Artist and entrepreneur, Ariel Saint White, has presented to audiences from more than 30 countries. One half of the creative duo called the “Love Saints,” with Warwick Saint, their work has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey network and commissioned by some of the most prolific entrepreneurs of our era. Through her art and writing, Ariel has inspired thousands to have a more wholesome, satisfying relationship with eros and nature.
Founder of My Little Yoni (the world’s first vagina superhero!) Ariel partners with top OBGYNs to give moms & kids quality sex-ed and vulva care. My Little Yoni’s 10 part ‘Yoni Magic’ book series tackles difficult topics ranging from consent, periods, procreation, the ‘m’ word and more. Every book sold results in a donated book to families in need.
As a performance artist, Ariel has performed at the Singapore Repertory Theater, the Dairy Center for Performing Arts and A-Fest Ibiza. Whether set on the stage, a wall, the screen, or the page, Ariel’s art focuses on the themes of eros, female sovereignty, and connecting with nature in the technological age.
Angel investor and advisor to innovative campaigns and companies, the projects Ariel supports have ranged from remote engineering, clean energy, climate justice, organic chocolate, eco-luxe fashion, plastic-free body care, land conservation, and female wellness.
Ariel’s personal passions include free diving, off-roading to hot springs, and making music with friends. She lives between Montana and Topanga Canyon with her husband and son, preferring wilderness for day to day creating, and short doses of urban jungle mixed in for inspiration.
Where did the idea for My Little Yoni come from?
Over my 15 years of working in the sexual wellness space, and witnessing how many women struggle because of shame surrounding their vulvas having never received adequate sex education as children, I realized there needed to be resources for moms and kids to interrupt this cycle. We need to raise the next generation differently, where kids learn about vulva anatomy and sex as a natural part of life. That inspired me to create the approachable and educational character of My Little Yoni–to make topics like sex ed and vulva care easier for parents to talk about with their kids. Furthermore, it’s quite clear that sex ed in the USA is broken. Very few states require sex education to be medically accurate and only 5 states require consent to be covered in their curriculum. Meanwhile, the federal government continues to pour billions of dollars into funding abstinence based programs that are proven to be ineffective! No states require comprehensive sex education, which from decades of research we know helps prepare kids for making healthy sexual decisions later in life. We have to stop expecting schools to provide this crucial education and instead help parents address these topics directly inside the home, leading to immediate, positive change that prepares our kids for the future. Since most parents don’t know where to start, we wanted to make the process easier and more approachable, and My Little Yoni was a way to do that.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There is a lot of variety in my days because I’m usually working on a few different projects at the same time. My day might consist of consulting clients, or it could be a day where I’m on set and directing a production, or it could be a day of interviews and creating content for My Little Yoni or working on a new art series. Like many creatives, my days usually consist of working on different projects because that is how my brain works. I find that working on one project can spark creativity or invigorate another project. I am more productive when I’m working on a few projects at once because it keeps me inspired across the board. I’m not advocating for multitasking, but having different projects in the pipeline at the same keeps things dynamic and engaging.
More practically, I would say that writing every morning and setting up my goals for the day, as well as exercising, a clean diet, and steering clear of social media. These all help to boost my productivity.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Often I dream an idea before I create it–literally. For example the original concept of My Little Yoni came to me in a dream. There are often pieces of art or writing that first start formulating in my dreams, and I will wake up with the concept in mind or the first few lines of an essay and take it from there. Collaborating also helps bring my ideas to life. I love brainstorming with my team and then batting ideas back and forth and iterating on them until they start to take shape.
Like meditation, dreaming for creativity is a practice. I would say the most useful my dreams have ever been in bringing ideas to life has been when I’ve made a deliberate practice out of it. It’s like planting a seed before you go to sleep: think about what you want to work on or get clarity on while you’re dreaming. You might find that you wake up with more inspiration or creative impulse to pursue.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend towards less consumerism and valuing experiences more. Prior to World War II people tended to buy quality items and just what they needed, and then with the advent of aggressive consumer marketing, we became such a wasteful throwaway culture. I think the trend towards valuing experiences more and moving towards decluttering and minimalism is exciting. It gives me hope that we can be content with less and bring more meaning into our lives and relationships.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Exercise makes me more productive. There is really nothing more useful than that for keeping my mind positive and creative. Taking care of my body is the number one go-to. Also deleting social media and delegating specific hours of the day for communication. If we are in constant reaction or response mode where people can get in touch with us at all hours of the day, that is super distracting. Carving out specific hours where you are reachable and being out of touch the rest of the time can be very helpful in boosting productivity and ensuring you are working on what you actually want to be working on.
When it comes to exercise, being in nature is my favorite. Whether that is hiking or swimming in the ocean. Nature isn’t always accessible though, so I’m also fine to just put on a HIIT training video and follow along with it.
