VoyageLA Trailblazers Interview
Conversations with the Inspiring Courtney Jay Biebl
Courtney Jay, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
How do you take a fashion industry that is largely disconnected from nature and spirituality and merge it with something as connected as yoga? This is my story and how I am on a mission to connect these two things through my blog COINCIDE.
My first childhood home was in a tiny log cabin in the middle of the woods in the mountains of Colorado. It was in this cabin that my earliest memories started to form. Even though I was so young, my parents would let me wander around the woods with our Sheltie and Husky dogs guarding my side. I remember vividly that I could hear and feel the trees. It was in this tiny cabin in the woods, that I developed a deep connection with nature and found my ability to feel the energies around me.
As I got older, I started to find artistic expression through both competitive dances of all styles and the clothes that I wore. I loved knowing the trends and being able to put together outfits. Dance taught me the power of movement and nourished my soul very deeply. At age 18, I decided that fashion was my calling and I needed to move to California to pursue my passion.
During that time, I was no longer dancing but found movement in yoga. And what yoga did for me that dance didn’t, is it also taught stillness and breath. When I found yoga, it felt so easy and normal to me. I already had the grounding, connected spiritual understanding and I knew how to move because of dance. If it wasn’t for yoga (and the beautiful nature that California offers) I wouldn’t have been able to thrive at all in the fashion industry. With that said, there has always been a part of me that wasn’t visible working in fashion, my spiritual, nature-loving side was hidden and something felt like it was missing.
A year ago, I was in a place in my life where the Universe was directing me in different directions and I found myself ready to take the plunge and receive my 200-hour yoga teacher training certificate. I left the city and went to the desert for 18 days to immersive myself and the part of a soul that had been kept behind closed doors for so many years. I left with the realization that I needed to find a way to bridge my awakened mindfulness and my love for fashion. Shortly after, I watched the documentary True Cost and found myself immersed in the sustainable, zero-waste and fair-trade movement and realized there was a place for me and my spiritual, nature-loving self in the fashion industry after all.
This is where the idea behind COINCIDE comes in. I was having a hard time going to sleep one night thinking about a yoga class I had to teach the next day and received this amazing download of inspiration telling me that I needed to start spreading the word of mindful fashion within the yoga space. I received the name COINCIDE and the concept of two worlds coming together. This burst of inspiration propelled me to incorporate my meditative/yoga practices like practicing intention while wearing natural fibers and being in nature. Everything that I have always known I am passionate about coming together under one roof. My blog is an online destination for yoga practices, spiritual practices along with being able to shop ethically through COINCIDE. A one-stop-shop for a world that desperately needs more transparency, connection to nature, movement and sustainability.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It’s interesting because, in some ways, the road has been really smooth because I am an extremely determined person. But the biggest challenges I have faced have been letting go of control and thinking I know what the Universe has planned. When I went through a period of questioning how my soul fits into the fashion industry it was really hard because I was questioning everything. It took a lot of me getting knocked down to realize there were lessons to be learned and that in order for me to see the next road ahead, I needed to realize that my reality was not where I was supposed to be.
The advice I would give it to ALWAYS stay true to yourself. Know what you need in your life in order to remain grounded. If you need to turn off your phone and go hike for 2 hours in the woods, make time for that. If the ocean cleanses you, drive to the beach. If you need to just turn off all the lights, take a bath and escape the world do that but without letting go of your dreams. Keep clear by doing what you love. Say yes to opportunities but say no when it does not align with your spirit. Don’t put pressure on yourself to accomplish everything you want to all at once, realize it takes A LOT of time and patience for life to evolve the way we want it to.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Coincide story. Tell us more about the business.
Through my blog COINCIDE, I offer a different perspective on what fashion means to me, my own experiences with certain practices within my studies of yoga, mindfulness, ethical fashion and overall well-being. my hope is to cultivate a shift in the way we sometimes separate our soul, body, and mind. the idea of allowing ourselves to wear clothing that gives us the freedom to live a life of awareness and overall well-being.
I am super proud of my ability to find clothing that is recycled, second-hand or produced consciously while teaching my studies in yoga. I believe the yoga industry is ready to embrace natural fiber clothing as opposed to spandex and tight fitting pieces. I want people to see that we don’t have to wear a uniform when practicing mindfulness and that energetically if wearing ethically made or recycled pieces we are expanding our consciousness.
For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
I love this question because I am an optimist and believe that we are going through a cultural shift in our consciousness as a society. Women hold the ancient wisdom of intuition, power and a maternal bond with nature. I believe that women are pushing through with these powers and no longer allowing them to shadow. When women feel confident and connected we are able to use these powers as guiding tools for the future. I see so many women healers, teachers, and innovators speaking their truth. I see tons of women entrepreneurs developing businesses that will make a huge impact on the future, speaking about sustainability, equality, inclusion and using their nurturing ability to knocking down barriers. Women have the ability to make real change and open conversations that have been pushed to the side. I am personally so excited to see the incredible things that women are creating all over the world.