MEET-UP MONDAY // CARLZ J SODERSTROM

In meeting Carlz for the first time, I was blown away by her energy-induced intensity, humble, kind nature, and utmost honesty and ability to just throw herself out there. We need more people like this in the world! Individuals chasing their passion, coming alive in their pursuit of greatness and giving everything they have to the world. These kinds of people light up even the dullest days in life and lift those around them to do great things, of which I can only imagine Carlz does everyday unknowingly. Whether it’s with her witty and upfront Instagram posts, her totally individual design smacked on a tee, or flitting around with a camera taking shots that make her heart sing, Carlz is just doing her thing and by doing what she loves, she inspires everyone around her.

I was lucky enough to snap her up for an interview about all things business, balance and honesty. I hope you enjoy our chat, and leave a little inspired to go about your own business!

So tell us a little about 2115nine…

21.15.NINE first and foremost is a streetwear / lifestyle brand that is inspired by CrossFit. It’s a creative fusion between raw athleticism and fashion, which is represented in both originality of design and the Live, Superlative philosophy. Live superlative is the heartbeat of our company – we celebrate not only those who are at the elite level, but those who are humble in their achievements, who inspire their fellow athletes and live their life at the end of their comfort zone. What better way to express ourselves and our lifestyle than through a humble tshirt? That’s what it’s all about.

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Was there a defining moment in which you decided to take the big leap and get the 2115nine ball rolling?
A definitive moment – Yes. But it wasn’t so black and white. I tend to day dream a lot and I’ve had this dream about a cool t-shirt company since I was maybe 12. I always new I was going to do something. But it was post a throw down in early 2012 when I was shopping online at Rogue USA and I went – I can do this… I didn’t know how, but I figured it out. Within 24 hours I had a logo, website and Facebook page. I was convinced if I didn’t act on it straight away someone else would take 21.15.nine. That tends to be how I do most things. Throw myself into it and figure it out as we’re going.

How do you feel putting yourself out into the public so openly (and honestly!)?
Oh this is a great question. I’m learning every day. By nature I am opinionated and also quite outspoken. I was partial to the odd soapbox moment and Facebook rant. I used to let everything people said about me bother me. I took each hit so personally and it was awful. People are cruel and they’ll say anything to tear you down. But somewhere along the way my skin thickened and I became conformable in who I was and what I was doing. I’ve learnt to tune out. I actually had a really good conversation about this with one of my mates, Brandon Swan and some sage advice he was given by Matt Swift. What do you want to be remembered for? It really hit me. Certainly not my angry rants on Facebook. I want to be remembered as the really fun, silly and genuinely happy girl who lives superlative and inspires other to do the same.

So now, I am very transparent with who I am and what I am doing. My instagram reflects that and the authenticity is what people relate to. Being me, is the what I do best and it’s ok if not everyone likes it.

What advice would you give someone wanting to take a risk and follow their passion?
There is no “right time”. The stars never align, you’ll never have enough money and the market will never be perfect. Do it anyway. Also be prepared for your entire would to flip upside down, 300 times over. You’ll loose friends. You’ll be broke, tired and want to quit at least 6 times a day – but it is always worth it. 1000 times over.

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What inspires you?
People doing cool shit. People who just go, “You know what, fuck the status quo, I’ve got great ideas and I’m going to LIVE my life”. People are awesome, I don’t know where we all got stuck in everyday monotony, but I honestly think that we all have this innate desire to be more, to do more and enjoy the unknown. I’ve always been a massive risk taker and I’m drawn to like minded people. Our journeys are all unique but the underlying values don’t change. Be you! So I’m inspired by people who are authentically their own person. No matter what they do.

What is wellness to you?
Wellness is an all encompassing tally of your wellbeing. It’s a combination of physical, mental and spiritual self and also self awareness and mindfulness. I think physical wellness is quite self explanatory however I think the mental and spiritual side of things is always a work in progress. I don’t believe you’re ever 100% well. I think you’re on a continuum you’re entire life. Finding that equilibrium could be argued as the reason we’re on this earth…

How do you find balance?
It’s tough, and it’s a constant battle. Being such a young business, I often wear more hats that what’s practical, but that’s what needs to be done. I accept that there will be some days where I just need to dig in, work hard and sometimes “life” takes a back seat. I can’t tell you how many all nighters I’ve done, but to be honest, when you do something you love, it actually doesn’t feel like work. I never feel like I am missing out. But as I’m growing up I’m realising how important routine is. Good amounts of sleep, training and food is so important for busy people. I’ve worked really hard to set my day up that will make me the best person I can whilst I juggle life and work.

