By: Annyston Pennington
Lisa asked to meet at The Whip In off I-35, a three minute walk from her house. I arrived early to what seemed like an old grocery on the outside, faux stucco and vaguely southwestern paint job and all. Inside, The Whip In was a mixture of industrial bar scene decor with Indian textiles draped over intimate booths. The lighting was moody apart from the the aggressive fluorescence of impressive wine refrigerators that comprised a good third of the interior.
After the initial hugs and introductions when Lisa showed up, she told us that the place had been a grocery back in the day. Armed with a large wine selection and a couple of booths, it eventually grew into a hip hangout for Austin residents who lived just south of the river and fell somewhere between college and career.
Lisa Machac, now relocated to Austin, TX, is a member of the all-women band Guy Town, an essential oils salesperson for doTerra, and a poster-child of the unbeaten paths we can take to find our true callings. I interviewed her hoping to learn about her personal ventures but to also gain some inspiration for how to find happiness (and work) beyond college. Machac, a Texas A&M graduate-turned-musician-turned-entrepreneur, was able to shed some light.
Guy Town, the self-designated “folk and roll” band, got together ten years ago, Lisa told me. At the time, she lived with Julia Parmenter, the lead guitarist, back before the band was even imagined. They both liked music and wanted to form a band, but the hard part was getting started. In that generation, Machac said, girls didn’t play music, not like they do now. To counteract the male-dominated music scene – or at least find other women to supplement their duo – they started Lady’s Jam, a regular night where they’d invited a bunch of women they barely knew into their apartment to play around on instruments and learn sheet music.
“It was terrible,” Machac said, laughing. “These women couldn’t play for shit, and after a while hosting Lady’s Jam, we realized how good we actually were.”
On the last Lady’s Jam night, Evie Gladish showed up. Now the rhythm guitarist, Gladish had been a coworker of Machac’s. The three women struggled at first to play together, fumbling through chords, but something clicked when they sang together.
“It was like a sibling harmony,” Machac said. “It was hard to distinguish one voice from another.” The ladies had found their groove, and Lady’s Jam became band practice.
“It was like sibling harmony.”
“We started out with only three songs memorized and no business playing for the public,” Machac said. But over time, Guy Town came to play in popular venues all over Austin including Emo’s, Hole in the Wall, and Saxon Pub.
Feeling it almost required, I asked how the name “Guy Town” came about. Lisa told me that Guy Town was the colloquial name for Austin’s warehouse district, where the bars and brothels were, in the 1800s. Machac said a few of the brothels were even run by women, and the members of guy town took inspiration from these women and the dangers they faced.
“We were living our own lives and having fun while those women…hadn’t been living great lives,” she said. Machac, Parmenter and Gladish were struck by the women of Guy Town, though the political message of this name for an all-girls band wasn’t necessarily their intent.
I wondered how Machac got to where she was now, not only a mandoline player but essential oils sales-gal for essential oils manufacturer, doTerra, and businesswoman.
“I always looked for work when I could find it,” she said, speaking to the heart of a Liberal Arts major. She had majored in Recreational Tourism, but never had a “career path.” After opening a wine bar in Wimberley, bouncing between Texas and Montana, and ultimately returning to Texas after a stint in California, she found that feeling fulfilled was easier said than done. While teaching yoga workshops in California and Texas, Lisa learned about doTerra and essential oils.
“I instantly knew the essential oils set up was perfect,” Machac said. She would have the freedom to sell oils how she wanted and where she wanted while supplementing her income. “[Working for doTerra], the worst parts of running a business are gone.”
A proponent of balancing a healthy lifestyle and a fun one, Machac took to the essential oils business model and the people in that community right away. Beyond the professional set up, she found that oils brought both physical and spiritual change into her life.
“I eat like shit and exercise moderately,” she said, laughing. “[But] I feel better than I ever have.” Essential oils can be used topically, ingested, diffused, or spritzed, so there are endless possibilities for incorporating them into your diet, morning routine and stress relief.
Beyond this, Machac said she didn’t expect the spiritual change working for doTerra brought her. “Many people come into sales with self esteem problems,” she said, “Working as a leader of a team, guiding these people to personal development, was hard but rewarding.”
In order to sell oils and recruit new people to her team, Machac hosts various theme workshops about how to use oils to inspire creativity, accompany music and yoga and handle emotional trauma.
“Everyone is embracing [essential oils] right now because we’re so sick of the medical system,” she said. With the inconsistency of insurance, the hidden fees, and the lack of trust toward health care professionals, Machac saw that proactive health care was much more popular than relying on the healthcare industry.
After discussing essential oils, our conversation deepened into spiritual discussion and dreams for the future.
Machac hopes to start a podcast or blog to talk about how to take active roles in our lives and world and create positive change. “I am interested in genuine peace activism,” she said. “People are being tricked by their egos.”
Ultimately, what Machac has found through her unplanned journey through music, oils, education, and travel is that we have more power than we tap into, whether that power be found in God, in nature, or some essential part of ourselves. In order to incite real change, she said she wants to show “how people can impact [their] area of the world by tapping into that place of real, divine power.”
“I am interested in genuine peace activism. People are being tricked by their egos.”