Radha Agrawal is a powerhouse. After experiencing frustration with the nightlife scene, she felt the urge to bring people together and create real connections and community. Wanting to maintain all the things she loved about going out (dancing, creativity and connection) but leave the unsavory spilled drinks and bouncers behind, she launched Daybreaker, a sober early morning dance party that now has over 500K members who participate worldwide. As if that wasn’t incredible enough, Radha is the Co-Founder of THINX period underwear that she created with her twin sister Miki, is launching a new business, LiveItUp and today, is launching her new book, Belong, about finding your people, creating community and living a more connected life. A girl after our own heart! To find out what other things this mama-to-be has been working on, read on…
Radha, we are so excited to be talking to you! To say that you are a serial entrepreneur is an understatement, you are also the Co-Founder of THINX and LiveItUp. What advice do you have for women wanting to start their own business?
I’d tell them to go for it! But be smart about it, too. Find people who are actually doing what you want to be doing and study them. Figure out what makes them successful, but most importantly, whatever you do — go at it with heart. That’s what’s going to fuel you, day in and day out: a mission that’s heart-centered, is of service to the world and something you can feel passionate about. Thrive to be a part of something that’s much bigger than you and surround yourself with a community that’s going to uplift you and carry you through your journey.
One of my upcoming projects that I’m launching with my business partner, Aly Bloom, is LiveItUp. It’s the first-ever text based Life School™ where the best guides in the world deliver bite-sized information and challenges to our community via text. We cover everything from community-building and mindfulness to how to get wine stains out of a shirt. It’s everything you’ve never learned in school (but wish you had!) It’s the perfect building block for any college student or young professional who’s looking to branch out on their own entrepreneurial adventure.
We can’t wait to check it out! You’ve created some extremely innovative businesses, did you have a mentor or someone who helped guide your big ideas?
I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with so many inspiring individuals who do amazing things and also have their hearts in the right places. John Mackey, CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods, is a dear friend and mentor of mine. Also, my community and circle of friends have been an incredible constant in my life that have really given me wings in all my endeavors. From my twin sister Miki who’s been there since the womb days (and I admit, saying there’s a slight competitive side to our relationship is an understatement) to the love of my life, Eli, who stayed with me in the office until 2am while I burned the midnight oil writing my book, BELONG — having an incredible support system to cheer me on at every stage has been a total gamechanger.
John also wrote the foreword in your new book Belong which publishes today (congrats!). Can you tell us more about the book and what you hope readers will take away.
Since we launched Daybreaker I’m asked once a week to have coffee or Skype with budding community architects and brands across the world. They want to know how we built Daybreaker, how we grew our community, what our secret sauce is for fostering an energy like they’ve never experienced before.
I’ve sat with dozens of people to share as much as I could but a one hour coffee or Skype was never enough time to share it all. We would just be scratching the surface.
I also uncovered that most of our conversations would start with a larger vision: How did you build and scale the Daybreaker community across the world? But by the end of the conversation, we’d be talking about our personal struggles and how hard it was to make real friends at every inflection point in our lives — from high school, to getting married, to retiring and how it felt harder to make friends the older we got.
I then bought every book I could find on community building and finding friends. While they were insightful, they were very academic and none of them gave step by step guidance with exercises and worksheets to really vision your dream community, both large and small. So I wrote (and illustrated) “BELONG: Find Your People, Create Community & Live A More Connected Life.”
I always say when you get the right mix of energy in a room, it’s magic and a flourishing community becomes inevitable.
In your book you say, “community building is a true art form”. We couldn’t agree more! What 3 things were integral in you building the Daybreaker community beyond a simple gathering?
I would say the first thing is you have to “go in” to “go out.” This is actually how I split up my book. The first half is all about going inwards; using gentle self-awareness to reflect on how you’re showing up in the world before you start cultivating your external life (i.e. your community). It’s critical to take time to dig deep and get intentional before going out into the world to start a mission-driven movement.
Another concept that was critical to building Daybreaker, I’ve synthesized into my CRAWL Method which is all the key insights we’ve learned from building communities around the world. CRAWL is an acronym that stands for:
You’ll have to read BELONG to understand how they all work together. 🙂 But once you’ve outlined them for yourself, magic happens.
Lastly (but not least!) — “energy” has been a critical ingredient in building Daybreaker. I always say when you get the right mix of energy in a room, it’s magic and a flourishing community becomes inevitable. I’m constantly reading the energy of anyone I meet. We’re so thoughtful about every DJ we bring on board, every performer, every yogi; I really love people who leave me feeling energized and breathless with excitement after they leave the room. It’s those F-yes friends we love to make magic with at Daybreaker. They have to feed energy into a room, rather than drain a room of energy — it’s crucial.
We love that you are a master of forming authentic and meaningful relationships that get people off their devices and out into the world. What should people consider to make the most out of their own gatherings, whether it be at home or in the workplace?
Be present and listen! If you show interest in other humans and get excited about their lives, they will want to keep spending time with you. Share praise, pay compliments (wherever it feels authentic). And take initiative! If there’s someone who intrigues you and you want them as part of your community, follow up and make plans. So many of us let this fall to the wayside, but be persistent!
You are also an investor in some of our favorite women led companies (hello Sakara!). What do you look for when making the financial commitment?
If a company has a mission that’s deeply rooted in service and the founder/ leader is clearly inspired herself, I can’t help but get excited, too.
What advice do you have for women founders going out for funding?
Stand firmly in your pitch, bring energy and excitement into the room, inject inspiration into your audience and come prepared. If it means enlisting your designer friend to make your pitch deck epic, do it! Invest in yourself. This meeting is your first impression and first impressions come only once. Of course, have fun too.
You are pregnant with your first baby (welcome to the crew!), how do you think life will change once your little one arrives?
I think motherhood is going to be something I can’t truly understand until I’m experiencing it, but already it’s changing me so much (just seeing the sonograms… wow, is the human body amazing; watching this whole journey unfold has been such a miracle). I look forward to the wisdom my baby will teach me. I look forward to another layer of self-exploration and a new level of love. I feel so grateful that I get to bring Soleï into such a supportive, creative, loving community of friends and family. I have a feeling nothing’s going to beat being a mom.
As far as how life will change, I do hope to slow down a little bit from time to time, but with a child on the way, I could not be more committed to our mission of bringing belonging back to the world for future generations to come.
Book, baby, business… what’s next for you?
You know, it really never stops. Our team just keeps dreaming and the possibilities are endless. We do have a few secret projects under wraps including a project that includes our first brick and mortar space! Stay close for more details on that. My 30-city book tour happens all this September and October! From a Daybreaker standpoint, we’re launching in San Diego, Portland and Sydney (so if you have friends in any of those cities, spread the word!) and of course, LiveItUp is on the brink of launching. All exciting stuff!