Words have weight, and ‘beauty’ is to be understood as a combination of qualities that please the intellect or moral sense.
Intellect is the power to know as distinguished from the power to feel and to will; the capacity for knowledge. Meanwhile, moral sense is the feeling of an action being right or wrong and the ability to have such feelings.
I couldn’t help but wonder if we had been looking at beauty through the wrong lens all along. I shifted my definition of beauty by these standards and realized we should recognize our self-worth through the knowledge and acceptance of self-love.
Thus, combining skincare with self-care to build a movement that embodies being softer inside out.
In all honesty, the same thing can sometimes bring me down; the ability to feel everything so very deeply. To fully understand how my mind works and draws inspiration, you'll need to be comfortable shifting perspectives once in a while.
Have you ever looked at something and wondered what it saw looking back at you? How did it feel? Why did it feel this way?
Life is about perspective; I ask myself these questions to better understand each person, place, or thing that piques my interest. With people we know this as empathy, but you don't have to be a human for me to try and understand. Take a seemingly blank wall in an empty room; for example, I find myself wondering what untold stories are held in the textures of its history; What did this room used to house? What have these walls seen/felt/come to understand? I'm always wondering how we can celebrate the intricate details that, when added together, create the image that most of us see today.
I've also spent the last 13 years (almost half of my life) in survival mode. That drive we have within that is hindered by the fear of failure and often left undiscovered is a large part of my inspiration. Becoming a mother at the least likely age and not failing has allowed me to live my life without questioning my capabilities. On an emotional level, doubt is indecision between belief and disbelief, resulting in delaying or rejecting relevant actions out of concern for mistakes/missed opportunities. I want to encourage others by having the dialogue that allows them to be mindful, over having a full mind to help inspire self-belief instead of doubt.
I call my son my moon because, in the darkness, he showed me light.
I think we negate the point when we only direct towards one gender.
East 29th is for anyone with skin. Seeing as the leading defining factor in female/male products is fragrance, and we’re fragrance-free, there wasn’t even a question of if we should be genderless. That tone was set without any hesitation.
To have empathy we must believe in diversity & inclusion.
After becoming pregnant at 14 and giving birth at 15, I struggled with hormonal acne from puberty and the increased pregnancy hormones. Once postpartum, I was still going through puberty, and not surprisingly, no skincare catered to those needs. I moved to Vancouver when I was newly 19, and my son a few months shy of turning 4, to attend Blanche Macdonald, where I received my Diploma of Makeup Artistry. As an artist of multiple mediums leading up until this point, I craved challenge. When I realized that makeup provided me with the only living, breathing canvas, that was altered by temperature/textures and housed its own opinions, it felt like the challenged I craved.
A year later, I was introduced to preserving lemons due to their rinds being healthy for us to ingest; I researched the physical and mental health benefits associated with adding lemon rinds in various forms into our daily lives when I realized the potential of creating skincare with lemon rinds. I began playing with different recipes and visualized the pores on my face as little mouths deserving skin-food for skin-health from the same perspective. After much creativity in the kitchen (anyone who knows me knows that’s my happy place), it became therapeutic and resulted in a handful of products that changed my skin. I had no intention of releasing them for anyone else, however, after years of working in the TV/Film industry, my bare skin was often mistaken for wearing foundation. This sparked multiple conversations that finally convinced me I could help others, too. We launched with the Vital Serum and will be releasing a handful of others over time. With that being said, we currently have two products in motion.
Communication. The ability to connect through the mind and body.
I playfully call myself the ‘Director of First Impressions.’
The consciousness (the state of being characterized by sensation, emotion, & volition) behind creating East 29th was based on the understanding that we feel with more than just our hands. Down to designing our branding, the two words I gave my design team, ZAK, were ‘Visual Velvet.’ I wanted to feel it with my eyes, so when someone tries our products, they feel it with more than just their physical touch.
While other brands only see your skin, I see space to leave an impact. I’ve come to the understanding that being remembered for how I make someone feel is what’s important to me. The duality of making someone feel softer inside out with skincare & self-care is hands down, my favourite.
When I was younger, tattoos, body mods, or a lack of a Grade 12 diploma meant you were destined to be unsuccessful. I can’t even count how many times I was told I would never get a "real job"; Pair this with teenage pregnancy, and I definitely would not follow any of my dreams.
