Ellie Kime of The Enthusiast & Co On How To Live With Joie De Vivre, Even When It Feels Like The…

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Ellie Kime of The Enthusiast & Co On How To Live With Joie De Vivre, Even When It Feels Like The Whole World Is Pulling You Down

Reframe your relationship with ‘taste’. Is there something you’re denying yourself the pleasure of enjoying because it’s not cool? As long as it’s not hurting anyone, you should be able to do what you like without fear of judgement.

As a part of our series about how to live with Joie De Vivre, we had the pleasure of interviewing Ellie Kime.

Ellie Kime is the founder of The Enthusiast & Co, a platform created to encourage you to be more enthusiastic in your everyday life. Through her Substack newsletter, VORACIOUS magazine, merchandise and podcast, she helps people unapologetically embrace what they love, because she believes enthusiasm is what makes the world go round. She lives in London with her partner and her two duck-shaped popcorn makers.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Thanks for having me! After my final, third year university exams (studying philosophy, which I hated and tried to drop out twice from) I set up my first business, a wedding planning and consultancy business. Whilst I got so many lovely comments and support, I also got a fair few (well-intentioned!) questions asking “Don’t you think it’s a bit weird that you’re so obsessed with weddings at just 21 years old?” I didn’t think it was weird, but started to wonder why it didn’t seem weird to me — and that led me to creating The Enthusiast & Co, as I realised enthusiasm had played a major part in my life so far but I’d just never named it or given it the proper credit before. I’m no longer in the wedding industry (though it will always hold a special place in my heart), but The Enthusiast & Co is stronger than ever.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

A few years ago I created some badges for the tube (I live in London) which were designed to help make public transport a more welcoming space for people with invisible illnesses or disabilities. They went semi-viral on instagram, with loads of wonderful influencers and people sharing them; so much so that my phone overheated! I was on holiday in Croatia at the time and was so overwhelmed I had to go sit in the rain for a bit to calm myself down — though when I relayed this story to a journalist later, she published that I did some crocheting in the rain. I still don’t know how to crochet, sadly.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

The first ever iteration of The Enthusiast & Co was a t-shirt saying, simply, “enthusiast”. I’d created it for myself for a brand shoot — literally by writing the word in Sharpie, scanning it, and then sending the file to a long-suffering graphics friend saying “how the hell do I turn this into a vector?”. When some people expressed interest, I got some made up to sell. I was so excited by the idea that people would want them that I didn’t work out my profit margins; in fact, I’m positive I sold them at a loss. Luckily I had a lot of small business friends who pulled me aside to let me know that I not only deserved to make money for something I do, but actually had to if I wanted to continue it!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m lucky enough to have so many people around me who’ve helped me in countless ways, and to whom I’m exceptionally grateful and couldn’t have done without.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently rated at #19 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

You might be surprised to hear a professional enthusiast agree with this ranking — isn’t enthusiasm all cheerleading pom poms and beaming smiles?! But to me, enthusiasm isn’t blind positivity; it’s not pretending everything’s a-ok even if it’s not. It’s making the most of things despite them not being ok, and this is why it’s such a powerful tool: because we can use it to bolster us in times like we’re living through now. Both can be true at once: we’re living in terrifying times, and making the best of it.

But back to the question: I think the ranking is so low because, both literally and figuratively, the world is on fire. (The UK, where I was born and live, is below the US on the rankings, if that makes you feel any better). We’re living in undoubtedly scary times with very little security or stability, but often when we express that we’re met with people who tell us to stop being stupid or snowflakes.

Can you share with our readers your 5 strategies to live with more Joie De Vivre? Can you please give a story or example for each?

  1. First of all, remember that you’re allowed to live with joie de vivre, even in times of hardship. Denying yourself enthusiasm, pleasure, and enjoyment does nobody any favours — especially you.
  2. Make time for what makes you happy. This sounds so simple, but it really is a game changer — designing your life so that you do things you enjoy makes a whole world of difference. If you find it hard to find those pockets of time, add them into your calendar; literally book the date in with yourself.
  3. Think about what you enjoyed as a child. If you can’t think of something you enjoy doing, don’t worry; just go back to 5 or 8 or 10 year old you. How did you spend your spare time? What did you like doing the most? And how would you feel about reconnecting with that activity now as 35 or 48 or 60 year old you?
  4. Reframe your relationship with ‘taste’. Is there something you’re denying yourself the pleasure of enjoying because it’s not cool? As long as it’s not hurting anyone, you should be able to do what you like without fear of judgement.
  5. On that note: reassess your use of phrases like ‘chick lit’ and ‘basic bitch’. Because actually, when we dig a bit deeper on that, that’s just calling something or accusing someone of having bad taste because it’s not something super high brow…but we’re not all reading War and Peace and that’s ok!

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

I love Project You, run by life design coach Selina Barker’s work. She’s taught me so much about life design — the idea of designing your life to intentionally create a life you love — and in particular her membership Club You, which is full of brilliant workshops and recommendations to help you put it into practice.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There’s a lovely Gretchen Rubin quote that says “Enthusiasm is a form of social courage — it’s safer to criticise and scoff than to praise and embrace”, and I think that sums it up perfectly. Having a joie de vivre is actually a brave and courageous thing to do, especially nowadays (in fact, the word for ‘care’ comes from the same stem as ‘courage’ — the Latin cor, or heart. So if you care, you’re courageous!)

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Hopefully by encouraging people to be more enthusiastic, live their lives more authentically, and by passing on the privilege and platform I have to help those who don’t have it.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I’m currently writing a book, which is in turns very exciting and also scary as!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I may be so bold…it would be enthusiasm! I used to say that unintentionally, I’d kind of started a movement — and I really hope it continues. I really do believe enthusiasm is what makes the world go round, and we could all do with a lot more of it.

Thank you for these excellent insights!

Ellie Kime of The Enthusiast & Co On How To Live With Joie De Vivre, Even When It Feels Like The… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.