Your Biggest Vision Ep. 53- Aimee Cabakoff, Founder of Sustainably Aimee

Work for yourself AND promote a message that closest to your heart? Sometimes it sounds like it’d be too good to be true. But today’s guest is living proof that you CAN make a living doing what you love, but in a way that aligns with what you love most.

 

Aimee Cabakoff started her social media platforms when she was traveling the world as a young professional. After growing her Instagram and audience to the point where it was able to be her full-time job, she realized she wasn’t promoting what she really cared about.

 

But she changed all that when she rebranded herself to be the face of sustainability as an influencer.

 

Tune into this episode to hear:

 

  • How Aimee started her platform WHILE confused within her career
  • What it was like to completely rebrand her business after years of building it
  • How you can tie in your personal passions with your work
Tune in to this weeks episode to hear Aimee Cabakoff, founder of Sustainbly by Aimee talk about turning her passion into a full time business.
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Transcript of Episode

Leah Gervais: Hey, visionaries. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. I am your host, Leah, and I’m very excited to have Aimee Cabakoff with us here today. Hi Aimee.

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Hi. How’s it going? 

 

Leah Gervais: Good, How are you? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Great. 

 

Leah Gervais: Good. Thanks for being here. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I’m so excited. 

 

Leah Gervais: So for those of you listening, Aimee is the Instagram mastermind and model basically behind her, really incredible Instagram sustainably Aimee and she’s going to tell us all about her business and her Instagram account and how she got started. But she is a leading figure in the world of sustainability as an influencer. She said something really, really cool with her brand and her platform and I’m excited to hear from her about it. She’s also in my mastermind and I’ve seen her build her business behind the scenes as well. She is a great business woman and she’s just really driven and we’re really lucky to have her today. So thanks again Aimee. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Thank you.

 

Leah Gervais: Yeah, of course. Thank you. I guess I’d love to just hear where okay. When you were in high school, so you’re from Ohio, right? When you were in high school, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: It’s funny. It actually had nothing to do with entrepreneur business or social media. I actually hated it. I hated having to put my life on a platform where people had to follow it. I thought it was really silly and I’m quite, I’m quite a private person, so I actually just loved the fashion industry. I loved the fact that you could be so creative in such a broad space and so I knew I wanted to work in fashion and I wanted to help just keep the mold of, you know, seasons changing, but styles are always repeating. Um, and I loved it. I went to college for it. I went and was that the University of Arizona in retailing and consumer science. And um, I started, you know, internships at places like Victoria secret and Chanel and it was awesome, but I just started to feel like it wasn’t really where I wanted to be. 

 

I’m not a nine to fiver, I sat at that desk and I just felt trapped. And that’s probably very similar to how a lot of entrepreneurs feel. But I also felt like I wasn’t really having so much of an impact, um, in a positive light because fashion and everything had been changing so much. Um, and it didn’t actually really become clear about what I wanted to do until just actually a year ago. So from the time I was moving around the U.S. I was working in marketing and then I moved overseas to Australia, which is where I was still very lost, um, a beautiful place, but I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I kinda took the, I’ll just go into fashion, I’ll see what comes. And again, I felt very trapped. So I actually moved out of that space and moved into personal training and fitness and nutrition. 

 

I loved helping people. I loved knowing that everyone had their own routine with nutrition and fitness and it was a lifestyle. It wasn’t just a job from nine to five, you know, it was really, it started at like 4:00 AM, but I loved it. 

 

Leah Gervais: So I’m gonna pause you really quick. What brought you to Australia?

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I was in a relationship.

 

Leah Gervais: Okay, so it was not work.

 

Aimee Cabakoff: It was not work. It was a relationship, but I also was very intrigued by living abroad. I never travel so, so did you go straight there from college? No, I dabbled around in other places in America. I basically graduated from the University of Arizona and was like, I’m not ready to go into corporate world. So I moved to Miami and I tried it out there for a couple, I think for about a year. Um, great place, a lot of hustle, a lot of, um, a lot of vacation mentality and I realized it wasn’t for me. Um, and then after that I moved to New York and I am glad I did the New York trip. It was one of those that I’d always wondered what it would like to be in New York. It chewed me up and spit me out. But I’m okay to admit that. 

