INTERVIEW: BRI SEELEY & THAIS GUIMARAES
For our readers who don’t know, give us a little rundown of what you do. The Amplify Collective is a movement in L.A. changing the way women network by creating opportunities for women to connect through in-person events in ways that don’t suck. We also have a membership group, The Coterie, of ambitious, purpose-driven women who crave community and support in a meaningful way.
How and when did you both first become interested in women empowerment and coaching?
Thaís: I stumbled upon coaching when I started yoga teacher training back in 2011. I realized there was a whole world of conscious, empowered people having conversations about living an amazing life and I wanted in! Once completing YTT and then coaching school, I immediately felt drawn to support women because of my understanding of women’s issues. That eventually grew into realizing the power of women’s collective conscious and wanting to nurture the precious idea that only by women coming together in community and creating space to celebrate each other were we going to succeed in this world.
Bri: I didn’t purposefully venture down this path. It was something I stumbled upon, unknowingly at first, about 10 years ago. I was running my own fashion label and designing pieces that were the epitome of femininity, but didn’t recognize that’s what I was doing. When I started diving into the marketing behind my brand I realized that I was designing for women to BE women in the world. The time had passed for us to don the masculine power suits of the 1980’s, and it was time for us to embrace what it meant to be a powerful woman in the world through our dress. Over time, this led to me launching The Inspirational Woman Project – an interview series that dives into what it means to be a woman. And that naturally led into me teaching other women how to powerfully create their ideal lives as I had done, which then led into Amplify! What I’ve learned more than anything throughout the last 10 years is the idea of a journey. I could not have started with Amplify and had it be as successful as it is. I had to go through the full journey of running a fashion label, launching The Inspirational Woman Project, and pivoting into coaching before allowing Amplify to come into my life.
How did you ladies meet, and how did the idea of The Amplify Collective come about? We met at a business intensive we both attended. We joke that it was love at second sight because during the retreat we were both immersed in our own challenges, Thaís was moving to L.A. and Bri was letting go of her fashion brand and getting into coaching. Once Thaís moved, she reached out to Bri for a lunch date and we haven’t gone a day without speaking to each other since. Amplify is an “accidental” business because we had no intention of starting something new. We were both very committed to growing our separate businesses. But when Thaís got food poisoning the day before a happy hour event that she was throwing, she called Bri to come support her. In the aftermath of that successful gathering, we knew we had to do it again. And again. And again. And so, Amplify was born.
Once you made the decision to move forward with this, what was the first specific action step you took? Once we decided to make Amplify a real business, instead of just a hobby, we sat down and brainstormed ways that we could create real impact from the momentum we were gaining. At that point, we were only doing a monthly dinner party capped at 14 women and although we were selling out months in advance, we knew we wanted this to become a movement. And you can’t create a movement by serving 14 people a month. One random Tuesday we both came together having received a massive divine download. Turns out, we individually had thought of the same idea, to create a membership group for women who wanted to take the concepts we were building to the next level.
What were your biggest insecurities in the beginning? How did you overcome them?
Thaís: When Amplify was in its infancy stages, I was worried that no one was going to care about this. That we were putting in all this work for nothing. I think that’s a lot of people’s initial fear going into business – is this a viable business model? But Bri and I knew since the very beginning that no matter what happened, we just had to take it day by day and stay a step or two ahead. And if it didn’t work, at least we went after it. Failure only happens when you give up.
Bri: I think I’ve always had Imposter Syndrome to a degree. The stories that exist in my mind about being a fake or a fraud or having people find out that I have no idea what I’m doing every single day… Well, it’s been a process to work through. But every time I lead a woman through a transformation, or throw yet another sold out event is what allows it to subside little by little. Because then when the voice comes up, I can counteract it with measurable results and proof that my inner imposter is just an illusion.
Can you think back to a particular unexpected setback or mental block you had to overcome when starting out? What did you learn from it?
Thaís: I had never started a business venture with a friend before and there were definitely some unexpected challenges in learning how to navigate someone else’s opinions and beliefs with your own. Relationships, no matter the extent, are a spiritual mirroring for where you need to do your own work. As Bri and I got deeper into the success of Amplify, we had to learn how to address these triggers and uncomfortable feelings (that always arises in partnership) in the moment so we could discuss them and move on. When you’re running a high paced business, every second you’re not in sync, you’re out of integrity with the level of service you could be offering. It’s a daily commitment to be in congruence with one another and it’s taught me so much about how I handle stress, challenges and disagreements.
