"How tall is Mama Unicorn?" "Will Mama Unicorn Marry Me?" "Does Mama Unicorn Miss Her Dreads?" These are just a few of the many questions that we received on our Ask Me Anything (AMA) post on our Instagram featuring our Brand Manager, Mama Unicorn. While it was difficult to narrow down the questions, here are the answers to some of the featured questions. Without further ado, here are Mama Unicorn's Answers:
_angelawhite_ - What do you look for in recruiting new unicorns?
If someone is not too familiar with the Unicorn Crew, on the surface it can seem like a free ticket to a festival, free outfit, and features on our social media. Which is a pretty cool deal. However, the Unicorn Crew is so much more than that. The Unicorn Crew is a festival experience different from any other. Unicorns spend the entire festival with each other, and usually they’ve never met before. They roam around the festival constantly, meeting other attendees and engaging with all people who could be new to the brand or are already familiar with the brand. One of our main goals is to promote rave culture in a positive light and help other attendees feel both welcomed into the community and educated on its culture. When we read through Unicorn Crew applications, we look for someone who fully understands this and is more than willing to take on this experience wholeheartedly. It’s also something we like to think of as a reward for our customers and supporters who truly know our brand and what it’s about. Knowledge of our brand and expression of how it has impacted his or her life is always a plus.
Meowlizzette - Do you miss your dreads??
I do! I had dread extensions for 2 full years after my first Burning Man. Dreads are a big part of BM culture as they protect your hair from the dust storms and are easy to maintain. My first burn was a truly eye opening experience for me and when I got home, I didn’t want to take them out. I had become a new version of myself there and to me my dreads were a representation of that. I think there’s definitely a chance they’ll be back soon and many times throughout my life. I picture myself as a crazy hippy grandma with dreads someday, smoking weed on my porch and telling my grandkids stories about raves in the early 2000s.
nicole.co - What was the hardest part about getting iHR started?
iHeartRaves was created by our CEO Brian and his now wife then girlfriend, Christine, in October 2011 (#coupleswhoravetogetherstaytogether). When I came on board, we spent a lot of time talking about what the brand should represent and what it was going to be. We ourselves became ravers in the era of Hard Haunted Mansion, EDCLA, TAO, Armin’s spread hands as the epitome of the “feels,” the explosion of dubstep and the transformation of what everyone called “Techno” at the time into “EDM.” Thus, iHeartRaves was born into that and shaped from it, but it has evolved along with the community and culture into something so much bigger than we ever forecasted it to be and faster, too. We have always strived to make iHeartRaves more than just a brand but literally a part of the culture and an outlet to help expand that culture, contribute to the community that has so wonderfully supported us, and shed a positive light on rave culture in general. That part has been easy and natural for us. The amount of support we received for it has forced us to grow a lot faster than we were ready to at times and scaling to a larger level of business and as a company has not been easy. But it’s been awesome and I’m so grateful for all of it.
rayleen_95 - What are you looking forward to at EDC this year?
EDC is an amazing festival and in my opinion, the biggest party in the world. I am looking forward to it being in May this year, although I keep forgetting how it’s earlier and then freaking out about how there’s still so much to do when I remember that. I’m also looking forward to meeting iHeartRaves customers. I remember the first festival I ever went to where I saw people wearing iHeartRaves and almost crying with excitement. I wanted to walk up to every single person and tell them they were beautiful and how amazing they looked in their outfit, although I was lot shyer then. I still get that feeling every single festival and it’s overwhelmingly wonderful.
darkrubired - Is there an IHR Store in Anaheim?
We used to have a retail store in Anaheim, now our headquarters are located there. Our flagship store is located not too far away in West Covina, CA off the 10.
viviclaries - Since some of you have been raving for many years, do you ever get tired of it? Or not as excited as before?
It’s a different feeling of excitement I want to say. There are some festivals I’ve been to more than 8 years in a row. With those festivals, I get excited to meet the attendees and see new sets I haven’t seen there before. I definitely get reminded of that feeling of wonder and awe when I meet someone who is there for the first time. I get excited for them. To be honest though, I still have trouble sleeping the night before every festival I go to. I’m like a little kid sometimes. Tiny Dancer absolutely loooooooves it when I wake her up at 8AM jumping up and down and saying we need to get ready for a festival when gates don’t open until 6PM. I just can’t help it.
Baehanchan and lisamariesedano - What has been your favorite festival/event?
This question is incredibly difficult to answer. It’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child. There are so many cool aspects to so many different festivals and I really feel weird focusing on one. If I had to though I’d mention Electric Forest. Electric Forest last year literally changed my life. I love when festivals expand on the culture and provide ways for attendees to enhance themselves so much further than just experiencing the amazing music they have to offer. With Electric Forest’s art and performances you can immerse yourself into an entirely new world. Not only that but they also have programs and activities that both allow you to expand your mind and connect with other attendees in so many different ways. One of my favorites is Her Forest, it focuses on empowering women and it’s incredibly inspiring.
bejoux_How tall are you? You inspire me to wear tall shoes!
ladyravepool - What is the best advice you have to give to other women business leaders in the rave community, trying to start their own or be apart of something huge..what would you tell the up and coming ladies to focus on most?
If you’re starting your own business, cultivating a team of people who will complement your strengths and have the same vision as you are the most important advice I’d have to give. As a leader, you need to understand that you’re not going to be the best at everything and it’s going to take a lot of trust on both sides of your working relationship. The most solid foundation for that is shared vision and a passion for your goal.
