Connection means a lot to us, and we believe that lots of little stories create big connection. The #Inu8women series is how we share little stories about women who inspire us through their active lives. Learning from and sharing wisdom with like-minded women helps us to feel stronger, to feel supported and to be free to follow our joy. We are better together.
It is such a joy to introduce Megan Larsen. Megan is the founder of Sodashi Skin Care and is known as the clean beauty pioneer. She is also the author of Startups and Self-care, a book that shares her entrepreneurial journey and demonstrates the power of building a business from a place of passion, purpose and purity of intention.
Sodashi Skin Care takes a holistic approach to beauty that transcends skin care; it is a total experience that works to nurture the mind, body, spirit and emotions. Megan started making natural beauty products in Western Australia in the early 90's, establishing Sodashi in 1999. She set the benchmark for natural skin care globally and now Sodashi supplies the world's most exclusive spas in more than 25 countries.
Megan is best known for her ethical and self-care-based approach to business (and life in general), and is one of the most heart centred women we know.
Can you use just a few words to describe how you live your life?
I’m a positive, glass half full kind of person who likes to live above the line and I generally see the positive side of everything.
I’m a huge believer in what we put our attention on is what we get more of in our lives, and I believe anything is possible if I set my mind, heart, and soul on it. So first I focus on what I want and then I consider how to do it.
I’m also committed to self-care and self-reflection. Usually before my daily meditations I take a few moments for self-reflection. It’s a great reminder for me to be in the present and how I can continue to build my strengths.
When I’m not mindful it’s easy for me to default to perfectionism, so instead of focusing on things I can’t change, I put my attention on the things I can act on.
The anchor for my daily life is my twice daily meditation which I’ve done for the past 27 years - Transcendental Meditation, a mantra-based effortless technique.
What is the work you do in the world?
Sodashi is my passion, I founded Sodashi Skin Care in 1999 and continue to develop and formulate the exquisite, natural Sodashi skin care products. I don’t work in the day-to-day operations, but as a Director of Sodashi I am always involved in the business.
I travel to Provence, in the South of France each year with Aroma Tours to co-host Aromatherapy and Treasures of Provence. These tours are beautifully curated to take in the magic of Perfumery and Provence and in such a beautiful part of the world amongst the Lavender fields.
What inspired you to create a natural skincare range and pioneer a new approach to skincare?
Without doubt my passion for plants and aromatherapy (essential oils) and holistic wellbeing were the platform for Sodashi product creations, and a desire to create natural, effective, and skin cell regenerating skincare that would also be kind and gentle on the skin.
Essential oils are incredibly regenerating for the skin, and when they are formulated with respect, essential oils are the ultimate skin harmonisers, and it’s what we do so well at Sodashi.
I was also driven to create a natural brand mindfully, safe for facialists and therapists to use. While I trained in the early 80’s as a Beauty Therapist, I never practiced full time. However, I was aware 60%-70% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into our blood stream. Sodashi provided an opportunity to provide a safe skin care alternative for Therapists to use in their treatments.
What is your favourite way to move your body? What do you love about it?
Walking, Yoga and Pilates are my favourite ways to move my body. Recently it’s been mostly Yoga and Pilates as I’ve had some issues with my knees.
Body movement is essential for me, and while I’m not always motivated when I begin, the post-exercise feeling makes it worth it. I’ve been doing Pilates for a couple of years, but it has really helped me build strength in my body. Yoga I’ve been practicing for many years - it keeps me flexible and keeps both me and my joints happy!
What is your favourite activewear piece/s? Is there something that you currently own that you cannot do without?
Comfort and style are important to me. I can't do without my leggings for Pilates, they need to feel comfortable without feeling constricted. They need to stay in place and not slip down!
I love, love, love my Inu8 Cashmere Wrap, it is snuggly, warm and soft.
You are the Founder of Sodashi and Author of Startups and Self-care. What words of advice do you have for women who feel like they are juggling it all and find it challenging to create space for themselves?
Find at least 10 minutes a day where you make yourself a priority. Take a walk, sit quietly and do nothing with a cuppa or read a book.
In the early stages of my start-up business, (and I still do this everyday) - I use my morning and evening skin-care routine as a self-care ritual. Particularly compressing my face with essential oils, which are mood elevating and calming, and a special time for me to nurture myself and my skin at the same time.
Refreshing your soul is important, and it means you’ve always got something left in your tank which prevents burn out.
What does taking a holistic approach to well-being mean to you and how do you practice this in your own life?
Maintaining my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual good health.
I have self-care practices I use daily. Sleep is important to me. Eating good nutritious food (although I use the 80/20 rule, to avoid self deprivation!). Daily exercise, mindfulness and meditation are all part of my daily life. And having routines I can continue even when I’m travelling is important for me, although maybe the 80/20 becomes a bit more 70/30….I do my best.
Meditation is the one thing I have continued for 27 years. It is effortless and is the most effective practice I know for reducing stress. I know what a regular practice has brought to my life and is something that is offered to everyone in the Sodashi team.
What does simplicity mean to you? Is it important to you?
I love simplicity, it gives me the space to breathe and create, which is particularly important for me when I’m creating and formulating Sodashi products.
My house is devoid of clutter, and since my mind is impacted by the space around me, orderliness is important. Making meaningful and well considered purchases helps to keep things simple in my life.
What does a feeling of being connected mean to you?
Being connected is my conscious compass. It keeps me aligned to my own wisdom and my natural rhythm of life. It helps me transform my struggles and upsets into sweet moments and supports my emotional intelligence.
I’d say being connected also keeps me feeling aware, alive, awake, and alert.
I use Cinnamon essential oil to support my connectedness – just a drop on a tissue, or a few drops in my vaporiser.
In general, do you seek out new products that are created sustainably? Is this important to you when purchasing activewear?
Yes, although these days I expect it more and more and I really look forward to the future when it’s just the norm for products to be created sustainably.
In the meantime, I do seek out clothes and activewear that are created sustainably (I’m a fan of brands like Inu8, KITX and Lee Matthews).
I also believe in holding ourselves accountable for the purchases we make, and buying clothes we will wear countless times, but will always make us feel good.
My husband and I also buy furniture to last, so the older it gets the better it looks.
For clothes and accessories I buy quality that lasts and looks great.
What is exciting you at present?
The growth in the Natural Skin Care industry continues to delight and excite me, it has come such a long way in the past 23 years, along with the continued awareness of what we put on to our bodies is absorbed in to our blood stream.
Its exciting to see more beautiful brands like Inu8 creating consciously and with such integrity.
In July I will be back in Provence - one of my happy places - with its fragrant air and perfumery, Lavender fields and Lavender harvest, and the honour of co-hosting an annual and fabulous Aroma Tours - Treasures of Provence.
Is there a phrase or a word that you live by?
“There’s a crack in everything, it’s how the light gets in” – lyrics by Leonard Cohen.
Find out more about Startups & Self-care the book.
Explore the latest from Sodashi Skin Care.
Discover Aroma Tours - Treasures of Provence.