3/2/2017

Interview x Ally Walsh

Inspiring Women :: AllyWalsh x Ashley Neese

You know when you meet someone in real life after following them on social media only to discover they are even more amazing in person? Welcome Ally Walsh, model and co founder of Canyon Coffee. I followed Ally on Instagram for close to a year before meeting her at an art opening last spring. I was immediately struck by her openness, generosity, and effortless style. We chatted that afternoon in a circle of mutual friends and I left the conversation feeling light, inspired, and in awe of her grace.

Ally is truly at home in her own skin, full of joy, and one of the most upbeat and positive women I have ever met. She is so easy to be around and I was delighted when she agreed to do this interview. In our conversation Ally shares what it’s like to run a business with the love of her life Casey, how she navigates fear, her love of nature, and the simple things in life that keep her inspired.

Inspiring Women :: AllyWalsh x Ashley Neese

What is the philosophy behind how take care of yourself?
Focusing on doing the things that make me happy, and keep me inspired. I feel like doing the things to make me happy has always been a priority for me, I’ve just become more and more intentional and mindful of it as I get older. It’s also more recently that I’ve learned, for me, staying inspired is intrinsically linked to happiness.

Again, it’s the simple things that do this for me: taking a bath, going on a walk, making coffee in the morning, magazines, books, going to see a new movie. All these things I can do with people or by myself, and I make sure to make time for them, because I know they keep me happy and inspired.

How do you define success?
Having the time and freedom to do what I love.

Something about you that will surprise us.
I was born on my moms 30th birthday, on August 30th! ( golden birthday!)

Inspiring Women :: AllyWalsh x Ashley Neese

Inspiring Women :: AllyWalsh x Ashley Neese
You recently launched a business, Canyon Coffee with your partner Casey. I am so inspired by this as it has been a dream of mine to teach workshops with my partner. Do you have any suggestions for couples starting their own business?

Thank you! We’ve been in a romantic relationship for four years, so this is a new dynamic in our relationship. We’re still figuring it out, but it’s been rewarding! We’ve been able to start seeing and experiencing these new aspects of each other, while watching each other grow.

Casey and I love what we do so much, and I think that’s key—to start something for which both people are passionate and can pour their hearts into. We wake up excited to work on Canyon Coffee, even more because we’re doing it together. We can talk “business” together all day and night. So much so that we realized pretty shortly after starting how important it is to add some formalities to separate the working and romantic relationship; to create time and space, with intention, for us to just be us—without the business.

Within the business, it’s important to have clarified roles and responsibilities, and to check-in regularly to make sure they’re working for us. Checking in is also important to make sure we’re on the same page and know we’re consistently moving towards a common goal.

At the end of the day, you have to remember the relationship comes first. In order to have a healthy business, you need to have a healthy relationship. If you and your partner aren’t in a good flow of communicating as a couple, working together will be that much harder. When work is done from a place of love, that really starts to show.

Finally, date nights are crucial!

Inspiring Women :: AllyWalsh x Ashley Neese

What are your essential keys for a loving relationship?
Most importantly, respecting each other’s individuality. When Casey and I first met, he was away on tour a lot, so the beginning of our relationship started long distance, more or less. It really set the foundation for a healthy relationship, though, because we had to be comfortable being away from each other and respecting each other’s independence.

Everyone has their own unique journey. Part of being in a truly loving relationship is helping your partner along their path, even if it feels like it’s not always what you want. When things get tough, you need to hold space to listen to each other, to make each other feel safe talking about any and everything.

Doing the little sweet things that make each other happy. For us, these are simple things like making coffee for each other in bed, getting the Times on Sunday, bringing home a juice, sparkling water, or chocolate… I love when Casey writes notes and poems, and leaves them around the house. These kinds of things are more meaningful than an expensive night out, and part of what makes them special is just knowing that someone you love made the effort to make you happy.

Always setting aside time for each other, with intention. Creating things to look forward to, be it the movies, or dinner, or trips. We’re going to Japan in March, and it’s something we’re constantly excited about and making plans for!

You both practice Vedic meditation. Do you notice a difference when you practice twice a day versus once?
Yes, definitely—the second meditation is sometimes my favorite! I feel more clear and alert when I practice twice a day. I usually make my second meditation at 4:00PM, and it always seems to recharge and energize me for the rest of evening.

Describe the last time you were afraid and how you navigated it.
I remember reading an article, something like “The Main Reason New Businesses Fail,” and #1 on this list was fear. This was around the time we decided to start Canyon Coffee. Until I read that article, it had never even occurred to me that we could fail… but reading that definitely struck some fear in me!

I remember asking Casey, “What if we fail?! What if no one likes our coffee?” That was the first step to navigating it, I guess—talking with someone about it. I think Casey just laughed (in a way that made me feel better).

Then we broke everything about the business down into smaller pieces, and organized. It suddenly seemed so much more manageable.

Inspiring Women :: AllyWalsh x Ashley Neese

Nature is very important to you. How do you make time to nourish that connection when you’re busy?
This is a big reason why we chose to live close to the ocean and the mountains. I can easily get to the beach or trails. If it’s a really busy day, I’ll wake up early to get a walk or hike in. Being so close to the water is really grounding.

I also make a habit of getting up to Topanga Canyon to visit friends and hike! And whenever we get the chance, we love visiting the forests north of San Francisco. It’s so refreshing up there.

What souvenir did you bring back from your last trip?

Probiotic fermented hot sauce from Ojai! Mmmm…

How do you set and achieve goals?
I just write down an idea or two for different categories in my life… travel, finance, relationships, home, health. I write them in a notebook, with real intention behind them. It’s important for me to not be in a state of wanting or lack when writing these things down. They’re inspired in me somehow, and I simply trust that the universe will make them reality. It’s less an expectation than a secret.

Three books on your nightstand.
Think on These Things, J. Krishnamurti
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Tom Robbins
The Pocket, Pema Chodron

Inspiring Women :: AllyWalsh x Ashley Neese

Who would you love to meet for coffee?
Georgia O’Keeffe. I’m inspired by her confidence. I admire her for living alone out in the desert in New Mexico so she could do what she loved every day—painting, in nature.

I love her simple, natural style, and her home in Abiquiu. She made coffee with a chemex, had her own chef and ate the same breakfast every day.

She was so true to how she wanted to live and be. Of course, she’s also my favorite artist, but there’s so much more to her that I respect and admire. I would share a chemex with her out in the desert, any day.

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”

Words to live by.
Trust your universe.

What are you most grateful for?
My family, Casey, my friends, and my curiosity; to travel, to create and to learn.

 

Photos x Anaïs & Dax

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© ASHLEY NEESE 2017