If you’re looking to join a team, be confident in the skills you’ve acquired thus far no matter how far along you are in your career. Really figure out what it is that you bring the table and don’t be afraid to articulate that when you’re reaching out or networking. I can’t tell you how many times people have reached out to me and expressed that they “just want to be involved” and “would be willing to do anything” in order to be a part of our brand. The people who really stand out to me are those who are upfront about what they see themselves doing and the experience they offer. If your dream job doesn’t happen right away, find opportunities that you believe are a step in the right direction. Work hard at those opportunities no matter what they are. I got my first job the day I got my driver’s license at a Coldstone Creamery. I became a Shift Leader there within a few weeks, and I would never have realized some of the leadership skills I learned when I was just 16 years old helped shape the managerial skills I have today, many years later. Your dreams won’t work unless you do, and your hard work will put you where luck will find you. I got very lucky in my career so far, but I would never attribute all of it to luck. Don’t ever give up on yourself.
anananananananananana - Do you have a mantra to motivate yourself? Or a book or something that just pumps you up to keep doing what you do?
Two things drive me more than anything in life. The first is being an unconventional woman in business and supporting other women doing the same. My team is more inspirational to me than they’ll ever know. They are some of the smartest, most talented women and I have the amazing pleasure of leading them. Secondly, you could say my life motto is, "work hard, play hard." I am definitely the type of person to put my career first always and never stop working or striving to be more efficient and better at what I do. At the same time, I’m driven by my passion for festivals and when I’m not in the office running meetings and juggling projects, I’m on the dancefloor womping until the sun comes up or in the desert dancing under the moon.
lahefa - When did you start raving? And what drew you into the rave culture?
I’ve been into dance music since the early 2000s. I grew up in Seattle and went to a few underground parties at a pretty early age. Kids in my high school made fun of me for liking “techno” and driving around in my car blasting 9PM by ATB after football games. My first massive was HARD Haunted Mansion in 2009 at the Shrine and my first Southern California event. I was completely enthralled by the number of friendly people I met. When I was younger, I was a lot shyer and introverted than I am now. You would never catch me dancing on stage or talking to thousands of people on Snapchat about how much I love the community that we are involved in. Something about the community and the culture I experienced then and at all the events I went to following made me feel like I belonged to something bigger and that this was a place where I could show my true self. I wanted to share this feeling with the world, and somehow couldn’t shake the notion that this wasn’t just something I was going to be passionate about, it was something I was called to do.
Xxby_belxx - What inspires your outfits or ideas?
To be honest, I don’t think I’m the most stylish individual who works at iHeartRaves. There are days I wake up and I wish I could wear my pajamas to work. I like to focus on the business and analytics over the creative side most days. So when it comes to dressing for festivals, I like to just kinda go with the flow and wear what makes me feel good over everything else. When I’m matching with my team that’s when the crazy styling comes out. There’s usually spreadsheets involved - it gets intense. In terms of iHeartRaves inspiration, we let our customers show us what they want. We’re always listening to feedback and bringing home ideas we come up with at festivals when talking with our customers. I’m also incredibly inspired by all the ravers who have created their own brands, like Rolita Couture and Lunautics. It’s a huge goal of mine to continue to discover these brands and help use our voice in the community to give them a spotlight to grow.
Brittanyyyannn - How did you get into Iheartraves/INTO THE AM? Did you go to school and get a degree in anything? If not, would you?
I went to college and got a degree in Business Marketing. I had no idea in college that I wanted to get into festival fashion. I knew I wanted to work in EDM in some capacity, but was more interested in the music side and artist management. I got incredibly lucky finding my iHeartRaves family and being able to build this brand. It allowed me to truly become the person I always wanted to become and in doing that my dreams of growing this brand and inspiring others grew and they continue to grow today. There is so much I want to accomplish now and I’m so excited to experience whatever happens next. I think my education helped and was a great foundation, but it’s definitely the passion that got me here and also what brought my amazing team together. I wouldn’t recommend to get a degree or not getting a degree to people who are looking to do something similar. I know people who’ve started their own businesses who don’t have them. It really depends on your own unique situation.
Vegederian - What are you inspired by??
As a female in business, I’m inspired by many different things. At the end of the day, it’s iHeartRaves customers who inspire me more than anything. I have an amazing privilege of being able to meet supporters of our brand at every festival I go to and it’s something I look forward to immensely. The number of people who have opened up to me and shared their stories with me on how our brand has impacted them is the reason why I get out of bed every morning.
ledesma105 - Who’s your current favorite DJ’s?
This is probably not all of them but here we go in no particular order - Kaskade, Liquid Stranger, Cristoph, Eric Prydz, Ivy Lab, Zhu, Dela Moontribe, Treavor Moontribe, Desert Dwellers, Sub Focus, MK, Perfect Stranger, Cut Snake, Barakuda, Ace Ventura, Bassnectar, Rezz, Wenzday, Opiuo, The Glitch Mob, Seven Lions, Porter Robinson, Grum, Lane 8, Pendulum (what I wouldn’t give to see a Pendulum live set again ah), Camelphat, Green Velvet, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Space Jesus, Kill the Noise, Zeds Dead, Capsa, Rusko (but did anyone catch their B2B at EDC in 2016?!? So good), Mikey Lion, Porkchop (or is it Porky now?), Above and Beyond, Pan-Pot, Delta Heavy. I’m sure there’s more but there you go for now haha.
Aeryellerr What wakes you up in the morning? What drives your soul?
Coffee wakes me up in the morning, can’t live without it. Inspiring other women and men to follow their own dreams and be confident in who they are at festivals and so so far beyond is what drives my soul.