THE BABE COLLECTIVE Founder + Head Babe: Robin Lee
NAME: Robin Lee
COMPANY: The Babe Collective
TITLE(S): Founder and Head Babe
How would you describe yourself in 5 words?
Holy Sacred Fire Goddess Joy
What is the long version of how you got to where you are today?
I think that most of us who would consider ourselves to be leaders, instigators, healers, messengers, have had many, many initiations. My life has been a series of initiations. It has been a very important part of my story to be able to reflect on my path, the challenges I have faced, and the quality of rising above. To be human is to be faced with the prospect of all extremes of experience.
Like many women, from a young age I absorbed some stories and beliefs about myself and my worth that were not in service to my rising and expansion. I received some treatment that would lead me to believe I did not deserve a massive life, that I had no meaning. Much of my life has been about transforming, transcending, and triumphing over these stories and experiences. While journeying through the experience of reclaiming my voice, my body, my ability to take up space, be seen, not “self-punish” or engage in disrespectful behavior toward myself, I was being trained by life to be a powerful healer. Though, I didn’t know it. I had no idea.
I threw myself into my studies. As a teenager, I read voraciously, and was quite rebellious. My feminism and political bent began early. I didn’t understand at that time that I was motivated to overthrow injustices because I had also experienced them. I thought that much of what I had been through was “just the way things were”. I learned a lot about what it meant to stand up for myself.
I was 23 when I finished my Master’s Degree. My first “real job” afterward was as a fashion journalist. I was living on the Champs Elysées, drinking champagne for breakfast, and attending/writing about runway shows, artists, designers, and the life as art essence of Paris. I understood at that time that I was a powerful manifestor. I was obsessed with fashion from my earliest days. My mother’s shoe closet was walk-in, floor to ceiling, several rows deep. In fact, her closet as a whole was nearly half a level of our home, with heated floors. She trained me well and early that the way you carry yourself is a billboard for how you feel about yourself, but even if you’re not in high spirits, changing your outfit sure can do the trick.
While living in Paris, I had traveled to India for the first time. I wasn’t going on a spiritual pilgrimage, but as the Universe would have it, it became one. I lived in Auroville, an intentional community near Pondicherry in the Southeast. I knew nothing about meditation, really, at the time, although I engaged in practice sometimes. The center of Auroville was a massive white lotus dome. I’m talking outer space, otherworldly, huge object. It was a meditation center. People were on a waiting list for months for the opportunity to meditate in this obscure place in India. I had set foot in there and, for a lack of better explanation, understood why I was alive. It was pure light, pure white. White carpet everywhere, and a single pillar of light down through the center of the building that held a crystal, expanding prisms everywhere. I’d never felt anything like it. It was in that moment that I understood what it meant to be spiritual…to be in awe of life. To see everything as a gift.
I had woken up. It had been happening gradually, of course, for many years, and then boom. In that moment, a great shift began.
I could no longer write about fashion. I wanted to write about life. I wanted to talk to people, hear their stories, listen. I wasn’t finding meaning anymore in what I was doing, although that feeling had been building. I left France after country-hopping for a while and headed back to the US.
Immediately upon landing back at the seaside region I had grown up in in New England, the releasing began. I cried and cried and cried. I practiced yoga every day, noticing that my body just craved it. I craved stillness. I craved rest. It was my first period of deep healing and beginning to feel all of the things that had been stored away in my body.
I began writing about my experiences. It came from somewhere beyond me. I would write in fits and starts, and later re-read the words, and feel a strange sensation. I couldn’t remember writing them, but I felt them in my body. I understood channeling. I understood that if I wanted to, I could access a Universal consciousness that resides in all of us, and speak and move and live from that place, rather than the smallness of my ego and my stories. I was shifting from living from my head, to living from my heart. I was moving into an understanding of being guided by my soul, by my intuition, by the great mystery of life.
I began publishing my writing, with the intention, solely, of sharing my experiences, and within weeks I received my first email from someone asking to work with me.
I had no idea what that meant, but I dove in. I started [well, continued] studying entrepreneurship, healing, the divine feminine, my own body, neuroplasticity, and the nature of trauma. I committed to the journey. No matter what happened, I kept showing up.
Many, many other things have occurred to bring me here, but the rest is history.
I think it is really important people can explain their main message in a concise paragraph. What is your elevator pitch on what you do?
I empower women to claim their full power, potential, and purpose through radical re-conditioning, self love, and remembering their inner wild. I elevate female entrepreneurship, collaboration, and community.
Are you doing what you thought you would be doing 10 years ago? (If not, what did you think you would be doing?)
