The introduction of social media platforms has forever changed the world and revolutionized many industries. For some fashion-forward individuals, this meant the start of an online career that would allow them to connect with others all over the world. Enter Dani Roche, a 29-year-old multi-hyphenate creative from Toronto that tapped into the marketing ability of social platforms way before everyone else. She used her tech-savvy talents to build a strong personal following online, and leveraged her audience to start a full-service digital and experiences agency called Kastor & Pollux. She’s had much success over the last few years and if there’s someone who knows about passion and making the most of her time— it’s Dani.

We caught up with the entrepreneur and discussed her definition of success, the challenges she’s overcome along the way, mentorship, and the inspiration behind Kastor & Pollux. Her enlightened approach to life and business is sure to inspire. Read the full interview below.

The introduction of social media platforms has forever changed the world and revolutionized many industries. For some fashion-forward individuals, this meant the start of an online career that would allow them to connect with others all over the world. Enter Dani Roche, a 29-year-old multi-hyphenate creative from Toronto that tapped into the marketing ability of social platforms way before everyone else. She used her tech-savvy talents to build a strong personal following online, and leveraged her audience to start a full-service digital and experiences agency called Kastor & Pollux. She’s had much success over the last few years and if there’s someone who knows about passion and making the most of her time— it’s Dani.

We caught up with the entrepreneur and discussed her definition of success, the challenges she’s overcome along the way, mentorship, and the inspiration behind Kastor & Pollux. Her enlightened approach to life and business is sure to inspire. Read the full interview below.

“I started to feel successful when I started to actually enjoy the work I was doing”

“I started to feel successful when I started to actually enjoy the work I was doing”

What are you doing when you feel most passionate?

The answer to this definitely changes often! But these days, it's been hard to feel passionate about work, when everything is in turmoil. The past year has made me want to do better and be better, and I am working on continuing to educate myself on racial and economic injustices that plague our communities and the world at large. As much as I love to achieve things for myself and build my life for the future, there will be no future if things on an institutional level don't change. I'm still figuring it out, but I'm taking every new day as a new opportunity.

What was the first moment you felt successful in your career?

I started to feel successful when I started to actually enjoy the work I was doing instead of feeling stressed out all the time. It took many years (and of course, I still get stressed out)—but these days, I've learned to better manage these feelings, and make sure I stop, reset, and practice gratitude.

What struggles have you had to overcome to pursue your passions?

I've had to confront my ego and ask myself a lot of hard questions. I wouldn't say that I've been able to fully overcome these struggles, but I'm working on them actively.

What are you doing when you feel most passionate?

The answer to this definitely changes often! But these days, it's been hard to feel passionate about work, when everything is in turmoil. The past year has made me want to do better and be better, and I am working on continuing to educate myself on racial and economic injustices that plague our communities and the world at large. As much as I love to achieve things for myself and build my life for the future, there will be no future if things on an institutional level don't change. I'm still figuring it out, but I'm taking every new day as a new opportunity.

What was the first moment you felt successful in your career?

I started to feel successful when I started to actually enjoy the work I was doing instead of feeling stressed out all the time. It took many years (and of course, I still get stressed out)—but these days, I've learned to better manage these feelings, and make sure I stop, reset, and practice gratitude.

What struggles have you had to overcome to pursue your passions?

I've had to confront my ego and ask myself a lot of hard questions. I wouldn't say that I've been able to fully overcome these struggles, but I'm working on them actively.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

You're only one person: don't try and pretend that you're more than that! Be gentle and kind to yourself, and lead with empathy and kindness always.

Have you had any mentors? How have they helped you on your journey?

I have had the privilege of having some very wise people in my life that were first and foremost friends. I definitely see them as mentors (to an extent) but mostly I feel blessed to have had them as grounding forces in my life who have helped me learn a lot of difficult lessons. I think we often assume that mentors are simply all-knowing work gurus who will help transform our business idea or career into something shiny and new: but in my experience, the most fulfilling "mentor" relationships I have had have helped me work on myself before my business.

What advice would you give to your younger self and why?

You're only one person: don't try and pretend that you're more than that! Be gentle and kind to yourself, and lead with empathy and kindness always.

