Claudia Chudzik is a videographer with a corporate CX background who describes herself as a human design enthusiast with a passion for showcasing people’s souls on video.
When she left her successful corporate career to start her own business she initially intended to be a CX consultant. In need of photo and video assets for her own business she picked up the camera she had long since forgotten about. As she was creating content for her CX business she realized she was happiest when she was behind the camera and started following what she refers to as “happy crumbs.” As she started doing more and more of what she loved, she pivoted her new business and started pursuing videography full time.
Listen to today’s episode to find out:
4:30 how many photo/video assets you need to promote your business
4:57 why a pretty picture might not be THE BEST picture you need to represent yourself or your business
5:41 what it meant for Claudia to follow “happy crumbs”
11:58 how the pandemic shifted what customer’s need from the companies and brands they follow
13:10 how the hierarchy of needs plays into how you present your company
16:16 why customers are craving more authenticity from the brands they follow
19:50 the limiting belief that was holding Claudia back from growing her business (maybe it’s holding you back too)
21:57 what she means when Claudia says “everything has a soul”
22:35 marrying your head and your heart in your business
23:46 moving away from pain points in your marketing to understanding the bigger why behind the product you are creating
26:07 the important of being authentic in the way we show up with our customers
29:27 setting boundaries in your business in what you share online with your customers
33:00 why quantity of videos may be more important than quality of videos when you first start
34:14 why YOU do not need to be on camera to help your business grow
You're listening to The Vendors Daughter podcast. I'm your host Jennifer Calderon, also known as The Vendors Daughter. I started this podcast about seven years into working at my family's business at the time and really ever since I've been geeking out on two main topics, self improvement in business growth and development. I firmly believe that the healthier we are both mentally and physically, the better we show up for ourselves, our lives and our businesses. So on the show, we talk a lot about things like a positive mindset, why what you eat matters, why it's important to move your body, and how a gratitude practice can change your life. And because growing a business is my favorite topic, ever, we also interview entrepreneurs in various fields so that they can share how they grew their business, which means along the way, we'll also talk about things like email list growing and Instagram and knowing when it's time to hire your next employee. You guys, the only thing I might like to talk about more than business is coffee. I love coffee. So grab a fresh cup, and listen in as we deep dive into all the things.
Claudia, thank you so much for being on the show today. For everyone listening and watching would you mind introducing yourself and a little bit about your company?
Thanks so much for having me. I am Claudia. I am based in Switzerland currently and I work as a videographer capturing the souls of people, projects and environments that they're in, in short.
That's a really good synopsis. I was just telling you how much I love your work and I want to get into all of that. But I also wanted to kind of back up for everybody and talk about what you were doing before videography.
Absolutely. So I actually finished my studies in hospitality. Funny enough, I wanted to go into business and thought to myself back in the day, what fun a real case application and hospitality world would be. So that's when my journey started with focusing on people and service in general. I later, after graduating, stepped into the corporate world so I started working for a fortune 100 here in Switzerland and progressed. I jumped around many different departments trying to figure out what is it that I love and I ended up working in CX. So my last corporate job was as a CX head in the company. And what I really loved about that area of work was the fact that I was really focusing on people every day. So their needs, their desires, and how do we apply our strategy and marketing and everything to relate with people. I decided to leave corporate about a year and a half ago, it feels like yesterday, but it's been a year and a half. And I initially started consulting in CX. So that's actually what I was focusing on, and only made the pivot. I made many, many different pivots in a year and a half, It was so funny. I think my friends are still for a while we're trying to figure out what is it exactly that I'm doing because of the amount of pivots that happened in that time, that ultimately led me to right now, which is actually videography and focusing on videos, which put humans at the center of the videos.
Gosh, I love it so much. I think coming out of the last few years that we've had lots of people can relate to pivoting a lot. So I think that's very relatable in general but also especially in these times. So what about videography? I'm still wondering how did you make that connection? What made you pick up the camera in the first place?
