BY LINDA EGENES

Shel Pink is a lifestyle futurist and founder of the cutting-edge SpaRitual, a vegan nail, body, and lifestyle brand. Now at the forefront of the Slow Beauty movement, Shel sees the green movement transitioning towards a discussion of slow ideals in direct response to a lifestyle that has become too fast.

With a background in art, business, ecology, Ayurveda and meditation, she also participates in think-tanks and nonprofits to improve the environment. Here Shel takes time from her busy life as an entrepreneur, activist, wife, and mother of two to speak to Enlightenment.

Ecology Beauty and Consciousness with Shel Pink

 

Q: You created a cosmetics company that was vegan, organic, and good for the environment long before “eco” became a trend. What were some of the influences that contributed to that vision?

Shel Pink: My entire life I’ve been making connections and noticing socio-cultural patterns. In college I studied art history, social movements, and social trends. I saw something bubbling under.

I knew that there were more consumers, like me, who wanted healthier beauty products. I called them “enlightened consumers.” At that time they were marginalized, but I knew their voices were going to get louder. People said, “No way. This is going to be a trend but it’s going to be fleeting.” But as we’ve seen, the eco, vegan, and organic trend just got stronger and it’s affected all aspects of our lives.

Q: What is “slow beauty” and why do you feel it’s important in our stressed world?

Shel Pink: It’s about expanding your concept of beauty to include health and wellness, and embarking on a slower path to beauty. For the past 150 years the beauty industry has been product centered —and very much about external beauty and this concept of “anti-aging.”

I feel we need to open up new dialogue and stop trying to “anti” age because we’re not against ourselves—when you buy into that you’re internalizing a tyrannical approach to your beauty and your health and your wellness.

We use the Slow Beauty blog as an educational tool to engage readers to develop and sustain a personal Slow Beauty practice. Slowbeauty.com is a resource for those looking for examples of how to get off the fast track.

Q: How does meditation and consciousness fit into slow beauty?

Shel Pink. I talk about seven “Outposts” or paths to slow beauty (spa tradition, rituals, renewal, self-expression, meditation, nourished mind, and mindful consumption). Once you decide to embark on a slower path to beauty, the Outposts serve as places, spaces, and experiences to support your decision.

Transcendental Meditation is a holistic approach to beauty health and wellness

Although all Outposts are essential, meditation is an important one that people need to explore right now. I see that meditation will explode in interest in much the same way yoga did a decade ago. Research on TM shows that it slows down the aging process. It’s a more pleasurable way to approach aging, versus punitive ways such as botox and plastic surgery. It’s a more holistic approach to beauty, health, and wellness as opposed to the fragmented approach that we’ve been buying into for all these years.

Consciousness is the future. People are getting burned out, tired of checking multiple voice mails and emails and being engaged 24/7. If you’re racing, you aren’t experiencing quality of life; you aren’t really productive at the end of the day. Slow beauty is about connecting with your authentic self—about raising your consciousness and putting that out into the world.

Q: What are the most important benefits that you receive from your daily meditation?

Shel Pink: It’s reduced my stress levels. After working all day, you can feel parts of your body hold onto the stress. When I do the TM I literally can feel that part of my body relaxing and stress melting away.

I also have moments during flu season when people around me are getting sick, and I feel I have this extra protection from it. Stress compromises the immune system, but because stress is melting away with TM, I’m less prone to catching people’s colds and flu.

I think it’s increased my focus and stillness. And it’s created more awareness. We go through life being reactive to situations. I feel that meditation practice helps you be more still, so when a curve ball is thrown at you—and every day we have curve balls thrown at us—you’re less reactive. You are more thoughtful about your responses instead of being automatically reactive or emotional about it.

Q: As a mother and entrepreneur, how do you manage to fit meditation into your busy schedule?

Shel Pink: I fit it in the morning because if I don’t do it I feel that something is missing. I almost crave it. And in the afternoon it’s a welcome reprieve to tune out from the meetings and deadlines for 20 minutes. I’m lucky because we have a training theatre in our office and it’s soundproof. It really refreshes me and helps me get through the rest of the day.

I usually get home from work from around 4:30-5:00—although I’ll continue to work on things after kids go to bed. I try to be balanced about work and family. My husband, Ran, is a music producer, and he learned TM two years ago. And that’s been really great, to have my husband doing TM as well, because we protect each other’s meditation space on the weekends.

Ayurveda and meditation with Shel Pink

In fact, we have made meditation a part of our family philosophy. I love that we are teaching our children to be aware of the benefits of meditation at an early age.

Q: What advice can you give for someone who wants to start a business today?

Shel Pink: Do a lot of research. And I’m a big believer in concept writing. The most important thing about starting a business is to have the insight, to know what is the need—and that you’re putting something out there that is going to help solve an issue or a real need.

