I met Darbi Gwynn a couple of years ago at, no surprise here, the gym! We bonded over the health benefits of vegan food and also how amazing it is to pursue your passions. She now calls Portland home, but left behind bits of wisdom here. She talks about overcoming obstacles that feel impossible and how she challenges herself in business and in life.
Gather as much information about your pursuit and allow yourself to “fail.” Mistakes and misfortunes are opportunities to grow.
Tell us about yourself and the road that led you to become a girlboss. How has your vegan lifestyle influenced your path and your brand?
My name is Darbi Gwynn and I’m from Southern California. I emancipated myself as a teenager due to a turbulent home life. I emancipated myself in order to leave home, which forced me to dropout of high school and begin working to support myself. This succession of events cultivated the perseverance and determination that I’ve carried through my life. I’ve been fortunate to not be able to have the luxury to doubt myself. Doubt=homelessness and famine. So doubt was never an option. I HAD to believe I could achieve anything in order to survive. I hadn’t had much of an education when I was in school, having gone to 6 high schools in 3 years, I lacked structure of information and linear knowledge. This also benefited me by being able to gather information however and wherever I could. I started with crossword puzzles everyday and carried a dictionary around with me to solve them. This was pre-Internet era. I also looked to adults that I thought were successful and attempt to absorb their wisdom and experience. Learning how to educate myself is in large part why I am vegan. Instead of being force fed information from schools or institutions, I sought knowledge on my own, which was more of an avante garde approach. My mother has a similar story, leaving home and school at 13 years old. She acquired knowledge through constantly reading, 4 or 5 books at a time, and is very much a free thinker. That combination allowed me to explore more than conventional information. These events culminated a perspective to be well suited to an entrepreneurial lifestyle.
What was the biggest obstacle to starting your business?
The biggest obstacle to starting anything is fear. Starting a new life, a new diet, a new relationship, a new business, etc. Humans often avoid change until the fear of not changing is greater than the fear of change. An example is the health crisis much of the developed world is in. People don’t want to change their dietary habits until they are faced with a deadly disease, and even then most won’t make the change! Heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity are the way a large percentage of the population are dying and they are in large part due to eating habits.
What is the most exciting part of being a business owner?
The most exciting part of being a entrepreneur for me is to witness a vision become a reality. It’s creativity and art.
What do you see in the future for your business, and how will you get there?
The vision I have for my current project is with my boyfriend, Wade Holter. Taking the plunge in business with someone else has always been a desire of mine. It will be challenging and a great place to grow as a couple and individuals.
What’s the best piece of advice for women who are interested in starting a business?
My advice to other women is to be fearless and ask for guidance from successful and supportive people. Gather as much information about your pursuit and allow yourself to “fail.” Mistakes and misfortunes are opportunities to grow. At the core of any entrepreneur, and particularly women, we question our value and capabilities. You may not find the support you had hoped for. Don’t let that plant the seed of fear and distorted self worth. Instead, let it inspire you to help other women and strengthen your convictions. Now go get it!
Darbi Gwynn Vitals