So interestingly enough, it started with the fact that I needed content for myself because I was creating my website and then creating my social media. Initially, I decided to take on a photographer and do it externally. First of all, I did not really see at the time I underestimated the amount of assets I would need. So with how fast social media is moving now I needed a lot of assets and that is a high investment when you're hiring someone externally. Second part of it was that while I really enjoyed the output that came out, I thought it was really beautiful pictures and videos. I wasn't really resonating with how I came across with my personality. So the pictures I felt like weren't necessarily showing. They were a really pretty capture of what I fit look like not necessarily showing me, I'm a little weird and that wasn't necessarily coming across in the videos or photos. So I picked up a camera initially to start doing it for myself taking assets for myself and that led to shooting a video for my friend's birthday. And that somehow extended into me receiving a phone call for someone's wedding, which led to a company and before I knew it, it's almost like some individuals call it pivoting into it. And in my case, it was almost like following happy crumbs. So I just all of a sudden started following, doing more in the day of what was making me happy. And that little crumb trail ready to videography, which in retrospect, I forgot that as a kid, I would pick up cameras a lot. And it's something I let go off when I was a teenager and I just rediscovered that side of me that I completely forgot about later on in life now.
I love that! I love following your happy crumbs. But then I also looking at your work, I assumed that like this was your background that this is what you always wanted to do and that your career at CX was paying the bills. But this sounds like something you've really honed in on in the last year and a half.
Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, it's something like happy crumbs, if I was following a trail of what was making my heart happy. And as you said, it's been a challenging two years so any kind of glimpse of putting a smile back on the faces was what I was looking for. In that moment, I didn't really realize at the time that it would lead me into a career.
Gosh, that is so cool. That's just so inspirational. Just follow what makes you happy and it leads somewhere good. So good. You were talking about not really appreciating or not really fully resonating with the photos that came back that they that they showed a pretty sight of you. But it wasn't showing like all aspects of you. And on your website, you talk a lot about how everything has a soul. And when you're doing your projects, you're really putting the people at the center of it, you're putting the soul at the center of it. So how is that different than just like taking a photo? Or how are you getting a different experience for people.
I'll share a quick story because I think it's a good example of what I found really interesting when I did one of the first shoots. So I don't necessarily take photos but it just so happened to one of the first projects I landed I was asked to also take some headshots of individuals inside of a company. And what I found really interesting is that I would take a series of photos and then together with the team we would sit down and look at all the headshots of all the individuals, the team knew each other really well. What I found really interesting is that the shot that the person would choose would be a completely different shot that the team would cumulatively choose for them. And it's interesting, because I think it made me realize that some of the pictures that the team was choosing, it was not necessarily the perfect picture, it was not the way we were kind of setting ourselves up on the picture. But they were choosing the picture where the person had crinkle around the eyes, because they were laughing so hard. And for them, they were saying, oh, this is exactly how that person is in meetings, or, you know, this is how we know this person to be. And so I think that's kind of where that difference comes in. And I've noticed this with my pictures as well is that sometimes I will choose a picture of myself and my family or my friends will come out and say but this is not exactly you we can see in your eyes this is a more staged photo or a staged video. So to come back to your question, I think what I really enjoy doing is not over scripting and so even when working with companies what I really try to focus on is replicating the real case scenario. So if we are going to shoot a reunion, if we want to show a community field, I would not necessarily ask people to come in and pretend that they haven't seen each other in a long time, I will actually work with the company on setting up a quick coffee with some people who haven't actually seen each other in a long time to come together and just capture that moment. Because when it comes to energy, one thing I personally found is that it's really hard to fake chemistry and I know that there are actors that are really incredible at doing that. But most of the time when it comes to social media assets it's individuals like myself and I'm terrible in front of camera. Funnily enough, I have a huge red button syndrome and I started sweating the moment that camera comes on so if someone asks me to follow a certain process, it's really hard for me to show up authentically on that. What happens most often is that the pictures are really of myself or videos that someone captured is because maybe my partner was actually sneaking a video of me more when I wasn't paying attention so I was showing up as my natural self. Most of the time, we tried to recreate the moment rather than staging it, at least that's what personally works for me really well for that,
That makes so much sense. I also hate being in front of the camera so the photos that were taken with me where I didn't know the camera was there, I enjoy those so much more. Because it's like, when I look at a photo of me where I'm where I was posed for it, I can feel my own uncomfortability in that. I can still feel how unsecure or insecure I felt so I like the ones where I had no idea that the camera was rolling. I totally resonate with that. For your work, you run the gamut, right? You'll do weddings, you'll do business, I saw one video on your Instagram, I must have been on your Instagram where you were working with a snack company and it was start to finish someone ordered and then you took them through the boxing experience. We also have a snack box company and I thought that is such a cool video. I would love to replicate something like that. I'm derailing a little bit the conversation but I was I thoughts well my warehouse isn't very pretty and we would have to rearrange things to make it look more beautiful, you know, but I like what you're saying, let's just capture the way things actually are. So that's kind of nice to hear.
