both, and it's effing exhausting. But, if you hire people who believe in your mission and really give a shit about achieving it, they learn quickly and think like an owner. You want the person who wants to stay late and finish their work bc their heart is in it, not because they just are clocking in face time and trying to impress you. It can be hard to tell the difference at times. 

What do you think hinders women from buying more sex toys or things to please themselves? 

The fear of what others will think. We don't talk about sexuality and so we're all so afraid of what it means to love our bodies, to masturbate, to orgasm. It's the most natural source of joy on this planet and it breaks my heart that some women don't feel entitled to it because they effing ARE. We ALL are. 

I love how you've incorporated wellness with sexuality. Can you talk about how it's related? 

It took a while to find the right angle on how to give women permission to enjoy their bodies. Wellness, to me, is associated with wellbeing or a baseline level of health. Sexuality is our body's natural urge to explore itself and I think we need to stop thinking about it as an indulgence and instead think of it as a bare minimum of what we need to function day to day. 

What's are your top 3 favorite products on the site? 

The Unbound Squish, Jelly, and the Oh! to go bag!

If you could tell every women one thing about sexuality what would it be? 

Masturbation is not weird and you are entitled to enjoy your body. 

What are you excited about in 2018? 

We're 1/4 closer to Trump being gone? 

Where can people find and connect with you? 

I'm @polly_claire on insta and TWATter (aka twitter) 

Screen Shot 2018-02-18 at 3.41.49 PM.png

MEDITATION ARTIST BIET SIMKIN on raising your vibration and changing your life

Oh man guys!

So glad you're here. How's the week? Hope all is well :).

For today and our interview. I am so excited to share with you the amazing BIET SIMKIN.

Recently featured in Vogue, and Elle, she is a queen who is on the rise in the wellness world, and for good reason.

The shit that she's been through that has led her to become as fascinating, open, and in tune as she is, is astounding. So I wanted to peel back the layers and get a bit deeper in advance of the event we are hosting with her on November 7th, at Parachute Hotel in Venice (make sure to use the code almost30 for a discount!) 

bietsimkin.jpg

For those of you who don't know who Miss Simkin is, she New York native, first-generation American and a leader in the world of meditation. Not only was her father an awakened shaman who gave her the Book of the Dead at age nine, Biet is also a singer and fashion guru who spent a big part of her life crushing the whole sex, drugs, and rock n' roll lifestyle. 

She went through a series of deaths, her own personal evolution, and so much more to become the awakened light and leader she is today. 

The journey to find your identity is hard for everyone, and Biet has developed a meditation technique not only to help you find it, but to help you be the best person you can be. Her technique is like "watching a documentary on yourself" and observing your every move AKA "Divided Attention Mediation".

Another amazing point Biet stresses is how we are more than just our body and our minds. Everything from hallucinations, serendipity, and voices - those all mean more than we know. And Biet talks about how listening to these transcendental messages LITERALLY saved her LIFE and how her practice develops this kind of acknowledgement. 

We also interviewed this amazing lady on the Almost 30 Podcast, which I've been told is many peoples favorite episode.

Let's dive a bit deeper into the mind of this goddess, Biet. 


What is Center of The Cyclone?

The Center of the Cyclone is many things. First it's the quiet part of the storm in the center where nothing happens, where everything is still. I see this as a metaphor for the soul. The soul doesn't get hurt, doesn't feel pain, doesn't lose it's job, doesn't go through break ups. We do, but the soul does not. That is the Center of the Cyclone. It was also a book by a hero of mine in the 70's John Lilly. It is the name of the meditation system I founded for all these reasons. 

You’ve worked with brands like Vice, Wanderlust Festival, Adidas, Sony, Samsung….to name a few! How do you weave in the creative/spiritual with big brands?

It's easy. We live in one world. I live in America where brands are a major part of all of our consumption. Brands are a language unto themselves. To me, what's most important is bringing meditation into the REAL WORLD! The real world has many brands in it! What I believe is as a spiritual teacher I only align with brands that speak a similar language to me, or that have a similar feeling to me. The future is schools, work place environments and brands all have meditation imbued into them! 

bietsimkin2.jpg

For those new to meditation, how can they get started?

