Around the Country in 60 Days with Kayla Clements
Kayla Clements is a founder, curator, and creative entrepreneur. After graduating with a degree in Marketing from Virginia Tech, Kayla moved to New York City in 2011.
She spent nearly a decade working in artist management in the fashion industry before branching out on her own. Since then, as a founder and creative director, she has carefully crafted the brand identities for several leading businesses in the fashion, wellness, and art worlds, including Una Volta Studio (her creative agency for artists), The Human Gallery (a platform for promoting a more passion filled world through sharing individual stories), and Luna Volta (a plant-based wellness company committed to honoring our planet). As a curator, she regularly works with top photography agencies to showcase their artists work in a new & refreshing way. She is known for her passions of travel and sustainability, most recently through the debut of her coffee table book inspired by her summer of #vanlife, Daytripper: 60 Days on the Road Exploring America’s National Parks. The book is printed sustainably in the US and proceeds of every sale go back to protecting our public lands. She currently spends her time between San Diego, CA and Brooklyn, NY.
What motivated you to make the leap to entrepreneurship?
After spending a near decade working in fashion, I realized I was ready to make a change. To what exactly, I wasn’t sure so I began looking around me and within me. I began a yoga and meditation practice, began listening to podcast interviews with successful entrepreneurs, attended a 21-day experiment in social transformation in Costa Rica, and found that my growing network of creative entrepreneurs continued to inspire me. I loved the work that I was doing, helping to elevate artists’ careers but I realized that I wanted to reshape my lifestyle. So I took a leap of faith. I built a business around the work that I enjoyed – marketing, design, and branding, while still working with the clientele that inspired me. I spent three months building my brand, Una Volta Studio, started networking with artists, letting them know about my new business and organized a launch party in NYC for the big debut.
We really were inspired by your 60-day trip and how you ran your business from the road. What prompted you to travel and work?
Immediately after launching Una Volta Studio and securing a few clients, I took off for the west where I spent two months exploring, camping, and hiking across America’s National Parks. I was really in need of a break from the city life, and nature was literally calling me. Launching my own business allowed me the time and space to take on the clients I wanted and would also allow me the flexibility in working from anywhere.
What was the biggest takeaway from that experience?
The biggest takeaway from me was that I really used this time in nature to slowly shed the tough exterior skin that I had built up over the years of living and working in New York City. I was mentally very lost at the beginning. I was wanting to evolve but did not have a clear direction. I eventually reconnected to who I actually am as a person and what I truly care about – connecting to nature and honoring our planet. It took the full two months to get to that point. The trip allowed me to fully step into the person I was already becoming.
Would you do it again?
100 percent yes, I am already missing the simplicity that life on the road offers. It certainly comes with its own set of challenges but I would go back to it in a heartbeat.
Do you still travel and work now? Any big trips on the horizon?
After the trip, I spent about four more months of living nomadically. I officially moved out of my Brooklyn apartment and drifted across Brooklyn, Denver, San Diego, and Virginia, staying with friends and family. The idea to share about my travels came shortly after the trip ended and I began to write about my experience. I wrote and designed my coffee table book, Daytripper: 60 Days on the Road Exploring America’s National Parks, from libraries and homes across the U.S.
After those six months, I was craving a bit of stability and eventually landed back in San Diego, CA where I have been since still running Una Volta Studio. I have also been able to flex my product and packaging design skills working on my second business, a plant-based wellness company committed to honoring our planet, Luna Volta. We focus on hemp-derived cannabinoids, beginning with CBD, through our set of core values: quality, design, and sustainability. I am most excited about our 100 percent biodegradable and PLANTABLE packaging. Embedded with wildflower seeds beneficial to the declining bee population, you simply plant, water, give positive affirmations, and watch grow!
I am heading back to Yosemite National Park in April with a group of my friends. Yosemite is one of my favorite places on Earth, and I cannot wait to hike, explore, and share its magic with my close friends.
How do you think travel impacts your own creative process for Una Volta Studio?
For me, I loved working from the road. I spent my mornings working on client work and then my afternoons hiking in nature. Each morning I sat to work, I was filled with motivation and inspiration. The creative work flowed naturally, mostly because it had to.
The limitations of time and wi-fi access really forced me to make the most of my “work” time. I still think it is amazing what you can accomplish when you are free of distractions.
We really appreciate that you shaped your own career path. What’s your best advice for anyone wanting to shape their work-life style to their own wants?
Honestly, after my job in fashion I did not really know what I wanted my career path to look like. I had worked my way through college and landed an internship that gave me the opportunity to carve my own path. I learned and worked my way up while creating a position that I loved. Once I got to that point, I had reached all of the career goals I had initially set for myself growing up. I was left feeling a little bit like, “Now what?” The rest unfolded quite naturally for me and now I feel clearer than ever about what I am supposed to be doing.
My advice is to take it one day at a time. Learn what you like, what you don’t like, what you want your lifestyle to look like and what your “perfect” day looks like. Once I figured that out, I was able to shape my career to fit into my overall life goals. Also, be nice to everyone. It’s easy, it’s free and your energy leaves a lasting impression wherever you go.