And if I may add to that, I mean, one thing that I found really interesting is I was sitting in research a lot when the pandemic hit two years ago. And I was actually in Italy when it all started. So I saw the evolution got moving really fast. I mean, I was running to the border in time to get back into Switzerland before they shut down Italy. So I was the first person, I was in that first group of people quarantined in Switzerland before anything even started. So because of it I think I started really early, I sat down and I started researching and trying to anticipate what's going to happen in terms of buyers behavior in general. Yeah, as a result of this, this was back in March 2020. At the very beginning, I was watching the progression in other countries, Switzerland was coming quite late. We were able to observe other countries before it started for us and all the lockdowns started happening. And one thing that became very interesting in observing, and I mean, I don't have any scientific proof for this, it was just from pure observation, because it was all moving so fast, is if you look at the Maslow hierarchy of needs, and the very basic one being security, and kind of safety, etc, and then moving on to self realisation, etc, at the very top, is that we've been, from my observation, we've been feeling we've been living in the world a little bit before 2020, where we were operating very much in that top level of the of the pyramid already. We got comfortable, it was last year 2008, etc and then what happened in 2020 is that everything went back down to the very beginning, we started worrying again about our security and safety and all these basic needs. So what people needed out of companies in that moment was confirmation of how are they dealing with this? What are they doing for their employees and this concern for the reality of the situation and the evolution of that today? I feel like we moved a little bit more into wanting authenticity, it opened up the channels to companies to show the reality because when we started companies had to overnight start telling quite openly with what's happening with them, etc. It wasn't this beautiful state marketing anymore, it was very real. And I almost feel like we had a sped up shift to start being more open as companies and more transparent.
So today, what I've noticed about consumers in general clients is that I think it started this desire and especially the younger generation and I was leading that as well more in this transparency of how are our things really looking and what's authentic for a company and not necessarily staging like back in the 90s, when we're really staging and selling your customers, how they're going to be using our product but more collaborating with them on how do we develop our products? And what did they want out of us? And how are we, what are we doing behind to supply for them, what they're asking of us? And coming back to your comments about showing that on video I think that's also the beauty of it is that with video we can show the reality of the behind the scenes, the really curious part about the real, very real people that stand behind these products. There's someone at a desk every day answering customer emails and packing that order and putting the little handwritten notes for the people that are doing that, there's something very relatable with that. And it shows, I think, a lot of care for companies. So me as a customer, I cannot speak for every customer out there, but I love behind the scenes videos and really seeing, you know, that not perfect warehouse, but that real warehouse of oh my gosh, that's my order, and it's going out there. And there's this really real human who's packed my order and put a lot of love and care into putting on that sticker so that when I open it at home it's really nice.
Gosh, I love that so much. I feel like I needed to hear that because it's hard. And I don't know, maybe I'm just in my own way, sometimes or my own worst enemy critic, however you want to say it but it's like knowing that we pivoted into a snack box, because of the pandemic, we normally just service offices in the Bay Area. So kind of going into the market, and thinking oh well, my box isn't pretty enough, or we're so small compared to these other companies that have already been so big. Even in the midst of the pandemic, I was gonna say I was trying to make us look like bigger than we were. I was trying to look like I thought people wanted us to look instead of just showing up the way that we actually are and our sales have not been great. So I'm thinking, Well, gosh, maybe if I had just shown up as my messy self and stop trying to pretend to be somebody else it would have been way less stressful for me and it would have been a more enjoyable experience for everybody else.
