Salty doesn’t just stand for “annoyed,” you know. Our “Boss of the Week” is helping put the salt—and spice—back in conversations about sex and dating.
Launched on February 14, 2018, a.k.a Valentine’s Day, Salty is a newsletter and media brand bringing intersectional feminism into the bedroom—or dungeon, whatever you’re into.
Claire Fitzsimmons is the woman behind the very NSFW sexuality and relationships platform, and sees it as a space for all women, trans, and nonbinary voices to be heard, celebrated and respected.
How did the rural Australian-born Fitzsimmons go from nine-year-old pharmacy employee to stylist, to producer, creative director, and strategist—to the founder and creative director of a new “radically” sex positive and body-positive platform? We asked!
What was your very first job?
I had to work in my dad’s pharmacy in a small beach town in Australia. It was cheaper than hiring full-time staff, so all the kids (five of us) had shifts. But customers didn’t generally like getting “medical advice” from a nine-year-old (lol). My old man definitely taught me to march to the beat of my own drum.
What do you “call yourself” now?
It’s funny, because for the first time in my life, I have a title that fits—I’m the founder and creative director of Salty, the feminist media brand covering everything dating, sex and relationships for women, trans and nonbinary people. Before now, I’d never had a title that fit. I wore so many different hats, and saying I was either a producer, a strategist, or a creative director never felt right. Now it does.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
My mentor Beth Comstock has taught me to that great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere, and that staying open to innovation and exploring new boundaries is the key to success. As soon as you think you know everything, that’s when you’ve lost.
So I’m constantly asking questions and listening to new opinions. I am fostering that mentality of openness at Salty;you’ve got to create an environment that encourages new ideas and innovation. The future of your brand depends on it.
What does “success” mean to you?
To me, success means being able to pay my rent and feed myself, and working in a way that helps others. That’s changed a lot. When I was younger, I used to think that success was working for cool brands and people knowing my name.
But around the time I turned 30, I had a mini life crisis. I was made redundant, moved home, got sober (all the cliches) and realized I was chasing all the wrong things.
How do you manage stress?
Ugh! I suffer from an anxiety disorder. Making sure I sleep is a big deal. I wear a mouth guard for grinding and am locked into a sleep apnea machine at night (it’s incredibly unsexy), so I turn my phone off an hour before bedtime, drink sleepy time tea and try and destress.
Doesn’t always work. I can’t drink booze anymore because the hangovers are dark, so being sober is a really big part of my self-care routine. And I love hot yoga and riding my bike. Exercise is a magic weapon when it comes to dealing with mental illness.
What do you wish someone told you when you were 21?
Not to let any man determine your self worth or the trajectory of your life. So often, young women are expected to go along with the career ambitions of their male partners. There’s an unspoken rule that their career is more important, so you have to just build your life around theirs. It’s total bullshit. Unless you fight against it, you’ll end up living his life, not yours.
What inspires you and gets you out of bed in the morning?
I’m inspired by all the amazing contributors at Salty! Honestly, they are so talented, enthusiastic and clever. I feel so lucky to have been able to create a platform for their voices. Every day I’m amazed at their energy and willingness to throw their hats into the ring to build this baby brand. It’s truly inspiring.