First thing is insert meditation and prayer into your life. Meditation can be as short as 10 minutes a day of sitting in silence and breathing. The reason I add prayer, which I call "asking" in my work, is because if we don't begin to "ask" for help from within and begin to communicate with our inner world, we won't be able to hear it's direction. The voice within might be saying "stop! Don't date that person" or "no, don't eat that thing" or "no! Don't email your mom that angry note!" And if you don't pray you won't hear it. So much goes unheard. In my life I never heard what the voice was saying! And so I always did the wrong thing. I knew deep down I was making crappy choices but I didn't know how to stop. It wasn't until I started praying and meditating daily (non negotiable) that everything elevated! 

Being an emotional, spiritual and sensitive person, how do you protect yourself energetically?

Ha! That's a good question. I actually use meditation and prayer first because that allows for self knowing. To know thy self is the ultimate protection against anything you be hit with outside. When you know yourself you can see that anything that bothers you stems from within. When you know yourself you see that any disturbance stems from within. Today I go out and it doesn't matter what happens or who happens my state is completely up to me! My state is reliant on the higher and inner worlds which like the Center of the Cyclone are unchanging! I don't need to "protect" myself if I know the greatest enemy I have lives within me!  

bietsimkin1.jpg

What is Club Soda and why does it exist? (I LOVE THIS)

Club Söda NYC is a sober curious quarterly event that Ruby Warrington and I founded. It's an experience that pairs the discussion of a sober or sober curious life with tools that can effectively make a sober life more enjoyable, such as meditation, Kundalini Disco and discussion amongst hip peers. All this leads guests to explore, what would my life look like if I didn't drink as much? Or even what would my life look like if I didn't drink at all? And how do I get high on my own supply? Super important is that so many are curious, how do I date sober? How do I fuck someone sober? How do I ... sober!? We provide answers and also create a safe space for that discussion. I believe people are starting to get less interested in partying and more interested in living a life beyond their wildest dreams! 

How can people raise their vibration?

Meditation, Sex with people they actually love, food that is healthy, dance, laughter, friends who lift them up! Prayer! 

We’re so excited to be running the WHO ARE YOU event with you! Can you talk about how this event came about in NYC?

Well I have been studying this work of the planetary enneagram with my father for over 30 years and after he passed away I devoted my life to my fathers studies. This particular study of human body types and how knowing them makes life so much easier specifically appealed to me because mastering it changed my life! I led a workshop like this one at my friend Kyle's Beautiful home in Tribeca and the 50 guests who attended were all at the edge of their seats to learn these secrets! The workshop was such a huge success I thought I would share it with the west coast family! Nothing matters to me more than helping people to awaken to who they truly are, to an easier life, to a realer life, to a woke life! 

bietsimkin4.png

What was the feedback from that event in NYC?

Overwhelming! The crowds went wild! 

Who is the WHO ARE YOU event a good fit for?

Anyone who is looking to understand themselves better and to see how they can get along with others more effectively. Anyone who wonders why they get along with some people better than others. Anyone who is looking to find a great partner , anyone who is looking to be a better partner in a current relationship. Anyone seeking to understand the meaning of life and our relationship to the universe in which we live. BASICALLY ANYONE!!! 

What are you most excited about in your life right now?

I am writing a book due to be out with Simon and Schuster in 2018 about the laws that keep us from our enlightenment. I am super excited about sharing that with the world. 

Singing live at my events is exciting as well since as you know I score my meditations with my latest record "The Lunar". 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-lunar/id1038984712

Where can people connect with you?

@guidedbybiet on Instagram 

Center of the Cyclone on Facebook 

My website bietsimkin.com 

bietsimkin3.jpg

More information on the WHO ARE YOU EVENT? Happening on November 7th in Venice, CA. 

THIS IS A WORKSHOP WHICH DELVES INTO A HIDDEN METHOD TO REVEAL WHO YOU TRULY ARE AND WHAT YOU CAME TO DO ON THIS PLANET.

A BEAUTIFUL GUIDED MEDITATION, REFRESHMENTS, AND AN INTIMATE SETTING INCLUDED.

Ever want to know the secret of how people get along and why? Why you are so amazing at certain things and crappy at others? Why you do some things too much and can't stop, like being lazy, being too talkative, being invisible, being too dominant, too angry etc... Would you want to know an ancient system that brings you back, not only to knowing yourself truly and becoming your most effective self, but also getting along with others, being a terrific romantic partner, being a strong leader and softening to the real you? 