Yeah, I think you're moving on to a really interesting subject as well, for me, which is something I've noticed about myself moving out of corporate. In corporate I made up this persona and I mean, my business in particular is well, I am the business and products. So it was very interesting that when I first moved out of corporate I didn't realize this, it took me a while to notice, but I made up this very corporate persona of how I was showing up to the world. And so if someone were to ask me at the time was I being authentic, I would say 150% sure, I was being authentic, I really felt like I was being authentic. I didn't realize that it was this perfect curated version of me that I was showing up in my business world that I felt what I thought at the time, I needed to show up as, however old I was at the time, person inside of corporate in order to be taken seriously. And it was very much fueled by fears, and impostor syndrome and other things. So what was really fascinating, I found that this was a really nice surprise, is that as I was working through this, to break down these walls for me, and start figuring out who I really am and what would it look like if I was to show up really, truly authentically. What does authentic really mean for me, because I didn't even really realize that I didn't know myself that well. The more I started showing up as the weird, imperfect self the more my business started growing, actually. And the reason is, I spoke to a couple of clients about this. And they said in order because I really liked that you were very honest about the fact that you never did a wedding before, because I was very I was you know very scared on my first wedding. I would be terrified. If you don't get, I mean, hopefully this is their only wedding ever. And so, I mean, if I don't capture that I do well, that's it, done that moments gone. I mean, I can't walk up to them and be like, I'm so sorry I didn't catch that. Would you mind going back to the alternative? Get married again, please? So I was very, very honest about it. And that scared me that that concept after two years of you know, especially I had this thought when I was in corporate which wasn't really serving me very well is that you can't show weakness. And you can't show that you don't know how to do something or you can't show that. So the first time that I came forward it was very scary. But I didn't realize that that became one of the things that my clients started appreciating is the transparency. I mean, I was very transparent about having done the wedding, I will do everything to prepare for it, I will give it my 150% and work on overdrive to make sure that it comes off with it. But that's the reality and somehow that was very freeing. So there is something to do with finding your authenticity in it, and also value system and what is the values that we want, what serves us? What values are we catering for and nurturing? And what values are we squashing in the process of, you know, letting our fears kind of get in the way?
That's so well said. And I love that idea of if you are serving some values, that by nature, you're not serving others or you're silencing others. And also, it was just thinking of to say that it was freeing to be that transparent, I could see that because there's so much energy if you were trying to pretend that you had done a wedding before, you would have been putting so much energy into maintaining that facade that even if you were doing the same type of prep work, it just has a different energy behind it, as opposed to being free to explore and be curious, instead of trying to be secretive. I think there's just a very different energy that comes with that. And I'm sure you've got a beautiful result from your first wedding.
The client was happy that's the most important.
Well, kind of in this vein of being authentic and sharing your true self a little before we pushed record, we were talking about your new website designed and it's just beautiful. It's fun, and quirky. And you share a lot I feel about your personal journey but then you also talk about this idea that everything has a soul and how you're trying to capture that you even have a soul playlist for yourself, which I just thought was absolutely genius. I love music. I think music is just like the best purest way to connect with people. But how did you decide what was going to go onto your website? Like what parts of yourself? Did you like knowingly share that you thought would resonate with clients or customers? I guess?