Oh my god. No. Ten years ago I was 18, so I’m not sure I had a very clear idea about what I wanted to be “when I grew up”, I was too busy rebelling against everything, in heels. At the time though, I was beginning to read existentialist philosophy, and poetry. I was very into Sartre. Learning about feminism. Starting to write. I think all signs have pointed this direction, but I have had many initiations and lessons along the way. I was most passionate about fashion and art, so my leanings were primarily in that direction. What I’m doing isn’t so far away from that in some ways, but it’s quite far in others. I am influenced, still, by art and style and women who transcend.
What does ‘success’ mean to you, and do you consider yourself ‘successful’?
Tony Robbins [I am a totally not closeted TR lover] says that success without meaning is the ultimate failure. For me, empty success has never been an option. If you’re trying to do anything for the sake of the money alone, you are failing. Tremendously. Deeply. My success is measured in joy. It is measured in connection. It is measured in my ability to take care of myself gloriously, and to be of high service to people whom inspire me and are prepared to do incredible work in the world. My success is measured in the insane transformations I get to witness daily with the people I hold space for. I believe that success is leaving a legacy of light, and that is first and foremost my intention. That, and always having great outfits.
What do you still want to achieve (personally & / or professionally)
So much!! So much. SO MUCH. My plans this year [fingers crossed] are to finally write the book I’ve been gestating for months, if not years. I’m also launching my first courses. The Babe Collective is equal parts private membership community, online magazine, and mentorship sessions with me. The membership is growing rapidly and I’d like to build out an app for it so that the women can have access no matter what, and be even more accessible to each other [they are all over the world]. We are re-launching BABE MAG as a stand alone platform, and it’s going to also include the voices of men. I’m excited about this. I’m also [because I’m totally insane] applying to begin a PhD program this fall in Depth Psychology with an emphasis on Integrative Healing. So much of the work I do is holding space for women to transcend what they have been conditioned to believe about themselves, through trauma often, and also just through life. It is deep, powerful work. I look forward to expanding my abilities perpetually. And I do hope to be writing books for the rest of my life, honestly.
Did you study anything specific for the career you are in?
I do have a Master’s degree in Global Communications, so I am perhaps a bit more refined in my capacities for branding, marketing, and copywriting. I also understand the global market, and how to communicate in a way that connects with people. My BA is in Visual Culture with a minor in Gender Studies. I was Feminist Club President Elect [haha!]. I have been the right hand woman to many, many powerful female entrepreneurs. I have an insane amount of healing certifications: reiki, meditation, yoga, breathwork, to name a few. I am never not studying, to be completely honest. It is my joy.
What have been the most rewarding things in your career to date?
God, just being able to support people on their journeys. What a gift that is, alone. Seeing amazing transformations. Witnessing women sit in disbelief at what they have created for themselves. Witnessing women rise.
Tell us about your workspace (Office / café / couch / aesthetic) what inspires you about your workspace?
It always changes! I am a travel bug. I lived in Bali for the month of September and my office was a co-working space in the jungle. In Brooklyn, always at home, it was where I could best focus and be in my routine. At the present moment, I am wintering in Maine to be hyper-creative, in an incredibly beautiful seaside apartment with a massive window looking toward the water. Nature inspires me deeply, and as a woman who teaches rising in feminine power, it’s important for me to stay connected to that. I’m not big on working in cafés, simply because my needs are constantly changing. What if I want a blanket? What if I want green juice and not coffee? What if I need it to be silent? I also delegate a lot of my admin tasks, so the majority of my work is private sessions and content creation – meaning I don’t want people tripping over me while I’m trying to write or speak! Adding to that, aesthetically, I really thrive in luxurious spaces. That sounds a bit ridiculous to say, but I am a woman who appreciates beautiful surroundings. I am most inspired when I feel held in a sumptuous environment. I also think it’s a sensual aspect, and I speak openly and often about how our sexual prowess is our greatest manifestation power, so feeling charged up by great textures, decorations, rich hues…these things thrill me.
What are some frustrations you have experiences on your career journey?
There is always a learning curve. In the beginning, I never had someone holding my hand. I still work intuitively, although I’ve learned a lot more about the structural processes, implementation, and the back-end of things. Interestingly, getting my message out felt surprisingly easy for me. With the exception, of course, of facing down fear on the daily. What sometimes breeds frustration I think is rapid growth, and being thrown into learning things on the fly. It sometimes feels like riding a bike without handle bars [not just brakes]. I am frustrated also, or perhaps impressed by, the degree of boundary creation which is non-negotiable as my business grows.
When was the last time you where overwhelmed & cried from something provoked by work / work load?
