Ever heard the saying, "Don't compare your hustle to someone else's highlight reel"? If that's the case, you may have also felt the struggle of opening up Instagram only to find yourself lost in a sea of other people's best moments. Here's the thing: hard days and self-doubt are totally normal, and chances are, you're doing just fine.
If you've been on the hunt for a feed that's equally as feel-good as it is honest, then meet Emery and Ashley, co-founders of GRLCHILL. With a mission to create a safe space for you to explore mental health, get empowered and challenge society's beauty standards, they're unapologetically spreading self-love and acceptance, all while working on their own long-distance friendship in the process. We love the ladies of GRLCHILL and know you'll want to check out what they've got going on!
1. First, tell us a bit about yourselves! Who are Emery and Ashley, and what is GRLCHILL?
Ashley - Okay, here we go! We're two best friends that have been through A LOT. From staying in hotel rooms that smelt of cat pee (we’ll save that story for another time) to going through the changes of womanhood. Emery has made a life for herself moving around Canada as a content creator which led her to Toronto and into my arms (cue the cheesy music from a John Hughes film). Long story short, we met as co-workers, became best friends and began GRLCHILL.
Emery - It was definitely love at first sight. GRLCHILL became our safe haven. In the past, both Ashley and I had questionable friendships. Not all were bad, but not all were super positive either. I struggled with the treacherous “girl world” a few years back before meeting Ashley, and Ash was sorting through a few unhealthy friendships herself. But our friendship has never been like that. I don’t think there has been one day since we met when we haven’t fully supported each other. We are each other’s cheerleader. Sure, there are days when we annoy the hell out of each other but she’s my girl! At the end of the day she has my back and I have hers.
A - Girl, don’t make me cry! But honestly, what started as a safe haven for Em and I, has transformed into a beautiful, safe space for others. GRLCHILL has become a brand that fosters friendship and vulnerability. We’re two girls that are here to share our story!
2. We love that you so fearlessly address issues (e.g.: body image, mental health, sex positivity) with an openness and vulnerability that people can identify with. What was one thing that surprised you about deciding to share these pieces of yourselves and your friendship?
A - We are still shocked by the support that we've found in this social space. We know that we're going to come across people that disagree with our views or deal with the odd internet troll, but this isn’t for them. We share these types of stories for the people that can relate to them, so that maybe they can feel supported in some way. It’s as simple as that.
E - It’s amazing the messages we get from people opening up to us and sharing their own stories with us. Women (and even men) will open up to us about what they're going through and it feels so pure and beautiful. It’s really cool knowing there is so much support out there to give and receive!
3. We love the visuals on your feed - what (or who) inspires you?
E - We are constantly inspired by other females - the females that are pushing out diversity, speaking openly about mental health and shouting out equality. Women are such bad ass creatures, it’s not hard to feel empowered once you enter that community. GRLCHILL generates its own content which gives us more freedom to be loud and bold and get our voices heard. The female collective is super powerful and perseverant, and we try to emulate that through our visuals.
4. How do you stay authentic to your message and priorities while developing and solidifying your brand?
A - Staying authentic takes a lot of hard work. We're constantly re-asking ourselves what GRLCHILL is and if our messaging is clear enough? But as we’ve grown, we learned to ask ourselves the hard question: “What makes GRLCHILL different? What truly sets us apart?” if it's hard to answer right away, go back to that question every day until you can answer it confidently.
E - And don’t compare yourself to others - I know, easier said than done. We've all be there before, where we'll creep though a stranger's super cool feed and suddenly feel shit about ourselves. That's basically the "drink the poison, expect the other person to die" analogy. Instead, focus on building your personal empire and stay true to your messaging. Begin to understand that you're on a different journey than everybody else, and relish in that. It's absolutely okay to celebrate your own story. Be proud of YOU. In the words of RuPaul “If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” can I get an amen?
5. Amen! And congratulations on running your first event - it must have been amazing to see the community you’ve been building online come together in person. What kind of advice would you give to someone looking to grow their following and establish meaningful connections?
A - Oh, thank you so much! We threw the event with another brand that we've been internet friends with the last year, so it was super rad that we got to hang out IRL.
Our biggest piece of advice when looking to establish meaningful connections is always stay true to yourself and don't be afraid to reach out to people and start up conversations. The worse that can happen by reaching out is an unanswered email/phone call. That's literally it! Throw the fear of rejection out the window and start opening up your network. No one's going to know about you unless you tell them about you. People are really cool and supportive - we’re all humans at the end of the day!
6. What’s next for GRLCHILL?
E - Right now, we're really focusing on pushing out our GRLTALK episodes on Youtube and producing some rad content along with it. We want to be able to show friendship in a different light. We want to feature our good days and definitely our bad days. We’re also in the talks of opening up our own GRLCHILL shop! It's so weird saying that out loud. But yes, GRLCHILL merch will be available in the near future!!
7. How do you #workit everyday?
A - Never hate the hustle. Building a brand is no small feat, it takes a lot of work. Don't expect a seamless timeline in order to achieve success. Just trust in the process. Wake up, learn something new, and never be afraid to go out and #workit. You might fail, but what if you don't!
We want to send out a giant "thank you" to Emery and Ashley for spending some time with us. We can't wait to see what's next for GRLCHILL and the community they've built. Find them on their website, Instagram and subscribe for new videos on their YouTube channel!