We had the good fortune of connecting with Madison Malad and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Madison, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
For me, the shift of balancing life and work under one roof often felt impossible, frustrating and super limiting. So, instead of this idea of work/ life balance, I like to focus on the term: integration. Integration to me is the act of combining one thing with another so that they can become a whole. It focuses more on inter-twining and weaving together the many parts of myself. I have come to realize that “balance” isn’t actually achievable regardless of where your work takes place. Being a business owner and switching between hats/roles in a matter of minutes or even seconds is a massive challenge and is still something I’m trying to navigate. I feel that all the important pieces of your life are never going to be equal and the undertones of achieving balance are more associated with “perfection” than reaching a realistic goal that gives us a purpose driven life. While I was still trying to achieve “balance”, I found myself trying to hide and compartmentalize parts of myself to show up as a version of what others expected or needed from me, which is constantly having to switching rolls and shoving away some of the things that simply make me, me. When we can only show up as PART of ourselves it can weigh on you. Let go of the idea of perfect balance and invite in the idea of integration.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Over a decade ago, Inspired by the early days of Ebay, I started sourcing and reselling unique vintage that I personally loved and found interesting. While I often leave vintage pieces as is, especially if they aren’t flawed, I always loved the idea of seeing past an item in the form that i found it in and possibly making it more modern or appealing to this day and age. Which eventually brought me to up-cycling second hand fabrics and materials to make wearable pieces for all. I like to mix vintage and futuristic ideas and have found that there is a definitive “niche” market for this. Before taking the leap of running my business full time I was constantly over working myself at service industry jobs but always romanticizing the idea of having my own schedule and being my own boss. That idea was super exciting but also super scary. When i finally took the leap 4 years ago I felt like the tiniest fish in the biggest pond with way too many hats to wear. That lead to a lot of self doubt and wondering if I was really made out for this “entrepreneurial” life. At times i felt truly ignorant and naive for thinking I could do this. Its easy to look at others doing similar things as you and assuming they have it all figured out when in reality we all have to go through our own trials and errors to find our personal flow. Being your own boss is not easy and its completely different for everyone but it is honestly the most fulfilling and rewarding thing I have ever done for myself and will most likely be on this path for the rest of my life.

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 Portland, Oregon which is, in my opinion, one of the best cities for FOOD. I love to “snack around” and take visiting friends and family along for the ride. In Portland you can literally just pick a street and hit 5+ different spots with different cuisines and sample all the flavors. There is also so much to offer if you are into exploring the outdoors. We are minutes away from 100s of trails and waterfalls. We are only 1.5 hours away from the coast and only 1.5 hours away from the snowy mountains. You can also drive only 5 hours and find yourself in the desert! I think my perfect week would be: Walking around the Esplanade which surrounds the Willamette river and splits the city from East to West, visiting the Peninsula Park rose garden in North Portland, hitting up the food cart pod “Asylum” off of Hawthorne Blvd. Sifting through 100s of pieces of vintage clothing at Red Light, also off of Hawthorne Blvd, having Mexican and an aqua fresco at Por Que No off of Mississippi Ave, Exploring the “Fruit Loop” in Hood River, hiking Mitchell Point or Latourell Falls in the Columbia Gorge and then ending our trip with a visit to the Society Hotel Spa in Bingen, Washington, which is right across the Gorge.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shout out goes to my wife, Britter Caraboa, for sticking by me while I figured out how to be my own boss. I feel so supported by you in all the ways. I would also like to shout out the book “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace for helping me overcome substance abuse and feel aligned more with my purpose than I’ve ever felt.


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