Practical Empowerment: Bree Pear on Good People Doing Good Things

Practical Empowerment: Bree Pear on Good People Doing Good Things

By Preslie Hirsch |
Mar, 06 2020

Bree: when people would come up to me tears in their eyes, shaking and say, You know, I had this plan to take my life, I was gonna end it. And then for some reason I found you guys and that all changed for me. And then maybe they joined the advocates. Maybe they went on a give trip with us. It changed them. They found the people that they felt like they were missing. And that's something that, like I'm just so proud of, that it's not just happened once that it's happened so many times now I actually can't keep track.

Preslie: Hey there. And welcome back to practical empowerment. Inspiring conversations with Valley Leaders Brought to you by I'm your host, Presley Hirsch on today's show, we're chatting with Bree Pear, the founder of Only Human as a purpose driven company with a massive following an advocate program. Only Human is good people doing good things for good causes through in person events, fostering an online community, personal storytelling of really hard to talk about subjects and apparel with messages that create conversations on Lee. Human is reinventing the way that we create connection and as Bree says, it's not just about finding each other online. It's about finding each other in the real world,

Bree: in a world of technology and social media, and this being so connected to one another on a global scale that it's important that we still find and seek those people that we really connect with in person. I think it's what we need to foster more of. Right now, we see mental health becoming a bigger and bigger struggle, and I think it's because we're staying locked in these spaces in these devices where we feel like we have to live up to other people's lives. It's a big, you know, comparison toe that pretty picture over there, that long, wonderful feet. It's like Why then you think, Why is my life you know, like this? Why am I sad? But really, you know, if you go back to it like we're tribal human beings like we were meant to be together and this is the first time in any human history that we've started to disband that and I think it's really important in our mission that we just figure out ways to bring people together. Yeah, life when

Preslie: you started only human Did you know that you wanted it to have a big in person component? Or did it start Maurin kind of that online community space

Bree: Because it was routed so deeply And like my personal journey and personal story, it was my own need. And that's always the thing that I say is, You know, when I started only human, I was actually out of this, like, selfish portion of like I needed that change in my life thes air, The things I needed to hear. This is what I needed to Dio. And then I realized that there was, you know, that humanness isn't everyone. So every time I told a story or was vulnerable, there would be six different people that were like, Hey, me too had did this or, you know, I really relate to that. And if we can do more of that, you can sort through problems without feeling the need for medication or alcohol or excess eating and and being, you know, stuck in this one confined space. I think power of solution is in people events Totally. 

Preslie: That’s so good because you do a lot of traveling right you and only humans seem to be popping up all over. You know, from following you on Instagram, it seems like you guys are always in different cities. And you, what kind of experience you're trying to cultivate at these festivals or out these pop ups that you're doing? Is it really like you're trying to form connections at a big public event? Or what is it that you're trying to bring to these in person events

Bree: fun? Because my business partner and I have been, in a lot of like, business see meetings lately. So they're like KP eyes and metrics and an engagement and all these numbers and we're like, No, like what we judge is hugs, given hands, shaken like conversations had It's the rial things that mattered us. We, you know, our vendors at a lot of events were traveling almost every weekend, whether it's local events or in US states, Canada next year, how? But it's also these give back trips we've been doing. It's the chance toe. Come on, a trip where it's not just about you. It's about this connection in this group of like minded humans who want to do better in communities, but also who might want to be working on themselves and doing that soul work. So it's kind of like a service strip without church. It's just good humans doing good things for good causes.

Preslie: That's awesome. And speaking of causes. So I know that every month you have a shirt that features a different cause, and a lot of them are pretty big, like it's not surface level stuff. It's like you're tackling suicide awareness and bullying and school. And some of these bigger topics is part of the purpose of making a shirt around that to draw attention to the topic and create conversations.

Bree: Absolutely. I've been talking a lot lately about how every morning you make a decision when you put on what you're wearing, whether it be for fashion trend or something that you like, you're still making a decision as to what you're saying to the world that day, and in creating these cause, campaign shirts and these T shirts and hoodies and things that you know, people ask like Are you a fashion brand? You clothing company? And we just call ourselves conversation starters and you're right. These causes air big Yeah, and they also impact a huge portion of humanity. So when it is a shirt that's like our stay suicide awareness campaign, I wear that shirt and I might be at a coffee shop and someone is like, Hey, like, I really like that shirt like, Where'd you get it? And they don't know who I am. Do that shirt. They didn't know that I created it. They just know like they really felt a connection to it. And when that happens, that's one an instant human connection I just made. I'm now talking to a complete stranger in a coffee shop because of my T shirt, but then I get the chance to tell them a little bit more about what we d'oh to share. Resource is to share community and then to direct them to a space where they can story tell about their own life about why did that shirt hit you so hard? Like, what was it that got you? And will you tell that story so that other people can feel heard, too? 

