Phillia Kim Downs - CEO and Founder of Live Love Collective

Phillia is a visionary artist, shamanic healer, scientist and social entrepreneur. After earning a B.S. in cell molecular biology and genetics, she started her career as a cancer researcher for the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, with plans of going to medical school. Realizing this path didn’t feel right for her, she began an ever-important journey of self-discovery by going within herself, in order to find her true passions and dreams in life.

Her first social entrepreneurial effort emerged in 2004 in the form of a fashion line called pH by phillia, with proceeds supporting various charities close to her heart. pH was featured in Teen Vogue, Nylon, The New York Times and The Washington Post, and was on MTV and VH1. The company worked with A-list clientele, photographers and projects such as Project ALS, Dressed to Kilt, Bloomingdales and the SONY “Hot Rocks” campaign. Forced to close her doors in 2009, she quickly switched gears and entered New York City’s competitive real estate industry. With determination, a positive attitude and mentors on her side, she quickly became a successful agent, selling millions of dollars worth of property for over two years now, garnering press in The Real Deal, Broker’s Weekly and CurbedNY at “NYC’s Hottest Broker.”

But even more importantly to Phillia, this journey has opened her heart and mind to discover a natural world that is mystical, magical and interconnected. Through her own scientific observations and theories based on her life experience, and through being exposed to the metaphysical sciences, she realized the importance of spiritual health and how key it is to balancing physical, mental and emotional well-being.

In 2006, she began her own healing journey through the practices of Peruvian-based shamanism, transforming her own spirit from deep within. Realizing how powerful and authentic this medicine was, she became a shamanic healer herself, in order to help the people she loves and those who cross her path. Along the way, she learned that the art of positive thinking and having the courage to dream big has manifested the powerful reality of her life’s vision: to create a way to help others realize their own dreams and to help heal this planet with love!

What are you working on right now?

Live Love Collective and Awakening NY Wellness Center and Cafe.

Where did the idea for Live Love Collective come from?

The story of Live Love Collective is very organic, mystical, crazy cool and still unfolding daily. It’s the story of my heart and the hearts of many amazing individuals who have come together to dream up of a new kind of reality in which we want to live.

It’s been over a year in development, and began as a seed in my heart. I wanted to create a company where I could bring together the talents and resources of my network, and have a fun time along the way. I also wanted to express my deep love and gratitude to the city of New York for the amazing life I’ve experienced here and the people I’ve been blessed to meet. I was in real estate at the time, so I thought about a lifestyle real estate company that threw events that celebrated the lifestyles of New York City. To me it encompasses fashion, beauty, art, music, film, food/drink, wellness, technology and charity/philanthropy.

I am also a shamanic healer and have been undergoing my own transformation through this specific healing tool for more than five years. During a cocoa leaf oracle reading on my first mecca to Peru, I was told that I had a spiritual destiny to “be it, think it, act it, speak it, breathe it, live it.” I had no idea what that was at the time. The second year I returned, I was actually in the middle of developing this lifestyle real estate event company. During another cocoa leaf reading, I was told that the spirit world knew about the business I wanted to form once I returned to the United States, and that it would help me from the other side. I was told I would be creating a new concept of a global village where everyone would benefit, and that it would involve a message I needed to deliver through the business.

When I returned back to New York City, the Spirit Guides were around me, and I knew it was time to put the seeds of the ideas I’d been developing for six months into action. First, I returned to a musical project that my husband and I had put on the shelves for more than two years. It was called The Purple Kids, inspired by the healing color of Indigo purple, and was the message of Live Love. By then a key partner and soul brother of mine, who has been a nightlife icon in New York City, was pioneering our “Live Love” motto.

Then I had to break down my own ego, because the real estate company originally had my name incorporated into its brand name. I was advised by another amazing partner of mine, who challenged me to make it bigger that any single person so everyone could get on board. So then, the name Live Love Collective was born. Another friend then figured out that what we were wasn’t centered around real estate, and instead revolved around the vision, message and lifestyle we were marketing. We then became a lifestyle marketing, branding, media and event production company. And from there, we were inspired to create a new kind of LLC, as a fresh form of business expression that has never before been seen, with the goal of benefiting humanity, our economy and this beautiful planet.