Fairly often. Less now because I have invested in support, and this is something I teach. It’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity. Burning out is an old, old, old paradigm. You can do far more in much less time, making you more productive and more profitable, when you have a team behind you. A Queen doesn’t rule a kingdom alone! Anyway, I’m a crier, so I cry easily, and often haha. I think launches always get me. The build-up to putting a big new thing into the world. Also, feeling like I don’t have as much time for myself. However, I’ve really built a business structure with all of these things in mind. Pre-meditated ease and a schedule that allows me to really relish my time on the planet in addition to being of service. I have to say, though, that if you’re white-hot excited about something, it’s harder to feel overwhelmed. Taking inspired action is my number one M.O.
Would you say you put pressure on yourself? Has this gotten more or less as you progress in your career?
I am pretty gentle with myself because I’m naturally an over-achiever. Rather than it being about proving myself to anyone, I just naturally have this extraordinary lust for life. I am so hungry for knowledge, for learning, for understanding, and for sharing these things. My pressure, I think, is mostly on myself to keep growing. I get frustrated when I see old patterns crop up of being unkind to myself. I think loving kindness energy and meditation has supported me a ton in seeing myself as a treasure, as something divine and regal. I also teach these things so it’s really important to me to walk my talk. I truly honor myself to the best of my ability on the daily, sometimes that’s not as much as I would like if I’m super stressed or having an off day, and that’s okay. I make it okay. Acceptance is the mother of so much transformation. It also breeds personal revolution like nothing else. When I was younger, I put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted, on some level, to be accepted. To be validated. To be made “enough”. Because I have trained myself to be self-sourced in these departments, I no longer struggle as much with being my own worst enemy.
If you are a business owner – and you often can’t just check out / have a week off when you are dealing with personal things – how do you keep on keeping on with your business when things get tough?
Sometimes, it’s really really f-ing hard. Especially because my business is about holding space for other people. My general course of action has always been to bring my humanity to the table. I don’t pretend it’s not happening. It often [well, pretty much always if I’m being honest] fuels my newsletters and Instagram posts. I use it as material to connect with my tribe, because I know that if I’m feeling or experiencing it, someone else is, too. The idea that we’re alone in our struggles really keeps a lot of people trapped and I’m a super warrior against this idea. However, practical things I engage in are epic self-care. Sleeping more. Taking baths. Calling people I love to decompress or vent when needed. Having sessions with a coach or therapist. Making sure I schedule travel or a spa treatment depending on how I’m feeling, for when I can engage in it. Getting into nature. Breathing. Above all, remembering the WHY behind what I’m doing is what keeps me going.
Has your career affected your personal life / relationships? If so how?
Not really. I think as we grow, our relationships are always shifting, changing, breaking, ending. It’s part of the cycle. Something new always arrives when it is meant to. I have been fortunate, I think, to understand that changing friends or colleagues is a necessary part of growth. If anything, I have been illuminated myself in ending and leaving toxic situations more easily, because I can’t afford [literally] to have a low vibration. If someone does not feel quite right in my life, I will take some time away and let my heart speak up about it. My standards have definitely increased for men, but I am a believer that if you focus on cultivating yourself and staying connected to your passions, incredible people will always find you and vice versa. It’s the clinging to things that gets us.
Has your journey at times felt lonely? How?
Oh my god. Yes. I think entrepreneurship itself can be pretty alienating or isolating, although that’s changing. I have always relished time alone though, as I’m a dreamer, so it bothers me less. I think the deepest loneliness comes from not being able to share your work with your friends or family if they don’t understand. This has been particularly true for me, but people want to understand anyway, so I share with them. I’m deeply spiritual, and understand that much of the healing journey requires solitude and reflection. At times this is deeply challenging, at other times it is a relief. I think it’s a reminder to have healthy, amazing, supportive relationships and community so that you always have somewhere to lean, no matter what. Being surrounded by people who respect my cycles of inward creativity and building vs. outward socializing and engaging, is amazing.
What causes you anxiety / sleepless nights?
It used to be the sustainability of what I’m doing. It’s pretty treacherous waters, building a thing by yourself. It can be quite scary. These days, I think I still wonder if I’m doing enough [which is crazy] but it’s my main thing. I have a drive to create. I do on some level worry if people will care [spoiler alert: if you are brave enough to create, they always do]. I worry sometimes if I’m missing a piece of the puzzle. I don’t compare myself to others or engage in competition. I think this has made my journey easier. It also surprises people, but that’s a conscious choice I made a long time ago because it breeds so much suffering, and again, I literally don’t have time for that!
If you had your time over again, from when you started your career to right now, would you do anything differently?
Not a thing. It has all led me here.
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
Please stop drinking so much tequila, write more, definitely keep riding your bike and laughing. Trust yourself.
Who are some women in business you admire & why?