Bri: I’m so accustomed to being the everything for my business. So when something needs to be done – I just do it, which I have realized doesn’t really work when there’s another person to consider. Thaís and I have definitely both had to step back on many occasions and remember that we’re in partnership. It started as a constant remembering to check in and communicate, and now the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction where we are in almost constant communication!
The best quality about both of you is how passionate you are about helping others enhance their lives. Do you ever have days where you feel less-than-inspired? What kind of things do you do if/when these moments arrive?
Of course! One simply cannot be inspired by your business 100% of the time, it’s just not possible. That’s the best part about being in partnership though, we tend balance each other out. When one of us is not feeling inspired, the other usually is and she is there to step in with motivation and support. We’re also both very aware that personal time is key when you’re providing such a high level of service to the world. We each make sure that we have boundaries around when we’re ‘on’ and when we need to recharge.
Thaís: I also trust that when I am not feeling inspired it’s a call for me to infuse more breaks and joy into my life; so on those days you will usually find me practicing more yoga, taking longer walks, and making time for my family.
Bri: When I’m not feeling inspired, I figure out what my mind and body needs to reignite that spark. It’s very situational, but can be anything from a glass of wine while watching the sunset, rooftop yoga, cuddles with my cats, taking myself out to breakfast and reading a good book, traveling, spin class, or a good nap!
Could you touch on the emotional journey that is starting and leading your own movement?
Thaís: I often tell my clients that being an entrepreneur is the most spiritual journey we can endeavor in because of the constant level of faith required. You have to hold vision for what you want no matter whether it’s appearing on your time or not. When I moved to L.A. last year, I had quit my full time job to dive into my coaching business and although I had been in business for four years, the money wasn’t coming in as quickly as I needed it to in order to survive in this city and I remember having panic attacks and huge bouts of doubt. “What the heck have I done?”, I asked myself again and again. It took every strength I had to keep moving forward, keep believing in my mission, keep putting myself out there. Without Amplify and Bri’s support in my life, I know I would not be where I am today. Amplify saved me. It gave me faith. It gave me momentum. It gave me something to focus on when my business was frustrating me. And most importantly, it’s given me a soul sister that has changed my life.
Bri: Since starting down this path, it’s been a daily re-commitment to my purpose. Everyday is an emotional journey – one that I’ve wanted to quit more that I would like to admit. When I was working for someone else I would experience waves of highs and lows, but with greater amounts of space between each one. Being an entrepreneur is like a constant roller coaster ride going up and down moment by moment. But for me, the constant re-commitment to the bigger picture helps me remember what’s important. It helps draw me out of the attachment to whatever is happening and focuses on the change and impact we’re bringing to the world. And, of course, I could never do it without having a powerful co-boss by my side. She supports me in more ways than I ever could have imagined and helps me stay on course.
One of the greatest things about heading my own venture, is the sweet surprise of accomplishing something I once thought was impossible. Can you think of a time that you surprised yourself in growing The Amplify Collective or even in your coaching businesses?
Jumping into membership from just doing individual dinner parties was a huge surprise! We knew that The Amplify Collective needed to reach more women, but membership was not something we had conceptualized or planned for. We went from selling out 14 woman events, to selling our 45 woman events, to growing a membership in just a few short weeks. We have both surprised ourselves and each other in the way we show up powerfully to continue growing this movement and by the way we embrace discomfort in taking bold action everyday.
You two are such a great match as business partners! However, I can’t tell you how many horror stories I’ve heard of partnerships going up in flames. What advice do you have for finding the right person(s) to work with?
Thaís: Take it slow. Bri and I started with collaborating on one event. And then another. And then another. We hosted 6 events before we decided to create a business around Amplify. There is no rush when it comes to being in partnership and by taking your time you have the space to get to know how the other person works, develop trust and decide if this is something you are fully committed to. If one partner is more committed than the other, it’s not going to work. So by taking it slow you get to feel out the time/energy commitment of yourself and your partner before jumping all in.
Bri: Be clear on what you need by your side in order to support you in doing your best work. I had been journaling about my ideal business partner for years before I met Thaís. I’ve seen so many people say yes to business partnerships just for money or just because someone is ‘invested’ in their idea. But it’s more than that. You need someone that can complement your skills, someone who can push you to be greater everyday and, more than anything, someone that can enroll in a shared vision for the future with you.
