What inspired you to share your home recipe skincare products with a bigger audience?
When I was feeling meh about my skin, I wasn’t the same person, I lost the spark in my eyes in how I saw myself. I thought- Wow, if I was feeling dissatisfied and uncomfortable in my skin, there’s probably so many others that feel that exact same way. I had such an incredible experience falling in love with my skin after using natural ingredients and creating my own recipes, I just wanted to share it with others. I discovered myself and my skin in a whole new way, and I couldn’t help but want to share to make a difference with others too.
What was the biggest struggle you or Honey Belle overcame in the beginning stages of building your brand and business?
The biggest struggle is always the one I’m overcoming *now*, in the present. Each year, each month, each day of growth comes with new challenges. I’ve had to face new problems, new obstacles, and each time I conquer a certain set of obstacles, there are a new set of “evolved” obstacles. These challenges included hiring and training staff members, expanding the product line to retail stores, managing employees, creating new partnerships, etc. I find myself walking on a path that I’ve not crossed, and it’s scary, exciting, and enlivening all at the same time.
What are your self care rituals?
Aside from my skincare routine which consists of all Honey Belle products [ Yes, I actually do use all of my products religiously! ], self-care and mindful wellbeing are one of my favorite things to nurture on a daily basis. I practice focusing on my breath, and remaining calm and clear in the midst of discomfort and pain through yoga (on and off of my mat). I make it a point to *decide* beforehand how I want to feel about something, and if I’m frustrated or worried about something, I list 5 things I can let go of in that moment. And when I’m headed to bed, I list out 10 things I’m grateful for that day. Physical beauty and physical wellbeing is one thing, but together and combined with inner wellbeing, that’s where the magic is at.
Check out Iris' inspiring words on what makes her undefinable and her self care tips! For more from Iris, follow her at @irischerng.
Asha: I wear many hats, I think the ability to not define any one particular role in life makes the journey that much more interesting.
You have such a fascinating story. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming an entrepreneur?
I was born in London to Indian parents, so my design palate — think, traditional eastern heirlooms and customs set against a modern, western backdrop — infinitely rich, too.
Despite loving art and fashion from an early age, I knew way better than to announce to my parents that that was going to be my lot in life! I followed an interest in science and trained as a pharmacist, so when I hear my pieces described as “harmonious” and “balanced”, I know that my left-brain, right-brain life path has made my work better for it.
Photo by Thu Tran, @thulegit
The process of launching Asha Patel Designs was part heart and part strategy, too. First, gifting pieces to friends and loved ones, then eventually, moving to an online presence. Today, I’m grateful that that process led to true brand love.
I aim to strike a balance behind what’s modern to the eye and what’s timeless in our souls: pieces featuring age-old symbols and materials, that happen to also layer beautifully (and powerfully) into modern life. I’m most proud when people integrate my work into their own spiritual and self-love practices — whether that be through yoga or simply reaching for them throughout their days as a way to center themselves — and share back to me that they’ve gotten better and better at listening to what’s inside because of it.
Photo by Thu Tran, @thulegit
What are your self care rituals?
Taking care of myself involves three important pillars - nutrition, sleep and exercise.
1) Much of my time, when I’m not crafting or designing jewelry, is spent preparing home cooked meals. Cooking is definitely a labor of love but I find it quite therapeutic.
2) I’ve always been one who enjoys going to sleep; couple that with being married to a sleep physician who reminds me of the adverse effects associated poor sleep hygiene.
3) I’m not a hard core exerciser but stay true to the mantra “slow and steady wins the race”. I aim for some form of cardio, 30 minutes daily. I also try to meditate everyday.
Yu-Chen: On a daily basis, I'm proving people wrong by building my own business - despite being told my entire life that my greatest success would be finding a husband who can provide for me.
What inspired you to build your brand and what would you tell others that want to follow in your footsteps?
I was actually inspired to build my own makeup brand out of frustration - I was frustrated by the lack of foundation options suitable for my complexion as an Asian woman who cannot find the right match in any of the western makeup brands, and is not fair enough to use products by Korean beauty brands. Since I was a young girl, beauty and makeup artistry has been my passion. In fact, I've been giving makeovers from the age of 11! However, my extremely strict and traditional Asian parents would not entertain the idea of me pursuing a career in any field besides medicine, law, finance and business. So, my passion in beauty was only allowed to play the part of a hobby. In college, I majored in advertising and marketing, and started my career as a media planner at an advertising agency in Los Angeles. Coincidently, during this time, I was assigned to handle the advertising strategy of a global Asian beauty giant. For once in my life, I was finally able to unite my passion in beauty with my expertise as a marketer. With my newfound knowledge as a media planner specializing in diversity marketing, I began to see things in a different light: why is it that us Asian American women have been overlooked by the cosmetics industry for so long, despite the fact that we have one of the highest spending powers in the country? This was when I decided that I have to create the first American makeup brand specially tailored towards the skin tones and skin concerns of global modern Asian women.
To those who want to follow in my footsteps: My greatest advice is - don't let people who don't believe in you convince you that you are not capable of achieving whatever it is you want to achieve. If you have a brilliant idea, and people tell you that you're crazy or that it's not going to work - great! This means that your concept is unique enough to compete with existing businesses in the market. Believe in yourself, and don't give up the moment things get tough. Entrepreneurship is not an easy path, but building a brand from scratch is one of the most fulfilling things you can do.
Check out Yu-Chen's beautiful words on self-acceptance.