On April 15th, 3,200 Portlanders crammed themselves into the Keller Auditorium in search of an idea worth spreading at TEDx Portland. As the lights dimmed our fearless leader and CEO Emma Mcilroy took the stage to share the two little words that she believes stand between you and your next big idea. Emma’s story reminds us that we each have a choice, every single day, to see possibility or shut it down.
So is a dinosaur bone in your future? You’ll have to watch the video to find out…
A WORD FROM EMMA
When you start a business, it’s like a roller coaster without brakes. Every day you’re presented with problems and opportunities that feel completely new and a little daunting. The funny thing is that in these moments you don’t actually need the right answer. You just need to stay positive and open and surround yourself with a rad group of people who do the same. When these moments hit, I try to say YEAH, MAYBE. I try to allow even the craziest ideas to flourish just a little longer. Here are a few YEAH, MAYBE moments from the Wildfang journey over the last four years…. Enjoy!
1. QUITTING YOUR JOB
It was September 2012, just before my 29th birthday and I walked into my boss’ office at Nike and handed in my resignation. I remember crying all day at the thought of leaving. Yet the second that letter left my hands I knew it was the right decision. Julia and I were on a mission. We believed in this thing with every ounce of our being. We wanted this place to exist so badly. We both said YEAH, MAYBE and we’ve never looked back.
2. EVAN RACHEL WOULD…
When you get an email from Evan Rachel Wood saying she wants to work with you, first you sit down and re-read it. Then you freak out. Then you say the biggest YEAH, MAYBE of your life. We had no idea if we could pull off a project of this scale, with an actress as big as Evan, but you don’t get this opportunity twice. We had a tiny budget but every single person who touched this project (including Kim Gordon, Beth Ditto and Robin Lopez) said YEAH, MAYBE. We pulled off something truly spectacular and had a ton of fun in the process.
3. WILD FEMINISTS UNITE
It was late 2015 and we read an article about how being a feminist wasn’t cool and it was reserved for angry man-haters. That felt like total BS. Feminism is the cornerstone of gender equality and my God we have a long way to go with gender equality. Feminism is needed now more than ever. We knew it was a hot topic and not everyone would agree with us, but we said YEAH, MAYBE and launched our F Word photo series to challenge the idea of who could call themselves a feminist. Our minds have been blown at how many people across the world have rocked our Wild Feminist gear to vote, to march and to leave their mark on the world.
4. EMBRACING FREE SPEECH
It’s scary to hand the microphone directly to your customers, but that’s exactly what we did with Free Speech. It’s a monthly storytelling event at our story where we hero women’s personal stories, in particular women of color and queer women. We don’t censor it, we don’t even know what people will talk about — all we know is that when you give a badass woman a microphone and ask her to tell a personal story, powerful things happen. This is my favorite event in the Wildfang calendar.
5. GIVING BACK
2017 has been a truly challenging year. Every single one of us has felt it. In 2016 we gave over $20k to a range of charities. Wildfang customers were asking us to give even more. They wanted us to make a bigger impact. As a CEO it’s hard to make the decision to give away money when your business isn’t profitable. It was hard to say YEAH, MAYBE knowing that donating more money before we hit profitability might threaten our survival. But we did. 10% profits from all our Wildfang gear goes directly to Planned Parenthood and ACLU. Our goal is to donate over $50k this year.
We’d love to hear your #YEAHMAYBE stories. Post them on social and tag us so we can share them with the world.
Megan Holmes // Emma & Julia
Sockeye, James Westby, Kevin Fletcher // Evan Rachel Would
Jules Davies // The F Word
Steven Barker // Free Speech
Charise Ash // Wild Feminist Collection