by April Hooper
In life, we have the power to choose A LOT of things – our friends, our outfits, our goals – but Claire Shay, she got to choose something most of us had no say in: her name.
Claire Shay is a blogger, author, content creator, and influencer with a focus on living sustainably and dressing fashionably. Born in Taiwan, raised in Los Angeles, and now living in New York City, Claire has TRULY seen it all!
Growing up, Claire Shay always felt her Mandarin name just didn’t fit. She wanted something that represented HER, so she chose a new one: Claire. Even MORE powerful? As an adult, she has decided to change the spelling of her last name to “Shay”, marking a new beginning of exploring what she is truly passionate about.
And speaking of her passions…
After college, Claire moved from California to New York but meandered through the realm of finance and crunching numbers. She was miserable; she KNEW something was missing. So in an attempt to fill that void, she started a blog in 2017, as a hobby and creative outlet.
And as a young woman living in New York City, it’s no surprise that she decided her blog would focus on fashion, but after spending more and more time in the city, her interests began to shift. Quickly she realized how unsustainable New York was compared to California where she grew up. Trash littering the streets, food thrown out in heaps… you don’t see that in LA. But it wasn’t until a trip to the happiest place on earth (that’s right, Disney World!) where her life completely transformed. She went on a ride called “Living With the Land” that taught her about sustainable farming and how to live harmoniously with the earth. Heading back to New York after that experience, she had NO DOUBT in her mind: She wanted to focus her life and her writing on sustainability.
Excited to develop her new niche, Claire dove right in, but after a year she began to doubt all that she had built…
Other sustainability influencers lived totally carbon neutral lives and grew their own food, while Claire still ordered Starbucks and drank from plastic cups. This comparison sent her spiralling; she felt like a fraud and began to question what she was doing. And to make matters worse, she was forced to leave her job AND her aunt passed away. It seemed like she lost everything at once – her income, her family, and her purpose.
Though it took most of 2019 for her to overcome her doubts and reestablish her identity, it was a year well spent. Reflection helped her realize that it’s okay to not be vegan and occasionally take a car instead of the subway. She accepted that she was not perfect and reinvented what it meant to be sustainable and successful.
Today, Claire Shay recognizes that though she may not have the loudest voice in the sustainability world, she can still use her voice and platform to teach others to reinvent sustainability. She acts as the first step, an inspirational guide to living a sustainable life by providing easy tips, education, and fashion inspiration.
When YOU are discouraged or struggling to find inspiration to move forward, Claire says:
Go back to the source, to that moment when you first felt a spark of passion. Being able to take a step back allows you to recall why you chose this path and revisit those feelings. And sometimes, those feelings aren’t valid anymore, and that’s okay, too; as we grow and change, so do our dreams.
If you’re looking for a helpful guide and support system for ALL aspects of YOUR life, check out Ditch the Clique COMMUNITY where like-minded women inspire each other with connective conversation, empowering resources, one on one accountability chats, and so much more!
Listen to Claire’s FULL story by streaming our FREE podcast “The REAL Women of 20(20) Podcast” HERE and on ALL podcast streaming platforms!
If you want to hear more from Claire, check out her new book Reinventing Sustainability.
In this easy-to-follow book, Claire defines the guiding principles of sustainability and uses personal stories from her own experience to unriddle how each one of us can use these principles to create our own sustainable lifestyle in this modern age. Reinventing Sustainability is a comprehensive guide to sustainability and is packed with real-life stories, resources, and inspiration for how to embrace your power to change the world. 50% of the proceeds go directly to the Rainforest Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund.
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who is April?
April Hooper is a public relations student at Messiah University, minoring in marketing and gender studies. She always has a coffee in hand and is rocking a thrifted outfit with handmade accessories. When she graduates, she dreams of living abroad, owning as many cats as possible, and writing for a living.