Our first interview features Flora's Social Media Representative, Tatiana Walton. Flora is a new social platform app centered around sustainable living. Their aim is to promote health and wellness to 16-25 year olds through curated green content. The app was co-created by R&B artist Kehlani and a team of two others: Alaxic Smith and Reid Williams. Tatiana works as the social media representative, and we were so fortunate to be able to connect with her and find out more about her job at Flora. 

Thank you so much to Tatiana for the interview and all the people at Flora!

1.     Introduce yourself. Name, age, profession, hobbies, inspirations, life goals, etc.

I’m Tati, I’m a 21 year old UC Irvine student (about the graduate!) and I work at both adidas Originals and for a cool little start-up that you guys will probably be hearing a lot about - Flora. I participate in activism and recently went vegetarian once I got the job with Flora. Ideally, one day I’d love to have my own streetwear line and run a charity around sneakers. Also planning to do bimonthly ‘feed the homeless’ efforts in LA starting in May.

2.     How did you get started with Flora and what is your role there?

I get this question a lot- honestly, I just applied, went above and beyond because I was actually in Hawaii on vacation at the time and had to do all of my interviews via video chat, so I couldn’t really show them my entire personality and what I can do physically. Initially, my role was just social media, so I sent them over an analysis and plan and a few pitched ideas for Flora. Obviously, I impressed the heck out of them and killed my interviews with all three cofounders. My role has since evolved and I do influencer outreach, and hopefully I’ll be running brand activation events soon after some brainstorming. I do a little bit of everything.

3.     How do you practice sustainability in your everyday life?

This one is tough- I’ll be honest, I’m not the best at it. Joining Flora has made it a learning process and I’ve implemented it into my daily life. I’m a lot more cognizant of things like plastic waste (it physically pains me when I forget to decline a straw at restaurants, or I have to buy something packaged in plastic that I can’t reuse!), meat consumption, electricity use, and the like. At the office we try to be sustainable and “on brand” if you will, and we’re all learning along with you guys!

4.      Take us through a typical day at Flora.

Well, I drive from Orange County for about an hour and a half to get to the office in Hollywood. I check on our socials, reply to DMs and emails from our future users, and curate our content for the week. It’s tough because we haven’t launched yet, so we don’t have much to go off of. But I’m in a great space with our tiny team filled with extremely creative people, so we collaboratively bounce ideas. Alaxic is our tech guy, Reid is our business guy, and we have Kayla on the graphics- and of course, Keh. They tell me what they like, what they don’t like, and the ideas one of us pitch transforms so many times, we go through so many image drafts, text drafts, so many iterations, that they almost never mirror the final product- but that collaborative environment is fun! Then we get lunch, typically something healthy, and chill out. The office is a healthy balance of work and play- we’re usually blasting music and talking pop culture while we get our work done. We’re always collectively working on the app itself, our socials, and our rollout plan. Our roles all mesh into one another but we all have unique perspectives and skills so it works. It’s a ton of fun! Our workspace isn’t rigid- it’s honestly an hours long brainstorm/chill sesh. We’ll pull up the latest Cardi B song seconds after having a conference call with an investor. Our CEO is in the office pretty often, she’s much more involved than people may assume, so when the entire team is present it’s magic. Like when Voltron assembles.

5.     What has Flora taught you about green living? What have you taught Flora?

Like I said, it’s a learning process for all of us. I’ve learned a lot about the green industry itself. Mostly though, I’ve learned how to cook vegetarian dishes. While transitioning to vegetarianism, I had no idea where to start. We crowdsourced a list of influencers and @edgarraw really caught my eye. I’ve been cooking his Mushroom Tacos like every other day. As far as teaching Flora, man, I can’t quite say for sure. That’s abstract. I hope I give them insight about social media and the consumer optics- if you look on the guys’ social accounts, you’ll notice they barely post. They admitted they weren’t really up on social media, which made my position necessary. Oh- I teach them a lot about adidas Originals. While it’s not necessarily the most sustainable business (though we did sell one million shoes made of reclaimed ocean plastic waste in 2017!), I have a deep passion for adidas Originals- just shoes in general- and we talk about it nonstop at the office. It’s pretty much the Flora uniform, haha. I did say we talk a lot about pop culture and fashion. We’re young and hip, y’all.

6.     What is your niche in the world of sustainability/green living? Healthy/vegan food?

My niche for now is vegetarianism, and hopefully I will be working for food justice causes with the platform Flora is giving me. I’m a foodie so I was really bummed when I had to stop eating at places like Mastro’s, Nobu, etc. But finding new dishes and restaurants to love has been fun! I love cooking and it has been fun learning to love vegetables. I used to eat pretty much only pasta, or rice and a meat. No green. Gross. And I wondered why I was always sick. Now I can’t cook unless I have at least four different colors on my plate.

7.     Energy conservation? Fashion waste reduction? Something else?

It’s funny you guys mention fashion waste reduction- this is what I struggle with the most. If you take a look at my IG, you can tell I’m a huge lover of streetwear. So it kills me that something I love so much hurts the planet! Fast fashion is bad man! I love fashion and streetwear so much, it has always been a part of me and I only recently got to be able to express that in my personal style. I think I want to learn about that more, and when I have my own label (coming by the end of the year, hopefully!) I definitely want to do it as sustainably as possible and give working opportunities to other POC.


8.     What do you hope Flora will accomplish and how do you think it will impact the country/world?

The best thing about Flora is we all really believe in it. It was started by three friends, all young black folks, who were really inspired to do something great for the world. Lani really wants to enact real change for young folks with her platform, and Alaxic and Reid are right by her side doing whatever they can to hustle and make this happen for her. Alaxic and Reid are dedicated to protecting that vision. We all hope that Flora becomes huge, and you use Flora as often as you use something like Twitter. We hope that it shows people who might be meat eaters, who might be vegetarian or vegan, who might want to know more about sustainability in their homes, and who might just need the access to be able to reach spaces and information they otherwise wouldn’t. So many people don’t know where to start but they have the desire, so we hope we can be that singular, central source of information where people can get the primer wherever they are in their journey.

9.     What is your favorite part about working at Flora?

If we’re being really real- free food. But on the other hand, being in that environment is a blessing from God, the Universe, whatever is actually out there. I’m so lucky to be on a team with likeminded people who aren’t afraid to give me critical feedback, who are open to ideas, and have taught me so much. Kayla has inspired me to learn how to draw so I can pursue my design ideas. Alaxic has inspired me to take up coding again. Reid has inspired me to network and just learn how to hustle and get money. Kehlani has inspired me to be creative and be myself and follow my passions and incorporate them in everything I do… that’s how I finessed this position in the first place. They’re all around my age, Reid is the oldest and I think he’s only 23 or 24. But they’ve all done these incredible things, and been around incredible people in incredible spaces, so they inspire me to do so much more because I need to catch up. They are the EPITOME of self made, and if you’re lucky enough to hear their personal stories, you could gain so much knowledge. Luckily, being in this space at Flora is giving me that access, and we have so many cool things coming that I, and the rest of the team will be putting together.  Just wait on it.

Mason Twins