Great question! My role models aren’t actually women in business. BUT I do love Nisha Moodley. A great deal. Gabrielle Bernstein is a mentor of mine, I did her very first Masterclass. I admire Michelle Obama so much. I just can’t stop raving about her. I think she is the embodiment of Grace. Glennon Doyle Melton is a favorite, she is incredible. I’m really more inspired by authenticity than I am by outward appearances.
What traits do you admire in people you surround yourself with?
Authenticity. Grace. Love of life. Kindness. Wisdom.
Work life balance… Does it exist (I don’t think it does!) and how to maintain it, or a sense of it?
For me it does. I work obsessively, but part of my work is experimenting on myself. Because I teach women how to build and grow businesses in the feminine, as one aspect of the work that I do, I emphasize this point. If there’s no pleasure you’re doing it wrong. Pleasure is the life-source for women. There are many, many studies linking female pleasure [and orgasm, in particular] to increased creativity, life satisfaction, lifespan, and decreased illness and aging. You definitely won’t catch me staying up all night on my laptop. I know that my vibration is my everything, and I take fierce care of it. I try to really limit screen time, when possible, because it f’s with us on so many levels, and always schedule or find time for yoga, seeing people I love, treating myself to things. I think it’s really an aspect of our worthiness and self-value to understand and see how important it is to engage with the world as a whole and not just our businesses. We need that inspiration, balance, and rejuvenation.
Have you ever thought about giving up / quitting? If so, does that feeling hit from the same triggers? Why haven’t you quit?
What I have built is such a pure creation from my heart, it is a direct extension of my soul. Truly. It’s not a product, it is me, my essence, and a community that thrives on the same things I do. If I quit, I insult my entire being. This goes back to understanding success for me. Are you doing something because someone else made it look good? Because you think it will make you a lot of money quickly? These will lead to rapid burnout and a lot of time spent wondering if you should give up. On the flipside, if you don’t believe in yourself, and you are doing something with big meaning behind it, it’s very challenging to psych yourself up constantly. I think being honest about your experiences and having a support system behind you to cheer you on is always the answer. We are human. We will always have times where we’re not sure if we can do it. And then, somehow, we do.
What is the biggest misconception about what you do?
A big LOL I think is that a lot of people tell me how many people use the word “Entrepreneur” when they are unemployed or just beginning something. I’m not one to play on about titles and ownership, but I didn’t feel comfortable referring to myself as such until quite recently, because I knew how much work and time went into really building something sustainable. Generally, people are very confused about how one runs a Babe Collective for a living, and it is always my pleasure to tell them!
What advice would you give someone who is starting out in your industry?
Be authentic. Dig deep into your being and understand why you want to do this work. Share your story. Be unashamed, unafraid, and unapologetic about the truth of what has gotten you to where you are. If you can connect with other people, you have so much already figured out.
If you knew what you know now, about how much work was involved to get you to where you are now, would you do it again or do something different, if so, what?
It has been a joy, even in the struggles. I don’t want to repeat it again right now [haha] BUT if I reflect back and connect the dots, I am amazed. It has all been perfect. It has pushed me in unimaginable ways. I have grown at lightspeed, month after month. Year after year. I think the only thing I would hope for the next time around is just to be less afraid to trust myself. I spent a lot of time listening to what other people thought I should be doing, or why what I was doing didn’t matter, or how saturated the market was. Thankfully, I stopped listening.
I like the quote ‘Don’t just have a job, have a purpose’ - What do you want your legacy to be?
It’s so funny that I wrote about this above. My purpose/legacy/intention is one million women’s lives liberated by the time I die. If I can have some impact, any hand, in that…I will have accomplished what I am setting out to do, which is to shake inequality and unworthiness to it’s very core until it crumbles.
The SAMANTHA WILLS FOUNDATION is about bringing women in business together – why do you think this is important / (why did you want to be involved in this interview)?
I am so invested in bringing people together, I have devoted my life to it. I think separation and feelings of isolation are big sources of a lot of global issues, in addition to, of course, personal ones. We need each other. Feeling supported, heard, seen, and felt are so important. They are vital to our ability to thrive. I think women in business need each other tremendously, also, to understand how to mitigate ideas of competition and heal the idea that we have to tear each other down to get to where we’re going. It’s also super important to have other women to turn to who can really resonate with where you’re at. It’s one thing to have great lady friends, but ones who specifically understand your business grind are beyond necessary. I believe that when we combine forces, lift each other, support each other – we move mountains and smash ceilings. This is one hundred percent why I do what I do.
What are some of your favorite quotes?
“If any female feels she need anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency.”
― bell hooks
“Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre
“You need not apologize for being brilliant, talented, gorgeous, rich, or smart.”
― Marianne Williamson
“I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
― Anaïs Nin
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke