Sister to Sister: Shai Ford

Shai

Here at Wild Sister, January is a celebration of sisterhood. We’re celebrating our wild sisters and the spirit of sisterhood in three awesome ways:

1. Offering a special subscription price to the Wild Sisterhood.

2. Running a huge giveaway.

3. Showcasing some rockin’ women in my Sister to Sister interview series.

Today, I’m launching that interview series with my long-time wild sister, Shai Ford.

Shai seriously rocks. She’s uber-creative, passionate and compassionate, and she’s out to change the world in big ways.

As well as being a wild sister, Shai is a peace activist, small business marketing and branding campaign manager, and Etsian. She spends her time creating custom jewelry, helping others rock their Etsy shops, and chasing her two awesome children.

I love this woman and I’m so excited to share her wisdom and talents with you today!

Shai3 copy Photos by Trick Wild Photography.

1. Tell us about yourself and what you do…

My name is Shai, and I’m a 29 year-old single mom to a preteen and a preschooler. I am a handmade business owner, a peace activist, and a social media campaign manager.

I currently run a successful Etsy shop, do social media campaign management for various non-profits, and teach social media marketing.

2. One of the things I love about the Wild Sisterhood is how passionate our members are about using their gifts to make a difference in the lives of others. You are a shining example of this. Can you share a bit about your work and how you’re changing the world?

My story is sort of a stellar example of The Universe making things happen!

I started out as a Social and Political Philosophy major, minoring in Peace Studies. My passions are social justice, environmentalism, and politics – and I LOVE small business. Supporting the small businesses, farmers, etc. are a big part of my beliefs.

So, as a college student and single-parent, I needed to subsidize my income and started an Etsy shop. I then decided to start a blog to funnel people into my Etsy. Voila! Next thing I know (with a lot of hard work), I was the #5 Eco-Friendly Mom Blog of 2014.

I have since switched niches, and I now teach how to run your own handmade business, small business marketing, and marketing for organizations. I have a new site launching in just a few weeks.

The main organization for which I work – the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation – paired up with the Marshall Islands this year and we are supporting them in their Nuclear Zero lawsuits against the nine major nuclear powers at the International Court of Justice.

3. As you know, Wild Sister is a fierce advocate for self-love. How has showing more love, kindness and care to yourself changed your perception of yourself and the world?

Self-love was such an issue for me before I joined Wild Sister.

I think, because ‘world peace’ and ‘One World’ are so ingrained in my personal philosophy, I had a habit of focusing on the world outside of me and not on the inside.

I finally realized, after a second failed marriage and anxiety disorder diagnosis, that I had to take care of me before I could take care of anyone else…much less the world! Wild Sister actually had a lot to do with that.

I don’t know that I ever would have looked inside myself for healing and love without this Sisterhood.

Now, myself comes first, in the most unselfish ways I can come up with. I am much kinder to myself. My home is covered in affirmations and things that make me smile. I spend a little more money on myself. One day I’ll learn to rest as I need it, but I have a feeling that one will always be a tough one for me!

4. Do you have any go-to self-love or self-care practices for stressful days?

I love taking a hot bath with Epsom salts, baking soda, and lavender essential oil. It’s so simple, but the combination of Epsom salt and baking soda are cleansing – they remove toxins from your body. And, of course, lavender is just soothing. I have rheumatoid arthritis, so the combination of all three is just soothing.

I also love sitting down with a hot cup of coffee and writing in my gratitude journal. And recently, I started getting my hair done – actually done, by someone else. It’s not cheap, but having someone else deal with my mess of hair is fun.

5. What words of advice would you give to someone just starting out on the self-love journey?

Start off with something small! It can be difficult to put yourself first when it’s not something you’ve ever made a priority.

Schedule in a hot bubble bath once a week, a nap when you need it, or plan 20 minutes to sit and read something you enjoy.

I think that’s the key – do something you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be something pampering, just something that makes your heart happy.

6. What do you love most about being a Wild Sisterhood member?

I love the support in the Sisterhood! In a lot of other groups, posts are business-minded or productivity-minded – very ‘Go!….do!….be!’. But, in the Sisterhood, things are a bit different.

You can come just as you are and be fully loved and accepted, even if you don’t have some ‘life altering’ business to market and aren’t going through some kind of radical spiritual change. Of course, the kind of love and support offered often spawns these things, but they’re not required.

7. How has your daily life changed since joining the Wild Sisterhood?

My whole life has changed since I joined the Wild Sisterhood – and a lot of it is directly related to the changes in *me* since I joined, which I accredit to the sisterhood itself.

I feel more inspired and confident.

I have a wonderful family, but my personality, interests, and philosophies on life are just completely different from theirs, so I joined the sisterhood with very little ‘support’ in my life. I found that support in the Sisterhood.

I’m absolutely more dedicated to myself and real, heart-felt connections with others. I have found some amazing friends in this group! And, of course, collaborations just seem to come naturally – I love working with others and we all seem to love working together!

8. How are you going to make 2015 your WILDEST year yet?

This year – soon, actually! – I am launching ShaiFord.com. Finally! I’ve had the blog at The Vagabond Studio for years, and it’s been an award-winning success…but I feel like I’ve outgrown it and am moving in a very different direction.

I still have my ‘The Vagabond Studio’ Etsy shop, where I sell hand-stamped quote and affirmation jewelry, and it’s growing and expanding every time I turn around. But, I’m launching 1-on-1 work, a couple of e-books, and courses on ShaiFord.com to teach people how to brand and market their Etsy shops and other micro-businesses.

I know there’s a million ‘rock your business!’ coaches out there, but I love the handmade market and supporting Mom and Pop shops, and it really is in my heart to teach them how to succeed in today’s social media driven world.

I am also traveling back to the West coast in a few months for a week-long visit with several soul-sisters, and then Santa Fe in August for a national Campaign Non-Violence conference. Travel has become important to me, and I try to visit new places each year.

Most importantly, 2015 is going to be ‘WILD’ for me, because I’m making it about me. I’m focusing only on things that make my heart happy (or my kids’ hearts happy!) in all the best ways. It’s going to be another great year!

Connect with Shai:

The Vagabond Studio  |  Etsy Store  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

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