BABE #55: NELLIE DAVIS,
Boss Lady @ Camp Out Yonder + Outsiders Hair Studio
Interviewing Nellie has given me final confirmation that our Babes out in Reno are their own kind of awesome. There's something about them that's so fierce and free and centered and motivating, and Nellie is no exception. I can't quite put into words just how inspired I am by her love for her local community, her mission with Camp Out Yonder, and beyond that, her ability to run her alternative hair studio, raise a family and have time for yoga and meditation on a regular basis. If I can grow to become half the Babe Nellie is, I'll be stoked. Thanks so much for chatting with me, lady!
Babe you admire and why?
Jess Davis with Folk Rebellion, and hair designer Palma N'Sheluvzit. Jess is so down-to-earth and such a driving force behind the movement to create more balance with our technology. Palma is just an all-around creative badass and each time I hear her speak, she inspires me more. She's so encouraging of people being true to themselves without having to seek out the validation of social media likes and followers.
How do you spend your free time?
When I get the luxury of having the time to read a good book, that's where you'll find me. I also love getting out in nature and long bike rides with my boys in the summer.
Three things we can always find in your fridge?
Almond milk, hot sauce and Polaroid film.
If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Beyoncé and the Dalai Lama - at the same table, please.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
Somewhere warm! The sun feeds my soul.
Tell us about your hustle:
I own Outsiders Hair Studio, an alternative hair studio in Reno, NV, and recently started my side passion, Camp Out Yonder: a tech-free camp out for adults. At Camp Out Yonder, I facilitate a remarkable group of speakers, instructors and musicians to provide a technology-free analog experience for attendees to camp at the gate of the Sierra Nevada.
What does your typical workday look like?
My life's work is behind the chair at my hair studio. I dedicate my time and craft in the studio to making each person look and feel their absolute best self.
When and why did you decide to open your studio?
It has been a journey, that's for sure. We've been open for five years and even now, entrepreneurship poses its triumphs and trials. I wanted a hair studio where anyone could come and feel welcome; a space that my team and I could create where people could be themselves, and no matter who they are, still belong.
Have you always considered yourself an entrepreneur? What has your Small Business journey been like?
I think I've always wanted to be my own boss - but I didn’t ever exactly want to be other peoples' boss. It's challenging to try to grow every day as a leader. I do feel that being a small business owner has encouraged me to become more engaged in my community. I have so much invested in my culture that I want to expand that into the streets of my neighborhood and throughout my city.
Describe your vision with Camp Out Yonder:
COY is about getting away from it all for a weekend in nature, and re-igniting human interaction along the way. Activities include live fireside music, wine tasting, late night stargazing, analog workshops like a nature photography (traditional film) hike, journaling, hands-on bush-craft fire techniques, featured campfire lectures, yoga, meditation and all the throwback summer camp activities like kayaking, sports courts, a team building obstacle course and pool. The entire event is carefully curated to provide a go-at-your-own-pace schedule, relaxation, adventure, or a mixture of both. We also have a handful of awesome partners providing snacks, cold-pressed juice and camper essential kits that include local, organic personal care products. Nestled in the Sierra Nevadas Yellow Pine forest, accommodations include a unique stay in a shared canvas tee-pee village, fresh daily meals, beer, wine, snacks, camper field guide, shower and bathroom facilities, slow-life camp vibes and all analog programming.
What makes the Camp Out Yonder experience different than a typical camping trip experience?
We are somewhere in-between being more laid back that an intensive retreat and less frat free-for-all than an adult summer camp. While it's great to ditch technology for a weekend, if you're not gaining the tools you need to lead you back into a more balanced tech life, you've only just had a few days without service. Camp Out Yonder teaches practical skills for when you get back to real life in a relaxing camp setting. And there’s no loading up the car with tents and coolers, we’ve covered all of that! Just bring your weekender and a sleeping bag.
Assuming you grew up being outdoorsy and camping a lot, did any particular moment or experience inspired you to start COY?
I actually was inspired to start COY after two weeks of deep dive meditation and yoga at a conference in Barcelona. I took a break from my phone, had no social media and came home feeling more alive than ever. I realized how consumed my life had become and I wanted to share the benefits of having more balance in our lives. My deep love of learning from nature encouraged me to move forward with a mindful camp-out experience.