Then the concept developed into a holistic business model to help address the failing health of our humanity, ecology and economy by recognizing that everything is interconnected. Humanity is experiencing unprecedented levels of unhappiness and fear of scarcity, now more than ever. Thinking about what Gandhi said, we realized that in order to truly change the world, we had to begin by changing ourselves first. That brought me back to my own personal journey of transformation and healing, and to having Live Love Collective be the visionary result from it all. So we began to explore how to bring “living love” into the main areas of our personal and professional lives and into community and play.

We decided to develop Live Love Wellness first–a platform both online and in-person where people could come explore their own personal paths to well-being and mindful, chic living. We are working with a handful of start-ups with cutting-edge and cool avenues for self-discovery. We have also built our flagship Awakening Wellness Center and Cafe in the heart of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, as a physical, tangible location where people can come to find their way to happier, healthier and more fulfilling lifestyles. I do shamanic healings here, and I am a co-founder/co-owner.

Next we are building a social-entrepreneurial network, incubator program and platform to support the mentorship and resources people need to build their dreams. We’re also gearing up for our Live Love Festival, happening this September in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and for our three-day, two-night festival in upstate Port Jervis, New York next spring/summer. It’s a celebration of the visionaries who pave the way before us, and will serve as an adult playground for fashion, music, art, beauty, wellness, food, drink, film, technology, philanthropy and more.

What does your typical day look like?

It’s different every day, which is what I love about it! I follow my own, natural rhythm for work, play, and spending time with my friends and family (and with myself). I consider myself an active and social person, so I’m out and about meeting new start-ups that want to be a part of our Live Love platform. I meet my Live Love team to plan different events, work on business plans for the company’s different divisions, help out at Awakening NY Wellness Center and Cafe and do shamanic healings there.

However, I am very introverted as well and need time for myself to recharge my batteries and keep things in balance. Doing this involves a mixture of yoga, meditation, running, dancing, hiking, cooking, writing, swimming, being in nature and playing with my adorable 12-year-old teacup Yorkie, Shpoodge. I also love hanging out with my friends and family, going dancing with my favorite DJs, seeing bands, eating delicious food and just being silly.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I have an amazing network of resources, mentors and talent that I can call upon for help. I usually let the idea simmer inside of me, visualizing an outcome that can benefit as many people as possible in a positive way. Then I work with the right people to let it organically unfold and manifest.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I love the social consciousness trend and the conscious capitalism business trend. It’s about time the power of business is used to help provide solutions that also benefit mankind and this planet, rather than being used solely for profit.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I don’t think I ever had a job I didn’t like. But I definitely learned many valuable lessons through trial and error. Without knowing anything about business or fashion, I started my own fashion business called pH by phillia. I made every mistake in the book, and had to shut the business down after five years. But the lessons I learned were invaluable, especially those regarding the importance of marketing, PR, sales, networking and honing in on my own style and vision. During that time, I felt like I was in the school of life!

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t blindly jump into an industry I don’t know anything about. Take some business classes or find a business mentor. Get some real life experience by working for someone else in the industry to learn from their mistakes. Write a business plan to see how much everything will really cost instead of getting halfway through and realizing you don’t have enough money to take things to the next level.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Find time to ground yourself and get centered. Find your passion, follow your heart and dream big. Stay positive and believe in your vision. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you can’t make your dreams come true. Give it all you got, because you can!

What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

It is challenging writing a business plan, so I meditated, visualized and put it out there to the universe that I needed mentoring and help. Within weeks, I began working with several amazing mentors who are really helping me get things in order.

Another problem I encountered was maintaining the patience to let the vision unfold. It’s been over a year now, and things are still unfolding organically and beautifully. The vision and business model have evolved and changed numerous times. Everything is finally settling into place, once and for all. It’s exciting and great to see how far we’ve come–and we haven’t even officially launched yet! I think the lesson I learned about trusting that things will fall into place at the right time and not rushing things has been very valuable.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

We are planning our Live Love Festival this September 22, 2012, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as well as another three-day, two-night, magical experience in the late spring or early summer in Port Jervis, New York. They will be celebrations of living love through music, eco-fashion, beauty, wellness, technology, food, drink, art, film and more, and should be a blast! We are in business to help individuals follow their bliss by having fun, doing good and living love in whatever ways they choose.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I see the failing health of our economy, ecology and humanity as completely interconnected to the failing health of ourselves. We are experiencing unprecedented levels of unhappiness, now more than ever. This is why Live Love Collective is dedicated to building a better world through love. With positive engagement and collective action, love is dynamic, powerful, smart, collaborative and creative. And we believe that to address the failing nature of our world, we must love holistically. We have a 360-degree perspective on how to do so. Therefore, we have developed a unique model to bring the power of love into four fundamental aspects of life, involving the self, work, community and play. Our mission is to advance humankind and bring about long-lasting change for individuals, businesses, communities and our environment.