Have you had any mentors? How have they helped you on your journey?

I have had the privilege of having some very wise people in my life that were first and foremost friends. I definitely see them as mentors (to an extent) but mostly I feel blessed to have had them as grounding forces in my life who have helped me learn a lot of difficult lessons. I think we often assume that mentors are simply all-knowing work gurus who will help transform our business idea or career into something shiny and new: but in my experience, the most fulfilling "mentor" relationships I have had have helped me work on myself before my business.

“I believe that being able to adapt and pivot is one of the most valuable skills you can have.”

“I believe that being able to adapt and pivot is one of the most valuable skills you can have.”

You were an early adopter of blogging, Instagram, and e-commerce, what was it about digital platforms that appealed to you to express your creativity?

I've always been a pretty introverted person, so growing up and being able to find communities of like-minded people without the pressure of actual IRL [in real life] socialization was really appealing to me. When I first discovered fashion blogs, I was simultaneously fostering an interest in graphic design and illustration and was spending a lot of time on forums and message boards that were adjacent to MySpace (but arguably less "mainstream"). I began to feel most comfortable in the skin of my online self, and I suppose this just perpetuated my desire to spend as much time online as possible. Being a teenager is hard, but being a weird, shy, internet teenager is even harder.

Needless to say, these computer-centric after school activities soon became more than hobbies, and the friends that they elicited became more than just internet friends. Everything that has happened since has been a direct result of one of my biggest insecurities.

You were an early adopter of blogging, Instagram, and e-commerce, what was it about digital platforms that appealed to you to express your creativity?

I've always been a pretty introverted person, so growing up and being able to find communities of like-minded people without the pressure of actual IRL [in real life] socialization was really appealing to me. When I first discovered fashion blogs, I was simultaneously fostering an interest in graphic design and illustration and was spending a lot of time on forums and message boards that were adjacent to MySpace (but arguably less "mainstream"). I began to feel most comfortable in the skin of my online self, and I suppose this just perpetuated my desire to spend as much time online as possible. Being a teenager is hard, but being a weird, shy, internet teenager is even harder.

Needless to say, these computer-centric after school activities soon became more than hobbies, and the friends that they elicited became more than just internet friends. Everything that has happened since has been a direct result of one of my biggest insecurities.

DANI'S FAVOURITE

DANI'S FAVOURITE

What inspired you to create your agency Kastor & Pollux?

I am an A-Type personality who often doesn't fare well with change. In many aspects of my life, I am super calculated— but when it comes to my work, I have found that structure and "planning ahead" can only get you so far. I have always set loose goals for myself, but in this day and age, I believe that being able to adapt and pivot is one of the most valuable skills you can have.

Kastor & Pollux started off as an e-commerce store and a fashion blog which I ran with my best friend Bianca. We had met in high school, and Kastor & Pollux was our second business together; one that we were building for the long haul. When we decided to go our separate ways after working together for 8 years, I decided the only sensical thing to do was to use our pre-existing audience (built from fashion-oriented photo and video content) to pitch larger-scale marketing projects to brands that might benefit from this audience. The entire debacle was a shock to the system: firstly because I was grieving the loss of a partnership that got me through my teenage years and my early twenties, and second of all because my misguided pitches were actually working. Within the first year of positioning Kastor & Pollux as an agency, I was bringing in over 6 figures and was fully booked with work...but I was also trying to figure out how to exist as an "entrepreneur" by myself for the first time.

What inspired you to create your agency Kastor & Pollux?

I am an A-Type personality who often doesn't fare well with change. In many aspects of my life, I am super calculated— but when it comes to my work, I have found that structure and "planning ahead" can only get you so far. I have always set loose goals for myself, but in this day and age, I believe that being able to adapt and pivot is one of the most valuable skills you can have.

