How did the idea for your business come about?
I’m very fair skinned (and after having Stage II Melanoma five years ago, baking in the sun is out of the question) and was tired of getting bad spray tans that were too dark, too orange and spending lots of time and money at spas on a service that should only take 30 minutes or so. I finally decided if I was feeling this way, I’m sure a lot of other folks were too and I’d figure out a way to get a healthy glow without having to get in the sun or a tanning bed. It’s evolved into what is now RAW Bronzing Studio, where our philosophy is to enhance your natural skin tone so you look amazing, but no one notices that you have a sunless tan.
Being healthy about sun exposure is something everyone should be aware of – can you tell us about your experience with that?
Like most people, I love being in the sun! Growing up, I hated wearing sunscreen (I was a total tomboy), was outside any chance I got and started going to tanning beds occasionally in high school and college. Now that I’m learning how to take care of my skin, wearing sunscreen daily and getting organic airbrush tans, my skin looks better now at 32 years old than it did when I was 22!
We hear you are a multi-talented lady (skin care expert, artist, wardrobe designer) can you explain a bit about your background?
I graduated with a degree in Textile Design from the University of Georgia and have been designing clothing, jewelry and textiles ever since. I’ve also taken breaks from my design business to get some ‘corporate experience’ and worked for Shabby Chic, helping to open new stores in Boston and Atlanta and also worked as a Department Manager at Bloomingdale’s. It’s really only been the last five years since hearing the ‘C’ word that I’ve become passionate about skin care and learning ways to live as healthy a life as possible.
How did you land the job of wardrobe designer for Sugarland?
I started a design business right out of college. That’s about the time I met Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles (but before it was Sugarland!). Being the creative gal that she is, we hit it right off and have been working together on various projects for years, from couture tops for stage to jewelry and to gowns. They came to me in 2009 and asked me to be the costume designer for the 2010-2011 Incredible Machine Tour. It was a dream project for me.
How do you stay healthy and active?
I stick to a gluten-free diet and stay away from processed foods and sugar, but in no way do I deprive myself (ask anyone who knows me - I love food!). I also try to walk anywhere I can. Inman Park is a great community that’s perfect for that! I’ll admit my workout regimen hasn’t been as steady as I would’ve liked this past year. I’m a newlywed and our schedules have been crazy. We’re just now starting to settle into a healthy workout schedule again. It’s about balance, right?
Speaking of balance, how do you organize your busy schedule?
I’m not a very organized person by nature, so I’m learning to be a little more structured so I can stay focused. Sometimes my artsy, free-spirited self isn’t good for staying on track. I’m also working on ‘unplugging’ my Blackberry for at least one day a week. It’s amazing how relaxing it can be to disconnect for just one day.
What would you say is your true passion in life?
I am passionate about so many things, but no matter what it is I’m doing, it ultimately comes down to learning to live with peace and balance, living in the moment, being present and finding ways to love and serve people more. Whether it’s in my work life, personal life or spiritual life, my goal is to find authenticity, learn how to be less self-aware and live without regrets. Life has thrown me a few curve balls in my personal life and in business. I am so grateful for them now. They’ve taught me that it’s not so much about what you’re doing but how you’re doing it.
What inspires you?
The women in my life! I’m so blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing women who challenge me, keep me on my toes and who make me want to be a better person.
What is the best piece of advice you received?
My dad always says to “live life without regrets.” We’re not promised tomorrow. It’s important to tell the people around you that you love them today, follow your heart, and live with honesty and integrity.