 

Leah Gervais: At least you know and you never have to wonder. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Exactly. That was actually one of my big, I hate living with what if, um, yeah. And then doing long distance with the relationship, I was just tired of it as like, you know what, why not just try Australia I’ve heard great things. It’s so beautiful and tropical and it, you know, there’s worse places to move. So I just picked up my bags and I moved and I was there for three years, so.

 

Leah Gervais: Wow. So when did you start your Instagram account? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I started it when I was actually in Miami. Um, my, my social media was actually more for my modeling. Um, and marketing in just the bikini life. It’s plain and simple. I love being at the beach, lived in Miami. It was very easy to do. In the modeling world, you needed to have a presence, you needed to have a following. And I didn’t care how I got it. 

So I just did the easy route and I just put my life on social. I put my bikini on social and the numbers started to grow and it was great because people were taking me more seriously. Um, and then when I moved over to Australia, it grew like quickly because it’s almost like, you know, oh, what’s over there, who’s over there? What is all the work that’s going on? And yeah, it made it very easy for me to connect with other creatives, other photographers and start to really transition from this modeling side to more of a fitness, nutrition, beachy. So it kind of came with me. Um, cool. I actually, I feel like social media can, you can be very ADD with it. You can go like, I want to do this and I want to do this… 

 

Leah Gervais: I love that you’re sharing this because you know, you, you do have a big social media account and it sounds like you have kind of allowed it to grow with you. And I think when I work with my Scale Your Side Hustle, you know, students that are in the earlier days, they will go into, and I did it too. They sort of like paralysis of how what you’re posting is going to indicate what your brain’s is going to be. And all the time I’m like, yeah, you actually contains more than you think you really can because you can, aren’t necessarily following your message. They’re following you. And so, you know, as you sort of change and evolve, people are going to be more flexible with you. And I think it’s great that you’re sharing, not because you’re living proof that you can have a big following and still sort of be flexible with. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: And I think it’s important to know that, you know, not people, right? It’s, it’s, it’s a hard world, but if you just be authentic, that’s where people see that, you know, you’re, you’re living your truest self. 

 

Leah Gervais: Right, right. So when you were in Australia, did you work a nine to five at all? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I did. I worked actually for the first two years. 

 

Leah Gervais: Okay. Okay. So when you left that, was it to go full time with your Instagram account or what was that process like? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: It was actually to go full time into personal training and nutrition and the Instagram account. Any of my social was just as a backhand for that because posting my workouts, posting my, um, anything to do with my new job would have been a big help. So I, it was scary. I did, I had just cut the cord and I just started really getting involved at the gym. I got hired on as a personal trainer and then I just was like, this is it. I’m taking this full, full steam ahead. 

 

Leah Gervais: So what was that decision like? You said it was scary. Walk us through it a little more. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: It is because that security that, that nine to five does provide, does make you feel like you have a routine every single day. The people I worked with were wonderful. I just knew I wasn’t being the best myself in it. And when I decided to leave and pursue the social media side with the personal training, I knew it was going to have to work twice as hard, but I knew I’d be so much happier. Yeah, that was more important. 

 

Leah Gervais: So have you found that, um, what do you think is hard about social media and entrepreneurship that either you didn’t know or that you think a lot of people don’t know? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: It is way more than a nine to five, nine to seven. I mean it is a 24 seven hustle and it is very important to not take it personally. There is a lot of talk right now about algorithms and just changes in dynamic and everyone experiences it. And I used to take it very personally. I used to think it, I’m being honest that you used to mess with my mental health and it actually took leaving to Australia, um, when I moved back home to America to realize that there’s so much more. It is a tool but do not let it and what it is bringing you, run your emotions and your every day. And it took a while to get to that thought process, but I’m so much happier and I actually enjoy it now. But the hardest part I think was just preparing that, that authentic you versus the, you know, Instagram versus reality. And a lot of people are, are seeing that the reality is so much better when you have that conversation. So it was a big learning curve for sure. 