Kastor & Pollux started off as an e-commerce store and a fashion blog which I ran with my best friend Bianca. We had met in high school, and Kastor & Pollux was our second business together; one that we were building for the long haul. When we decided to go our separate ways after working together for 8 years, I decided the only sensical thing to do was to use our pre-existing audience (built from fashion-oriented photo and video content) to pitch larger-scale marketing projects to brands that might benefit from this audience. The entire debacle was a shock to the system: firstly because I was grieving the loss of a partnership that got me through my teenage years and my early twenties, and second of all because my misguided pitches were actually working. Within the first year of positioning Kastor & Pollux as an agency, I was bringing in over 6 figures and was fully booked with work...but I was also trying to figure out how to exist as an "entrepreneur" by myself for the first time.

“I discovered that money wasn't my driving force and the reason I wake up in the morning.”

“I discovered that money wasn't my driving force and the reason I wake up in the morning.”

Tell us about a time you took a risk.

It is assumed that when you're a self-starter, the only (successful) trajectory is growth, and the most valuable asset is scalability. I operated under this belief system for so many years that I destroyed friendships, compromised my mental health, and ran my physical self into the ground. When I finally decided that this direction wasn't for me, I started to reframe what "success" meant to me. In essence, I discovered that money wasn't my driving force and the reason I wake up in the morning. While I like to buy nice things and enjoy *the finer things*, I realized that these material experiences wouldn't matter in the long run if I was unhappy with my life.

Once I let go of these ideas about who I should be and where my business should go, I began to feel more free. I slowly downsized my studio space, I let go of my full-time team members, and I stopped taking on as much work. I started to go to sleep at a decent time, and I turned my email notifications off. These practices and these realizations could've only happened after reaching a low point that forced me to confront these falsified ideas. It certainly felt risky at the time to "go backwards" by letting go of the "we" and scaling back to just "me", but it's something that I really needed...something that I still really need.

Tell us about a time you took a risk.

It is assumed that when you're a self-starter, the only (successful) trajectory is growth, and the most valuable asset is scalability. I operated under this belief system for so many years that I destroyed friendships, compromised my mental health, and ran my physical self into the ground. When I finally decided that this direction wasn't for me, I started to reframe what "success" meant to me. In essence, I discovered that money wasn't my driving force and the reason I wake up in the morning. While I like to buy nice things and enjoy *the finer things*, I realized that these material experiences wouldn't matter in the long run if I was unhappy with my life.

Once I let go of these ideas about who I should be and where my business should go, I began to feel more free. I slowly downsized my studio space, I let go of my full-time team members, and I stopped taking on as much work. I started to go to sleep at a decent time, and I turned my email notifications off. These practices and these realizations could've only happened after reaching a low point that forced me to confront these falsified ideas. It certainly felt risky at the time to "go backwards" by letting go of the "we" and scaling back to just "me", but it's something that I really needed...something that I still really need.

Time is so valuable - how do you power your time?

I like a good routine, feeling productive, and working hard: but at the same time, I also recognize that we don't have all the time in the world. As I've gotten older, my gears have shifted and my priorities have changed. I appreciate the hustle, but I no longer define my value based on how much I can get done in a day. Time is precious, and I want to enjoy my time :)

Where do you see yourself in five years? What's next for you?

I quit my agency job and went full-time with K&P 5 years ago— and if you were to have asked me this question then, I wouldn't have an answer for you. I feel incredibly grateful to have worked hard and to have been afforded the opportunities that have put me where I am today: but looking towards the future, the only thing I can hope for is the health and well-being of myself and my loved ones. The past year has taught me that anything can happen, and you can't spend your days dwelling on things that you have the power to change.

Time is so valuable - how do you power your time?

I like a good routine, feeling productive, and working hard: but at the same time, I also recognize that we don't have all the time in the world. As I've gotten older, my gears have shifted and my priorities have changed. I appreciate the hustle, but I no longer define my value based on how much I can get done in a day. Time is precious, and I want to enjoy my time :)

Where do you see yourself in five years? What's next for you?

I quit my agency job and went full-time with K&P 5 years ago— and if you were to have asked me this question then, I wouldn't have an answer for you. I feel incredibly grateful to have worked hard and to have been afforded the opportunities that have put me where I am today: but looking towards the future, the only thing I can hope for is the health and well-being of myself and my loved ones. The past year has taught me that anything can happen, and you can't spend your days dwelling on things that you have the power to change.

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