Today we’d like to introduce you to Maclaine West.
Hi Maclaine, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Born in California, Raised by the World. California has taught me to see the good in people, New York taught me how to be authentic and resilient, and the world taught me how to be human. If we had to learn anything in 2020, we learned that we all have a story and a desire for belonging and connection.
Before the pandemic, I continuously got frustrated with not feeling seen, heard or connected to others in social environments. I was lucky enough to quarantine at home with my entire family and realize what truly mattered, which was time spent together. I had the ability to sit down at the supper table each night with the people who meant the most to me to discuss topics that pushed me to grow. Before starting Soul Supper™, I was living this “fast and furious life” in New York with no purpose or genuine relationships outside of my family. My “friends” never knew that I love to paint or that I am scared of being a failure and letting my family down.
I saw a need to change my narrative and started curating experiences to change the way we connect with one another. Soul Supper was founded when I realized that the feeling of belonging and connection I was yearning for in my day-to-day life was right in front of me. I launched Soul Supper in 2020 and started building the brand this past year. I host purpose-driven suppers across the country amongst a community of individuals who are willing to show up as their authentic self and grow their mind and soul.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Starting Soul Supper has been the most rewarding experience as I absolutely learn something new everyday. The most challenging part has been hosting and moderating an environment suitable for supper guests to feel comfortable and safe enough to be vulnerable in a room full of strangers. Soul Supper was founded on the idea of showing up as your authentic self but not everyone was raised in a household where honesty and vulnerability were embraced as strengths. I questioned whether guests would be predisposed to be politically correct, follow the status quo and not share their true beliefs and options. Trust is not gained overnight and so trying to create a space where people felt safe to share has been tricky, yet I have learned that if I showed up as my authentic, vulnerable self, others will follow.
Launching a brand coinciding with the pandemic has been extremely tough. Some people feared socialization while others confirmed to attend contracted Covid. I have struggled with not having Covid be a topic of conversation throughout these suppers. Covid also has created issues with sourcing vendors and supplies. Soul Supper has quickly grown from curated suppers to an experiential brand extending to an e-commerce platform including apparel, question cards and supper sets. Sourcing materials post-pandemic has been one of the biggest frustrations as there are delays based on supply chain issues and delivery times.
Another challenge I face everyday is that I do have a full-time job outside of Soul Supper. I work within a sports partnerships and branded content team at a global sports media brand. I have realized that working in sports is my career while Soul Supper is my passion. It has been a learning experience juggling the two effectively. I have taken each struggle as a growing opportunity instead of a hit. I launched and am now managing this brand by myself and my friends and family often have to remind me that I have to show grace and patience towards myself because I really have a lot to be proud of.
I think in all of this, my one piece of advice for any entrepreneur is that you will be challenged, you will hit a roadblock and you will want to give up, but if you are working toward your purpose, then look at each struggle as a chance to learn how to be creative in solving the problem. I have learned so much about myself and running my own business in this past year, and I treasure these skills and stories as they further define me and what I want my life.
We’ve been impressed with Soul Supper, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
How many of you have come home after a night out thinking to yourself, “Wow, I met so many interesting and creative people at that party.” In today’s world, we lack the feeling of being seen, heard or connected to others. Supper has always been the most important part of the day in my family. We sit down around the table, disconnect from the world and work, and come together to share a meal, healthy conversation and one another’s company. Food brings people together, but I often find that many do not sit down, detached from their phones to spend time with one another. Supper is not valued as much as I believe it should be. We have created a society where fast is better, convenience is preferred and vulnerability is a weakness. In today’s world, I believe hosting and cooking should be celebrated. Due to life’s busy schedules, many of my peers grew up in households where both parents worked, they rarely cooked and sat down at the supper table together. I want to change the narrative and make supper meaningful again. I started Soul Supper as I saw a need for the space where individuals can come together to expand their palate and mind with transformative discussions and a family-style meal.
Soul Supper, a purpose-driven experiential company is fueled by human connection and brings people together to heal and grow the soul within a community around the supper table. Each supper is structured where I invite a diverse yet limited group of individuals to come together and share a meal. Suppers are structured to make a connection with one another grounded in conversation inspired by the curated topic and questions as a catalyst for this growth. Soul Supper began with my providing a home-cooked meal, yes, I’ve cooked for dozens of people in my apartment in Los Angeles. Supper has quickly expanded into other people’s homes and even private dining experiences at restaurants around the country. Soul Supper feeds authenticity by empowering individuals to come together and leave connected.
What does success mean to you?
This is an ironic question, as my last supper hosted in New York City was themed “Success.” The first question I asked that night at the Soul Supper table was, “How do you define success?” and the answers that evening are exactly how I would answer this question.
Success to me is not how much money you make, the title you have or the amount of Instagram followers you collect. Success is the feeling of joy and inner peace. It is felt in life experiences and the people you surround yourself with. It is the ability to do what you are passionate about for the majority of your time while constantly evolving.
Success is hosting a supper in the city where it all started, where I was in my darkest, most lonely place where I lost my sense of purpose or passion. It is being able to look back at past suppers to see how I curated and hosted a supper where guests gracefully transformed and are now close friends. People often want to glamorize success without the struggle, yet my idea of success is the beauty of the struggle. If there is one thing for people to take from Soul Supper is that we are all human, we all have struggles and we all have a story. Soul Supper is a community to support your replanting, growth and bloom. I embrace the struggle as it is a part of my beautiful growth process. If you can have grace and gratitude throughout your journey, that to me is success.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: soulsupperseries.com
- Instagram: soulsupperseries
Michael Ade (he will get credit with the headshot photo and the photo of when I am looking down at my cards smiling)