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Meet Sam Webb of LIVIN in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Webb.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
LIVIN Started in Australia in September 2013 after the death of our dear friend, Dwayne Lally to suicide. The ripple effect that Dwayne’s death had on an entire community changed my life and it was there that I realised the conversation needed to change. I was actually with Dwayne the evening he died—We spoke at lengths about life and his past struggles that he had faced. I listened as best as I could have in that moment of time and I said everything I knew how. Dwayne reassured me that his future was bright and promising and from that moment onwards life looks great. The last words I heard from Dwayne were: I’m Fine. These two words changed my life and how I have conversations with people. Dwayne was the life of the party. The poster boy for male masculinity. From the outside looking in Dwayne had it all. He was talented, very outgoing and he was the life of the party. But behind closed doors, Dwayne hid his pain extremely well. He suffered from Bipolar and Depression for a number of years and the stigma kept him silent. The impact that Dwayne’s death had on so many people was life-changing for me and I realized that for a lot of people, the mantra “I’m Fine” masks insurmountable pain.

So, we decided to start up LIVIN– A charity movement spreading the message that “It Ain’t Weak to Speak” and to end the stigma around mental health and to make talking about mental health cool.
We want to inspire people to open up and to have conversations about the real stuff, without judgment and without fear. We travel around the country to schools and workplaces and deliver programs around mental health and wellbeing. I wish I had these programs when I was growing up. Maybe things would have been different for Dwayne had programs like this existed. We also created a streetwear brand so people could feel good and look cool at the same time. We sell our apparel/merch online to help raise awareness and fund our movement. Since its success in Australia, we have expanded the charity to the US so that we can help more people and spread the message that ‘It Ain’t Weak to Speak’. Everything that we do is about educating people and inspiring people to live their best life despite life’s hardest challenges.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Struggles are a part of life. No matter who you are and what you do, you will always run into problems, setbacks, and adversity and so it is really important to stay true to what you are trying to achieve and the WHY.

Sure, I have had plenty of hard times and I still do. Coming to a brand-new country, experiencing different cultures, in a different way of life on my own is a struggle in itself. I love the challenge and I know that nothing worth doing comes easy and so I have dedicated my life to making an impact.

Just because we are a charity, it doesn’t matter. We are essentially a start-up and we are trying to make money to support our mission. There are so many amazing organizations out in the world so having a unique selling proposition is key to stand out.

Please tell us about LIVIN.
Our vision is to end the stigma around mental health.
We want to make talking about mental health cool.
I think what we do really well is branding and marketing.
For us to speak to the youth and make a difference I believe we need to speak their language and on their level the way they like it and can engage. I am a young guy, so I feel what we do resonates with people on a more personal level especially in the Millenialls and Z generations.
Our apparel angle and spreading the message via fashion has certainly been our point of difference. The way in which we portray ourselves is more in line with a cool brand, not your traditional charity and it is working wonders for us. I think we complement other organisations and they do for us vice versa. Community work makes the dream work..

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would take it all back to bring my friend Dwayne back. The impact that his life has had on so many people hurts still to this day many, but I also know how much good has come from this and the many people’s lives we’ve saved starting this.

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Image Credit:
Chris Hemsworth, Kelly Slater

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