I say ‘Me’ time a lot which is basically my time to be present with where I am in this particular moment. Often we work really hard on one goal, it comes and goes and we’re already on to the next one without taking time to enjoy or appreciate the success and excitement of the first goal. Me time is as simple as, putting down your bloody mobile phone and talking to whoever is near you or doing CrossFit, and having a laugh with the members.

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What does a day in the life of Carlz look like?
5:30 am – Alarm goes off. I do this every morning with the intention of actually
getting out of bed early. Never happens… Press snooze…

7am – I get up and make a coffee. Nothing happens before coffee. I take my
daily supps: Fish oil, Magnesium, Vitamin D and a drink of super greens.
Once I am human again, I do typical human things, get myself ready for the
day.

8am – Play time with my fur baby, Imani. I try to get to the beach if it’s not too
cold and miserable. Starting your day walking along the Beach is good for the
soul!

9am – I stop by the Tally Cafe, which is apart of our massive complex in South
Melbourne. The cafe is all wholesome, organic and mostly paleo. Everyday
the menu changes as it’s all seasonal produce. For breaky it’s usually
poached eggs, bacon and avo.

9:15 am – During breaky is when I do my social media – I have a schedule for
both Facebook and Instagram. I post what I need to and try and ‘like’ and
respond to all 21.15.NINE hashtags and comments.

9:30 – Work time. I set aside max 30mins for emails. I plough through as
many as possible. I have a “one touch” rule. Open it – respond, file – done.

10 am – Check Instagram – I like to see who has recently followed us or left
comments – I am big on authentic social media. I handle all social media
platforms because I like being directly in touch with our customers.

10:15 – Website Time – Every 2 days I do a one hour website assessment. I
see what sold and look through our analytics. I’m quite obsessed with the
backend of our website – seeing who is clicking where etc. I’ll update the
artwork and arrange a few things as necessary.

11:30 I over see the orders and see what’s being sent off to our customers.
We’re really hands on, so it’s important to me to see that garments are being
presented well.

12:30 Lunch and more social media. Check Facebook: my feed is only
CrossFit and Apparel. It’s less social for me and more a resource for work.

1pm – 5pm Meetings / Design Work / Photo shoots / Emails / Misc stuff. (I
only have meetings on two days of the week) They are the biggest time
wasters and usually it can be summed up with one email or a 5min phone call.
I do not like meetings and emails! On other days I’m designing, preparing
storyboards, booking events, organising photoshoots, athletes, PR, Marketing
– The stuff I love to do.

5pm – The laptop gets closed and I walk downstairs to CrossFit South Wharf.
I spend the next 30 mins chatting to the members and warming up, working
on mobility, stretching etc.

5:30 – CrossFit – ME time. No phone. No interruptions. After the class I usually
do some extra work – strength, squat, auxiliary work.

7pm – Infra red sauna – The best thing in the world. 40 mins in this 5 days a
week is amazing. Once a week I do a float in our sensory deprivation tanks
as well.

8pm. – Dinner! We’re super social at Tally. We’re like a big family so after a big
day of work and training, we usually unwind, have some good food and then
it’s home.

9pm. – Read – I try not to watch TV unless I am super tired and can’t
concentrate on reading. I read one fiction book then one non fiction. It can’t
always be work – it’s nice to let your imagination run too. Currently I am
reading one of Richard Branson’s books…after I read ‘Grey’. Don’t judge me.

10:30. – Bed. I leave my phone on the other side of the room so there is no
temptation to scroll the interwebz. I wasn’t always this diligent. But I’ve learnt
that I am 10x more functional with a solid routine.

Thanks Carlz, it was a pleasure meeting up with you! Keep killing shit and showing the world what you’re made of!

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Claire Hargreaves