A 360-DEGREE APPROACH TO WELLBEING
Over 12 years ago, Samantha Sargent created an essential oil blend for a friend who was going through a difficult time in her life and suggested a variety of positive rituals to incorporate into her days to help improve her state of mind. This challenge inspired Samantha to think about other areas where most of us need to improve on in our lives, which then led to her developing more products, and with encouragement from her mother, she decided to start her own business: Be genki (genki is the Japanese word meaning ‘to be happy, healthy and in harmony with oneself’).
“What I have come to understand over the past 10 years in working with Be genki, is that although the business was born out of a desire to help a friend, it has also helped me every day in my own life, as these four key areas, and the choices we make in regards to them, are what I believe to be the foundation for a holistically happy life. We can change anything, by being conscious of our daily self-care choices.”
The 4 Be genki ranges are:
- Be vibrant – a ‘pick me up’ range to help improve energy levels
- Be serene – to help bring about a sense of calm, especially when in a state of stress
- Be sensual – to help nurture the loving relationship that we have with our loved ones, and more importantly ourselves
- Be tranquil – to help prepare for a peaceful night’s sleep
There are quite a number of brands out there that focus on organic skincare. What makes Be genki stand out?
We offer a 360-degree approach to wellbeing. We aren’t ‘just’ organic skincare. We aren’t ‘just’ organic body care. It goes without saying that we only choose the highest quality natural, organic, cold-pressed, virgin, cruelty-free oils. That’s the bare minimum that we demand of our products. At Be genki we go further, by taking into consideration the way our customers interact with our products so that it isn’t about the product, it’s about how you use the product. Be genki provides a possibility for people to look at their lifestyle and make a conscious decision to use a natural alternative for a real issue that they are having challenges with (whether that be as simple as dry skin, or as complex as an inability to relax and de-stress at the end of the day, for example). What’s most impressive to me, after 10 years of working with Be genki, is just how simple to use, and effective the products are at helping to create happy and healthy changes.
What makes a cosmetic product ‘safe’?
From my point of view, it means that it does not cause any harm to the body, mind or being. However, in saying that, what may be ‘safe’ for one person, may not be for another. So it’s not a word that I would like to use all that much.
All your products are organic, GM-free, vegan and cruelty-free, and your methods are ethical. For the curious customer, can you elaborate on the specifics?
- Organic – our suppliers are certified organic, meaning that they farm using organic methods. No pesticide residue is going to be found in our products. Furthermore, organic ingredients are more potent as the life force of the plant is stronger (compared with a conventionally grown crop) so you’re getting more active components in the product, meaning that the product is going to have a better effect on your skin (and mind).
- GM-free – our suppliers do not use genetically modified seeds to grow their crops.
- Vegan – our products contain no animal ingredients or animal by-products.
- Cruelty-free – we are certified by Choose Cruelty Free Ltd, meaning that no furry little friends are harmed by Be genki, or any of our suppliers. i.e. no animal testing.
Read all about Be genki’s production process here.
What do you think is the greatest challenge people face when trying to buy ethically?
The greatest challenge for people, from where I see it, is the lies, illusions and delusions that the industry feeds them, even from so-called ‘experts’ who have the best intentions at heart. There is so much conflicting information out there, and information is shared so quickly with social media and blogs. How can you know who to trust? On one hand there are companies who hide the facts about where their ingredients are sourced, or omit how the ingredient is extracted / processed. And on the other hand, there is a growing number of people who have huge followings but a very superficial understanding of the bigger picture, reality, and conflicting messages of what they are recommending / promoting. Don’t get me wrong, I love, and am fascinated by the digital world with natural beauty / wellbeing enthusiasts popping up left, right and centre, with zillions of followers. I can’t say that I understand it. But wow, hats off to them. It’s extremely creative and inspiring to think what kind of effect this platform can have on a wide audience, and it blows my mind at how inspiring the younger generations are. I love learning from them. When I think back to what I was doing 20 years ago… yikes!
What were some of the initial obstacles you faced when launching Be genki?
It took 10 months before a retailer was interested in stocking the products. We were an unknown brand and this was well before blogs and social media was around, so we relied heavily on PR, and as you know, there are a few months lead time before the article goes to print. It was a fun experience though, as the beauty industry is blessed with the most gorgeous girls / beauty editors who were incredibly supportive towards Be genki, and we had online sales, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.