 

Leah Gervais: Right, right. I want to thank you for opening up about that and I want to come back to your mental health journey with it. But first let’s go back to your transition from personal fitness, you leave Australia, now it is not personal fitness, *Unable to transcribe*.

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I had to leave Australia for personal reasons and at the time I felt very lost and I just started to see a little bit of sustainability and plastic free living every once in a while in Aus. I moved over to Bali for a few months to just kind of refresh and regroup. And again, I started to see more options in different habits and I thought, wow, that’s really interesting because you know, a lot of the times people think social media has to be travel fitness. Um, you have to be an author or something. You can’t just, you know, take it with what you want. And when I moved back to America, I was like, what am I supposed to do now? I can be that Beachbum my heart wasn’t in fitness. I felt very, I felt very lost and I just, I thought if I could try and just use my social media presence with what I had done in a more positive light, then that would be a great way for me to heal and for me to like show my journey with this feeling process. 

 

So actually a year ago in five days, August 1st I just decided I would change everything. I changed my name, I changed my focus. I just was like, I have had enough with this perfect life with this, you know, look like me, be like me. There is nothing wrong with different directions people take it. But for the personal journey I was on, I needed it to mean more. And I just decided I wanted to start helping people change their habits with plastic free living. I came back to America and I saw there was a lot of work to be done in a positive way. And I thought, if I could be someone who could help that, then it would mean so much more to me to change one person’s journey versus however many followers I had at the time. So that’s where it started. 

 

Leah Gervais: This is so inspiring to hear and I, I love that you really decided that if you were going to put up with being a public figure or have a public platform, you were only going to do it in a way that felt really uplifting to you and aligned in aligning to you. So in five days, August 1st you said it will be a year. Did you, was there a lot of mind chatter, rebranding? Were you scared? How did you actually decide to do it? I know so many people go and do perfectionism where they’re like, I can’t do it unless every single thing is set up. When did you, how’d you push yourself? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: It’s funny, I was just talking to my mom and I was like, I feel like this can be something very new because it hadn’t been tapped into as of yet. And I was like, I don’t know the journey. I’m not sure how it’s going to go, but I think that in itself is a lot more real. And I shared this with my Instagram stories. It said, you guys might see that I’m changing directions. I was like, I’m still a beach bum. I love the ocean, but it’s my time to start protecting it and I want you to be with me, and if you don’t want to go ahead and go. And I did lose quite a lot, which is fine with me because I wouldn’t know they’re real followers. It does. And I started with social media. I just started incorporating a poster too here and there. My only advice was to just do it gradually. Don’t just like delete everything and then be like, okay, I don’t know where to go. Right. Um, just incorporate the, the gradual transition because anything in life can be a gradual transition. I changed the name. I, I dabbled with the name for a while because that is something that does, and I don’t even remember how it came to me, but I wanted to have something catchy Ryan with Aimee. And then I felt sustainably Aimee sustainably. People will know exactly what they’re coming to with my page. Aimee’s who I am. 

