Ever get an idea that you want to make a reality, but have no clue where to start? Davida Arnold wants to help you put that idea into motion.
Davida has developed an effective acronym as part of her creative process that’ll help guide you through the process of taking something from a concept to fruition. After launching 3 successful restaurants in New York City, Davida saw that the women around her needed something. They needed a voice and a way to connect with powerful women on and offline. And so Girl Game Changer was born.
Davida is much more than a founder. As a mother, entrepreneur, public speaker and more, Davida is the perfect person to go to for insight when it comes to startups. In this interview, she gives us her model for taking an idea and making it real. If you’re in the area, check out Davida’s event, and don’t forget to check out her page!
Tell us a little about yourself, what does it mean to be a multi-hyphenate?
I’m a creator and connector, first and last. For folks like us, prescribed titles can be very limiting!
You just launched Girl Game Changer, a platform that shares real stories of powerful women to inspire others. What motivated this start-up idea?
Listening. I listen to what girls and women ask of me, colleagues, media, and others. By listening I mean with my heart and with data. Both told me the same message: women and girls want places to be free, to grow, to be beautiful, to be funny, to be vulnerable, to be powerful, to be able to choose. To be. Period. This is a basic human need, and too often, we are muted before, during and after we get to fully voice our narrative.
I am acutely and experientially aware of the challenges women face as far as rightful cultural and economic representation in legal, career and life arenas. I’ve learned a lot, and learn more daily about how amazingly resourceful, driven and powerful women are en masse.
I launched Girl Game Changer to connect women to power, via on and offline community building in response to a need for organized safe spaces for girls and women to share their stories to create, tune-in, speak up, give back and reach out to, connect to and amplify cultural and economic capital.
Were there ever any moments of doubt?
I never had any doubt. Every message I got confirmed the need for this start-up.
How did you decide this was the right thing to pursue?
I harnessed insights from my own experiences, from trusted advisors, from women I believe in and the insights all lead to – YESSS! Of course, I also researched, test-marketed and used best business practices. Yet all decisions eventually launch with a commitment to move ahead – so I did.
What was the greatest challenge you had to overcome? And how did you push through?
Leveraging relationships is always a skill – and it’s a skill that’s proved very useful for this start-up and in life. Through these relationships, I’ve been able to strategize growth. Growth is always a challenge, especially in an increasingly saturated market.
The game changer? My brand’s evolutionary DNA – it’s inter-generational.
Each brand has its unique blueprint.
Committing to wellness is key! I meditate daily – and I’d also say that that practice has been a game changer as far as clarity and courage. I also run, practice yoga…anything to look at the art of life from different perspectives.
Lastly, my inter-generational girl squad is the best! They are true champions and supporters of this start-up. We need each other’s strengths to create an honest, sustainable, accountable and vibrant community.
You also co-founded and launched three restaurants, one being the first and only French-Mexican bistro in NYC. How did you develop the hospitality expertise needed to succeed here?
Like many creators, I cut my teeth in restaurants and bars while fueling my passions for storytelling and community engagement. In other words – I was a waitress, though I was a much better bartender!
From that, I learned nuances of reading people’s needs, wants, and helping people feel special. Honestly, I think everybody needs 90 days in the hospitality arena. Life happens there! Afterward, I was fortunate enough to meet my partner. He’s trained in on the most respected institutions for hospitality management, is a world traveler, and knows the management side inside out.
Together, we cover all the bases – storytelling (marketing, branding, communications) and management (details, fine-tuning service and offerings, staff-development, mentorship). I’m grateful to have teamed up with him twice!
Being as incredibly multi-faceted as you are, how do you create the focus needed to excel at everything, all while raising 2 sons?
Without a community, you will fail. Invest in your people and they will invest in you. There’s an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” My community holds me up and I do the same. My sons are amazing human beings who are as invested in their future as I am, and they truly inspire and nourish me, as I have faith I am doing for them. Their father is also a great co-parent. It takes a village! I’m no super-hero, far from it. I’m a woman with an amazing support ecosystem. I’m truly thankful for this blessing!
We’d love to hear a little more about your creative process for bringing ideas to life. What structure, if any, do you follow?
I have an acronym, G.R.A.C.E.
G- Greet the idea – really sit with it and turn it over.
R – Research the idea across as many channels as you can – you never know what you’ll turn over that will be useful.
A – Activate the idea in a test market of trusted cohorts. Their feedback is priceless!
C – Change the idea according to insights gathered.
E – Execute that based on the feedback. Repeat the process to scale.
I’m constantly fine-tuning and pivoting but have abandoned perfection in order to give ideas their own space to be in the world. Investing time and focus in the community is key for any sustainable process. Community will let you know if your idea will live or die. Facts kill your ego and feed your purpose — take the feedback. And learn to be open and flexible to the process – nothing ever goes according to plan.
What is the amazing legacy you’re building?
I’m an evolutionary. My legacy as an evolutionary connects the dots across cultures via love and curiosity to solve challenges with compassion, humor and grit.
Fun question: what’s your favorite item on Jolie Cantina’s menu?
Uhmmmm, that’s hard. Is every item an option? Ok, if not, I’m a sucker for the lobster taco, white heat margarita, and trio creme brulee.