We had the good fortune of connecting with Ciera Tavana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ciera, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I love taking risks. While I may forget that from time to time, get comfortable, anxious, and stuck, eventually I remember this – Bet on yourself, every damn time. It may look like I fearlessly take big risks in my life and career, and make something out of nothing, but that’s not how I experience it. I see it as me creating what I want and need instead of waiting for it to be handed to me. Sometimes that looks like huge career and financial strides, sometimes that looks like prioritizing my well-being and trusting that I’ll be provided for by the universe. Sometimes both. 2020 is the year my company would have silently made our first million after being in business for less than 2 years. But I’m so glad I’m out and what that meant for my lifestyle and that I’ve had a year to reconnect and take care of myself. I’ve faced my anxiety, reprogrammed my body, redesigned my life, made sacrifices for my own well being despite my wants to hold onto ideas, people, ego, guilt and pain bodies. I’m still learning, but nature is the path. It’s my greatest teacher, mother, lover, doctor, and now my greatest business partner.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Complex problems have simple solutions, and they usually involve a plant. What I’m most excited about is retiring and becoming my own investor in my brand MUSE – a plant- focused brand of Mood Food, Well-being & Community rooted in ancestral wisdom, sensual diaspora beauty & an individualized, subversive perspective on living well. After years of putting my advertising career (experience design + production) and building other people’s companies in front of my deep love for Food + Health + Diaspora Culture, I’m proud that I was able to create and manage as a woman soloprenuer/national experiential agency owner while taking care of my family. In 2019 my agency produced nearly 50 events in 12 cities. Sounds great, but the truth is my creativity, values and personal needs were back-burnered for money and ego. Biggest lesson I learned is that your business is here to serve you and your community, you are not here to serve your business. My goal is for MUSE to be an example of what businesses can and will be in the future, an economic manifestation of a life that serves you. Integrated living. MUSE was born out of my practice in connecting to and celebrating ancient cultures and decolonizing wellness while making it sensual and pleasure centered. MUSE is set to launch in 2021 as resource to show you how to Protect your Peace + Feed your Power.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in Atlanta now, but I’m from California and will being splitting my time between ATL + LA more and more. My last trip to LA was split between the dessert, the beach and Santa Monica. The fact that you can be at any of these within the hour is what I love about LA. During my next trip I’m planning to hit all forms of water, farmer’s markets, street fruit + tamales stands, REAL persian food (tahdig + bastani), and Calearth Institute for a weekend workshop on building earth homes, founded by Iranian architect, author and NASA consultant, Nadir Khalili.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My culture! Discovering my Persian/Iranian culture has guided me to my path. Every time I think I’m unique or strange, I realize it’s just genetics, my blood largely created me. My pop, Saeed Tavana, like just about every other brown immigrant he made something out of nothing for himself, chose himself and his family over and over and had fun doing it. If there is something to be built, a problem to navigate, a penny to save and a new perspective needed, he’s my go to. Unlike most Persian dad, he didn’t spoil me, he made sure I was capable of navigating the world, and largely let me raise myself. Brandon Sadler of @risingredlotus gave me love, support, encouragement during some intense times and invested his talent, time and literal blood & sweat to help build a few of my dream projects. Jennifer Pauline of @withcreators see creatives for their gifts, and puts them in opportunities that help them see themselves, all while building community. LA community – I mostly live in Atlanta, but my community in LA consistently shows more support, love and money then my own city. LA just gets it, I love it for that. What they all have in common, is they genuinely want to see me win.
Ciera Tavana on all photos