Right. Absolutely. I mean, I think this is the first time in my life, I made a combination of you read on my website that I have a conflict of head and heart a lot. And my head is, I like to call it, where my head is my little logical brain and I am someone who's very practical and logical as a person in general. And then I have this heart that's very music and spontaneity and buy a ticket to London tomorrow because why not? It would be a lot of fun. And sometimes these two sides of me fight a lot of things. Yeah, so my previous websites, and I've had over the last year because of the amount of pivots, actually don't even remember and I will have to sit down one day and count how many websites there were in the process. I think the first websites were very driven by my head and my CX experience. And it was very much about looking at the customer and the customer profile that I was serving, and then figuring out their needs and their pain points and then making sure that they're really highlighted in the websites, etc. so it's very painfully point driven and especially it was mostly for consulting so it was really about, you know, what is the pain point for the customer? And how could I support them and resolving those pain points for them. This most recent website was the first time I think that I married a little bit more of the head and the heart and hence the playlist is there which was very scary for me at the first time because I suppose will people think I'm crazy. So what kind of came up is of course I mean, again, I did look very much at CX and who is my customer and who am I serving and what are my services and what do we want to put forward and what are we, what is the why, what do I mean people tend to know they want a video but why do they need the video? Is it because they are trying to preserve a memory or with an if when it's a wedding but when it's a video for social media for a company chance that there's a business goal behind it What might that guess business goal be? And so how do we make sure we put that forward that the customer, when reading the website, knows that this is not the video it's the carrier for them reaching the goal that they're looking out to reach with it. Because if we do a nice video ends up people say that's a cool video. Well, that's great. But for business, in the end, that video is an investment into reaching some type of goal. So what is that goal? Then the hard part was more about what kind of made me different from other videographers is of course the style that I've film in and I have my particular style and every videographer has their own style. But what's important for me and my business is that we have a lot of fun in it as well. I mean, video, for me is something that's a fun experience. And I hope to make it as fun as possible of an experience for my clients as well. Sometimes it almost becomes like a team bonding exercise if we have a whole team involved and to do that, it became important for me to also share a little bit about myself and make the customer comfortable with me. The only way that I felt that was possible was to do a little bit of what I'm asking them to do. And it says I'm asking them to give me a peek into who they really are on video, especially once we're doing videos where there's one person being the focus, the least I can do on my site is give them a peek into who I am, and kind of, you know, much meet them at the same space so that they're not alone and kind of baring their soul in a way. And the last thing to say about that is that one thing that I struggle, I'm someone who's very private in general. So I struggled with where's the line? I mean, of course, there's the line of,
you know, how far is too far to share about yourself. But the second part is like, how far am I comfortable without violating my kind of need for privacy? And so I heard a podcast or I think it was club clubhouse, someone said that a really good tool is to set up boundaries for yourself out of the gate, and to tell yourself, what are you okay with sharing way in advance of posting anything on social media, etc. and saying, Okay, well, I feel really comfortable with talking about this. But these are parts that I don't feel comfortable with and so I set myself an outline on some things. For example, I'm very comfortable talking about my burnout and about my insecurities, and about my imposter syndrome. These are things that don't cause anxiety to talk about it, because it's things that I've worked through already. But I feel very private about my family, for example. And so this is something that I decided very early on, that I don't necessarily want to share publicly about unless my family explicitly says that they would like to be a part of it. So yeah, so setting those boundaries and figuring out what doesn't necessarily cause panic attacks.
I love that you shared that. Because I think especially in social and like behind the scenes with stories, people feel like they have to share nothing or everything. And there's so many different degrees within that, like we haven't talked about your family at all. And I feel like I've gotten to know you quite well in the last 30 minutes or just from your website. I think you can very much choose which parts of you want to share and not showing everything doesn't mean that you're being inauthentic it means you're just choosing to share certain parts of you. And then also what you were saying about show, at least you can show a little bit of yourself in exchange, because you're asking your clients to do the same thing. It made me think of those conversations that I hate when you have decided to be open or a little vulnerable with somebody and they don't meet you in that like we I've had friends in the past where when you got together, they asked you very personal questions and I would answer but then when I thought we were exchanging and I was waiting for them to answer the same question. It was just crickets and thought well, that just feels a little gross. You know, I felt a little taken advantage of in the situation. So I love this idea of if you're asking your clients to be vulnerable, then you can also give them a little vulnerability in exchange.
Yeah, absolutely and in the end, it's about what makes us feel comfortable. I mean, the goal is not to start doing something that I think it's very tricky to figure out what is that? What is it that makes us comfortable? Because we're scared of it and what is it that makes us uncomfortable? Because it's actually not something that it's a value conflict situation. And if it comes from a place of I don't know, some individuals are really private they shield their emotions a lot. And it's just because that's comfort zone for them, not because they wouldn't be able to but just because they don't necessarily like to. I think it's totally fair. It's for them not to share and take and find probably other ways to have an experience of sharing without meeting at the same place. So I guess it's just down to figuring out what is that comfort zone for us where we can be truthful and transparent, etc, without having to kind of violate our inner child in the process or make them feel unsafe in a weird way. Because some experience, like I said, some experiences, I'm very comfortable sharing, and people are sometimes surprised about how comfortable I am sharing them. But it's again, because I healed and it no longer has that emotional impact on me. But then other experiences are still very fresh. And these, they're so fresh that by talking about them publicly, I feel like I'm putting a possibility of them being triggered or hurt again. So I could share them, I could challenge myself to share them. But it's also okay not to because it's a protection mechanism just to allow us to heal first before we go out and share it. And that's also totally okay.
