We had the good fortune of connecting with Britton Darby and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Britton, what role has risk played in your life or career?
For me, I think about risk as 60% intuitive knowing and 40% cerebral calculation. I attribute my success to this 60/40 split as well. My first career was in dance. I was a professional working dancer from 3 – 23 years of age. I don’t really know anything outside of taking risk because as a dancer – in some way you are risking your body everyday to varying degrees – all the while knowing your career will be short lived once you become an adult. Not to mention that there is a pretty distinct glass ceiling for income potential as a dancer and so if you don’t love it and want it badly enough, you should probably redirect your focus. All that said, I was incredibly passionate about dance, I loved the opportunity to cultivate my artistry and my voice from a young age, I loved the discipline, the routine, the collaboration working towards a tour or performance and I loved being challenged by my mentors and teachers to push and help facilitate my growth. I was born a dancer and I think 60% of me was guided intuitively by my body to keep following this path for the length that I did and 40% was calculated and more cerebral – knowing that I could transfer much of this work ethic and skill into other endeavors. I took many of the same practices and principles from my dance life into my career in wellness. I worked for a Canadian franchise called Modo Yoga for 12 years and at age 26 I took the plunge and moved to NYC (as a Canadian) to open up the first branch. There was no known brand recognition in the states yet, but it was a calculated risk. I embodied the brand fully, It was my world, My business mentor and main influencing teacher had a very successful branch in Montreal and I credit so much of my learning to her ( Dina Tsouluhas). I remember she asked me how I felt in my body when I thought about pursuing the next step of owning my own studio in New York and I replied “I feel scared, but excited, I have butterflies in my stomach and I also feel completely lit up”. She said – “You should go”. When my business partners and I opened the studio in 2012, There was a quick buzz that built. Within the first few months, we had A List celebrity clients, wall street bankers, NYU students and soon we were being written up about in many notable publications like; The New York Times and Vogue. The NYC Modo studios are still running successfully today. I eventually sold my shares and moved on to pursue other opportunities – yet again another intuition + calculation combo. I could feel in my body I needed a change, new growth opportunities. I consulted for a few different brands in the wellness space before eventually taking a Wellness Director job working for hip hop Mogul Russell Simmons (who was launching a new wellness lifestyle brand in LA). I had all the same feelings in my body and mind as I did before moving to NYC to launch Modo – so I knew I had to take that second big plunge.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The company I moved to Los Angeles to work with was called Tantris. Unfortunately, we had to close down for reasons out of my teams control. These extenuating circumstances lead to a mini depression in my life – as this was my dream job, I had moved across the country for it and I anticipated this being my work and focus for at least the next decade of my career. It took me some time to mourn the loss and come back to my center and my north star. The current circumstances of COVID -19 and the lock down period have been a blessing in pushing me to evaluate my priorities and how I want to best use my time and expertise. The biggest lesson I have learned is that the saying “you are only as relevant as your last job/ position” is false. I think entrepreneurs and creatives are as good and relevant as their energy and health will allow them to be. I struggled taking time away from the “big” endeavors. I realized how dependent my ego was on having a big title within a notable organization. What I have learned and continue to cultivate everyday is positive self talk – reminding myself that I am valuable in my ability to show up and help others, I am valuable because of the skills I have learned through struggle in leadership and the complications and richness of my experiences and I am valuable intrinsically because I show up for myself and take care of my precious energy – so that I can rejuvenate myself before showing up for others and for new business endeavors with a full cup, a healed heart and a more compassionate spirit. I now am operating a boutique consulting service business for the wellness space. I help businesses navigate these uncharted times with strategic pivots for long term sustainable growth and success. I am using my crisis management skills from previous business experiences to be part of the solution(s) in this interesting time to be alive. I am also working to launch a new subscription service of my own wellness offerings (yoga, meditation, fitness, community cultivation). This new brand will be female lead and driven and focus our efforts on amplifying the wellness practices and teachings of BIPOC.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
This is an extra interesting question to answer in quarantine. For fun, lets pretend we are out of quarantine and everything is open ! It will be like a fun fantasy. When my best friends visit, we hike Grifith Observatory in the morning first thing, the hang out on the east side of LA. Enjoy a breakfast burrito at the vegan spot Jewel. Then a mid day yoga class at Roam, or Modo Yoga East, then dinner at Moby’s restaurant Little Pine. If we are lucky and there is live music to go see – we are headed to The Greek theatre to catch Billie Eilish perform.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to shout out my mentor Yoga teaching mentor; Dina Tsouluhas (of Modo Yoga) as well as the Artistic director of the dance school I worked with in my former years; Deborah Lundmark (based in Toronto) There are so many other people who influenced me along my path, but these two women really saw my potential and I worked with them for the longest periods of time out of anyone else.
Image Credit – Virisa Yong