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Meet Trailblazer Laura Nielsen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Nielsen.

Laura, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Oklahoma, but my family eventually moved to the Midwest, and then my husband and I moved to New York City when we were first married. My husband, Zach, and I quickly learned to be a grown-up is much more challenging then we thought! We learned how to be adults by trial and error through 11 different jobs, 2 advanced degrees, 1 kid, and 7 different homes in the past 8 years. Just writing that makes me exhausted. Even so, I have no regrets because each stop on that very windy road has lead us here.

Last year, while climbing our respective career ladders in icy Minnesota, we did some soul-searching. Our son would start Kindergarten in the Fall and when we asked ourselves if Minnesota is where we wanted him to go to school or if we were fulfilled in the corporate world, the answer was an easy NO.

To make a long story shorter – we sold our house and followed our hearts and moved to sunny San Diego! We love living here more than we hoped we would and are excited to be dreaming big dreams.

After our move, I became a certified yoga instructor, began working at my local yoga studio and began crafting plans for my big-dream business. This March, Swell & Sway was born!

Swell & Sway is my big-dream to share my passions with the world. I write about life, leggings, and everything in between on Instagram and my blog. I teach yoga at retreats and in my living room. I have never been more enthusiastic or fulfilled about how I spend my days!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Like I said, the road has been VERY winding and full of detours. I would tell younger women just starting out to be themselves. That thing deep in your heart that you just can’t shake: DO THAT THING. If you’re waiting for someone to invite you to do it or give you permission — or even approval — you may never do it.

My husband and I almost gave up on our dream to move to California because people were critical of our choice, or didn’t understand it. Moving to San Diego is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made, and we almost missed it — it’s so scary to admit that! I still feel afraid of writing or sharing myself with others, but it’s that thing in my heart that never goes away, and I don’t want to miss it!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Swell & Sway – what should we know?
My secret sauce is being VERY real about the highs and lows of life and spurring women on to chase their dreams and be themselves. My most liked Instagram posts are about fights my husband and I have or my personal insecurities. It’s my joy to share those things so that other women can know they aren’t alone.

I also write about yoga, fitness, fashion, books and anything else I come across that I love that I think could help other women. When someone messages me and says they tried yoga for the first time because of one of my posts, or that they were encouraged by words I wrote — that’s why I love what I do!

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
Oh my goodness, YES! Women are the game-changers in the social media/influencer space because we are kick-ass communicators. We can connect emotionally when sharing something we love. Whether we’re connecting over a glass of wine with one friend about a book that changed our life or on social media with thousands sharing an ethically conscious brand we’re obsessed with — we have INFLUENCE.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Alyssa Wonder, Zach Nielsen

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