Preslie: Yeah, And who? I know that you change campaigns each month, right? Who picks what campaign that there's so many charities to partner with. Which is cool because you have a different sure every month, so it gives you 12 opportunities a year. But who picks what, like organization you partner with?

Bree: There's a couple months that are pretty set for us just because of core values. June being Pride Month is always human. Rights Center to LGBT Q centered. September being the Suicide Awareness Month were huge on our state campaign. It's actually the one cause campaign that last 3 65 12 months a year. We run that fully for the full year. The other campaigns run for 30 days. But, um, in building this, we built an incredible community, which we call advocates. You apply to join. You get put into this private group where they vote on designs. They kind of get to see that behind the scenes of who we're talking Thio, do you have a nonprofit you like? Do you have a connection at a nonprofit? Because we're really big on not just throwing money at a nonprofit, but like working with, um, how can we do a volunteer event? Can we, you know, support you in a different way? That's not just monetary, like we have this huge marketing platform. Yeah. How can we best tell your story? Um, and out of that, just incredible relationships have been formed between an advocate who is someone who just joined us because they love to. The community has recommended someone to us, and now we're working with them and donating thousands and bringing, you know, all these eyes to their cause and their campaign. It's pretty cool cycle.

Preslie: Yeah, it's really neat because it brings, you know, buy you selling shirts that our conversation starters, you havethe e ability. Thio have this platform, you know, because obviously you need money to keep a business alive. But then with that, you can give notoriety to other causes like it's a really cool cycle that seems to be serving a lot of people along the way.

Bree: Yeah, absolutely. And some months we get to do even cooler projects specifically for me. I'm a nerd, and I'm like, Can I fix your website? Yeah, um, but we'll go in and like, Trans Lifeline. We supported back in May, and they had, like, this 20 page Google slide presentation That was like, no pictures, no brand essence in it. Like it just kind of fell flat, but this was their big thing. They'd go in to get donations to partner and make those big impact. So we completely redesigned it for him. I think it was 25 pages at the end, Gave them optional pages based on who they're speaking to. And then I learned so much out of doing that out of rebuilding this thing for them. But then we got to provide a donation and a resource. And this thing that now might cause hundreds of thousands in donations rather than just the impact we can make in that month.

Preslie: Yeah, well, And you spoke a little bit, too. Only human being born out of your need for human connection. But you also have a vast background in graphic design, and you're awesome at branding. And I know that Onley human has a very distinct look and feel, and that's not by accident. So it's pretty neat that this also gives you an avenue to explore that passion and talent that you have.

Bree: Yeah, and I think that's how we can use technology for the positive. You know, I started this platform and gained a following and then got slapped with a label like influencer, And I was like, What does that even mean? And I was like, You know, Okay, if I have this space, then I'm gonna one create beauty from it. Being in the design and the colors in the photos and all that stuff that makes me happy again was that selfish piece of it. It's just what made me happy. But I also want to make other people feel heard and happy and like they can always find a bit of positivity or truth in our content.

Preslie: Yeah, that's really cool. Something that I think about when I think about starting a purpose driven business is that it would be a lot on your heart when you're going to these. You know, every weekend you're going to that These things were having these conversations, and you're basically starting conversations about hard things all the time. I can imagine that would be really tough to be able to receive that and then go home and work on your business and be the best partner and all of those roles that you play. How do you manage being empathetic while not taking on everybody else's stuff?

Bree: that was so much boundary work. Yeah, like for two years to I kind of got beaten down like I kept getting sick, like, I don't know where I would just be, like, laid out for days. And I had to kind of reflect on that of, like, you know, where am I putting my energy and where am I allowing my energy to be taken? I guess so. Putting boundaries in place with people, just understanding that no isn't like a no to you. It's a yes to me. And sometimes you got to say that to people. And even though their ego might not understand, it's what you need. So I learned to say no more. Um and then some kind of physical activity has just started. CrossFit. I'm literally sore from, like, my hair to my toes. Um, but having that kind of workout and then some kind of work in whether it's meditation, yoga, I play basketball and I call that like my church, I feel like I zone out focus on breathing, but yeah, the mindfulness, the being aware.