It is good to know that meditation alone will not get you to the final point that you are looking for. Although we will meditate inside this workshop we will also learn the inner workings of ourselves, our souls and how we make any sense in this universe at all.


This workshop is something that is very dear to me and at the crux of how I found, not just a way to be in my essence which in some ways I already was in some ways, but also to fall in love truly with who I actually am and become extremely grounded. After 30 years of study of this system and 7 years of having devoted my life to it I want nothing more than to share it with you. I attribute so much of my life's ease and joy to the system I will be teaching on the 7th. I absolutely would love to share with you and can't wait for the deep and powerful evening! 

Limited spaces are available, and this will sell out! We look forward to seeing you there! Buy your ticket here, and use the code almost30 for a discount! 


Love sharing these amazing lights with you. Let me know if you're making it to the event, and I can't wait to see you then!

xo

Krista 

Gluten Free Follow Me: Interview with Jackie McEwan

Howdy you!

How are ya? Week good? What's happening?

I am SO BUSY this week (so annoying to say that I freaking know).  BUT all my besties are coming in town tomorrow for the next few days for my birthday and I couldn't be more grateful or excited. Too good to be true. We're renting an airbnb on Saturday and having a chef come to cook us amazing eats and hanging together.

LAHVE.

But, to the post today! CUZ IT'S GOOD.

I am firstly, so into supporting people I believe in and vibe with, but also super interested in sharing the stories of people who are doing what they love for their full-time career. Sharing the story of someone who went from doing they didn't love, to following their passion and creating a life out of it - FASCINATING.

Jackie has done that! If you don't know her, she's the lady behind Gluten Free Follow Me, and she's a blogger/influencer who is the lady for all things GF. Working in finance previously in NYC, she built her business, and when right, made the leap to having this passion be her FT. If you're looking for a spot to eat that's healthy, amazing, and GF - her site has GOT YOU!

I met Jackie at the lovely Jordan Youngers yoga event and we vibed immediately.

She's SO smart, open, friendly, warm and genuine and what I love most about her, is when I asked, 'what's your goal' the other night at dinner she goes. 

'I'm just enjoying my life right now. I'm living my goal'.

VIBES.

To be so present in the NOW and grateful for what's happening is so PRECIOUS.

I was like, damn. That is TRUTH and I love it.

So this post is full of good advice for starting your own business, understanding what gluten free eating is like, seeing some of Jackie's favorite recipes and more. 

LOVE IT.

Enjoy LOVES. 

xo

Krista


Brief intro to who you are, what you do

Hi Hundred Blog readers! I’m Jackie, and I’m the founder of Gluten Free Follow Me, the Guide to Dining Gluten Free. I detail and rank 2,000+ gluten free friendly eateries in NYC, California, & beyond, in addition to products and recipes on my website www.glutenfreefollowme.com. I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut and studied Finance and International Business at Georgetown University. After graduation, I moved to New York City and lived there for five and a half years. I worked in the finance industry at a bank for over five years, and as of a couple months ago, Gluten Free Follow Me is now my full-time job! I recently moved to Santa Monica and go back to the East Coast every month or so. I feel so fortunate that I can split my time between the best coasts!

Can you talk about your gluten free journey? 

Five years ago, my sports doctor had all of his patients take a food intolerance test, and gluten came up in my test results. I was like, what’s gluten?! Looking back, my diagnosis made a lot of sense because I would get sick at least once a week in college. In college, I would eat stir fry on Sundays (using gluten-filled soy sauce) and always felt nauseous. I would get sick after eating my favorite sandwich at Cosi and thought it was food poisoning. I went to the Emergency Room at a nearby hospital a few times because I couldn’t keep any food or water down. I had these reactions throughout college but no one ever brought up gluten as a reason for my sickness. Gluten sensitivity/intolerance and celiac disease were not as wide-spread as they are now. Looking back, it seems silly that I never pressed doctors on what was making me sick but gluten wasn’t in the forefront of their minds.

I was incredibly overwhelmed when I finally found out that gluten was making me sick. I had recently moved to New York City and was so excited to eat out at all the restaurants. I went to a few gastroenterologists and found out I didn’t just have a gluten intolerance – I also had celiac disease.

