You may have known by now that my blog is all about women empowerment and sustainable & ethical lifestyle. That's why, I'm honored to share with you my first BWL interview with an amazing, kind, passionate and strong women entrepreneur and advocate for mental health, Sally Goncalves. Sally is the founder of Outta, a socially conscious Canadian apparel company who's mission is to spread self care awareness in their community and around the world. So many of us are suffering in silence when it comes to mental illness and to see how candid and honest Sally was in this interview made me admire the woman that she is even more. If you want to know more about Outta and the woman behind the brand, read our exclusive interview with Sally Goncalves.
Tostart with, can you tell us about yourself?
Sure, firstly thank you for this interview Junia, the work your doing is so important and it is creating a much needed movement for ethical lady entrepreneurs. I live in Toronto Canada with my husband, two kids and our pet cat. I spend my days working on my new business Outta but always find time for some self-care throughout the day like meditating, yoga or hiking.
What is Outta?
Outta is a self-care inspired apparel company that I started to raise awareness and funds for the mental health community. My main goal is to create a culture where we take care of our mental health the same way we do our physical health.
Photo Credit: www.outta.ca
Why have you decided to be a voice for those who are suffering from mental illness?
I have and still do struggle with mental health issues, (mostly anxiety now) and know what that can feel like and progress into if you don't speak up and reach out. That is the first step, to speak up about any sort of pain, struggle or illness. I was ashamed for so many years to have mental health problems and just wanted it to go away. Once I accepted the issues and started talking about it, everything changed for the better. I want others to come to that place of acceptance and freedom also.
Have you experienced mental illness around you and your entourage?
Yes, I have a family history of mental illness. Many of my friends have depression or anxiety issues and now their kids are experiencing problems too. Mental illness is a very complex health problem, unfortunately it is becoming more prevalent and we don't have enough resources or answers for those struggling which has got to change.
What inspired you to start your own sustainable and ethical clothing brand?
Well, if I am going to be honest my intention at first was not to go the sustainable route. I didn't know anything about how cruel the fast fashion industry was until I watched a movie called The True Cost ( I am sure you have heard of it, if not seen it) after that there was no going back for me. I decided I was not going to be a part of that industry and started researching Canadian made manufacturers. This took a lot of time and was frustrating but I finally found a local company to work with.
Photo Credit: www.outta.ca
Have you always shop ethically?
No, I was your fast fashion shopaholic not that long ago. I would purchase cheap clothing from the big brand stores weekly. I try my best now to shop consciously but still find it difficult with certain items especially with having kids. I actually am not a big shopper anymore but found that I enjoy thrift store shopping when I have the urge.
Who are your favorite ethical brands when it’s time to shop for yourself?
I like what Ten Tree and Wear Your Label are doing, but I try to support small businesses when I can. Etsy is great for that. I am just learning about all the amazing ethical brands that are on line through social media and on platforms like yours.
What would you say it’s the most rewarding part since you’ve started Outta?
I would say the most rewarding part is meeting new like minded people who share the same passion and purpose. I am proud to be a part of a growing community that is creating so much change with a huge impact on so many different levels.
Photo Credit: www.outta.ca
As a woman entrepreneur, what is the best advice you would give to other women who are in the process of starting their own business ?
My advice is to just begin! I waited so long to have everything in place and wasted so much time worrying about insignificant details. If you are a heart centered lady boss then follow your gut and start building your dream, the right people and opportunities seem to appear with enough hard work and faith.
What would you say, it’s the most significant barrier to women’s leadership in 2016?
Hmm, I think I may be a bit ignorant with this question. There are so many amazing powerful woman leaders, now more than ever before. This will keep growing if we can allow our own personal barriers down. I feel it's important that young girls know that they are capable of producing significant important work in the world. It's crucial that this confidence is encouraged in youth.
What would you like to accomplish, in the next 5 years with Outta?
I would love for the company to grow and be recognized for its impact with mental health solutions. Although it's important to speak up about mental health it isn't enough, I feel that the real change is in developing proper coping tools for everyone. We all have mental health and its time we take care of our minds in a consistent way. Our message is to " get outta your head" because I know from my own personal experience how living in your head can cause so much unnecessary stress and can lead to mental health issues. I believe that self-care plays a positive role with mental health and is what my company advocates for.
Where can we purchase your products?
Right now you can purchase our products at www.outta.ca, 10% of proceeds go towards mental health initiatives and you can find info on all our programs and how to get involved there too.