Between The Amplify Collective and your own coaching practices, how do you two juggle everything throughout your days?
That’s a great question. And something we are both figuring out moment by moment. Two things that we’re both incredibly purposeful about is prioritization and delegation. Each of us has our own routine around goal setting that leads us into prioritizing our daily tasks that will move us closer to our vision. We both work hard to focus only on the major tasks that will provide the biggest impact. And if anything else, we delegate. Don’t get us wrong, we’d both LOVE to have a business where we just hang out on Instagram all day…. everyday. But the reality is, that doesn’t make us money or provide impact to our women. So we outsource a lot of our social media. And this summer, we had a team of four interns supporting us with event planning, public relations, and more. We know that we can’t lead a movement as powerfully as we envision if we’re spending time spinning our wheels on things that may need to be done, but don’t need to be done by us.
What does a typical day look like for you – morning to night?
Thaís: My dog, Khewy, wakes up around 6:30am for his morning walk. It’s my favorite time of the day and a beautiful opportunity to clear my thoughts and get in energetic alignment for the type of day I want to have. That is usually followed up by a morning practice that includes meditation, gratitude, yoga and chanting. Then it’s time to start my work day! I touch base with my goals for the month and the week, prioritize what needs to be done and make it happen. Mondays are podcasting and CEO meeting days with Bri. I host all of my coaching calls on Tuesdays. Wednesday I get into the DTLA office to support the interns. And Fridays are my check in days to make sure I am doing what feels good in my business. Beyond that overall structure, however, every day looks different and I have learned to embrace the unstructured elements of entrepreneurialism as an opportunity to design my life around what feels good. Sometimes I work till 11pm at night. Sometimes I don’t work after 2pm. I allow the work to flow around me. I have to say though, my #1 priority is making sure I spend time totally present with my boyfriend; and I have found that disconnection is key to my centeredness and creativity.
Bri: I love waking up early. Most mornings (even weekends!) I’m up at 6am to start my three hour morning routine. I use those three hours to intentionally set my energy for the day with yoga, meditation, cooking, journaling, dancing, gratitude, and more. I usually go into my office in DTLA from 9am to 4pm, although Mondays are reserved for podcast recording + CEO days with Thaís and my Fridayss are usually meetings or free days to have fun. I reserve Tuesdays for my coaching clients and usually do 5-8 hours of phone calls that day. Evenings are varied between hanging at home with my kitties, attending events in L.A., dinners/happy hour with my inner circle, speaking on panels, and more! While I love having some structure in my schedule, it’s also really important to incorporate flow into it as well. I allow myself to honor whatever I’m needing (for example, days when I need to just stay home and work on the couch in my sweats with a kitty at my side). Lastly, it’s incredibly important for me to have boundaries, so at 9pm my phone goes on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode and gets put away until 9am the following morning.
L.A. LADY CULTURE
Favorite area of L.A.? Why?
T: Anywhere near the ocean! I love the way I feel by water.
B: Downtown! I have loved watching the city unfold over the last three years. And now I’m excited to call DTLA home!
Favorite eatery in L.A.?
T: The Wood Spoon in DTLA has the most authentic Brazilian food – it’s divine!
B: Hyperion Public
Menu item we must order there?
T: Everything is good but you must try the coxinha for appetizer, it’s a chicken dumpling situation that melts in your mouth.
B: On Mondays they have a happy hour that includes a build your own turkey burger… So good.
Favorite happy hour?
T: There’s this little hole in the wall on Melrose called Vinoteque that I am obsessed with.
B: Eat. Drink. Americano.
Favorite weekend activities in the city?
T: Hiking in Malibu followed by a day at the beach.
B: I love hiking Griffith or Ernest Debs. There’s something about being on top of the world that I just can’t get enough of!
Audio of choice when sitting in traffic?
T: I love listening to 90s alt rock. It’s my total guilty pleasure. If I am in a more reflective mood I usually have on either Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach or Rob Bell’s podcast.
B: Chill Electronica. I usually listen to Sirius’ downtempo/deep house station. They play my favorite DJ (Kygo) and other music that allows my body to relax and my mind to wander.
Place or thing you want to do most in L.A., but haven’t yet?
T: I want to try out that new glass slide they built in DTLA! It sounds pretty epic.
B: HARRY POTTER WORLD!!!!!
Biggest L.A. guilty pleasure?
T: The perfect weather every day of the year. Turns out weather guilt is a real thing!
B: The rooftops!