I’ve always tried to keep it real with myself; I recently stumbled upon an old half-written letter addressed to my future self where I admitted how deeply afraid I was never to achieve anything after childbirth.
This has not been my reality. I lead any interactions with apologies for all of the above for a long time, as I thought they were negatives, but they were all equally celebrated instead. I felt so empowered. Today they are much more common, which is great, but since we’re traveling back in time, I would tell myself to apologize for less, love myself more. Be softer on yourself.
Honestly, East 29th is a love letter from my current self to everyone in similar shoes as my past, based on my understanding of what I needed all of these years.
East 29th inherently named itself; it was the four walls that housed my personal growth from young adulthood into who I am today. It’s where all of my son’s childhood memories are held and where I created my skincare.
I knew we’d eventually surpass that home’s physical form, but emotionally it can never be outgrown.
The world is out of balance because instead of listening to hear, most of us listen to respond. What do I mean by that? If anyone truly wanted to evoke change, we would ask questions to educate ourselves on what is currently not working to find solutions.
That's listening to hear. Whereas, listening to respond is when we don't acknowledge others' needs by continually interrupting them while communicating and then refusing to shift perspectives after their concerns are made known instead of finding solutions.
Quite simply, the world is out of balance due to a lack of empathy. Empathy is defined as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another from the past or present without any explanation to gain an understanding. Could you imagine a world led with empathy in mind and followed through with empathy-driven actions? Instead, fear is leading our world. Fear of change, fear of being wrong, fear of emotions, the list goes on.
How is the beauty industry out of balance? Our markets are overly saturated. We are over-delivering products and underdelivering knowledge. I realized a few things spending the better part of a decade working as a makeup artist in the TV & Film industry, dealing with skin that longed to be cared for on a much larger scale. One was that we don’t know what we’re using, why we are, or what is working most of the time. We are also so used to being over-promised results and never seeing them. Thus, creating an out of balanced and overwhelmed industry.
East 29th’s mission is to establish a conscious dialogue that connects both the physical and mental health awareness behind the clean beauty movement while embodying a mindful transition to not only being seen but also felt.
With this empathy-driven dialogue, we as a whole, are able to be more compassionate so we can hear instead of just respond.
We launched the Empathy Everywhere Podcast, the self-care portion of East 29th. Episodes will include mental health, trusting our intuition, healing from trauma, internal imbalances, body positivity, understanding empathy & how we can lead from a human-first perspective in our personal & work lives. We're currently recording our third season.
We are empathy-driven due to the simple understanding that we can only meet others as deeply as we’ve met ourselves. Like us, we know our audience is full of extremely open-minded individuals who believe in the importance of developing a world that is more compassionate and self-aware. With our knowledge of how the world and industry continue to evolve, East 29th understands the importance of inclusivity. We confidently believe in creating a safe environment that is inclusive by respecting all pronouns.
East 29th is proud to announce we have partnered with The Trevor Project, the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. You’ll be able to donate on our website through our check out page. Donations to The Trevor Project will receive a promo code with 25% off of your next order.
When it comes to balancing the industry, I’ve designed East 29th to simplify routines by combining what would normally be in multiple products in only the essentials. There’s a few reasons for this, if we reduce clutter in our space we reduce it in our minds. Long term this means less products are filling our environment while also implementing minimalistic and essential solutions to your skincare needs.
I talk about this more in-depth in the ‘Clean Beauty’ section. However, another area of concern, which has been moving in the right direction, is ‘beauty’ standards in advertisements. Beauty isn’t one size fits all. We lacked diversity in our industry, which created a false narrative by not celebrating individuality. We lacked range that included all textures, tones, and ages, which ultimately took a mental health toll on many due to the unrealistic standards.
'Clean beauty' means beauty without toxins, but we're taking it a step further by ensuring that the lack of toxins in our ingredients is also felt in our content. Unrealistic beauty standards are toxic for our mental health. In a product-driven world, purpose and empathy is what drives us.
What distinguishes us from other skincare brands is our knowledge that where their journey of providing you with better skin ends, ours is just beginning.
Being a mom before becoming an adult, figuring out my passions, career in TV & Film, and creating this brand has influenced my decisions in such a unique way. I've lived a selfless life, knowing the importance of honouring others' needs instead of listening to my wants. East 29th is a direct reflection of that. I think brands often create too many products, causing new problems to then solve. You won't find us trying to up-sell you, but you will find us trying to uplift you.
Simply put, it's personal.