I was in a very privileged position of having the support of my father. He is a big sweetheart and his business brain has been infused into me since I was a little girl, so I have no doubt that a lot of the obstacles have been taken away from me due to his love and ‘having my back’. One of the most beautiful gifts he ever gave me was the space and allowance for me to be me. And to not impose his views on who or what I should choose to be / do in life. This sense of freedom was the invitation for me to go deep within and ask myself what it was that I truly wished to create in the world.
When did you realise ‘hey, this thing can really take off’?
That’s funny. Honestly, I don’t often go into that. It seems that the people around me are more inclined to bring that up, which I am grateful for, as they believe in what we’re creating. But to me, it’s what I love to do. I love my work. I would still do it if I won the zillion dollar lottery. It is a business that was born out of the love I have for my girlfriend. And every day I love interacting with our customers and finding new ways to do what we do better. I love growing and learning and it fills every cell of my body with joy when I read a customer email about the change that they have experienced after using Be genki. Some of the emails bring tears to my eyes.
What are 3 things that define your brand?
Integrity, trust, happiness, health and harmony. Ok, so that was 5 but who’s counting 😉
Where do you look for inspiration?
Gosh, everywhere! Whether that’s walking on the beach at sunrise and sunset each day, spending time in our garden or travelling all over the world. I love watching birds fly… they fascinate me tremendously. It’s truly remarkable at how effortless and gracious they make flying look. I love that it’s not forced. I know that may sound a bit abstract but I’m forever inspired by nature, animals, the incredible sunrises and sunsets we get in the Byron hinterland, the clouds in the sky and how the beach looks completely different each time we walk. I love to take in all that surrounds me. The Earth is breathtaking!
What does a typical day look like for you? Where do Be genki products fit into your life?
My days when at home are extremely simple really. I like it this way, as it’s a big contrast to when I travel (which has been anywhere from 60 to 200 days of the year, the past 6 years). The times when we travel, it’s non-stop go go go from waking up to laying on the hotel pillow.
I wake up to the birds chirping then go for a walk and swim with my husband at the beach. When I’m being good I work out in our yoga / training room. I use a dry body brush then have a shower. My morning skincare ritual is followed by a 2-minute self-massage with Be genki Body Oil. Then, I sit on the day bed on the balcony with a cup of cold drip organic coffee and freshly made hemp milk that my husband makes for me each morning. Yes, I am spoilt 😉
I work during the day on my laptop or in the lab, and gather veggies for dinner from the veggie patch. I sip on Be genki Herbal Tea throughout the afternoon, and in the late afternoon, my husband and I go for a walk together at the beach just before the sun sets. It’s our transition from ‘working day’ to ‘evening together’.
In the evening, we enjoy a homemade dinner together. Then I run a bath with a few drops of Be genki Oil Blend in the water. We light a couple of Be genki Candles in the bedroom and jump into bed and snuggle up together while watching a movie or documentary.
What advice would you give to people who are new to ethical shopping and who are generally curious about sustainability?
Increase your awareness, and make conscious choices. Every time you buy a product you are saying to that company, ‘Keep on doing what you are doing.’ You are supporting everything that company does: every source of raw material, every packaging solution, every environmental standard that they are undertaking, every form of employee relations, every marketing choice. From my point of view, each and every person can make a difference by becoming more aware of their choices and be willing to change when they learn about ethical alternatives.
Finish this sentence: The world needs more…
Laughter. Less drama, more laughter. Less propaganda nightly news, more laughter. Less judgment, more laughter. Less competition, more laughter with one another. I often ponder, ‘What’s it all about?’ This whole thing about being here on planet Earth, embodied in human form. The best answer that I ever from José Argüelles – professor, author, artist, visionary scientist, peace activist, humanitarian, cultural pioneer, spiritual guide. One of the last things he said before passing away was, ‘It’s all a cosmic joke.’ These words have stayed with me every day, and they remind me not to take things so seriously, to remain as light as can be, and to be able to laugh and see the beauty and gift in everything. I don’t get it right all the time, as life certainly throws some curveballs when you least expect it, but I do like to think that I give it my best shot.