Trailblazing Queens: Emma + Sarah, The Wayward Co.
Written by Rebecca Rusinovic
Hi Emma and Sarah! Yes Queen is so excited to have you on board. Your journey to creating The Wayward Co very much embodies the ambitious trailblazer of Yes Queen.
Prior to launching The Wayward Co you both worked in publishing, which social media can often glamorise, but it actually involves a lot of hard work! What do you need to be successful in such a competitive industry?
The first thing that comes to mind is resilience. Because, although it seems glamorous (and can be sometimes) mostly, it’s a bunch of very hardworking girls (and some guys) behind their desks racing to meet deadlines… and there’s a lot of menial work involved particularly in those entry level roles. The reality is you’re probably not going to walk in and be able to write the cover story in your first week, and although you’ll get there in the end, the road will likely be filled with a lot of rejection. It’s definitely not personal – there could be any number of reasons your story doesn’t get picked up – and your ego can take a real hit, so you need to be able to bounce back.
I think that, combined with a passion for the industry and a proactive approach to tasks also really helps. We both started off as work experience students and PA’s running a lot of errands for people, fetching lunches, taping shoes for photoshoots and endless photocopying – no job was too small or meaningless for us. And, rather than sitting around waiting to be asked to do something we offered our help where we saw it was needed. One of the reasons we both got our break in mags was because of our endless enthusiasm for doing these small things – it showed the higher-ups that we were there because of our genuine love for publishing and writing… not just for the free lipstick! We just both really wanted to be there. That passion for quality content and wanting to help (and inspire!) people through our writing is what drove us throughout our junior roles, our editorships and now creating The Wayward.
Yes Queen’s mission is about future proofing wellness in work by erasing bullying and creating more safe, supportive and positive spaces. Do you think the publishing industry needs to revaluate this aspect of its culture?
In the Devil Wears Prada there’s a line that gets repeated to Andie, about how “a million girls would kill for her job”, and this sentiment is definitely present in publishing culture too. It can breed a real insecurity, and if people don’t feel safe and valued in their roles, they can become defensive and competitive… it instils such a fear into people that can be quite toxic.
As the publishing industry is predominantly women, the greater thing that needs to be addressed is how we, as women, support and celebrate each other, rather than seeing other successful women as a threat to themselves and their job. I don’t think a workplace can be a positive environment l if everyone is feels fearful and disposable.
You’ve both said that The Wayward Co is something that has been brewing for almost a decade. What was the catalyst to launching in 2018?
We started our careers together as juniors on Cosmopolitan Magazine, but only worked with each other for two years. That was long enough to solidify a friendship, but ever since we’ve been yearning to join forces again. 2018 was the first year where our career stars aligned again. We were both freelancing and looking for something to channel our passion into. We had both, as we say, “gone wayward”, and taken different life paths since we stepped out of publishing, and we knew we wanted to create something that we both wanted to read, something that made us feel good, and something that we believed was contributing to the greater good. We wanted everyone who visited the site to come away feeling inspired – whether that was from learning about a new form of meditation, reading about an amazing travel experience, or just from connecting with a story about someone, just like them, who was living life a little differently.
How do you think your backgrounds and life experiences have impacted the content you post on The Wayward Co?
The Wayward IS a culmination of everything we’ve been through, learned and experienced in our lives. We’ve had similar paths, both in our personal and professional lives, and it led us to a similar place. We’re always seeking to understand ourselves – and our bodies - better, which is why I think we were both drawn to esoteric practices and holistic therapies. And we also both lost our fathers quite young, which really shifts your perspective and makes you re-evaluate your life path…not to mention connects you deeply with you spiritual side. This combined with our love of storytelling and connecting with likeminded souls was the perfect recipe to create The Wayward.
The Wayward Co touches on everything from travel to style to wellness; wellness is a big theme for Yes Queen. How can businesses incorporate more wellness in 2019?
