#WomenOfAce: Meet Cassandra Osborn

When things feel uncomfortable or unknown, the first reaction may be to retract and step away from the challenge, but can’t you just hear that little voice saying, “where’s the growth in that?” When Cassandra Osborn was standing at her intersection of personal events - an identity crisis, a move overseas, and the complete inability to find that damn perfect pair of pyjamas, she chose to get off that paved road and blaze her own trail.

Cassandra Osborn Hernest

Ace: What are you up to? ( Your current hustle )

Cassandra: I’m the founder of hernest project. I’m working on a line of sleepwear that aligns with how women live inside their homes, how they travel, how they want to feel, and the garments are made with the highest environmental and ethical standards. We’re aiming for no compromise on style, fit, comfort, ethics and environment.

Ace: Why is this important to you? ( Where did this passion come from? )

Cassandra: This is important to me because the world needs to do more with less (I know it’s kind of a catch phrase right now, but it’s incredibly important). Making garments comfortable, flattering, versatile and ethically-made just makes sense.  

The passion has grown incrementally as my ideals have evolved. Sleepwear that fits into a daily routine, travel plans, and a considered wardrobe was my main motivation. It’s important we learn to do more with less if we’re going to thrive into the next century. So why not start changing the expectations around clothing? Sleepwear is a passion of mine because for so long it’s been an afterthought, yet we spend so much time in these garments. I spent so much time trying to find the perfect pair, and that evolved to designing them, making them, and now selling them.

Ace: What was your dream job growing up? How do you think this has influenced who you are today?

Cassandra: I don’t know that I had a dream job. I always had an affinity for certain ideals. I loved the idea of independence - I knew I wanted to make my own way in the world as soon as possible, both professionally and personally. I don’t mean I wanted to own a business (although I did write a bunch of business plans that never made it past the writing phase), but I wanted to make my own way independently. I also wanted to make a difference. To do something that mattered.

My career path has been varied, but looking back I can see that each step satisfied an ideal. I am a Certified Accountant, and for me, this was the key to gaining independence, and something I knew would come in handy if I ever needed to get a job in a pinch. I met a girl in Whistler who was a rad skier earning a living as an accountant. She was my early career muse. Quickly after getting my designation I worked in non-profit, which satisfied the need to feel like I was doing something that mattered. After that, I found my way to an outdoor apparel/lifestyle brand. They were pioneering innovations in sustainability and ethics, and influencing the outdoor industry which I identified with fully. I learned so much there, personally and professionally, and for a long time I was living my dream job. Then I had kids and my motivations expanded. I’ve now landed in my dream “job.”

Ace: If you could describe yourself in only three words, what would they be?

Cassandra: Independent. Driven. Reserved.

Ace: Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?

Cassandra: Oh, that’s easy. I literally can’t think about Terry Fox without choking up. He represents so much of what I believe. One person with a lot of passion and determination influencing people with his actions. I think about his quote a lot, “Even if I don’t finish, we need others to continue, it’s got to keep going.” Starting a brand isn’t exactly the most sure thing, but I’m doing it one step at a time, and evolving the conversation around fashion ethics and environment is imperative. Imagine a world where each item has been produced with environment, ethics, and the end consumer in mind… that’s inspiring.

Ace: What does the term “Boss Babe” mean to you?

Cassandra: For me a “Boss Babe” is a women who is a centre of influence, she knows what she wants and goes for it. She's in charge of her life and makes no apologies or excuses for who she is and empowers others to do the same.

Ace: How do you empower other women?

Cassandra: I’m just starting out, so I have a lot of work to do on this, but I am empowering women by sharing their stories, by working with independent women entrepreneurs, and by being real and authentic in how I represent myself and the brand. It’s an evolving process, and by no means perfect right now. I pay real people to model and don’t touch up my photos. I seek out independent women entrepreneurs that align with my core values to help make things happen. I don’t have all the answers yet, but it’s an important element of the brand, and one that I will evolve as hernest grows.

Ace: What is the best advice you’ve ever received from another woman?

Cassandra: In my last role I worked for and alongside so many Boss Babes. I learned a lot from them, and more than any specific words of advice, they taught me to be unapologetic about who I was and what I thought. They respected my opinions and encouraged me to speak up (something really outside my comfort zone) and this has stuck with me always.  

Ace: Can you share the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a failure?

Cassandra: Two things: Believe in yourself. I’ve failed when I didn’t believe I could do it. And be kind to yourself. I beat myself up for everything, but failing actually creates space for faster learning.

Ace: When you are feeling overwhelmed, what do you do to find peace?

Cassandra: I go for a run, preferably in the woods. It clears my head for ideas to get untangled. I have trouble sitting still, and running has always been part of my life - no headphones, just me and my thoughts. I’ve had so many moments of clarity while running.  

Ace: What legacy do you hope to be remembered for?

Cassandra: I want my kids to feel like they have the confidence to get after the things they love, while also thinking about their impact on people and the planet. Mostly, I want to be remembered as a nice person who had a positive impact on the people around me.

Ace: Where can we find out more about you so we can continue to support you?

Cassandra I’m on social media (of course), Facebook, I have a website, and I’m also on LinkedIn.

Stay connected with Cassandra: @hernestproject