Meet Los Angeles native photographer and The Art Of Living West founder Karly Cakesss who has a real affinity for saltwater, sunrises, deep desert adventures, astrology, writing, and honoring your soul’s creative purpose. Just like many of us, we are sure you have snooped the delicious photo-journal of Karly’s travels, lifestyle, and musings that she has effortlessly created to bring you closer to the smell of the ocean and the feel of the endless summer.
Hey Karly, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m so happy to be chatting with you. My name is Karly and my passion is photography, writing, and high vibrational content creation. I am a storyteller through pictures and words, and find my deepest inspirations in nature, the human body – both physical and spiritual, and spiritual connections.
Now based in LA, can you take us through your journey as to how you arrived at where you are now?
I was actually born and raised in Los Angeles, attending school at UCLA where I majored in English literature. I started in the social media space completely by divine coincidence. I was on a run down at the beach in Venice, where Spiritual Gangster was having a photoshoot. We stopped I ended up chatting with them about social media.
They loved my work and hired me as their social media manager and continued to grow in the role for 4 years, helping them to grow from 7k to over 400k followers, and cultivating the brand DND and vision. From my experience, I felt called to start my own company and take my knowledge of freelance for multiple brands, expanding my photography and writing skills on new and evolving platforms.
What are a typical 24 hours like for you?
I’m an early riser ( thank you Pitta ) and start my day with a meditation – the Calm app is my current favorite. I do my morning pages ( journaling 3 pages ) and make myself tea or hot water with lemon. I love working out first thing in the morning, so I’ll either head for a beach run or a pure bare class. Then off to my favorite local coffee shop to work on emails, content, and writing. If I’m shooting that day, we tend to shoot early morning or a golden hour for that good-good light.
Can you tell us how you launched The Art Of Living West?
I launched TAOLW before I traveled to Brazil last year. I wanted a place to share my experiences through travel, fashion, wellness, spirituality, and relationships.
What was the incentive behind it?
The Art of Living West is a digital magazine, blending together photography, magic, travel, and things that light me up. I wanted it to be a more authentic representative of a blog – more curated and more heartfelt. My main incentive was to create a place in which to inspire and to be inspired.
How are you combining the aspects of social and lifestyle photography with social media content?
For me, there is no difference between the two. Social media is an incredible tool when used to its highest good to express your loving pursuits with the world. I think people can get into trouble when they try to create “lifestyle” images instead of simply living their life in their own unique style and capturing it organically.
At what point did you realize that you were able to turn your passion into a profitable venture?
I had to shift my perspective from one of separation…separating what I love from what I could make money with. There is no difference between the two. Do what you love and the money will follow. It is about trusting your purpose and that by doing magical work, you make magical pay. It is an equal exchange of energy because everything in life is energy. So what you put out with love and purpose, you reap with love and purpose.
Who does the team involve at The Art Of Living West?
I am so blessed to be surrounded by men and women who are passionate and incredible at what they do. From marketing experts, incredible photographers, healers, teachers, and mentors, The Art of Living West team is a network of creators from all over the globe.
As you continue to grow, what important factors are you currently looking at to make sure that your business foundations have stability?
Having a business plan is key. Having foresight for what it is that you want to create. Running your own creative business means that you are creating your milestones, which are essential, especially since conventional milestones are no longer built in. Also, make sure to remindful of saving for taxes!
Where can you see your self within the next 3-5 years?
I want to be traveling the world, creating content, running The Art of Living West as a multimedia online digital magazine. I want to also be giving talks on mindful living and stepping into your power, and living with my love.
How are you planning to expand The Art Of Living West?
By bringing other creators on board, to expand to a multimedia agency and working on big campaigns around the world.
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally as a photographer?
I think as a creative, and especially as a woman, we struggle with asking for our worth. We are conditioned to be givers, to not make waves, to be small and quiet. It is both terrifying and incredibly freeing to say this is my worth and trust that what is yours will always find you.
What outlets do use to market The Art Of Living West?
Instagram and blog.
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being in the creative industry field?
That it is ‘stagnant’. The creative industry thrives when we are fluid and allow our craft and vision to grow as we grow. And that you have to settle for rates.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
I would like to see millennials approach business with human emotions. We are often so focused on the end goal, that we forget to connect on a human level. That is where I’ve found the business to thrive the most.
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
You are so special, you don’t even know how special you are. Create from your heart space and you will thrive.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Follow our gut. Ask for your worth. Stay true to yourself, and the right things will come into our life.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
Scheduling! I find that setting up a structure actually gives me the most freedom. I do my best work when I write down my schedule for the next day. It allows me to be focused when I have work to do, and the truly let go and relax when I log off. And knowing when to log off and enjoy life in the present moment.
The highlight of your career so far?
Inspiring others to follow their dreams. Being able to be a voice of purpose, self-love, and peace for people on their journey for their soul’s creative purpose.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Being recognised in spaces and duplications like BE YOUR OWN for my work and inspiration.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Sam Abrahart of The Mayfair Group & Byrdie Mack of WolfCub
What advise would you give others out there passion about becoming a photographer?
Shoot, shoot, shoot! Find what inspires you and go out and create without an agenda. Just enjoy the process and the right things will come to you.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success’ by Deepak Chopra.
How do you measure your own terms of success?
How I feel after working with a client, what my body and mind feel like. If I am calm, grounded, and inspired, I know I am creating with success. Also, when my bank account mirrors the work I do.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
Be your own hero, write your own story, love your own soul. Be your own.
Lastly, what is next for you and The Art Of Living West?
Launching a podcast all about living a spiritually fulfilling life in our modern world as well as creating content in foreign countries.