Offering yoga and/or meditation sessions regularly (ideally once a week or more) would be a good start! It’s amazing the effect these practices can have on our mental health, and the follow-on effect of that is that everyone is less stressed, which in turn makes everyone work better and creates a happier workplace! But if that’s not viable, even an hour early mark every week or two where employees can leave and pursue their own wellness practices is lovely idea that is possible for every work place to employ.
We love how the The Wayward Co is centred on finding the ‘magic in the mundane and adding a little sparkle to everyday tasks and rituals.’ Where did this idea come from and why is it such a significant part of The Wayward Co?
We really began investing deeply in these ideas around ritual, routine and finding joy in every day moments as our interest in yoga and meditation developed. There is so much emphasis in our culture around living in the future. “If I only I had dream job/dream partner/dream home/etc I’d be happy.” It’s not only a recipe for being, well, pretty miserable, but it also takes you out of the present and you miss out on so much.
Cultivating a sense of presence, slowing down, and paying attention to the here and now, you begin to see experience life with a sense of wonder and enchantment. Doing mundane or everyday things like going for a walk, taking a bath, making a cup of tea, going outside and looking up at the moon, lying outside on grass, all these things sound pretty “normal” when you are truly present they take on a special quality.
As the site covers such a wide range of content, how do you choose what to feature on your Instagram?
We promote a mix of our own original content and regrammed images. We’re developing a relationship with our audience where they hopefully feel inspired, motivated, enlightened and reflected in what we’re putting out. We don’t have any hard and fast guide lines, it’s a very intuitive process of sharing stories and images that speak to us and seeing whether they resonate.
Who did you create The Wayward Co for and what does a Wayward co reader embody?
The brand was really created to fill a gap in the market. The more interested we became in holistic healing, self-care and esoteric practices the more we realised there wasn’t really a platform out there that truly resonated. We wanted to create the site we were searching for. Somewhere where you could go and read about alternative practices, healing modalities and people doing life differently, presented with a modern aesthetic.
Our readers are men and women who are interested in looking after their physical and mental health but also deepening their connection to their own intuition. They aren’t necessarily working within the wellness industry (although many do), but they are invested in learning how to take better care of themselves.
What do you hope people get from visiting the site?
We hope that people visiting the site find really thought-provoking, original engaging content. We want our audience to feel energised and inspired to follow their inner guidance after they’ve connected with our content. We hope they have moemnts like “Wow, I never thought of it that way!” or “I want to try that out, that could really help me!” or “F*ck it! I am going to follow my own path and do my own thing!”
There’s a lot of subliminal guilt and shame in media, especially content targeting women, so we want to come from the polar opposite perspective.
Yes Queen is obsessed with Astrology, what sparked this inclusion in the content of the Wayward Co?
Both of us have been interested in astrology since we were little kids. We both have a lot of earth in our charts which is why we work (and play) so well together.
Emma is our resident astrologer. Her interest picked up a few years ago quite intuitively. She was noticing shifts in energy and seeing it correlated with what she was reading was happening in the sky. After devouring books and listening podcasts she decided to study formally at Sydney Astrology School. Because she is also obsessed with music she finds playlists are a good way to explain different energies to readers who might not be too familiar with the different energy of the planets.
2018 was a big year for women and 2019 is going to be even better – who are your idols and sources of inspiration?
We’re really inspired by the new guard of women in wellness like astrologers Chani Nicholas and Jessica Lanyadoo, and intuitive healer and tarot expert Lindsay Mack who are using their craft as a vehicle for empowerment and activism. They really inspire their audience to not only heal themselves but also play an active role in their community to create change and start important conversations about race, gender, social justice and the environment.
Our theme this year is ‘Fearless’. What are some ways Yes Queens can be fearless in 2019?
Often the hardest thing to do is to stay still and not act, or immediately commit to opportunities when they come up. As women we’re taught from an early age to be “nice” and “accommodating” and say “yes, of course, no problem!”.
This year we’re trying to be more mindful about where we commit our energy and attention and a lot of that starts with saying “let me think about it and get back to you,” rather than saying committing on the spot.
Everyone has a little voice inside that says, “you should be grateful they asked you,” or “what if no other opportunities come up”. It takes serious fearlessness to not jump in and overcommit.