Preslie: Yeah, having that level of self awareness. Ah, lot of from the outside looking at only human. It looks very well planned out, like you have these advocates that are walking advocates for, like, a better word of your brand. And they are helping you decide things. You're going to all these events. You have this awesome online community by wearing the shirts you get, people that want to pour into the block and the stories, How much of that was orchestrated from the beginning of this is the way that this business is going to run and how much of it has been figured out along the way.

Bree: Uh, it has all been figured out. Okay, Like I often in meetings with people unlike know, you know that scene in Indiana Jones where he's like running away from the boulder. I'm Indiana Jones and everything else is the boulder, and I feel like half the time Chris and I'll look at each other and be like we could make that happen in two weeks. We could do that. Let's do it and will completely like overhaul a system or something, are redo a program and relaunch it. But I think that's the action driven portion of who we are. You know, I quit my job sold all my things and got in my car and traveled for eight months when I started this. I'm a risk taker. Yeah, so in taking those risks, it's about, you know, making waves like go out there and do it. It's the put your head down and work and make it happen and letting go of what other people thought. And just saying, You know, I feel right about this. This is coming from a good place and it's for a good thing and those are kind of my filters doesn't check all of those. And then that's something that I definitely want to do. No matter if it's gonna keep me up till 3 a.m. or not. And Chrissy is


your business partner and we started only human with right. And how did you know? I feel like business Partnership could be a tough thing. Like if you go in with a really good friend, does it make things difficult if you go with someone you don't know well enough, is that difficult? How did you know that bringing going into this with her was the right choice?

Bree: Great question, because I hear so much about partners Yeah, I feel super blessed. Chrissy and I met as friends first. That was almost seven years ago on Dhe. From that cultivated a beautiful friendship. We were super close. It was one of those, like, Do you feel this? E feel it? We're connected. Yeah. And from there we we're super close. And then we actually worked together at a marketing agency. A spot opened up at an agency she worked at. She knew I was looking to get into that, and so I joined the team. So then, for a couple of years, I worked with her alongside her. I knew that in the midst of wanting to strangle her as a friend, I could still show up and work and be present and be there. And I think that just was so telling in our relationship. And also she is like the logic to my crazy on, and I'll be like, Chrissy, Let's do things she's like. But have you thought of this right? And I think that's important in partnership is to find that balance You're no polar opposite, but someone who can keep you grounded.

Preslie: Yeah. And how do you manage? I don't take you is very type A. But how do you manage control while still giving advocates and people that you obviously need to help delegate things to autonomy in your business? Because in theory, this is something that you and Chrissy have built from the ground up. But then how do you like put your ego aside and let other people come in to help you pick the causes and pick the designs and and take over some of those decisions that you could keep really close to you?

Bree: Because it's a tougher one toe answer? Because it always just felt so natural from the beginning. Um, the advocates. They walk the walk like they're the ones who came to us because we put these values in place and they swarmed on. It's like if you bring that many good humans together, the ideas that come out of it are beautiful, and some, you know, are in a suggestion box, and we might have to hold those for a couple years because we're not at scale of doing something like that. But other ones, we definitely are like Oh, yeah, that's a really good idea. Like, let's let's, you know, research this right out. Yeah, just learning to put your ego aside. And then it's not all about you and that you have to have others like that. You were better together. Like it's literally the only way forward.

Preslie: Yeah, what are you most proud of in your journey of building only human.

Bree: So to date, I think the last time we totaled it up, which is above this now we've gone toe over 100 and 25 different events, and that's in not a ton of time, like just over two years. So crazy amount of events. That's a lot of humans. I've met a lot of hugs I've given. And after the first time it happened, I was like, Oh, that's just like something I'm never gonna forget. And then it kept happening, and I was like, Whoa, something's going on. But the amount of people that would just come up to me because I started something that was my personal story is things I needed to hear. It was my journey, my struggle, how it came out of it. And when people would come up to me in tears, in their eyes, shaking and say, You know, I had this plan to take my life, I was gonna end it. And then for some reason, I found you guys and that all changed for me. And then maybe they joined the advocates. Maybe they went on a gift trip with us. It changed them. They found the people that they felt like they were missing. And that's something that, like, I'm just so proud of, that it's not just happened once that it's happened so many times now I actually can't keep track the messages. The you change this. You know, I met my future wife on this platform. I and I found my best friends and flew across the US to meet them. And that's all we ever wanted. Just more connection, right? But how were actually saving lives through a T shirt like, Is it just clothing? It's not just

