The Yellow Bird Company on Wellness

Sep 24 2018

by Karen Schexnayder

The Southern Coterie blog: "The Yellowbird Company on Wellness" by Karen Schexnayder (photo: Mary Margaret Curtis of the 2018 Southern C Summit swag market)

The Southern Coterie blog: "The Yellowbird Company on Wellness" by Karen Schexnayder (photo: Mary Margaret Curtis of the 2018 Southern C Summit swag market)

The Southern Coterie blog: "The Yellowbird Company on Wellness" by Karen Schexnayder (photo: Mary Margaret Curtis of the 2018 Southern C Summit swag market)
photos: Mary Margaret Curtis of the 2018 Southern C Summit swag market

We have all heard the phrase “You are what you eat,” but how many of us realize that the products we put on our skin affect our bodies as much as the food we eat? Many of us buy organic and eat healthy foods. We work out. Yet, do we know what ingredients we are putting on our bodies and the effect those ingredients have on our health?

For Nicole Pond, the founder of The Yellow Bird, a skincare company aimed at making safer and affordable products for the whole family, this mantra has always been a part of her life. She was born into a family who embodied holistic living. Nicole’s mother was conscious of the ingredients in the food she fed her family and the skincare and household products they used, teaching her family to read labels and to look beyond the packaging to seek products with the fewest ingredients. 

It wasn’t until life came full circle and Nicole became a mother that she began to focus on the ingredients she used for her family. “I did not take as much of an interest in ‘natural’ or ‘chemical-free’ products until I had my girls,” she said. “As I have grown, I have seen that ingredients in our products matter – that our skin matters. My sister and her kids have severe allergies to ingredients such as soy and chemical fragrances found in everyday products. I noticed that using natural products such as coconut oil and various essential oils was successful for her family. I wanted to make products that are safe, accessible and affordable. It was from this desire that The Yellow Bird hatched.”  

Many conventional beauty products have ingredients known to be allergens or linked to cancer, infertility issues, and hormone disruption. Nicole suggests consumers avoid products made from plastics and chemical fragrance.  “Look for ingredients you can read because what goes on our skin is absorbed into our bodies,” she said.

Greenwashing is a huge trend in the beauty industry, and words like ‘natural’ are used to create an appearance of a safer product.  “If you don’t know an ingredient, look it up. Just because it says ‘natural’ on the front, doesn’t mean it’s safe,” added Nicole.

Common ingredient offenders are formaldehyde, oxybenzone, parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrance.

If you don’t know an ingredient, look it up. Just because it says ‘natural’ on the front, doesn’t mean it’s safe.

Nicole takes The Southern C’s mission of #connectcollaboratecreate to heart when sourcing ingredients, “When sourcing ingredients, I know what I’m looking for, deal with reputable sellers and look for ‘best practices’ such as work environment, renewable resources, and quality control. Relationships are so important when making products – find people to buy from who you trust!”

What can people do to take better care of their skin?

First and foremost, cleanse your skin every night before you sleep, use products without harsh cleansers or detergents, and moisturize with oils that act like your skin’s natural sebum. Change your pillowcase regularly. Water is your skin’s best friend – drink lots of water so that your skin cells stay full and elastic. Have a good probiotic – our skin mirrors our gut health. And most importantly, protect it from the sun using physical barriers- like shade and hats and clothing. 

Charcoal is all the rage right now, why should we be using it?

Charcoal is absolutely amazing because of absorption. Because activated charcoal is mostly carbon, it is a great choice when you want a material that will attract and hold onto other substances, like dirt, excess oil, pathogens, and allergens.

How do we know our skin is stressed?

Our body has a unique way of communicating with us. Breakouts are a signal that something is irritating our skin. Dry patches, redness, and other common facial concerns can be a sign that the body can’t repair itself by hydration or healing. Gut health is also key to relieving skin stressors.

Tell us about your skincare routine.

I love to wash my face in the morning. It helps me with the whole ‘fresh day fresh face’ mentality. 

My makeup is typically very minimal, just some brown pencil and mascara, so getting ready is simple and easy for me.

I do try and wash my face at night, usually with our charcoal bar. I love to use our washcloths – they’re soft and such an essential skincare tool. They help pull all the sweat and dirt from the day off my face. I finish with our face oil – it’s the fanciest, softest, soothing oil.  I love the smell and feel of it on my skin.

Anytime my skin is red, dry, or inflamed, I put some of our foot cream on the affected area, and it is soothed instantly. I love that stuff!

You’re a mom and a business owner, how do you maintain the work/life balance? What advice would you give to other business owners? 

As a mom to 3 little girls (1, 3, and 6) and a business owner I have given up the phrase ‘work-life balance’ permanently. I embrace a whole life/work and life integration. I’ve found that the best thing I can do for my work and my family is to be intentional with my time. I schedule work time and then really stick to it (barring an emergency). I have to keep an accurate to-do list and calendar so that I know what work tasks HAVE to get done when and then when my work time is up, I’m done. There will always be more work to do. Always.

I also found moments when my time is wasted or unaccounted for, and I could redeem those! If I know what I need to get done that day – both home tasks and work – and I see that I have a 20-minute sliver of time, then I can assign that timeframe an actual task.

I would tell any business owner to look at their time like money – take an accurate inventory of how you’re spending your time during the day (this is the most cringy part for me) and then decide ahead of time how much time you are going to spend on work, then stick to it. It is so nice to have my family know when I’m working and when I’m available to them.

Your husband is actively involved in the business, too. Tell me how you balance work/marriage/parenthood. Any advice to give to others?

Along with motherhood and business, my husband is also full time in the business – we get to co-work and co-parent. It is wonderful and such a blessing! We have learned how to communicate our expectations and needs clearly, extend grace (on all fronts) and love the other person by meeting them where they are. Respecting and knowing where each other’s strengths lie is integral – we can divide and conquer! I am good at planning, and he is great at follow through. He is the most fun at splash parks, and I can lead a banging watercolor session. I love to cook, and he loves to eat (haha), He also does all the dishes! 

Remembering that our spouse is gifted and human helps a lot when stress is high, and sleep is low. Love really covers a multitude of things, and teamwork makes the dream work. (Yes, you can insert all the cliches here).

What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your entrepreneurial journey?

Sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn. Lessons are never wasted! 

How do you practice self-care?

For me, there are three essentials ‘tools’ to self-care – mind, body, and spirit. 

First, we need to take care of our mind. Find something that you enjoy – whether it’s problem-solving, thinking, planning, building, or reading – and schedule time to do that. For me, I love to read, write business plans and paint. Doing these things empowers me. Find what empowers you and schedule time for that. Motherhood and business are hard. There are so many things I can’t control, but I can control what I listen to during the day, who pops up on my social media, and what I read.

Taking care of our bodies is important. Find a skincare ritual that is simple, effective and restorative to YOU. Try and eat one fruit and one vegetable at every meal (I have fresh cut peppers on hand to easily grab a bite), and drink water all day. Water is life!

Lastly, take care of your spirit. This one may be the most important because the spirit is the fuel and drive behind the body and mind. When the spirit is discouraged, anxious or fearful, everything is affected.  Seek those things that will bless and encourage you. We have to be aware of when we’re low with energy, positivity, and motivation and refill our tanks.

One last question. What is your one can’t live without product?

Our foot cream – there’s a million plus ways to use it. It is the skin’s BFF. 


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