How have you created more freedom, mobility, or flexibility in your work life? Learn how to win a free Unsettled Costa Rica retreat this May here: https://beunsettled.co/freedom-2020/. We are celebrating members of the Unsettled community who have done just that. Read Kathy’s story and then tell us yours in the comments of this Instagram or LinkedIn post to win! #DesignForFreedom
Kathy Kearns is the Founder & CEO of THIRD LAW and an Unsettled: Costa Rica alum. As a sustainable fashion strategist with a background in strategic communications, sales, and marketing, Kathy seeks to make a positive impact on our planet and people by transforming the way we consume. In Kathy’s own words, THIRD LAW was created, “to help people live powerfully by making less do more.”
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Our Q&A with THIRD LAW’s Kathy Kearns
Looking back at that moment when you left your previous career at Google to start your own business, what were the risks? How did you feel? What was going through your mind? Prior to Google, I had a long career across global brands in media & entertainment and tech. Although Google was my dream job in many ways, I knew deep down inside that I wasn’t making the impact I wanted to see in the world. I wanted to make my mark. After nearly two decades in the corporate world, I felt a calling that told me it was time to hold my nose and jump, so I had to honor that. I didn’t have it all figured out before I left, but I’ve always been good at following my intuition and something told me this was the right time for me. It’s been an incredible journey of self-discovery and one that I thoroughly enjoy.
How long did it take you to realize you had to start something in sustainable fashion? How did you know that you just had to do this? I had started researching the space, building a community online, and putting together an early pitch before leaving my full-time job. My first business idea was around a tech platform to discover and shop sustainable brands, but as I dove deeper into customer interviews it became very clear that the pain point wasn’t around shopping, it was around what happened before people went out to shop – what was going on in their wardrobe. Most people want a closet full of things they value and love to wear, essentially fewer and better things. Serendipitously, in terms of sustainability and the impact we can have with fashion, that is exactly what we want as well – less excess and longer wear. So that’s where the idea for THIRD LAW was born – at the sweet spot between sustainability and consumer demand.
Why did you decide to go on Unsettled: Costa Rica? What did that week in an off-grid permaculture farm in the rainforest teach you? Unsettled: Costa Rica came to me at exactly the right time. I was incredibly burnt out from working on my business non-stop and being constantly on-the-go in NYC life, so I needed to catch my breath deep in nature. When I saw that the Costa Rica trip was completely off-grid in a closed-loop environment, it was a perfect fit, because I could continue learning about sustainability while also replenishing myself. The week was truly incredible on many levels. I met so many amazing people from all over the world. People who are on a journey of self-discovery like me. It was refreshing to get outside of my everyday life since I’m not only a Founder, but a wife and a mom of two little people, which made me stand out among the typical solo traveler. It was refreshing and also helped me peel back layers to the core of who I am as a person. Sometimes I am so inundated by responsibility as a mom and business owner it’s hard to get back to the freedom and sense of independence that defines me. This was a chance to let go of everything and put myself out there without any safety net. Without the armor of my New York City life and routine. It was actually very difficult for me the first couple of days, I was feeling 100% unsettled!
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Can you tell us a little bit about why you chose the name “THIRD LAW”?
THIRD LAW was inspired by Newton’s Third Law – For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The idea that we are all affecting each other – an interwoven web of impact that ripples through our lives, families, communities, and world. We believe that the actions each of us take around our clothing have the power to impact our lives and the world, for good.
There are a lot of people out there contemplating if they’re in the right job for them. What’s your advice to someone who’s on this journey and seeking something more meaningful at work?
We only have one life to live and it’s important to create what we want to see in the world. This choice is not for everyone, but if you have the burning desire inside of you, you really have to push fear aside and just start doing it regardless of what anyone thinks. You will be judged and people won’t understand what you are doing, but none of that matters. The act of creating is beautiful in and of itself. We can’t let fear hold us back or wait for “someday” to come. As my mother said, “Someday is today.” My mantras are “I have zero time for fear” (because I actually do!) and “the only path is forward.” You have to keep showing up no matter what. It’s a combination of grit, mindset, skill and, most importantly, true passion.