 

Leah Gervais: I’ve always thought that her name rhymes sustainably. This is worked out well. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Yeah. So it was really exciting. And then I just started introducing myself to everyone. I talked to everyone when people ask what I did, I said I share, um, plastic free living and eco-friendly habits and the amount of the people who were like, that’s really different. I’ve never heard someone use their social media for that. And I was like, well, I just want to show people that everyone can be a part of this. You know, it’s not just a small niche on, um, social that refers to people who love to travel around Asia or I’m working out at the gym five days a week. It is habits that all generations can change. Mom’s, kids, kids especially. Yeah. So it’s been really, really fun, 

 

Leah Gervais: Well, what I love about what you’ve done is that, you know, you haven’t abandoned your story or your beach bumness or your fitness is even. And, and I think that that’s so great because it does still speak to all those sort of classic niches that you see on Instagram. That travelers, the gym people or whatever. Totally doing it in a sustainable way. And so I think it’s so relatable and you just done a beautiful job, you know, kind of like keeping yourself in that arena, but doing so in a way that’s really exciting for you and aligning and obviously a good influence. So I love that you’ve done this and it’s very exciting. It’s been very exciting to see you do it. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I love that and I always appreciate feedback when someone says something. I like comments, criticism. I mean, granted, I used to stay in, in barely anything in front of agents and get, you know, told things that weren’t warranted. But criticism is a way to constantly keep growing. And so I’ve actually been toying with the idea of moving more into just the conscious space. Plastic free has been a wonderful journey and it’s still going to be so relevant. But I spoke with someone yesterday about how all of the habits we make in our day to day in our work, in our workouts and our food is a conscious decision. And I think it’s really, it is very relevant. Like you said, I’ve kept the travel, I’ve kept the beach bum, but it’s all more conscious and that’s where I think it’s important to share it. 

 

Leah Gervais: Yeah. And I think that that’s why people relate to you so much because it is the complexity of what you and you care about and everyone has that voice. Everyone you know, has things they care about but things they like to do and things they like to share it. And you’ve, you’ve encompassed it all really well. Did you, um, did you deal with any imposter syndrome when you decided to go as a, you know, with more of a focus on environmentalism because you have more of a background in fashion? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Absolutely. And it’s funny, I sometimes feel like I’m not qualified to do this. I shouldn’t be, only because there’s a lot of science behind sustainability. There’s a lot of hard facts and marine biologists and those who study it. And I love meeting them because I love to learn and educate. But I think habits changing is always going to feel like an imposter syndrome because yeah, you know something so well that you’re trying to change. Even just the slightest, you’ll think, who am I to change this? And it has happened. I’ve had to tell the little voice, like, shut up. Is that how you doing? Or No, you’re not welcome here. I don’t say like, I just say, it’s okay to let that voice maybe be devil’s advocate. I think that’s really important, but I do not want it to feel like I can’t move forward in a way. I had a really amazing opportunity happen last week that I haven’t decided to share yet, but it will I guess help my credit, but in the same space, I was like, I’m not qualified to do this. And I’m like, well, no, you’re, you’re coming from a different perspective. And that’s the thing. I have friends in this space who’ve studied sustainability, who’ve been plastic free for 10 plus years, doesn’t mean I’m any more or less qualified. I’m just coming at it from a different journey and maybe a little bit more familiar for people because they don’t want someone who’s an expert because then they can’t relate. 

 

Leah Gervais: Exactly. Exactly. You hit the nail on the head. Thank you so much for sharing. I really do think that imposter syndrome is something we all struggle with. I have struggled with it a lot. I mean, I will say to those listening, I think it does get easier. I don’t really struggle with it now because, um, well I like have seen my clients get results after results after results. Every time I try something new, I still struggle with it. So it never goes away. We’re all in. I’m just thinking like as you’re sharing that Aimee, um, I studied environmentalism for everyone listening, um, at NYU and I’m thinking about like my professors, they could not be on Instagram. They would be so awkward like it would just be they, they couldn’t do what you’re doing is what so like they are meant to be doing the research and the science and the teaching and you know, really getting the facts behind it and you to share it in a way that actually impacts people. Exactly. You’re coexisting with them. I mean you guys are actually helping each other. It’s not like you need to have those credentials to do what they’re doing because they also couldn’t do what you do, you know? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Exactly and that was what I kept telling myself. Like I’m, I’m the message, I’m taking the message and I’m moving into a space that is a little bit more mainstream or as a little bit more in layman’s terms, which is not a bad thing because people understand things differently. Um, in a couple of weeks. I’m going to talk more about some of the terms that are greenwashed right now. And I think you’re right, it really lends to a more audience driven area when you can actually break it down and not use so much of the science behind it because people sometimes are like, oh, I don’t need that. I’ll deal with that later. And then it’s like, well, here’s something that you can do. It’s not going to change your every day, but it’s going to have a massive impact. And so it’s been so exciting. And with the anniversary coming up, I’ve actually just been reflecting on just the change this year and just the opportunities and it is very… everything happens for a reason in my book and I’ve just learned that we can all do what we love if we’re just a bit more conscious to it. 

 

Leah Gervais: Mmm. Beautiful. I want to just go back a little bit through kind of the thread of your story and put you on the spot a little bit, but I know you mentioned that you had to really get aware of your own mental health as you were growing your Instagram and taking care of that and not taking things personally. And then also at the very beginning of our chat here you said that, um, you know, you love living in New York because you don’t like the what ifs. And to me those are a little bit connected. It really shows that you’re very conscious of how we, you know, you’re approaching your life and taking care of your, your own goals. So how have you become, or what advice would you have for people that maybe aren’t feel a little, a little bit, um, overly emotional about social media? How have you managed your own mental health as an entrepreneur now? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: It took a few mistakes to be honest, to get to where I am now. Um, my only advice would be… I treat it like a business. So that is my only nine to five. I am off social media Saturday morning until Sunday night at all. And it’s funny because people are like, but those are the best days. And I’m like not my audience. My audience is out in nature. Our audience is out and about having a great time. They’re disconnecting because they, their mental health is way more important than that extra photo or that extra 10 followers and things because it’s an ebb and flow. And so I would just, I would say my advice would be to just get real with it and understand. Um, a few weeks ago there was a glitch. All social media was down for like 24 hours. In that moment I realized this is more of a helping hand. This is not who I am. And it is definitely a day to day of, you know, I do not pick up my phone right when I wake up in the morning, I set it apart for at least a half hour. I grab a cup of coffee, I sit, I meditate, I make my to do list, and then I grab my phone or then I start to get back into the groove of work. Because if we’re obsessed with it constantly, you know, we don’t have boundaries. And boundaries are very important. When I was with my ex, one of our biggest rules was no phones at the table, no phones out at dates, no phones out at dinner. Because having those boundaries makes you realize that there are so many other things that are important. 

 

Leah Gervais: This is all such great advice and I love just the importance, the simplicity but not the easy advice of your, your business as a business. It is not you. And I think when you’re an entrepreneur, especially when it’s very related to your own life, I struggled with this. I felt like my self worth was tied to how my business was doing and that is the slippery slope and I’m just really glad you brought it up because I think especially in the beginning, it can feel like that’s not, you don’t really realize that’s happening because you start getting small wins like your first sale or your first thousand followers or whatever and you’re, you’re so excited about it and that is good. It’s good to celebrate those things. And I don’t want to totally say otherwise, but I think that when you, if you’re not careful, that is training your brain to think that like your deserving of praise because of milestones in your business and that then can have the opposite effect where you feel like you’re deserving of criticism if things aren’t going perfectly, you know, or well in your business and that’s where it gets really dangerous. And so you have to remember that your business is a separate thing from yourself. 

 

And for anyone listening out there that is, maybe this is resonating with them. Just some like practical tips I did to help me separate that was make sure you know right away, even if you guys are starting out, separate your business money from your personal money because that can get messy. You can feel like your business isn’t, you know, bringing in the money you want, then you don’t have enough money. They need to be different things. I love your advice about not getting on email right in the morning or also not at night because this is not your, you know, it’s not your life. 

 

And another thing I’ve had to do, which is not easy because nowadays I’m finding that everyone like wants to text, you know, like coaches will want to text me and even some of my friends will, or like some of my friends will text me business stuff if some of them are entrepreneurs. And I’ve had to very much be like, I do not text about business at all. And sometimes I feel kind of bad and her saying, you have to have a phase in your life. That’s just your personal life. Otherwise there’s no, there’s no escape. So thank you so much for sharing with us boundaries. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And do you feel like, you know, looking back, do you think that your history and fashion had anything to do with your interest in sustainability? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I think almost underneath it, it all relates. I mean, one of the biggest waste industries is fashion because we all love it. It is a, it’s our personality. It’s our style. Um, but Oh, if we, if we weren’t honest about it, I mean, fashion week comes up every year, twice a year, you know, three times if you’re over in Europe and it’s when I used to be obsessed with those runways and seeing everything and then want to get that right off the runway. That’s the fashion side. And then the sustainability side was like, well hang on, you don’t need that. Can see that the people who are making those are they being treated fairly. It all goes together. Um, and that’s something I still struggle with. I’m only human. I haven’t eaten in two weeks and my brain goes, go buy a dress. 

 

Leah Gervais: Right? Yeah. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I take a step back and I go, do you need to, can you find something else that’s a better opportunity? And I talk about this, you know, I, I’m very honest about this. Um, this journey. I say we are all in this together. I recently just got back from Portugal and I was like, okay, I bought one thing for that trip to Portugal. To me that’s a win because would buy a whole closet full and then be like, I have my days, I’m where do you, and it’s like I didn’t wear half my clothes. So I think having a background in fashion, understanding the marketing and fashion and understanding the trends is very, very relevant to sustainability. But then it also shows me the appreciation for when you find quality products, when you find quality brands and people who have that consciousness for the environment, why not let fashion the right way. 

 

Leah Gervais: Right, right. And I think, you know, fashion is meant to be about style, which doesn’t need to include a ton of clothes. It’s really about how you style them and how you wear them and how you like to express yourself with them. It doesn’t need to be about a quantity, but so often that’s kind of where our brain goes, which is exactly… *unable to transcribe*.

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I know it’s coming up. Fashion week is coming up. 

 

Leah Gervais: Yeah. I just went to a panel at, we work about um, the fashion industry and they were asking about like, um, how the fashion industry is representing plus size models, how they’re representing sustainability and how the representing people of color. And it was very interesting. Some stuff I didn’t know. Like Burberry. I will say Burberry is probably my favorite designer brand out there or one of my top three. I love the plaid telling me this article about how Burberry, you know, some of their clothes didn’t sell or something where it was manufactured wrong. I Dunno, they burned it. They straight up burned it. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I know. 

 

Leah Gervais: I was floored. I, you know, because I think part of this sustainability thing is it’s like, well, if you’re buying a designer thing, you only buy one or two a year. You wear this for forever. That’s a lot different than buying like something from each and m which is surely being made in a very poor working condition. So I thought I was kind of safe. No, apparently not. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: And it’s crazy because you hear something like that and at least in my mind it’s like donated it. Oh my God. 

 

Leah Gervais: Anything, Oh my God. Right. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Some of the political issues with fashion that happened last year, um, were burnt and I was like, oh, give them to someone who needs them. They don’t care what the story is because I’m very much about where did the piece come from. But I also understand that we live in a crisis where people are, you know, some of these luxuries, they’re not there. So when I heard that, you know, they’re burning things, they’re throwing them out, they’re never supporting it. It’s like, oh, that’s just, that’s your, that’s your like, you know, hubris getting in the way. So, yeah, I know. 

 

Leah Gervais: Yeah, it is hard. Not Fun. Well, I just, I mean, two things I love, I love your journey. Thank you for sharing it all with us. And you know, I love, I’m looking back at points in my life, especially the points where I just really felt lost and being able to now connect the dots about how those points led me to exactly where I am now. And do you feel like that when you look back at all the things you’ve experienced? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I can’t help but laugh a little bit. Like, okay, like I’m, I’m not even gonna bring religion, but just even knowing a higher power or manifestation… There is a reason there a goal, there’s a road you kind of go like, okay, I guess I see it now, but it’s a really nice feeling knowing that if you can take something that necessarily is bad or wasn’t planned and, and molded into something that could be like, well, let’s see what this does. Where could this take me? The beauty of it is really just in the journey alone. I’ve had some great ones this year that would never, and I’m saying never would have happened had I stayed in Aus, had I stayed on the path I was, and I just laugh because it’s like, don’t ever question failure. Don’t ever, you know, excuse me, not question it, but don’t ever think failure is the end. It could be the beginning of something. And my mom was saying, she’s like, you’re so wise now. And I was like, well, I mean I guess I’m just trying to show people that these chapters open and close for reasons we might not know. Right. But if we listen to them, if we feel into why this is happening, you could see that the dots could connect in a totally different way. So 

 

Leah Gervais: I love that. Yeah, I completely agree. And I love your man mentality and you know, everything that you’re doing to make things even better for you then you probably could have originally imagined when you started this. And the other thing I really love about what you’re doing is really showing that, you know, no. No effort is too small. And I think when I was studying sustainability, I remember one of the things that would like depress me, frankly, you know, I like was a vegetarian for sustainable reasons and I would really try to, you know, not have waste and stuff like that. Like I would try to limit how much trash I had in my apartment. But then you read about these statistics about how it’s great as consumers that we want to help, but 92% or whatever of greenhouse gas emissions are by corporations. 

 

And so, you know, it’s nice that I’m like not eating a cheeseburger, but it can feel really discouraging. So, you know, I love that you’re using this community. You do have a big platform, you do have a big voice, you deal with people listening to you and you’re proving that, um, you know, I’m gonna get emotional when I’m, it’s just like one, you know, one person you can change a life and all it takes is one person to make a domino effect, to change everyone. So I love that you’re, um, you know, optimistic and really fighting for that. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: No, and I appreciate that. And I’ll, my last little comment is, um, one when that actually really like set me up for this, like don’t listen to it was, I was in Bali, I was at a hotel and they kept giving me a plastic straw every single morning. I was like, no, it’s okay. I don’t need it. Um, it was a little bit of a language barrier. I would just put it in the side and I knew it was going to waste. But then I left the hotel and then my friend who was staying there messaged me and she was like, I just wanted to let you know they moved to all paper and I was like, so that’s one person has an effect, but if one person believed that they could do it, that’s one times, however many are in the world, the demand will change, the corporations will see it. I had friends who stomped up to Nestle this past year and a giant monster made of plastic bags to showcase that one person times a million billion have a huge effect and if we can just shift the perspective of what we need versus what the industry tells us we need, change will happen. And it was one of those where I was like, I did that and I will say I did that because… 

 

Leah Gervais: Oh my God, I would never stop talking about that. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: I actually do use it as an example. When someone says the world’s too big, there’s too many people who don’t care. I use that because I’m like, it only takes one person to care though. 

 

Leah Gervais: Yeah. Good. Okay. I have just a few kind of lightening questions for you. What do you do? What’s your go to when you have a day or something happens and it just, things are going wrong. How do you get through that? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Hmm. I love being outside in nature. Um, I do, I go outside. Um, if it’s a nice day, I love just seriously sitting, closing my eyes, listening to the sounds, deep breathing. I know it sounds hippy dippy, but there is something to be said with just being with your breath because this actually happened a few days ago. I was not having a good day. I was feeling very, it happens. Ebbs and flows. I was feeling very like, what is the point? I saw a lot of statistics again about what I was doing and so I just put on beautiful music, sat outside and just took a moment to just be and to just, you know, do something I love. And that’s something I love. So if it for you is to, you know, get in the car and go for a drive, go for a drive. You know, keep the AC off. Yes, yes. Don’t waste gas, but, um, something to just get me back into my right state of mind. Um, yoga is a big practice for me. The sensations of just feeling into my body really, really make me just feel present. So I’ve been really leaning into those lately because it is, it is overwhelming at times when you see maybe what’s going on with our elections and things and you’re like, ah, okay. So I just try to really look to nature. I was all about going to the beach and just being in the salt water and seeing the blue ocean. There’s a lot of therapy that comes from the color blue. Um, but I live in Ohio and we have a lot of green. So I have adapted. 

 

Leah Gervais: What are you most proud of in your business so far? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Oh, that’s a good question. I think I am most proud of the fact that even if someone doesn’t reach out to me, people are still being affected by what I’ve been doing. So being just a very conversational piece in this whole, um, topic, I think has been really, really, really successful. I’ve had people who I’ve not even spoken to me message me, go like I brought my reusable bag to the grocery store today. I thought of you. And I’m like, that is a massive win. Like I love seeing those tiny little changes people are making or you know, if I’m, I love it when people engage back with me. If I put a question up on someone and people genuinely answer the question or tell me something that’s like, oh, I was having such a bad day, I got to, you know, plastic, whatever. I’m like, you know what happens? We’re all in this together. So I love creating this community of people who actually are wanting to make the change. And that’s the whole point. I decided to transition. So say I feel like that’s my biggest success is connecting with people who have that intrigue or interest, but maybe aren’t sure how. So we can do it together. 

 

Leah Gervais:  Mm hmm. That’s an awesome one. Do you have a book or podcast that is a Goto for you for business or just motivation otherwise?

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Oh, this is something I’m really wanting to do better myself. Um, I spend a lot of time reading, um, books focused around what I’m talking about just so I’m more educated. Um, one of my favorite books, and I’ve read it four times because I’ve been transition four times is the alchemist. And I love that book because it talks about so much of the journey and the unforeseen, anything that comes with it. And I think when you can read a book or read something that relates to what you’re doing is very, very positive. Um, my goal this year was to read 12 books and I’m up to five, so I will hopefully have an answer for you right now. But I think just…

 

Leah Gervais: The Alchemist is a great one. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: It’s a great book. I’m not too much into podcast other than the ones I interact with, like biggest vision and, and some to do with, um, um, sustainability. There’s a girl I follow, commune exchange. She has great conversations around it, but I think just find something that you are relating to and let that be another person in the room that you can have that conversation with, you know? So it’s, it’s something I’m trying to delve more into as well as podcasts and people in that community. So I need to find more. Great. 

 

Leah Gervais: Alrighty. Well, I know you have a gift for people that are wanting to be a bit more sustainable when they travel. Do you want to tell where they can find that? 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Absolutely. So one of the things I’ve done now is I’ve tried to give people advice on how to, you know, go to the grocery store more sustainable and, and try to make these changes. And so I wanted to, um, share my five secrets to sustainable travel and it can be found on my website and it comes right to your inbox when you sign up. And I think it’s not what people would assume. There’s some of the, you know, the more obvious ones like bring a reusable bottle. But some of the other ones I’ve tested out and done myself and now I do every time I travel. And it’s just a little win because you know that you’re making the effort. And I would love for people to feel like it’s not this massive hill they have to climb. And some of these tips really aren’t all that different from their normal routine. So I want people to actually take these when they travel with them. And I would love for people to, um, be able to do that. So you can find that now on my website and https://www.sustainablyaimee.com 

 

Leah Gervais: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Aimee, for sharing your story and your vision and your motivation and being vulnerable. It was incredible hearing from you. And I know that everyone’s gonna enjoy this as much as I do and congratulations on your year anniversary. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff:  Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be able to talk about this, but like we said before, it’s a very authentic, vulnerable journey. So I want people to understand that it’s never too late to change. 

 

Leah Gervais: Amazing. I love it. All right, visionaries. Well, I hope that you guys enjoyed this. Go check out her plastic free tips and we will talk to you soon. 

 

Aimee Cabakoff: Bye.




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