Support the Girls- Putting the Spotlight on our Favorite Female Founders
Posted on June 23 2019
Daughters an LA-based self-care brand is the brainchild of two girlfriends who left behind the world of burnout to create products that seduce all your senses and soothe your soul. We love their story of friendship and building a brand that supports women every day in big and small ways.
Self-Care is something of a buzzword at the moment but the notion of looking after ourselves better has never been more relevant. The LA-based brand was founded by Ellen Wong and Sam Williams after the stress of their jobs in advertising motivated them to seek out ways to self soothe.
What was the catalyst for starting Daughters?
For me, it had to with feeling a certain way, if you had asked me immediately after I left I would have said it was plain old burnout. I did not love my job or get creative satisfaction I wanted from it anymore and I was frustrated because I didn't understand why that had changed. The last few years of my career were constantly grinding and feeling like I was rolling a rock up a hill was my norm. I realized that what I was putting my time towards wasn’t useful or putting good into the world in a macro sense. I worked long hours but my work wasn’t bringing positivity in. So I started to ask myself what else could I be doing that would be more helpful and give more meaning to my work. I knew I wanted to do something for women and because I was experiencing burnout I was drawn to self-care, so my thought process became what if I created something to address that?
That was what triggered the seed but now looking back what was happening was that I had truly lost touch with myself, there were lots of events that led up to that point. I was burying myself with work and numbing myself by partying, something that’s so rampant in advertising, which helped me not deal with things I really needed to deal with. In the last year being given the space to create this brand gave me the space to heal things, I’d avoided. I feel like the universe gave me this opportunity to truly heal so in so many ways Daughters really saved me.
Why do you think self-care was something you were drawn to?
Sam: When we started we’d done a ton of research, and part of that was us just trying to understand what we’d gone through because it’s hard when you’re in it to see what’s affecting you. The more we explored, the more we realized that there were certain things that were coming up for women again and again. These were an inability to sleep or focus and constant stress, these recurring themes made us realize we could create products that really busy women can fit into their routine to take care of themselves. Just doing that work can be so hard so we wanted to create things that can seamlessly fit it to people’s lifestyles.
Each product has specific ingredients all chosen to help you sleep or focus better and because of them, we’ve seen women add new rituals to their lives.
The benefits occur in several ways, firstly on a surface level, you feel better in the moment but also because it helps you create moments of stillness in your day. Some people don’t have the desire to have a regular meditation or yoga practice so our idea was that you can take these micro-moments in your day, and they can be very effective if you’re intentional with them. This is why we create daily rituals- these momentary things can add up and become transformative over a long period of time.
That’s a wonderful way of looking at things, how is Daughters evolving as a result of this way of thinking?
Whilst a lot of our range is focused on scent, we didn’t set out to make aromatherapy products, but everything we wanted to create had to be simple and fit into a busy lifestyle. It turns out the scent is the quickest type of therapy to trigger a “letting go” response in your subconscious so that’s how we began to develop our first round products including our pillow spray, candles, and rollerball scents. The next phase was working with other female entrepreneurs, we love the idea of being on a journey together and celebrating what they do. That opened up ways to extend our range such as our botanical clay mask and the NoTox eucalyptus steam, it’s part of us leveraging the talents of those around us and working with artisans to produce them.
You recently added a coffee to your range, which for many might seem a departure from the soothing products you’re known for, can you tell us more about it?
The honest answer for how that came about is that our friends at NoTox connected us with Cafecito who needed a new brand, they had plans to work with NoTox and have a stand and we were going to revamp their entire brand. We worked with Mitch and create new bags and packaging for them and in getting to know them we discovered a female produced brand from Honduras. That fitted with our ethos of promoting and supporting women which is so important to us after working in male-dominated industries. I think the cool thing about coffee in Central America is that it’s virtually unheard of for women to own and run these farms but the farm that makes our coffee does just that. We really love what’s called “The Shine Theory”, which is the idea that when one woman rises, we all rise. So with the coffee, it was so unique we really wanted to shine a spotlight on what these women were doing.
As well as what you’ve learned about collaboration, are there any ways your notion of self-care has changed or deepened as a result of your work with Daughters?
Sam: At first we didn’t realize how much we had to lean. We had no idea what self-care was except that on a surface level, that there is a better way to live. In reality, there are so many ways to try and find what works to help you relax and destress, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s a constant exploration of different types of therapy, everyone has unlimited options for ways to explore how to live a better life, and be present, and feel good as much as possible.
Ellen: In modern life, everything is so fast and all-consuming, work and life never stops. You don’t have a free moment, and all of those things are distractions from your greater purpose and creating stillness to get to know who you are. The personal healing work is hard, this came up now so I have to deal with it. It’s a constant uncovering of new stuff because you’ve built up a lifetime of buried pain and it’s brutal to go through and deal with it. It’s also not what the majority of the world will do. They don’t want to know themselves, it’s easier to believe in a lie
What do you think are the other barriers we face in self-care?
Ellen: Overcoming the guilt of spending time on yourself, especially for women, because self-care is seen as decadent. There’s a massive amount of guilt and judgment from other women who don’t take those steps and other people in their lives which is a huge hurdle. We hear this in every conversation.
How do products from Daughters help women overcome this?
These products to create tiny moments of stillness and intention, I liken it to hiding broccoli in your smoothie, it can give you that moment of stillness it’s not frivolous but is soft entryway to deeper entryway and spiritual growth. Our job is to provide a gateway to this and then if people want to explore that’s when they do the work, and all those other things. Our products help create a mind-body connection, it’s a way to look inward and that’s what our mission has become.
That’s a beautiful thing, do you have intentions for the future of the brand to expand on this?
For us it’s bringing women together, in the last couple of days, we keep coming back to the idea that this is a collective in multiple senses of the word. Firstly a collective of women makers and then those who are growth-minded and who want to do the work on themselves and dig in, I really hope that our products and our store are step one in this journey and the most tangible way we can begin to build our brand. We want to host healing retreats and gatherings to bring healing to another level. My long view is truly to become a way to provide a healing space online and create a beacon of healing for all women. A lot of the trouble we see is that women feel alone. We don’t want any woman to feel she’s an island no matter how much growth or healing she has to do. We exist to help her and ourselves.
What else do you have planned for Daughters?
Currently, we’re in the process of editing our podcasts it’s called ”Woo Knew”, we have 10 interviews that explore Reiki, hypnotherapy, EFT and sound healing. We’re doing a whole deep dive into healing modalities to have a discussion about what works and what doesn’t. Therapists talk about how they approach their work, which is super interesting, especially with Reiki which is so individual in how it’s practiced. It’s an awareness piece to show women what’s available and the different ways it can fit into their life. We’re not afraid to try these things and we’re going to, so we can help women open the doors for themselves. It’s important to open ourselves up to the possibilities of things that are foreign. We were on the skeptical train but have seen enough through our own experience to know this type of healing is very real. So helping women navigate this huge landscape is something that fits our greater vision because spiritual healing doesn’t end with meditation.
Finally, what are your favorite products from Daughters?
Ellen: I love our journal with prompts from Susanna Peace Lovell it’s been a really helpful tool for self-exploration for me and focuses my thoughts.
Sam: For me, my go-to's are the pillow spray and sleep tea- I’ve always struggled to fall or stay asleep and would wake in a sweat of anxiety, these products have transformed my sleep.