We had the good fortune of connecting with Sierra Sophia Mercier and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sierra Sophia, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My husband and I were in Japan for our honeymoon. We had won our honeymoon and wedding in a nationwide contest online with TheKnot.com. Having won this unbelievable prize, we wanted to “pay it forward” somehow and told The Knot that we would dedicate a portion of our honeymoon to charity work. We picked Japan for a number of reasons, but it was just 2 years after the major earthquake and tsunami so we knew there was still cleanup to do. Our plan was to do some sightseeing and then some relief work in Northern Japan. While sightseeing in Kyoto, a typhoon hit ravaging local businesses. We were passing by a local mochi shop after the storm, and saw the employees sweeping debris out of their store, moving sand bags, and they looked like they could use a hand. We decided our volunteering started then. So we approached them, and in the very little Japanese we knew, told them we wanted to help. We picked up brooms and shovels and just started giving them a hand with all the cleaning. Another tourist couple passing by saw what we were doing, and then they decided to help too. The shop owners were so blown away and grateful. Seeing how our small actions inspired another couple to spring into action too, made us realize the power of inspiration. Fast forward a couple years and we set out to create a travel series that showcases conscious volunteer work while traveling abroad. We traveled to 8 different countries and volunteered in 6 of them – everything from grunt work on an organic farm in Costa Rica, to taking care of orphaned monkeys on a remote island in the Amazon Jungle in Peru, to picking up Lion poop at a true lion sanctuary in South Africa, to helping tutor underprivileged kids in rural Nepal, teach English in Laos, and create and join beach cleanups in Thailand. Our hope is to inspire people to make their travels altruistic. We want to help bridge the gaps between cultures, normalize getting involved with local communities, lend a helping hand wherever needed, and experience the beauty of the planet all at the same time. Our series Love Set Run can be found on YouTube at www.youtube.com/lovesetrun
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It takes courage to create art, in any form. But I can’t imagine not creating. That’s what I do, and have always done. If I had to describe what sets me apart from others it’s that there is always deep meaning and intention in my art. Whether I’m storytelling and acting, designing floral arrangements, creating on camera content, painting, making Buddhist prayer beads, or even just walking through nature and being – it is always with intention. I’m most proud of the tv series my husband and I created “Love Set Run” because we took this grand idea, made it happen, and have already impacted many people with our message and our journey. If you haven’t had a chance to check out “Love Set Run” yet, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
WHERE TO EAT:
Indian: Abhiruchi in Culver City is hands down our favorite Indian restaurant in LA!
Vegan: Au Lac in downtown is a Vietnamese fusion with flavors that will blow your mind.
Breakfast for dinner: Nighthawk Breakfast Bar in Venice, super delish, and super fun.
Trendy, but very tasty: Gjusta Bakery Cafe, also in Venice.
Ice Cream/Dessert: Ginger’s Ice Cream in Mar Vista is just what the doctor ordered.
THINGS TO DO:
If you’re an early riser, visit the Southern California Flower Market where flowers from all over the world are bunched together waiting to be taken and turned into art.
You’re gotta hit the beach while you’re here – bike ride or rollerblade along the gorgeous Pacific coast to cover more ground.
I also highly recommend the whale watching tours right our of Marina del Rey.
Stroll up and down Abbot Kinney in Venice for people watching, shopping, and good food on every corner.
Take a visit to The Broad museum for fascinating and unique contemporary art exhibitions.
Sunday night, hit up the Hudson Theatre for “TMI Hollywood” live sketch comedy.
Finally, get still and reflective at The Self Realization Center in Pacific Palisades.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are SO many people who deserve shoutouts and thanks along our journey! And I like to think we do a good job at letting those people know how appreciative we are of them. So in the spirit of dedication, I’d like to dedicate this shoutout to our Mother Earth. She provides everything we could ever need, she awes us in her diverse beauty, and she makes life worth living.
Amanda René; Andre Mercier; Cameron Radice