Continuing the Vyrao Spring Series where we speak to inspirational figures in wellness who work with us, Melanie Rickey caught up with Jessica Richards the pioneering founder of SHEN Beauty in Brooklyn, and advisor to Goop, about Spring 2022, and how she strives to live a high vibration life.
Jessica Richards, founder of SHEN
How are you today Jessica?
I’m doing ok, between work and raising two boys there is never a dull moment but in all honesty today has been a great day.
Through your work with SHEN you’ve got a finely honed instinct for how to build beauty, skincare and wellbeing ranges. What are the building blocks of getting this right?
Each project differs in scope but essentially the most important piece before starting any project is understanding who the consumer is and what they need. How old they are, likes and dislikes, what they read, where they travel, eat, shop, whether they have kids and then of course where do they live?
Jessica Richards of SHEN
Is this the knowledge you built SHEN on?
SHEN began out of a necessity in 2010 because there were no beauty stores in Brooklyn. Being that I grew up in California in a very hippie-esque lifestyle I wanted the products I sell to be organic and natural. Back then was really the beginning of the “indie” beauty movement. The shift in mindset towards natural ingredients we see today was born out of this and now SHEN focuses on brands like Vyrao, that work from every price point be it organic, clean or with safe chemicals allowing each client to find the right items to fit their needs and journey.
How did you find Vyrao, and why do you like it?
I was introduced to Vyrao through a mutual friend of Yasmin and I knew I would fall in love! The packaging, the scents, the story behind the brand and of course Yasmin herself create such an important environment that speaks to healing through beauty and wellbeing.
Which Vyrao products do you use, and why?
I am literally addicted to I am Verdant, the incense, the Ember candle and Ember Large candle. I am not much of a fragrance person myself and when I find a scent I usually wear it for years until I find a new one. I’m on my third bottle of I am Verdant; it’s fresh, clean, uplifting, earthy all in one and works well with my own scent. I light the Ember candle every night as a little ritual and the incense I burn when making my coffee to start my day off with a grounding effect, of course if I’m not rushing my boys out of the house to the bus.
I am Verdant by Tais Sirote
What’s happening with Shen for Spring and Summer 2022?
Spring / Summer 2022 is all about re-emerging into the world after lockdown. I foresee an immense amount of travel and travel friendly products for ease. We are also focusing heavily on content and education with the launch of our new and improved e-commerce site. We will be launching a few new brands into the market but right now our focus is primarily on the consumer and continuing the education and community building.
How do you generally discover brands for SHEN and how do you know they are right?
In the beginning it was brands I found on my travels or read about in odd blogs I would stumble upon in the middle of the night. Today, with Instagram and other social media platforms, I often find them through deeper research there, and of course now people are aware SHEN is a launchpad for new brands in the US market they come to us, which is how it happened with Vyrao.
What products are exciting you now?
Anything that focuses on innovation, clinical trials or a lightning bolt product. Similar to when Biore launched their pore strip, something you never knew you needed. Or like Vyrao, with the energetic ingredients and crystal which create a game-changing narrative for appreciating the product.
How do you take care of yourself – does it change into a new season?
I have never been one to work out or go to the gym but when I was going through a divorce seven years ago I needed an outlet for my stress and started going to Soulcycle. What I loved at first is what I still love most about it. My phone goes away, there’s loud music, it’s dark and no one needs anything from me. I am not one to meditate although I have tried many times so this is sort of my meditation.
Are you a bit Witchy Woo?
I am incredibly witchy woo. I have crystals all over my house, I go to the East Village to buy the candles from the witchy woman who casts spells on them, then you have to burn it until its done, like three days and can’t blow it out. I am constantly on the hunt for the best astrologer, psychic, healing modality and am about to begin a journey into healing my soul. I have signed up for the Hoffman Institute twice and been too scared to face certain things but I’m finally biting the bullet and going at the end of September.
How do you deal with stress and potential overwhelm?
I think watching the ocean and seeing how angry or how calm it can be is a great reference to everyday life. It’s the changes that can be stifling and learning how to deal with them is not easy. If anyone has better advice I’m all ears.
What is your current mantra?
I recently nicknamed myself Dory [from the Disney movies, Finding Nemo and Finding Dory]. When Dory gets separated from her family, she just keeps swimming. So I say OK, today I’m just going to keep swimming, I can’t stop otherwise I’ll drown. One that I heard most recently and put on my fridge is SCALE IT AND NAIL IT. Pharrell actually said this is his business mantra and I had never heard something so simple and yet so appropriate so I’ve kind of taken it to heart.
Thank you Jessica Richards