This diagnosis forced me to rethink my meals and snacks because I had to immediately cut gluten out of my diet. I did a ton of research on what foods had gluten in it, what foods were gluten free, and all the grey areas in between. The gluten free diet has become much more popular in the past couple of years, but it wasn’t as prevalent five years ago so it was challenging. 

What is gluten and why is it important, or why is the topic really popular right now?

Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat and related grains, including barley, rye, oat, and all their species and hybrids. Gluten helps food maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of food – not just bread! Gluten is commonly found in breads, baked goods, soups, pasta, cereal, sauces, salad dressings, but there are so many gluten free alternatives nowadays so it really isn’t hard to be gluten free!

When I first went gluten free five years ago, it was challenging because it wasn’t popular then. You really had to do your own research and search for gluten free items. Now, most supermarkets have an entire section for gluten free items, and they label which items are gluten free outside of that section.

Many mainstream products label their products as gluten free if they are or have adjusted their products to make them gluten free. The gluten free diet has become more popular with greater public awareness and better diagnoses. More and more people are discovering that they have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. I’m glad that it’s become more acknowledged because it’s making people more mindful of allergies and thoughtful about what’s best for their body.

What affect does gluten have on people and why are people trying to avoid it (outside of someone who has celiac disease!) 

People react differently to gluten.

My reaction to gluten is I have to throw up anywhere from three to ten hours after eating it. I’m very sensitive to gluten, so I will know if I ingest it! This is why I do a lot of research before eating out, and ask questions regarding cross contamination and food preparation. Other symptoms can be bloating, skin rashes and red-like skin, digestive discomfort, diarrhea, constipation, headache, tiredness, weight loss, stomach aches, nausea, and more.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease and affects about 1% of the general population. Unfortunately, many people who have celiac disease don’t even know that they have it. I’m so thankful that I found out five years ago because if it goes untreated, it can lead to malabsorption, osteoporosis, iron deficiency, other autoimmune diseases, and in general a reduced quality of life.

A lot of people, including me, forget that certain symptoms you’re having aren’t normal. You normalize it because it happens so much but you shouldn’t feel sick or uncomfortable all the time! I urge everyone to get a food intolerance test as a first step to see what comes up because the results may surprise you.

Many people feel better when they give up gluten, and they end up self-diagnosing themselves as it can be tough to diagnosis gluten sensitivity. If you feel better going gluten free, then by all means, continue to do so! 

Can you talk about your journey with Gluten Free Follow Me?

A few years ago, I started to post about some of the gluten free foods I was eating on Instagram. Surprisingly to me, my posts were met with such a great reception. My followers kept asking for more gluten free friendly eateries, products, and recipes, and I was more than happy to continue to make these discoveries. I was getting so many questions that I knew I needed to put all this information in one place rather than just Instagram. I taught myself how to make a website and how to code, and I launched www.glutenfreefollowme.com in September 2014! I wish I had something like Gluten Free Follow Me to guide me through my new gluten free diet five years ago, but I’m glad I can be a guide for others now!  

What's a typical day in the life?

No day is ever the same which keeps it interesting! It sounds cheesy but I really do wake up excited to conquer the day. On a typical day, I wake up and do my first social media post of the day either during breakfast or at the gym. When I run outside, I don’t bring my phone so it’s my time to zone out and get creative without technology. I run on the beach in Santa Monica, and it really is the prettiest place to run! When I go to the gym, I answer emails, responds to comments on my social media networks, and post for the brands/eateries I manage.

For lunch, I either schedule lunch at a restaurant or throw together a salad and omelet before jumping into my recipes for the day. I dedicate certain days as recipe days so I can be in the kitchen creating recipes uninterrupted and then shoot them in the daylight which is so key for good photos!

During the week, if it’s not a recipe day, I’ll schedule one or two eateries in a day. I’ll meet with chefs and owners at eateries to figure out what’s gluten free at their restaurant and bring up the right questions such as potential cross contamination and modifications/substitutions. If I have an evening event, then I may schedule a lunch in the area and work out of a coffee shop in between meals.  

 Go-to GF snack or meal? 

I kick off each day with fruit, greens, veggies, and eggs. I love eating healthy but I also have a sweet tooth and love my daily chocolate!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to make their side hustle their full-time career?

It’s so important for everyone to have a passion or hobby.

