Even as we move forward with gender politics in some ways, there's still so much that's problematic, especially when considering all the input meant to belittle and hinder women. Tiffany Conde, founder of I Am Blank Period activewear line (Iamblankperiod.com) felt deeply compelled to contribute to uplifting, supporting and connecting women everywhere. So now, through her company and its offshoots of community building, fitness and fun, she's ensuring women have the space and voice to be whatever they want to be: I. Am. Blank. Period.
Originally from New Brunswick, NJ, she lived in Hungary before moving to Palm Beach County, FL, where she still lives. The traditional Hungarian food she enjoyed growing up was heavy and flavorful, but meals were loaded with veggies and fruits too. Plus, since she was ultra active, busy jumping on trampolines, and playing stickball right alongside Barbies, her life was always filled with fitness and health in an easy way. Now, she's combined her knack for connecting, joyful vibe, focus on gratitude and business ferocity all in one place. Hear more from the vivacious change-maker below.
SBS: What was your professional path? How did it lead you to your work now?
SBS: What was the original nexus of your company? What was the ‘a-ah moment’ that spurred it?
TC: Along my hardships and journey I met many women who faced challenges in the past that they carried or they lacked self-confidence. Or they felt alone in their journey, unhappy with life, afraid to talk about their feelings and issues and were impacted by social media. When my husband was laid off after the birth of my third child, I finally had that feeling of…this is it.
I knew that so many other women were raising families or going through the journey of life but didn’t have a tribe or felt the need to keep up with social media. I knew that if I could use my story to relate to other women, we could open up conversation, inspire one another and others.
I also thought we could create modern, fun, creative clothing, or as I call it ‘empowear,’ and design clothing to help women have a voice, use their voice, find self-love, talk about topics many don’t, live life unapologetically and embrace fear. Why not create versatile clothing with a voice that can be worn from gym to work and just give yourself that extra confidence to be the best version of yourself? We believe that you are a blank canvas period, and that you ultimately are the pilot flying your plane.
SBS: How did you then manifest that idea?
TC: I wanted to create a line that empowers women that carries a variety of products, hats (I’m a hat lover and hope to become a milliner In the near future), leggings (we believe in mind and body health), jewelry (check out our lowercase e evolve hoops) and so much more.
Honestly, I had the idea forever, but I became serious in 2016. I would save up $25 and seek out manufacturers across the globe up until two am most days. We were struggling financially, but I knew this was my 'in,' and something within me shifted.
I felt at peace, scared as hell to jump because of finances but so ready to impact and change lives. I would envision what everything looked like, draw it on post it notes and work with my artists, graphic designers, manufacturers and bring them to life. I never tried to be like anyone or anything but have always been lead by my heart, my intuition and what feels right. If it didn’t, I honored that feeling and moved on.
SBS: What are the different branches of your work? How are they intertwined?
TC: I’m a mother, wife, sister, daughter and designer. I do my own marketing and social media, and I love every second. I may be tired and exhausted at times. But I remind myself that this is my choice, and I shift myself into gratitude. Life will never be a straight line but always hills and valleys, just as a heartbeat. It’s only fixed or straight once the heart stops beating. I expect to fall, but you get back up and learn and use that to remind other women we must make mistakes to evolve, learn and succeed. Everything I do intertwines.
SBS: What obstacles are the biggest in front of female empowerment in your opinion?
TC: My biggest obstacle thus far regarding female empowerment is getting women to see that they are enough. Hearing the way women speak to themselves tugs at my heart. I have been there and still have to smack myself at times. I have met the most beautiful women who struggle so much with loving their imperfections. I think our imperfections are what make us so beautiful.
SBS: What were happy surprises and obstacles when building your company?
TC: Happy surprises are when women open up and have never been able to do that, or when I get a message from someone about how our line has impacted their life and given them such confidence. I know this sounds morbid but I always say that if we leave this world tomorrow, what did we leave behind? How will we be remembered? Our headstone won’t say how many sandals we ate or that we weighed 145 pounds. We are so tough on ourselves, and it’s often self-inflicted. Did you love yourself and others? Did you do good and inspire others to do the same?
SBS: What tools, emotional and practical, helped you move forward?
TC: Gratitude, gratitude and gratitude. I take the time to work it hard and practice hot vinyasa to meditate and connect my mind, body and soul. When I feel depleted, overwhelmed or fearful, I shift my thoughts, remind myself of my why, allow myself grace to stop and remind myself to breathe deeply. I’m also super organized and write everything down in my phone calendar and mini journal planner. I plan, I hold myself accountable and the others I collaborate with. We must be consistent and reliable and follow through with patience, organization and gratitude.
SBS: What's your own health and wellness routine? How has it evolved alongside your company?
TC: I do a HIIT workout outside in nature twice a week, I do one heavy leg day, one upper body day and aim for hot vinyasa once a week. I attend church on Sunday and pray often. I’m always saying thank you. In fact, people think I say it too much.
I eat when I’m hungry, I take my vitamins consistently, but I could definitely sleep more (although my best work is fine at night when everyone is sleeping). I make sure to check in with myself often, take time for my kids and my marriage.
It’s not about balancing but about being present in whatever we are choosing to do. If I get caught up with errands and meetings pertaining to the business I skip my workout but resume the next day. I now understand that I can work towards a routine but I’m okay with changes. I do what I can when I can. I know I’m a better person, mother, wife, daughter and sister when I give myself love, grace and alone time. Sometimes that means sitting in the sauna alone, lifting to Lauren Daigle (I know that’s funny) or sitting outside in my backyard appreciating the trees sway as the sun comes up.
Tiffany’s SBS Mantra: Be Brave. I think that in order to create your reality you have to be brave. You have to stand up, not care what others think and manage everything life throws at you. You have to be brave to be authentically and unapologetically you!
The best, zaniest part of being Tiffany: I’m a mush. I want to give love and help everyone. I really want to make an impact and a difference in this world while taking care of my family. I want to raise good humans who do the same.
Tiffany’s South Florida Faves:
Splurge Restaurant: Hakkasan in Miami
Healthy Restaurant: JuiceBerry
Nightlife Spot: Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach
Fun Activity: Beach
Calming Activity: Yoga
Fitness Studio: YMCA (they have a separate fitness program that is a cross between Orangetheory Fitness and CrossFit styles)
Yoga Studio: Anuttara in Delray Beach
Athletic Shoes: Metcon
Books: You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Online Resources: Google