From the clean beauty trend to slow living, the entrepreneur shares what wellness truly means to her. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS.
Tired of the fast-paced corporate world, Audrey took a well-deserved sabbatical and discovered holistic healing methods that would later become the inspiration for her organic beauty brand. Build upon the idea of an eco-conscious lifestyle, her start-up Slow Living focuses on organic skincare, aromatherapy, and aroma diffusion.
Now based in China, Audrey shares how organic beauty fits into her self-care regime, what keeps her mindful even on stressful days, and more.
What’s in a day’s work for you?
I start with intermittent fasting, yoga, and meditation, as that sets the tone for the rest of my day. Then, I spend time answering clients, dealing with orders, organising online skin consultations, developing new products, entertaining my community through articles, photos, and videos, as well as sourcing ingredients from abroad. Currently, I’m creating my first online course dedicated to teaching people about holistic and natural skincare.
As the founder of a wellness brand, what is the most fulfilling part about your job, and what’s the most challenging?
The most fulfilling is having clients say that my products did wonders on their skin and seeing my product designs come to life. As for the most challenging, it’s the administrative and legal aspect of running a business alone in China—it’s not for the faint of heart. Sourcing organic ingredients abroad is a real headache as import procedures are complex.
What does slow living mean to you? Why does this lifestyle appeal to you?
Slow living means slowing down and living a conscious, mindful life that’s in harmony with nature. This lifestyle resonates deeply with me because I worked in a stressful corporate environment for more than a decade, where I had little time for my own health and wellness. My childhood and teen years were also spent in an unhealthy space, which meant that harmony and peace became very cherished things for me.
What inspired you to start your own brand purveying organic skincare and aromatherapy products?
A complete burnout was the trigger. Back in 2013, I was a highflyer in the corporate world and “had it all” as people said, but a void, along with anxiety, was growing inside me. To keep my health in check, I went on a two-year sabbatical to travel and learn about healing methods like yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, and vibrational healing. This led me to start my own wellness brand Slow Living in 2014 to share my newfound gratitude with others.
How does organic skincare fit into your own self-care regime?
Since I quit the corporate world, I became a minimalist. My skincare ritual includes just these items: natural organic shampoo and conditioner, an ayurvedic soap bar, fluorite-free toothpaste, as well as Slow Living face wash and serum. I use organic coconut as mouthwash, an alum stone as deodorant and I formulate my own facial products with natural yet high-performance organic ingredients. Fun fact: I haven’t purchased cosmetic products in seven years!
The clean beauty movement has been growing in popularity in Asia and beyond. What do you think is its appeal?
I think people have had enough of the mainstream skincare industry and its mindless practices—from the abundant use of cheap and synthetic ingredients to advertising campaigns using photoshopped teen models and “beyond-human perfection”. People now appreciate transparency, truthfulness, and respecting our environment.
How do you unwind when you feel stressed and burn out?
I spend time alone. My lifesavers include yoga, meditation, walking barefoot in the grass, cuddling with my cat, and journaling.
What does wellness mean to you and why?
Wellness to me means consciousness and an awareness of my body, my mind, my emotions, and others around me. It’s knowing when to back off from the world’s business to nurture my inner being.
Having worked and lived in China, can you share some of the top wellness trends in the country?
Gyms and health food joints are popping up everywhere, while yoga is gaining in popularity. The last time I went for a hike in Shenzhen, I spotted a freshly squeezed orange juice vending machine at the top, to my surprise! Mentalities are changing and China is always very fast to pick on trends. My wish is that the country’s ancient wellness practices, such as taijiquan, qigong, and TCM, be made more accessible to young people and foreigners.
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