I feel like that’s how your creativity gets going, and your side gig can help you in other ventures even if it doesn’t become your full-time gig. I never meant for GFFM to become anything and definitely not my career. It happened so organically since it stemmed from my passion, but it also took hard work and dedication for it to become what it is today. When I started posting on social media and launched glutenfreefollowme.com a couple years ago, my family and friends never really understood what I was doing or why I was spending all this time focused on GFFM. Now, it’s easy to see how the journey happened but it wasn’t in the moment so I’m glad I believed in myself and kept at it!

Don’t let anyone sway you from what you love to do. It will shine through your work and can then translate into success. Only you know what you’re passionate about, and that makes you so good at it.  

I don’t recommend for everyone to turn their side hustle into their career, but if it works out financially then it may be worth it to take the plunge! My main advice would be to make sure that your side hustle can support you. I know of some people who tried to transform their side hustle into a full-time career and got discouraged since they felt like they had to continually put themselves out there and couldn’t afford to get rejected. They ended up going backwards and went back to “main-stream” jobs so make sure that the timing is right for you! 

What was the best thing about leaving the corporate world?

The best thing about leaving the corporate world is I’m able to devote all of my time and energy to Gluten Free Follow Me! I’m very thankful that I was recently able to make GFFM my full-time gig because it was getting difficult to juggle GFFM with my finance job which was pretty much 9-5.

I would duck out for lunches if I could and if the restaurant was close to my office. I always had Instagram events or dinners after work, sometimes several in one night. I wouldn’t get to the gym until 9:30pm (always have to get my workout in!) so I was definitely running low on time. I would open my packages from brands after the gym, and then do all of my recipes on the weekends.

The hardest? 

The hardest part is I don’t have the stability. Working in the corporate world meant I had a stable salary, and I knew exactly what I was earning and when I was getting my paycheck. However, GFFM is my passion, and I have more of an incentive to do well. Nowadays, I end up working longer hours than my finance job but when you’re doing what you love, it isn’t seen as work :) 

What's the best part about what you do now? 

My favorite part is being creative with food and getting to interact with my followers – I seriously have the best followers! I also love being able to wake up every day and do what I love. I feel like I appreciate it even more because I can now truly dedicate time to GFFM. I’m so thankful that I get to choose how and where I spend my day!

My hours are flexible so I can go running in the middle of the day when it’s 70 degrees and sunny rather than working inside from a cubicle, just staring at the pretty weather outside. I don’t need to be in the office from 9-5 and have people manage me. I’m the boss, the employee, a one-woman show, and I love it that way! 

The most challenging?

 Every day is different which I love because it keeps me on my toes. You have to be very motivated and structured to work from home and run your own business. Now that GFFM is my full-time job, I’m able to be more flexible with timing but I still like to have some sort of schedule to keep me organized.

What are some of your favorite recipes/or restaurants on your website?

Ooh there are so many good ones! I detail and rank 2,000+ eateries, products, and recipes so the list is never-ending. I love discovering new eateries and products for my followers and coming up with delicious recipes.

My favorite recipe right now is an easy cupcake recipe I created last month.

I know that not all of my followers have easy access to gluten free cake mixes so I wanted to create a recipe that was easy to do with kitchen staples.

All you need is:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup GF flour
  • 2 eggs or egg substitute
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • A few drops of vanilla extract

You can make this recipe vegan by using vegan butter and milk.

Combine all of the ingredients, and it makes about 9 cupcakes. It’s perfect for when I don’t want to make a huge batch, and then if I do, I can just double the recipe.

Full recipe on http://www.glutenfreefollowme.com/my-creations - I’m usually an icing gal but these cupcakes are so good, I eat them plain too!

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

I look forward to taking GFFM to the next level and continuing to grow my website and social media networks.

I love my followers, and their appreciative comments and support keeps me going! I also look forward to becoming more of a part of the LA community. I’ve met some amazing influencers and like-minded people so far (like YOU, Krista!) and can’t wait to meet more.

Thanks for listening and hope to connect with you all on GFFM! 


Where can people connect with you?

www.GlutenFreeFollowMe.com

Instagram: @GlutenFree.FollowMe

Twitter: @GlutenFreeFM

Facebook: Gluten Free Follow Me

Snapchat: JackieAanonsen