Remote Inspiration

This week (quarantine week 3) has been particularly challenging because the current reality has lost its novelty and is starting to sink in. I finally realized on Monday that life is going to be this way for another 4-6 weeks (hopefully not much longer, please). 

I wrote last week about my new sanity rituals, which while I am (mostly) following, are not helping (much). I do not feel inspired. I do not feel productive. I do not feel creative. When this happens during “normal life,” I go out in the field and visit Alchimie Forever customers. Nothing re-engages me in my brand, in my work, than being out in the field, listening to our brand ambassadors, learning from them, feeling their enthusiasm rub off on me. 

In “current life,” however, that is not possible. So instead, I turned to customers, business leaders, brand owners, for some remote inspiration. Here are four things that have helped me re-engage. 

 A remote training session with Heyday. This was almost as great as being in the field, visiting with the Heyday therapists IRL. Their questions, their feedback, their enthusiasm was contagious even “just” on the screen. And this gave me an opportunity to wear lipstick (first time in two weeks…), which felt wonderful. 

The COVID-19 speech by Marriott International President & CEO Arne Sorenson. I am a Marriott girl through and through, and will forever be after this speech, possibly the best crisis communication I have heard. Honest, realistic, hopeful, compassionate, emotional. 

The wise and honest words of Jennifer Yen, Founder & CEO of Purlisse, as quoted in Glossy today (article written by Emma Sandler). 

“As a brand founder who experienced the 2008 financial crisis and recession, the experience taught [me] lessons which [I have] applied for the past 12 years, including the importance of keeping a lean team, focusing on profitability versus growth, and reinvesting profit into hiring and product development. … Scrappy is the new sexy. It’s hard to see when the party’s over when times are still good, but I’ve been preparing for another moment like 2008 because it was so traumatizing.” 

The community efforts by Mathilde Thomas, Founder of Caudalie. Her brand sent hundreds of products to hospitals throughout France to help with chapped, irritated skin. In her LinkedIn post about this, she encouraged everyone: FAITES CE QUE VOUS POUVEZ POUR AIDER (Do what you can to help). Her example inspired me to reach out to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital to offer to donate some Dry skin balm, some Kantic Brightening moisture mask, and some Kantic+ Intensely nourishing cream. Because that is what I can do right now, right here, to help. 

How do you stay inspired and engaged in your work, in your brand, during these strange times? 


BeautyView: Sharilyn Abbajay, VP Global Spa, Retail and Fitness, Marriott International

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day with the board of the Washington Spa Alliance (WSPA), a DC-based association I am a founding member of whose mission is to “act as a knowledge center, connecting spa professionals in the nation’s greater capital region. WSPA works to promote the exchange and innovation in the field, and to ensure that the highest ideals of spa are met through policy and action.” I loved our meeting, our 2012 planning ideas, our brainstorming. And I particularly loved to be able to spend some time with Sharilyn Abbajay, WSPA’s co-chair, a dear friend of mine, and an industry veteran. During the breaks in our WSPA retreat day, I learned some new things about her…

AP: What city were you born in? SA: Toledo, OH.

AP: What city to do you live in? SA: Lanham, MD, although I feel like I live on an airplane.

AP: What is your middle name?  SA: Sue.

AP: What is your astrological sign? SA: Libra.

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? SA: Touching people and making them feel special.

AP: Least favorite thing? SA: Too many choices.

AP: What is your most prized possession? SA: My family.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? SA: I’m a Nana… I have two grandsons, 4 and 1.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? SA: Yes, A Toy black watch. It’s all plastic, so I never have to take it off, and don’t have to worry about it when I travel.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? SA: Pearls.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? SA: Coco Chanel.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? SA: Hot bath with essential oils. Small indulgences…

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? SA: 1. Drink plenty of water. 2. The night before, use the Alchimie Forever blueberry Kantic Mask, religiously. 3. Pack light. If you forget it, you can always buy it there.

AP: What is your favorite book? SA: The Incredible Journey by British author Sheila Burnford. It teaches your survival, the importance of hope, perseverance, and protecting one another.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? SA: Fiji water. Per Dr. Pamela Peeke, I swore off alcohol two years ago.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? SA: Sleep. 7 to 8 hours every night.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? SA: I blend the Aveda Shakras with Chanel Number 5. Depending on the day, a bit more of one or a bit more of the other.

AP: Botox or not? SA: Not. Not to say I don’t need it…

AP: Hair color: natural or not? SA: Not.

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. SA: I don’t have an ipod.

AP: Quote to live by. SA: Never take your eye off the ball.

AP: Who is your mentor? SA: I have a lot of mentors… Margory Abbajay, my aunt. She was the first female Vice President of Revlon.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. SA: Stay true to who you are.