The Phluid Project with Founder and CEO Rob Smith


Manage episode 304964974 series 2932760
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After spending over 30 years leading multi-billion-dollar brands in the fashion industry, and despite his tremendous success, Rob Smith felt he wasn't doing what he was supposed to do. During the day, he was a successful designer in corporate America, and at night, he would work with the LGBTQIA+ youth community. Rob found the answer he was looking for after a shamanic experience, an epiphany during a trip to Peru. That day Rob knew he had to create a gender-free, non-binary shopping environment, which would be the first of many steps to creating The Phluid Project.

Rob Smith is a Futurist, Activist, Educator, Retailer, Entrepreneur, Community Builder, Speaker, and the Founder and CEO of The Phluid Project. After his trip to Peru, Rob reconnected with his heritage as a third-generation Native American from the Ojibwa tribe, which inspired him to merge his 30 plus years of experience in fashion with decades of fighting for human rights and social equality.

In this episode, we talk about Rob's extraordinary journey that led to creating The Phluid Project, a space that today is a little about selling shirts and a lot about educating, adding value, and advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community. We explore Rob's vision, ideas for the future, and his view on the best way to be allies of underrepresented communities. We also talk about how interesting it would be to eliminate gender from language, especially in the workplace, where formalities can lead to misgendering gender-nonconforming folks.

Some Questions We Ask:

  • Could you tell us more about you and about The Phluid Project, please? (6:34)
  • Can you talk about how the initial vision of creating a physical space collided with COVID and what you had to do to pivot? (11:25)
  • What is your bigger vision? What world do you see that's possible if we all get to work in human rights and social equality? (18:25)
  • Your company is an excellent example of prioritizing the mission over the profit. And how do you feel it's best to operate in those spaces? (30:38)

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Education is a massive part of being an advocate (10:43)
  • About Rob's experience with Ayahuasca and the revelation that would give new meaning to his life (15:09)
  • The Phluid Project is more about education than about selling products (29:12)
  • About Rob's policy of picking The Phluid Project partners based on their social media and vision of the world (33:49)


Connect with Rob:

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