Preslie: that's incredible. That's just so incredible. And that must just give you so much fuel. When you're working at 3 a.m. And exhausted and on your 50th plane trip in a row, you know, that just must be the I would imagine the motivation to keep

Bree: what I keep. I use the app. Ever note for like a journal, and I keep a note in there and I screen shot like the messages we get are a text I might receive and just keep it as like, my gratitude off like, Hey, when you're having that rough day, you gotta look because it's not just you. It's like all these people you're doing it for. Yeah,

Preslie: on a very practical note, what are the kinds of things and you mentioned mindfulness in basketball? What are the kind of things that you do to make sure staying productive and honoring your health and your relationships in running something that takes so much of your time? Because a lot of our listeners are freelancers and independent contractors and business owners. And in a world where your to do list never ends, it can feel really exhausting.

Bree: Oh, yeah? Um, so we have two girls have a nine and a seven year old, and it's like relearning things enlightened through them because I'm like, I have to teach them how to keep track of stuff and howto task manage. And so I got a lead by example, right? So task management is huge. Um, I literally assigned myself what I now call homework, just like they dio like, oh, briberies doing her homework like I gotta do my homework, Um, but homework with dates. And I keep this all in a task management system called Base Camp, and it's like my best friend and sometimes my worst and all of the notifications that come in. But I hold myself accountable through that because I also still do freelance marketing work. So I'll have other projects going. I'll have only human in there, but it's a way to assign myself things, to see all of my tests in one spot to sign dates. And then my calendar is always like I schedule myself care time. I schedule my gym time schedule, my kid time like those air times where it's like Chrissy might be like, Hey, there's this. No, no, not negotiable. 

Preslie: How do you decide what to work on next? Because you mentioned and I know having known you, you have tons of ideas, and I'm sure with the Advocate program you're always getting more ideas. So how do you decide what does go on the back burner and what to work on right now?

Bree: Hi, squirrel, a lot. D'oh! I will be so dead set on something And then something shiny catches my eye.And so I Chrissy, she is the logic. Yeah, I wild and help you like I want to build an app In two days she'll be like, No, um, but honestly, it's one priority, Like, what do I have to get done right now? Because Indiana Jones, like, I can't let the boulder hit me and then to just having a filter of people where it's like, this might be a really great idea. I had, you know, at 4 a.m. After six cups of coffee. But in the real world, it might not translate, right?

Preslie: How else are the advocates important in your business? So I know they help. They have the online group and they help pick the shirts. What else do advocates do to support the brand?

Bree: So we do monthly rally days where they use their platforms. No matter if you have one follower or one million, they use that platform to share our cause campaign. It's about sharing the message on the campaign. Not just they don't have to buy a shirt like it's not a requirement as an advocate to do that. But it is a requirement that you use your platform, your voice, your technology to impact lives in a positive way. So we want to see those role models coming out. Yeah.

Preslie: Can you expand on? It seems like you have a really healthy and positive relationship with social media, and I feel like we're kind of in an age where everybody's like, put your phone down, get away from it, disconnect like, move away from social media. So what are your liking? You just what? Your thoughts. Can you expand on that a little bit? So it seems like you have a really awesome perspective about social media,

Bree: and I didn't always, um there was a pivotal moment, June of last year where I just kind of realized like Social Media had become a place that was just taking my energy. It was like a thing that I hadn't set boundaries around that was sucking me dry, and it would make me feel awful. Um, so I realized that, you know, I focused a lot on what I ate. And then I focused a lot on the people that were around me and all of these things that we consume the relationships or food. Social media is also one of those the things that you see on the Internet that you read that you pick up your phone and look at our things You're consuming. So just like food, those can become toxic. They can make you feel really, really bad s so I make sure that the accounts that I follow are also positive things, not always things that are gonna make me feel bad. Like if you keep looking at that one person's profile and you're like, Oh, I hate my life unfollowed that person. But please do it right now. And I just had this moment where I was like, You know what? I have too many accounts like that that I just felt really bad every time I was looking at this content. And I think I unfollowed like 1000 people in this detox moment. And since I'm really like, is this positive content? Does this add to my life and does it make me feel good and making sure that I build that because after a while, that feed you know, you don't follow people, you just kind of keep scrolling. I don't like that. I'm gonna keep scrolling, but then I will keep coming up. Yeah, keep making you feel bad. Um, so just checks and balances.