I completely agree. I think it was Brene Brown who said when she was asked how do you decide what you wont share and what you will share, when it's okay to share and she said something very similar that she knows it's okay to share when she's been healed from it, if she's still going through it. If it's something her and her spouse are still going through, then it's an absolutely, no, I'm not going to bring it up not only because it violates that trust that you have with yourself with your partner like your inner child, but it also violates the audience a little bit, it's a little uncomfortable. It's like bringing them into a mess and people don't typically want, I don't know, it's weird, because they want to be part of the behind the scenes but usually, if you're in the thick, you don't want to be brought into the middle of a couples fight kind of thing. It's just awkward like being the third person in the room kind of thing. So I thought that was a good rule of thumb, if you're healed from it, if you can bring it up without re-injuring yourself, then it's a good place to start.
But gosh, Claudia, I want to talk to you forever but I want to respect your time as well. I guess one kind of final question, and maybe this isn't a great place to end but if anyone is looking to start their own video within their company, do you have any suggestions of a good place to start? They've never made a video, there's no video on their website, they've never done video for Instagram, do you have any recommendations of a good place to start and then we'll tell them where they can find you?
Absolutely. Honestly, the beauty of Instagram and Tiktok these days is that it's really about quantity over quality. Sometimes, we're so used to quality that we can sometimes get in our head and not start with video just because we want to make it perfect. And I think again, going back to authenticity and transparency and everything. I think the easiest place is just to start and try things out like experiment. Again, these platforms are so much about experimentation and it's very easy to pick up what works well for us or what creates engagement, what creates resonance with people. So trying out small videos, even if they're not perfect, even if they're not perfectly lit, and if as long as we're having fun with it, it's gonna turn out great. There's so many individuals now that are coming up on video where we kind of feel like we need to be in the video. And it just might be weird coming from me where my focus is actually on people. But it's important to say that it's not 100% unnecessary to be on the video either. There's so many great videos out there, they're performing really well, which are focused on the product, or even just hands coming in, or people showing how they're doing something so not necessarily showing their face if someone's uncomfortable with showing their face. There's so many different ways so I think the best place to start would be to just pick up a trend. Go through the Tick Tock page or the Explore page of Instagram. Just choose one trend that feels comfortable. It may be one if someone doesn't like showing their face, maybe one that shows a day off or how do we package our order from above where we see the face in the box and that's it and just give it a go to replicate that video for themselves. And then that's a great place to start and then not worrying too much about it being perfect, etc. What I found really interesting is that more often than not the videos that I do that are very spontaneous very on the spot, I just kind of pick up my phone, not even my camera. I pick up my phone, I do something, and then took me two seconds I posted and that somehow goes really well. One of those videos, I did a video on Tick Tock a year ago, a little over a year ago, where I picked up and there was a gentleman asking what is the weirdest thing that's normal in your country, but weird everywhere else in the world? And so I just kind of spontaneously grabbed the phone and answered that question, and posted it and woke up the next day to 100,000 views on it. I wasn't planning on that video, it was just my response to something about Switzerland that I found interesting. I did not expect it to end up in Buzzfeed the next day, a couple days later. But that was the video that blew up. On the other hand, I had times where I set up the camera and did perfect lighting and then took three hours edited, posted it and it was crickets after just one rule of thumb. So just starting somewhere and then experimenting and not worrying too much about it being perfect in any type of way.
Such good advice. I think that that fear that kind of feeds perfectionism keeps us from starting a lot. So I love that advice. And for anybody who wants to work with you, you're based in Switzerland, but your website says you are willing to travel anywhere I love it and she specifically wants a coffee in Bali as well, so if anyone out there listening, but no, you'll travel anywhere you do weddings, corporate events for people who are ready to take that next step. Where can they find you?
Absolutely. So I don't have the easiest surname in the world but you can find me at claudiachudzik.com and then my Instagram handle is @claudiachudzik as well. So shoot me a DM, I answer on Instagram or send me an email and I would love to have a coffee and figure out if we can find a way to do magic together.
I love it. Thank you so much and we'll link to everything in the show notes as well.
Thank you so much.
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