Oh, and sometimes I forget this one, but orgasms! Regular orgasms help keep my brain happy, clear and focused. I am completely serious about this. I’m not sure it works the same for men, but for women, it’s a great hack and can guarantee that you have less stress at the very least. And stress is the killer of creativity and focus, so there you go, this tip will have you winning regardless.
What advice would you give your younger self?
That there is more to life than to work and to make sure to keep your identity with your work self separate from your most core identity. Really try to keep those things separate. It will allow you to slow down and savor quality time with family and friends. I would tell my younger self that as you get older it is the quality of your relationships that is the most important thing.
Basically, to find value in yourself and your life outside of work so your sense of self and value isn’t completely wrapped up in your work. I think that can be dangerous and has become a negative trend in our culture.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe that learning to be a source of your own pleasure is one of the most important choices you can make to empower and improve your life. A lot of people aren’t having satisfying sex lives and rather than always making that about another person, think about what it would look like to form a more satisfying sex life with yourself. That comes back to this perspective that solo sex is real sex, not just the thing you do in between relationships. You should be proud of developing this side of your relationship with yourself, and when you prioritize giving yourself pleasure, it is empowering and confidence building.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I would say finding ways to support others. Focus on how you can bring value to the missions and lives of other entrepreneurs who inspire you, and not only will you end up learning a lot in the process but you will be happier and more connected and able to call on others when you get stuck. I think that as entrepreneurs it is easy to become very isolated, and one of the best ways of seeing beyond ourselves is to help others. It might be kind of cliché, but that is something I do all the time and recommend that everyone do.
Also I am always learning about investing–all the time. I think as entrepreneurs we can overly identify with creating something or building a business but we don’t plan for the skills we are going to need after it starts generating. We are so focused on making the thing work that we are utterly unprepared for what to do when it actually starts working. I think it is useful to start identifying as an investor even before you are in a position to be an investor. Start identifying that way from the beginning and start learning all you can about being an investor. It is one thing to generate money and another entirely to know what to do with it. I see a lot of talented entrepreneurs mismanage their resources and money.
I think that forming friendships with people who are further along as investors than you is the best way to learn, so you are in the room when some of these conversations happen. There are also now online platforms like Angelist where you can look at deals and start learning. I’m not saying you should go start making investments you’re not prepared for, but you can at least go look at the things being offered and start to learn from them. And looking at how other deals are structured and what other people are doing can be informative. It can also help you think about things differently in your own business and perhaps can inspire new approaches.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I think the most important thing has been assembling the right team because too often as entrepreneurs we try to do everything ourselves, which is limiting and hinders our growth and success. Getting the right people on your team is the most important strategy in terms of growing your business. I want to put extra emphasis on the right people, not just your hires but also your advisors–everyone, ranging from your mentors to employees to advisors. I agree with the concept of hiring slow and firing fast.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest failure for me stemmed from collaborating with the wrong people and wasting time and money as a result. Overcoming something like this comes down to forgiving yourself and cutting emotional ties to the situation so that you are free to work on the next thing. And then becoming more discerning about the projects you say yes to and people you collaborate with in the future. Also being fully responsible and recognizing that we only have control over our own actions or reactions. We are either crying or creating–you can’t do both at the same time. This doesn’t mean you can’t grieve your losses but the quicker you can truly move through that and let go, and get back to creating, the better.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think that there should be a gardening app that helps to pair people who have time and want to garden but don’t have the property with people who have the property but no time to garden. They could split the harvest that gets produced and even bring stuff to farmers markets or whatever they want to do. There could even be a function where there is sharing of crops across the apps. Revenue could come from advertising or a small membership fee.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I would say training in freediving. Freediving is considered an extreme sport where you hold your breath at great depth in the ocean, but I love it so much because it is definitely mind mastery training. We all talk about mindfulness a fair amount but when you are under the water you have to learn how to stay present when there are many very powerful and primal parts of yourself wanting to come up to the surface and breathe–learning how to transcend that and stay present is super valuable and I think it ends up transferring to business and other areas of life.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I like Slack, I just think it is a great product. It’s great for working with teams, intuitive, easy and keeps us off email. I really don’t like email.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
A book written by an old mentor of mine named Lynne Twist called The Soul of Money. It is a very wise and orienting book that can help you upgrade your relationship with money and help you come from a more centered place where you can focus more on contribution rather than being driven by dysfunctional myths of our culture that have us focus on lack and scarcity.
What is your favorite quote?
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” ― Marcus Aurelius – Roman emperor 121-180 CE
- If you are working on multiple projects at once, they can inspire one another and help increase productivity.
- Learn as much as you can about investing–think like an investor even if you are not there yet in your business.
- Take the time to reach out to and help others. You will learn a lot from them and be happier, and they will help you in return.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.