What has the interest been like with this mission in such a tech and hustle-focused society?
I'm so fortunate to have a lot of local community support. Reno has such a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Although we're living in a culture where we value the level of our success by how busy we are, I think more and more people are starting to feel the weight of being "on" 24/7. There's definitely an awareness of the fact that if we continue at such a fast pace, we are bound to burn out.
Do you think your two businesses complement each other in any way? Have you gained any tools or skills from the hair studio that have helped in your creation of COY? Vice versa?
Absolutely. My hair studio has given me the opportunity to really connect with people. There is no technology in what we do, it's our hands and another human. We still have to use the art of conversation!
What is your personal philosophy on unplugging and work/life balance?
Today we have to work harder than ever just to slow down. It's incredibly important to establish boundaries with technology, and adhere to them, so that we can have better connections with ourselves, each other, and nature.
Have you found that people have an incredibly hard time with the idea of actually leaving their technology behind for a few days?
It's difficult even in my own household! Technology is such a prevalent part of our lives and can be very beneficial if used in moderation. I think that's the part most people are forgetting. There is a time and place. Sometimes we need to unplug to not only allow our brain to rest but also to deepen our experiences in real life.
What is your favorite part of a Camp Out Yonder weekend?
Campfires, the s’mores bar, and being surrounded with people who still value human connection.
How would you say being a woman has affected your career/work/professional experience?
Well, I lead with my heart, and sometimes that gets the best of me. I am always proud to be a woman, and I think that's one of the strongest assets we have: we give a shit. We are the definition of heart and soul.
What are some common misconceptions about your job(s)?
That hairstylists are non-dimensional and unintelligent.
What are some of the everyday struggles with your job(s) that we might not see?
Trying not to feel like a failure when I've taken on too much and I'm feeling overwhelmed.
What is one of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in your work? How’d you overcome it?
Having confidence in Blazing the Trail has been hard for me. I think when you’re in the early phases, it’s easy to forget the "why" of what you're doing. Finding the meaning in what you’re working towards is key.
Who are some women entrepreneurs that you look to for inspiration?
I'm so lucky to be around so many amazing women in a networking group I'm a part of, Brekkie for Bosses. While, we all are working towards playing big, it's crucial for us to also give each other moral support. It's important to support strong women in succeeding. Follow women, read women authors, find women mentors-- surrounding yourself with positive female energy produces the same in turn.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
The constant pressure to stay relevant in digital marketing.
What would you say is your biggest strength in your current role(s)?
I'm a connector at my core. I'm so passionate about community and building stronger human connection.
What’s your ultimate dream job?
Owning a bed and breakfast in the woods.
Are you involved with any other community organizations or side projects?
I sit on several art and community boards. My partner and I also started a coalition called Our Alley, that established Reno’s first parklet. I was also fortunate to speak at TEDx about building community value and grassroots urban planning.
What motivates and inspires you?
My son and my partner. They are so supportive of everything I do. I became a mother at the very young age of 18, and my son has taught me so many life lessons. He forces me (in a really great way) to slow down, because watching him grow is a constant reminder of just how fast time really goes by. His kindness and understanding encourages me to live more with an open mind and an open heart.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me looks like being able to have a full quality of life, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends.
How do you find a work-life balance?
We have digital sunset every day from 7:30pm-7:30am, no phones at meals or in bed, and we have Sundays as our family day.
What helps you wind down / how do you manage stress?
Yoga and meditation, yo!
What are your goals for the future?
To be more present.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Never, ever stop believing in yourself and in your worth. You are enough, wherever you are in your journey. If you are being authentic to who you are as a person, there will always be naysayers along the way. Fuck the negativity and stay true to the path. And always take the time to recharge and reconnect with those you love.
In partnership with:
NatureBox is a healthy snack subscription box that's curated to your taste and arrives monthly at your door for only $5. (What more could you ask for?) Check out their collection of over 100 bold snacks (sans artificial ingredients, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils) here and enjoy free shipping AND a free 1-month membership after your first purchase!
*This is an affiliate partnership. That means when you shop using our links, a portion of your purchase goes right back to us, so we can then roll out some awesome new things for you. Of course, we only promote brands and products we genuinely stand behind and know you babes will enjoy. x