Preslie: Yeah. What are you working on right now that you're really excited about?

Bree: Um, currently, I am 30 days into being sober like that's which every day. Um, it's a good awareness, though. Um, so I went into the end of this year, like needing to be super clear. Think 2020 you know, clear vision to love it. Um, we're doing only human team retreats. We're taking our core team and lead advocates up to Pine Arizona to a cabin on bringing whiteboards. We're going to really get clear on what our goals are in 2020. So that's the next big thing is what's next year?

Preslie: Yeah, that's super exciting. It's so fascinating to me. And so admirable that you have these people that gravitate towards your brand. And I've seen it on your social media where these people just seem like they just want to be involved in what you're doing. What do you think? That iss Where does that? Where does that come from?

Bree: When you bring so many people who think the same things who come from that, maybe service heart or that heart of just wanting to give more than they get. Um, I think there's something beautiful that's formed out of that that other people can feel. Energy is palpable on when you constantly see like we'll get messages like, Hey, I just saw this really happy group of humans at this place like Was that you like? How do I get? So yeah, and they just kind of feel it and then want to know more and want to be a part of it and might come like we do cause events. In October, we did a Tempe marketplace in anti bullying event called You can Sit With Us. We had a corporate sponsor donate all the food and you could literally just come and have a free meal with us and talk about bullying. And that's an opportunity for you to come and, like meet the only human team like meet the People behind it, but also meet other advocates and other people who were attracted to this. For those same reasons, you think you might have some things in common. And we do conversation starters a lot too. Where we, like, force people on a table like this is what you're gonna talk. All right. You got this? You can do it.

Preslie: Yeah, that's really cool. I in talking before this interview, we talked a little bit about partnerships, and you probably have to engage with a lot of nonprofits thio weed through you're gonna work with. And if you want to do things like that, you have to speak with a lot of corporate partners. I would imagine that's such a cool concept to bring other businesses in to get in on this mission. Have you found it difficult to get by in or as you've gained traction? Does it seem easier to get other businesses interested in this kind of purpose driven concept in the beginning,

Bree: Um, it was interesting. So in the beginning, I would get on calls all the time. It was like that true entrepreneurs story of like, anyone who's gonna listen. I'm gonna tell you. And I was so in, like that automatic space where Christy and I were having, like, multiple calls a day. Uh, so I remember getting on this one call in. It's like the end of a day ST of working and having these calls and we get on the call and before I know it, I just went down this, like, rabbit hole of explaining who I am and who only human is. And like, my elevator pitch, that was like, 15 minutes long and then Chrissy was like, sent me a text was like, Hey, dude, we've already talked to them that they heard all of this. They just want to know more. And the woman was so gracious and nice that she was like, I was just gonna let you go back a nag surprise. So sorry s so funny. Now it is like they understand more. But I think it's because we've gotten better at explaining who we are more. And we have these incredible case studies like, Hey, look at this one campaign we ran. Look at how great it did. The impact that was created here is all the stories that came out of it. And these stories are awesome ways for them to create this organic content from people for their space as well for that same thing that you're talking about for whatever cause, you know, brought them to us, right? 

Preslie: That's really cool. Before I get into my last question, where can people find out more about only human follow? You connect with you and learn more about the advocate program and all of that good stuff

Bree: Everything is on our website or on instagram @onlyhuman and on Facebook. We're only human co

Preslie: And what if someone's listening to this and wants to take a step towards, like, just a I want to see achieving, But really just like that first inkling of progress towards the kinds of things that you've created or feeling like they have more empowerment or autonomy in their life? What would be your suggestion to them?

Bree: One. Find out what makes you the happiest in this world and do more of that. And then, too, I would make a list of like 10 people who you look at your like. I really love what they're doing, and I would love to model something I'm doing after them and then come up with a couple questions and ask him because you never know what you're gonna get back.

Preslie: That's super cool. Thank you so much for your time. This was great. Well, thank you. Hey, they're just a couple quick things before you go first. Thank you so much for listening to this entire episode. And we really hope that you enjoyed it. If you are listening and iTunes, please take just a moment and leave a review. Let us know what your takeaways were and what you would like to see more of. And if you haven't already hit, subscribe in your podcast app. So you don't miss any of our upcoming episodes. And until next time, thank you for listening. And may you feel empowered today and every day to step into leadership and the life that you have been dreaming of. This has been practical empowerment, inspiring conversations with Valley leaders brought to you by

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