What do trail running and business-running have in common? They’re both equal parts limit-pushing and cup-filling. And with an entire agency filled with outdoor enthusiasts who are fueled by nature, Monday offers a fresh perspective to the marketing landscape—one that seduces people into the outdoors.
This collective passion for nature, paired with some serious street cred in the world of athletic technical apparel (the team comes from brands like lululemon, Kit and Ace, On Running, Canada Goose and Herschel Supply) is what paved the way for Monday’s purpose of building brands that enhance human potential.
And nobody gets this more than Monday’s CEO and Co-founder, Amanda Lee Smith. When asked how she lives Monday’s purpose, her answer was simple—“I run.”
“Running is the simplest form of enhancing human potential—it’s the lowest barrier to entry of any sport and you build your strength by doing it. You just need to start.”
Whether it’s piecing together creative solutions for a client or dreaming up that next big let’s-freakin’-do-it move, Amanda shares the power behind running and how it changed the trajectory of her life and career.
When did running become such an important part of your life?
“Ten years ago (almost 11 now) I had just abandoned my life. I was living in rainy Seattle, I was in a less-than-perfect relationship, I was doing a job I didn’t feel passionate about, and I decided to leave it all. I needed space and time to reflect, so I packed up my things and headed to southern California. That’s when I fell in love with Joshua Tree.
“Joshua Tree represents a pivotal moment in my career and one of the earliest foundations of Monday—and it was also where my love for running really came out. I wasn’t slogging through a rainstorm (like I often am in Vancouver), I was running through an expansive desert that was warm and dry—and my mind never felt more clear. Running through the desert gave me the mental space I needed to create a new vision for my future.”
What do you get out of running? What keeps you going?
“To me running is a form of meditation. It’s that one-foot-after-the-other that stretches your mind and body. It also brings clarity and focus. Your mind isn’t really thinking of anything else other than how you’re going to get to the next milestone—whether that’s the next kilometer or a more deep rooted goal. This is where a lot of my best ideas come from. It’s on those shorter runs, my daily five to 10 km routes, where I do my problem solving because there are no distractions.
“It’s similar to the feeling you might get when you’re in a little cabin all by yourself. It’s only then that you uncover some of your best creative ideas. But in day-to-day life you can’t rely on getting that alone time. So I create that space for myself by running—my phone isn’t bugging me, Slack isn’t there and I can work through my problems one step at a time (literally).”
How do you think running correlates with running a successful business?
“When you start out running you think: maybe I can run one kilometer, maybe two. And then through sheer persistence you discover that you can do a lot more than that. It’s by adding on that extra two or three kilometers at the end that you realize what you’re truly capable of, and a thriving business shares that sentiment.
“Whether you’re taking on a project that’s a little bit out of your comfort zone or hiring that person that’s going to be a stretch financially but know it’ll enhance your capacity—a business can’t grow without that sort of risk taking. At Monday we’re always pushing to the edge of our comfort zone in order to improve our potential and our ability to get to that next milestone.”
How is the Monday team enhancing their human potential?
“There is this culture within agencies that working 12-hour days or 80-hour weeks is expected. We knew that wasn’t something we wanted to create, so we structured flexibility into our business so that no one is working more than eight hours a day or outside of our core hours.
“If you’re going to hop online a little bit late because you want to be on a mountain at 7 am or you need to peace out at 2 pm because it’s a beautiful day to be out on the river, we’re all for it. Living the lifestyle (and level-10 fun) is in our DNA.”
What is the future of the technical apparel industry? And how does Monday help shape that future?
“The thing that’s amazing about the technical apparel industry is that it’s rooted in innovation. We’re always progressing because we’re never truly satisfied. Everyone who works in this industry is deeply invested in the environment and I think Monday is going to be a real driver for change in this space.
“As an industry we’re moving away from anything that’s going to degrade the environment, and are committed to working with nature to help people to get into nature. The more people I meet in technical apparel, the more I realize the level of creativity and imagination that is being brought to bear in this industry—I just think there’s so much possibility and we want to be here for it.”