When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Ariel Kaye: I drink hot water with lemon to help flush my digestive system and rehydrate the body. Then I take my dog, Lox, on a walk. It’s my favorite morning ritual – it gets us both going!
TG: What gives you energy?
AK: Physical activity fuels me more than all the coffee in the world – it gets my creativity flowing. I’ve had some of my best ideas mid-work out. I like to mix up my routine, rotating cardio and yoga. It’s nuts how centering and calming yoga can be; regular practice helps me reduce stress and increase focus.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
AK: I never turn down the opportunity to take a walk around the block with a co-worker to discuss an upcoming project. The fresh air and new scenery allows us to brainstorm with clarity – plus it’s good exercise! M-u-l-t-i-t-a-s-k-i-n-g.
TG: Name a book that changed your life.
AK: I recently finished “The Art of Possibility,” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. The book is uplifting and filled with relevant anecdotes on everything from creativity to leadership.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
AK: Blue or green toned lights from the TV, alarm clock or a smartphone interfere with natural melatonin production, making it harder to sleep through the night. I disconnect from my phone a minimum of a half hour before bed. I like to reduce the temptation to browse Instagram or email before I turn in by using a charging station, strategically placed across the room!
TG: How do you deal with email?
AK: I’ve come to accept that inbox zero is an unrealistic goal. I try to be diligent and respond to emails as they come in throughout the day – I don’t like to keep people waiting! I’m also committed to not checking email after 10pm. Parachute has scaled very quickly, and I’m becoming more mindful of work/life harmony.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
AK: I’m so motivated by my team at Parachute. Their hustle, ideas and enthusiasm get me stoked every day. With an extra 15 minutes, I like to stop and have a conversation with the employees around me. It’s important to check in.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
AK: A recent full schedule of travel and back-to-back meetings started to take a toll not only physically, but emotionally. Health and wellness are very important to me and I pride myself on taking care of my body in a way that keeps my energy level high. Exhaustion, flu symptoms and irritability signaled to me that I needed to take a step back and give myself time to recharge.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
AK: I like to keep the Parachute kitchen stocked with gourmet and organic foods. A couple weeks ago, I forgot to place a grocery order and had some hangry employees on my hands!! #BossFail. Luckily, Instacart delivers within a few hours.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
AK: The mantra I live by is “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” When you are so deeply, emotionally invested in building something, it’s challenging to do anything but obsess over every mistake, delay or piece of criticism. Wasting energy on every small detail hinders momentum. There will always be challenges, but keeping a positive, solutions-minded attitude and focusing on the big picture is imperative to moving forward.
Ariel Kaye is the Founder and CEO of Parachute, the fast-growing home essentials brand based in Venice Beach. Long intrigued by the interplay of design and wellness, Ariel established Parachute to fulfill consumers’ needs for high quality bedding and a good night’s sleep.
Within two years, Forbes declared that “Parachute Wins Over Millennials Tired Of Chain Store Bedding.” The brand has been called one of the “25 Hot Los Angeles Startups to Watch” by Business Insider, and has been featured in notable publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Digest and ELLE DECOR.
Prior to launching Parachute, Ariel spent ten years working in brand development and advertising in New York. Her experience yielded invaluable insight to consumer purchase behavior and the public’s growing interest in quality, craftsmanship and social responsibility – now tenets of the Parachute brand.
Ariel earned a Master’s Degree in Media Studies from the New School, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Gallatin School at NYU. She is also a certified yoga instructor and aspiring surfer.