I’d also like to say, believe in your ideas. Sometimes people will push back. I’ve learned now that if some people say “no” or react in a very strong way, negatively—that there’s something there, that you’ve hit a nerve. So keep pushing forward with what you believe in and develop your intuition and inner voice. Listen to that even if it’s very quiet. Make it stronger and louder because that’s what’s going to guide you through all phases of starting a business.

Linda Egenes is co-editor of Enlightenment: The Transcendental Meditation® Magazine. She is the author of five books, including Super Healthy Kids: A Parent’s Guide to Maharishi Ayurveda, co-authored with Kumuda Reddy, M.D.

(I originally wrote this interview for Enlightenment Magazine, Issue number 12. Reprinted with permission.)

Moving Toward Green
April 6, 2010

Web Marketing Can Save Energy & Resources

Last spring while setting up a series of book talks around Iowa, I started to question this fossil-fuel extravagant way to sell a few books—not to mention the cost of gas. Then my publisher fired off an email, “Create an online presence and market your book that way.”

Gulp. Even though I wrote website copy for a living, learning how to set up my own site felt daunting. But determined to finally enter the digital age, I attended a free Internet marketing seminar by three consultants based in Fairfield: Ellen Finkelstein, Phyllis Khare, and Lee Leffler.

From the tools and strategies they shared, I was able to create a blog and social media campaign to market my books—without driving my car or printing a single flyer. In other words, I suddenly went greener and reached a wider audience, too.

Green Marketing Mavens Ellen Finkelstein, Phyllis Khare, and Lee Leffler

Going Paperless

Of course, virtually everyone who uses a computer is moving toward a paperless, greener business model. But some, such as Ellen, Phyllis and Lee, are forging ahead, using cutting-edge technologies to reduce the use of fossil fuels in a variety of ways: working at home to avoid a commute, training clients using webinars instead of traveling to on-site seminars, creating e-books and e-courses instead of paper-based products, and marketing their services using social media and email.

“The information economy is a paperless, green economy, if it’s structured correctly,” notes Lee, who calls herself “The Newsletter Gal” and writes e-newsletters, websites, and blogs for organizations such as the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation.

For Lee, establishing a green business was a lifelong dream. Inspired by Ralph Nader as a student, she founded a still-running eco-radio show in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2005 that she was finally able to realize her dream.

“Back then most businesses were still using paper newsletters and wasting trees,” says Lee. She positioned herself as a green entrepreneur, helping businesses market with e-newsletters to save resources. She joined Green America and landed a coveted spot in the Green America National Green Pages. Today she continues to pursue a green agenda, participating in a recycling program, running her website from carbon-neutral EcoHosting, offering sustainable living tips on her blog, and working from a home office to eliminate commuting.

Ellen Finkelstein found another way to switch to a paperless business model—by writing e-books. A best-selling technology author of numerous paperback titles such as AutoCAD 2010 & AutoCAD LT 2010 Bible and How to Do Everything with PowerPoint 2007, she has racked up combined sales of over 300,000 and seen her books translated into 14 different languages.

She wrote her first e-book two years ago because she wanted to reduce paper waste and create products that were more environmentally friendly.

“When you think of the trees used in paper books, the carbon fuels used in shipping, and the costs and energy involved in running a bricks-and-mortar publishing house, traditional publishing is a very 20th-century institution,” says Ellen. “I still update two of my print books each year, but I like the idea of having more editorial control with e-books, and by cutting out publishing and shipping costs, you retain a larger portion of the profits.”

Reducing Fossil Fuel Use

For Phyllis Khare, going greener came with a sudden career move. In the midst of a 12-year stint touring Iowa schools on the Iowa Arts Council roster as “Miss Phyllis,” a children’s music educator, she decided to take time off to indulge another passion: exploring web technologies. Today she has reduced her commute to a few steps—working from her home office as a consultant specializing in web design, Internet marketing, and social media.

“According to one survey, businesses using social media such as Facebook and Twitter reaped 24% more profits than those who used conventional, direct-mail advertising in 2010,” she says. “And the use of the earth’s resources is much less.”

Even though her clients are scattered around the country, Phyllis holds business meetings using video Skype and screen-sharing programs—and trains others to do the same. Ellen also uses webinars to train professionals to give presentations online.

“There’s a synergy of factors—saving money and saving the environment—that is creating a huge demand in online training instead of flying presenters long distances,” Ellen says. “And of course, this is a perfect situation for someone who lives in Iowa, to be able to train professionals anywhere in the world without leaving your home.”

(I wrote this article for April’s Iowa Source–you can view it online here)

Don’t miss a chance for a free Marketing Make-Over Sessions with Phyllis, Lee and Ellen on Tuesday, April 20 at 1:00pm

Event: Marketing Make-Over Sessions with Phyllis, Lee and Ellen
What: Informational Meeting
Start Time: Tuesday, April 20 at 1:00pm
End Time: Tuesday, April 20 at 2:00pm
Where: Fairfield Public Library