The Live Love Collective will provide a clear path for this great awakening by building a social community, both on- and off-line, around the topics of the self, work, community and play. This network will allow and encourage people, businesses, wellness centers, and socially conscious organizations to connect and ultimately inspire one another to build a better world.

Essentially, through Live Love Wellness (the love for the self), we help people connect to their hearts, find their passions and declare their dreams. Then we help self-actualize those dreams through Live Love Work, where we are setting up an incubator program to help develop business plans, provide mentoring, do branding, marketing, PR, etc., and offer a mind-body-spirit boot camp to help others develop confidence as leaders to make conscious decisions from the heart that will benefit the community and the world.

Tell us a secret.

My biggest dream is to write and perform dance to electronic dance music, with my husband, Judo, and fully evolve into a sensii*starr, which is my vision for my fullest potential as an artist and healer for humanity. I just want to dance! When I was in high school, you couldn’t keep me from dancing in clubs. I lived in Philly, but I used to take my parents car and drive up to New York City just to dance all night long. I would come back just in time to go to school, without my parents knowing about it. Eventually they found out, but my passion for dance in that environment was so strong that they ended up supporting my bliss. I’ve gotten numerous confirmations from shamans, psychics, astrologers and more that my biggest heart’s desire and destiny truly is music and dance. I’ve never pursued these two interests in the way that I dream of doing, but everything I’ve gone through up until this point has prepared me to do so. Live Love Collective is setting up the stage for me to finally do it.

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

  1. Google is awesome for everything and anything. I use it daily!
  2. is an amazing resource. Chris Witecki is one of the most powerful and authentic astrologers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, and his horoscopes are key for my well-being. He gives me the guidance and tools to work with the natural rhythms of the cosmos to benefit my life, relationships, business and more. He’s just dead-on accurate every time. I come from a scientific background and believe my personal life is evidence that he is legit.
  3. Basecamp is good for communicating with my team members when we’re working on documents and events.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss. It’s a really cool book about reincarnation, healing through past life regression, soul evolution, and life lessons on humanity. It was an important book that I read during my own journey, and it opened my eyes and made complete sense. It’s about a patient who was suffering from much pain and trauma, and the true account of her remarkable healing from working with an extremely respected head psychiatrist. It also goes into how it impacted his personal life in positive ways as well. It’s absolutely fascinating!

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

Tonight, just an hour ago. I was at an engagement party for my friends, and the Live Love crew was representing. The warm, silly banter and humor among everyone could keep me laughing forever. That’s a big reason why I wanted to form a company–to keep the fun going on and on, through work, play and life.

Who is your hero?

I have a list of heroes, but I’d like to give a shout-out to my mother. She is seriously an angel here on earth, if you believe in those things. She selflessly gives so much unconditional love, helping many people on a daily basis. She is a hero for the underprivileged, and has been a social worker for 30 years for the special needs population. She won Social Worker of the Year several times. The best advice my mother ever gave me was, “Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak Kindly.” I love this woman. She is so amazing.

Do you feel like your tattoos have had a negative or positive impact on your professional life?

I’ve always viewed my body as a canvas of my life, and each tattoo I have represents a significant meaning or memory for me. My tattoos were actually part of the reason I was so successful in real estate; people were curious about me and thought I didn’t look like your typical real estate agent. I hope my style gives a good first impression of originality and vision.

What is your favorite quote?

“Do not go where the path may lead, but go where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

This has always resonated with me. I’ve always blazed my own path and marched to the beat of my own drum, even to the frustration of my parents and others. This makes sense since I’m an ascendant rising sign with an extra solar eclipse and Aries personality.


Live Love Collective on Twitter: @livelovecollect
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