For the longest, I was obsessed with everything beauty, fashion, and health. When I was a kid and well into my teenage years, I dreamt of going to fashion school to the likes of FIDM in Los Angeles, or Parsons School of Design. But, I had a deep admiration for helping young girls who weren't in the best of situations and had trouble with their self-esteem, confidence, and lacked discipline. Then, I decided that I was going to start a non-profit organization that I named "The Sweetheart Foundation" back in high school (believe it or not, that website is still up!). The content of that site consisted myself speaking on health, wellness, and overall taking care of yourself. Subsequently to the foundation, I wanted to add a skincare piece that I named "SweetFace Skincare". So many things that I wanted to do for the little entrepreneurial fire that burned deep within me, rooted at my soul. Little did I know that fire would ignite again...
In my second semester of my first year of university, I felt highly unsatisfied with what I was doing and where I was headed. The first semester I thrived from the newness that the college experience brought on--new friends, new city, unforgettable memories--but something in me left more to be desired. My anxiety began to develop there, as it was onslaught by years of emotional trauma that I've experience growing up, only to be exponentially exacerbated by the stress that I was experiencing from unsettled unhappiness and a feeling of uncertainty about my direction in life.
I wanted to be the creative that I was born to be and not be confined to exams and expectations that were of my elders. College to me was the thing that everyone looked forward to the most, as the movie Home would describe it, "Best day ever." For me, it was the worst time, but the best time because I got the chance to discover myself for who I truly wanted to be and what I was called to do. After a couple of moments of prayer, being still, and listening to that fire inside of me that was waiting to be ignited with the gasoline that was passion, I decided that what I wanted for myself and my future, superseded anyone else's wants for my life. I enrolled into the Aveda Institute to study Esthiology and go back on the path that I felt like I was meant to be on, and that propelled me for a crazy future to come.
After graduating, I embarked on a journey of figuring out how to have my own skincare and wellness brand, to a point that I almost felt discouraged and overwhelmed, but determined. At the time, I thought that the only way for me to have a brand of my own was to pay $10k to a lab. But, as a 20-year-old, who has that kind of money just lying around that doesn't come in the form of a loan? I lay to rest my dreams and started working and stayed silent, while trying out other hobbies like photography and cooking. I started to live a little simpler, changed from a long and rigorous commute back and forth to Nashville, to finding a job down the street that I ultimately hated (and left after a year). Still, it gave me the ability to be able to maximize my time, therefore putting the hours into another passion of mine which helped me to ultimately get back to myself: fitness.
The more time I dedicated to taking care of myself, re-learning myself, creating better habits, and just worked on me, I realized the power in self-care when you're really doing it and living in it. I had the luxury to actually be immersed in it and experience it, and I saw what could actually happen. Unfortunately, my skin didn't adhere well to my workout routine, and I struggled with finding products that actually kept the pimples and breakouts at bay while keeping my skin moisturized and hydrated.
I started to feel inspired, mentally revisiting the idea of my own skincare line, but wanting something that had depth--true meaning. After the course of contemplating going on a journey with my lifelong idea, the name "Ode to Self" came to me as I was getting off the exit on my way home. It was the most fitting name that I ever conjured, as it perfectly married the love story with myself and creating a beautiful relationship out of it. The meaning was there, the depth was there, and that was the birth of an amazingly beautiful brand that would evolve just as we do. I intended for Ode to Self to be a line that's gentle on us as we needed to learn to be more gentle with ourselves, and to be effective, but effortless. I wanted to create something that stood as a symbol to show that there's power in shedding expectations, living our truth, and glowing in our strength, celebrating our victories, while also being honest about our mental wellness and that taking time for ourselves is simply OK.
I invite you to my story--our story--because we're continually writing the story of our own lives the way we want and unapologetically putting ourselves first.
We are Ode to Self.
with love and grace,